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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 11 November 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Christian Studies Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Christmas Shelf Bilingual Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
American History Shelf Science Shelf Nature Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Biography Shelf Books in Series
Easy Reader Shelf Preschool Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Music Shelf Cookbook Shelf DVD Shelf
Fiction Shelf Folklore/Mythology Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Mr. Quizmee Asks About Our Watery World
Wendy Shadpour
Quizzendkids Productions
c/o Hacienda Blues Publishing
PO Box 27176, San Diego, CA 92128
CD $14.95 1-866-482-2332

The second CD production in the 'Mr. Quizmee' series, "Mr. Quizmee Asks About Our Watery World is a 74 minute, interactive children's audio CD that is as educationally informative as it is delightfully entertaining. Featuring a cast of lively, attention holding characters, we find Mr. Quizmee weaving original music and enhancing sound effects around questions, answers, and surprising facts about sea mammals, ships, water, fish, and more. A technically flawless recording, "Mr. Quizmee Asks About Our Watery World" is an ideal pastime as a rainy-day activity, highly recommended for use as an entertaining distraction when on long car trips, as well as invaluable as an original homeschooling curriculum supplement. Also quite strongly recommended for family and community library collections is the first of the 'Mr. Quizmee' series from Quizzenkids Productions – "Mr. Quizmee Asks About Animals" ($14.95).

Becky And Bear
Mary Kelly
The Guest Cottage Inc.
c/o Amherst Press
PO Box 774, St. Germain, WI 54558
1930596641 $9.95 1-715-477-0424

Becky is a curious little girl who, with her new friend Bear, wanders the north country learning about trees, wildflowers, animals, and everything else that makes the Northwoods so very special. Children preschool through kindergarten will have a wonderful time as they follow the adventure of Beck and Bear, participating with fun and informative exercises, puzzles, and other activities. "Becky And Bear" is a consumable activity book that is an ideal and enthusiastically recommended pastime for home-bound rainy days, bed-bound sick days, or those long car trips.

Future Horizons, Inc.
721 West Abram Street, Arlington, TX 76013

Two 24-page books in the Future Horizons 'Children's Safety Book' series for preschool and kindergarten aged children are especially recommended for concerned parents, teachers, care givers, and social workers. "Too Smart For Bullies" co-written by Deputy Sheriff Robert Kahn and Sharon Chandler (and illustrated by Sue Lyn Cotton) feature young Bobby and his Sister Mandee and deftly deals with the problem of bullies and how to deal with them safely and successfully. Deputy Sheriff Robert Kahn's "Too Safe For Strangers" (also illustrated by Sue Lyn Cotton) has Bobby and Mandee learning what to do when approached by strangers. Both of these outstanding little books include a Question & Answer Test so that parents and teachers can assess how well children have absorbed the information and advice providing in an entertaining picturebook format, as well as a page to fill in with emergency phone numbers. We live in a world where violence has penetrated our schools and playgrounds, where predators are to be found in every community park, shopping center and neighborhood. "Too Smart For Bullies" and "To Safe For Strangers" should be considered "must" reading for all preschool and kindergarten children with the help and supervision their parents and/or teachers.

Kids Write!
Rebecca Olien & Michael Kline
Williamson Books
535 Metroplex Drive, Suite 250, Nashville, TN 37211
0824967755 $14.95 1-800-586-2572

Written by Rebecca Olien and illustrated by Michael Kline, Kids Write!: Fantasy & Sci Fi, Mystery, Autobiography, Adventure & More is a "how-to" guide to writing all types of creative stories especially for young people in grade school. Cartoon-style illustrations, sample activities and exercises, practical tips and inspirational guidelines will help budding writers develop their skill in creating everything from flipbooks to mysteries, fantasy adventures, suspense, and much more! An enthusiastically recommended resource for any aspiring young writer, and a "must-have" for elementary and grade school library shelves.

Welcome to the Bed & Biscuit
Joan Carris
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
076362151X $15.99

Grampa Bender can't run the Bed and Biscuit animal boardinghouse without the help of his three wise animals, who have always thought of themselves as his 'family'. But when he stops paying attention to his old friends in favor of something new, they begin to wonder about his loyalties. Black and white drawings by Noah Z. Jones brings a winning, engaging tale to life.

The Winner's Walk
Nancy Ruth Patterson
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374384452 $16.00

Case Callahan isn't a star or champion like others in his talented family – in fact, he's not really good at anything in particular. That's why he becomes determined to try out for activities in which he might excel, facing repeated failures until his friendship with a lost dog gains him some degree of fame. Thomas F. Yezerski's drawings provide excellent embellishment to a fun tale.

Toys Go Out
Emily Jenkins
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375836047 $16.95 1-800-726-0600

TOYS GO OUT: BEING THE ADVENTURES OF A KNOWLEDGEABLE STINGWAY, A TOUGHY LITTLE BUFFALO, AND SOMEONE CALLED PLASTIC features adorable black and white drawings by Paul O. Zelinsky to compliment an easy reader for grades 3-5. The three stuffed animals who belong to the Little Girl on the bed know the rooms beyond hers are a scary place - but they are determined to explore anyway, to find the Little Girl a birthday present. Kids will find this a fun, warm read.

Lucy Rose: Busy Like You Can't Believe
Katy Kelly
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0385733194 $12.95 1-800-726-0600

Lucy Rose is a precocious fourth grader who is facing the added responsibilities of collecting a vocabulary, thinking up new palindromes, and new math. She also covets the leading role in the school play. How can she keep up all the activities without becoming exhausted? Here's a fine story of a busy young girl facing a new grade's challenges.

Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Libraries looking to replace tattered old copies of the beloved 'Curious George' titles by Margret and H.A. Rey will welcome these fresh, new reprints. THE NEW ADVENTURES OF CURIOUS GEORGE (0618663738, $10.99) provides eight short stories of the too-curious monkey and his man. These are fine read-aloud choices for adults and kids and follow George's adventures in a chocolate factory, in the kitchen cooking, viewing movies, playing in snow and more. More for younger read-alone is the board book CURIOUS GEORGE AND THE PUPPIES (0618772413), a lap edition' which appears in an unusual oversized format perfect for little fingers. MERRY CHRISTMAS, CURIOUS GEORGE (0618692371, $16.00) tells of George's excitement over picking the tree at Christmas time. When his favorite tree is carried off - with George hiding in its branches – a new dilemma evolves around finding home. All are wonderful, lasting picks for elementary-grade collections.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Jesus Loves Me
Joni Walker
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63118-3968
0758609140 $4.99 1-800-774-0274

Written and illustrated by Joni Walker, Jesus Love Me is a Christian board book for very young children, with a very powerful message that is good to teach early. A simple poem and playful color illustrations emphasize that Jesus Christ loves everyone regardless of physical differences. An excellent early read-aloud book to share and treasure with little ones. "Jesus died to take / our sins away. / If we look different, / that's okay. // Different faces, / Big or small, / It doesn't matter, / Jesus loves us all!"

A Little Girl After God's Own Heart
Elizabeth George & Judy Luenebrink
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, OR 97402
0736915451 $15.99

Written by Elizabeth George with paintings by Judy Luenebrink, A Little Girl After Gods Own Heart is a picturebook written especially for Christian little girls, listing positive qualities to strive for in one's heart. Love, Joy and Peace, Patience, Kindness and Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control are all extolled as precious virtues to cultivate in God's eyes, as revealed in quotes from holy scripture. The illustrations reveal the adoration and wonder of the artist, in this giftbook meant to be cherished as an uplifting source of inspiration for young female children.

Sing, Little Children, Sing
Beck Degan
Herald Press
616 Walnut Avenue, Scottsdale, PA 15683-1999
661740-09335-8 $15.99 1-800-759-4447

A welcome and treasured addition to family, Sunday School, and Christian preschool CD music collections for very young children, "Sing, Little Children, Sing" is an impressively entertaining and inspirational collection of twenty-five Bible-based nursery songs selected and performed by Becky Degan in a style that will engage the young listener in the joys of praising God's creation and appreciating the good things of Christian life. These wonderfully performed tunes include god's Care; I'm So Glad for Sunday; Jesus Loves Me!; A Child's 'Thank You'; God Takes Care of me; We Thank You, God; The Happy Way; Away in a Manger; Little Baby Jesus; Silent Night; happy Christmas; The Child Jesus/Jesus, Our Friend; Helping Hands and Feet; God's Gifts; Spring Song; Easter Day; Praise Him, Praise Him; Summertime; Walking in the Sunshine; A Happy Day; Little Redbird in the Tree; Counting Song/Let's Love Each other; I Want To Be Just Like Jesus; Can't Keep Quite When I'm Singin' 'bout Jesus; and the title piece, Sing, Little Children, Sing.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Much, Much Better
Chaim Kosofsky & Jessica Schiffman
Hachai Publishing
762 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216
1929628226 $14.95 718-633-0100

Written by Chaim Kosofsky and illustrated by Jessica Schiffman, Much, Much Better is a picturebook adaptation of a classic Shabbat tale of Eliyahu Hanavi, from Jewish lore. Set long ago in the city of Baghdad, Much, Much Better tells of a married couple whose joy is to welcome guests for Shabbat. But when they can find no other poor or lonely guests to invite, a mysterious traveler comes, and they treat him like royalty. The traveler departs with a most unusual blessing - one destined to bring a squirming bundle of happiness to their home life so they are never lonely again! An upbeat and soulful classical tale, warmly illustrated with soft-hued artwork.

The Christmas Shelf

Christmas Turtles
Sara Ann Denson & Tara McMillen
Purple Sky Publishing
PO Box 12013, Parkville, MO 64152
0976901765, $16.95

Children's book illustrator Tara McMillen seamlessly collaborates with children's book author Sara Ann Denson in "Christmas Turtles", a gentle picturebook story showcasing the love a grandmother has for her grandchildren through a shared celebratory experience. Four very curious children discover the magic and love that are part and parcel of the family Christmas experience on their Grandmother's farm that ranges from gathering pecans from the ground to helping their grandmother in the kitchen prepare them as a Christmas treat, and then finally enjoying the warm chocolate and pecan candy treat as their 'Christmas Turtles' for the whole family. "Christmas Turtles" is a wonderful addition to the growing library of Christmas themed picturebooks that can be read and enjoyed all year long!

Can Timmy Save Toyland?
Vincent McDonnell
The Collins Press
c/o Dufour Editions
PO Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425-0007
1905172862 $10.95 1-800-869-5677

Written by Vincent McDonnell, Can Timmy Save Toyland is a chapter book for young adult readers, especially those about 9-12 years of age. Continuing the action-filled adventures of Timmy Goodfellow from "The Boy Who Saved Christmas", Can Timmy Save Toyland? places Timmy in a battle of wits, skill, and determination against his old nemesis, Mister Carbuncle, whose schemes to accelerate the depletion of the ozone layer and melt the ice around Toyland is making even Santa Claus desperate for help. Even worse, Timmy's little sister Katie is kidnapped and held hostage! An engaging, Christmas-themed adventure.

The Bilingual Shelf

The King Of Things
Artemio Rodriguez
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
0938317970 $12.95 915-838-1625

Written by Artemio Rodriguez, The King of Things is an easy reader English/Spanish picturebook that introduces the very young to the famous Mexican game, Loteria. Loteria is a game of chance like bingo, using pictures instead of numbers and letters; each two-page spread of The King of Things shows a picture of something, its name in English, and its name in Spanish, such as "A heron / una garza" and "A little devil / Un diablito". A wonderful and fun-filled introduction to the connections between two languages and cultures especially for the very young.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

To Dance
Siena Cherson Siegel
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
0689867476 $17.95 1-800-223-2336

TO DANCE: A BALLERINA'S GRAPHIC NOVEL provides a blend of history, drama, and autobiography in telling of young Siena's dream to dance, which began when she was six. Ages 8-14 are the intended readers – but younger ages will find this equally accessible in its full color graphic novel format as it tells of a young dancer's evolution.

First Norsemen Entertainment
4705 Laurel Cyn. Boulevard, Suite 400, Valley Village, CA 818-753-3101

Written and illustrated by Ed Baker, the Knight Lights series are chapter books for young people that blend text and whimsically scribbled black-and-white illustration on each page, making them as easy-to-read as comic books. The Knight Lights themselves are miniature knights in shining armor who patrol by the Light of a sword or shield from dark to dawn, watching over and protecting all who sleep. Knight Lights Volume 1: Magnabumble's Big Bumble (0972443415, $5.99) follows the courageous, well-intentioned, yet unfortunately mistake-prone Magnabumble as he gets caught in another jam; his friends Ironheart, Lionpenny, and Stilton must band together to save the night. In Knight Lights Volume 2: The Biggest Bounciest Battle Ever (0972453423, $5.99) things are going bounce in the night, and the Knights work together to find out why! Both are highly enjoyable blends of fantasy, humor, and pure silliness, recommended especially for young readers ages 7-10.

The American History Shelf

The Little Rock Nine
Stephanie Fitzgerald
Compass Point Books
3109 West 50th Street, #115, Minneapolis, MN 55410-2102
0756520118 $23.95 952-224-0538

Written by Stephanie Fitzgerald, The Little Rock Nine: Struggle for Integration is a historical accounting for young adults about the integration of the all-white Central High School of Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. The pioneering efforts of the students would open the way to greater equality in America's educational system, and show the power of freedom to all Americans. Black-and-white vintage photographs illustrate the straightforward narration of a vital turning point in history. Recommended for public and grade school library collections.

The Science Shelf

Flies in the Face of Fashion, Mites Make Right, and Other Bugdacious Tales
Tom Turpin
Purdue University Press
1207 South Campus Courts, Bldg. E, West Lafayette, IN 47907
1557534179 $14.95 1-800-933-9637

Written by Tom Turpin (Professor of Entomology in Purdue's College of Agriculture), Flies in the Face of Fashion, Mites Make Right, and Other Bugdacious Tales is jam-packed with fun facts about insects - from the bug that ancient Egyptians used to worship as a god to how horseflies can fly without a head to the inordinate contribution that humble fruit flies have made to science. Flies in the Face of Fashion is divided into two-page vignettes, each enlightening the reader to another eyebrow-raising fact about insects, and is especially recommended for school and community library collections, or as a giftbook for budding entymologists. A most enjoyable and educational browse for readers of all ages.

Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano
Kenneth Mallory
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116
0618332057 $17.00

Plenty of kids' books cover life underwater – but how many follow a scientist in his explorations in a research sub? A 'you are there' atmosphere for grades 3-5 is created in an engaging picture book which pairs color photos throughout with an account of scientist Rich Luz, whose explorations have changed the nature of deep sea science. An excellent, eye-catching title, Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano deserves a space on library display shelves.

Gregor Mendle: The Friar Who Grew Peas
Cheryl Bardoe
115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011
0810954753 $18.95

How does genetics work? Gregor Mendle was fascinated by passed-along traits all his life, and overcame poverty to found the science of genetics. He lived the life of a friar and put together an experiment involving growing multiple generations of peas. Kids in grades 3-4 will delight in a true biography that reads with the excitement of fiction.

The Nature Shelf

Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow
Joyce Sidman
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
061856313X $16.00

How do creatures perceive nature? What are the hidden worlds they inhabit? It's unusual to see a book of poetry include a healthy dose of science – but that's what makes BUTTERFLY EYES special: kids are invited to survey and understand nature through a blend of poetry and observations of the environment. Beth Krommes' gentle, realistic illustrations accompany a light invitational guide to the outdoors world.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

My First Book About Dogs
Kama Einhorn
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375835148 $7.99 1-800-726-0600

Kids who love Sesame Street will receive a healthy dose of the favorite characters paired with real information in this first primer about dogs. Bright color photos of dogs, people, and natural history fill every page and offer up an easy atmosphere of discovery as kids take their first lessons in dog natural history from the Sesame Street characters.

Benchmark Books/Marhsall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591
$15.95 Each

Grades K-2 will find very easy readers in Dana Meachen Rau's 'Rebus Nature' series of easy nature books about individual animals in their environments. Each book holds a little over twenty pages of detail featuring large-size print, full-page color photos, and substitutions of animal images for names to help youngsters learn animal names. THE RABBIT IN THE GARDEN (0761423087), WHALE IN THE WATER (0761423079), BUTTERFLY IN THE SKY (0761423117), LION IN THE GRASS (0761423052), ROBIN IN THE TREE (0761423044) and FROG IN THE POND (0761423109) each use picture words of animals and lovely color close-ups to engage kids. All are fine introductions for new readers.

The Biography Shelf

Cesar Chaves
Lila & Rick Guzman
Enslow Publishers
Box 398, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922-0398
0766023702 $22.60

CESAR CHAVEZ: FIGHTING FOR FAIRNESS joins others in the 'Famous Latinos' series for grades 3-4, offering a little over thirty pages of basic biographical facts about Chavez' life, achievements, and the politics surrounding migrant worker issues. As an introduction for the young it holds a good blend of visuals and text suitable for reports.

Books in Series

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308, New York, NY 10118 1-800-387-7650

'How Did That Get Here' is an informed and informatively 'kid friendly' series of seven 32-page, illustrated books, each of which focuses on the 'biography' of a particularly important and common substance in our world. "The Biography Of Rubber" (0778724867, HC, $23.92/0778725527, PB, $8.95) by Carrie Gleason takes rubber from its beginning as sap from a tropical tree to its final form in such things as car tires. The history of rubber from ancient times to the present, and the issues of environmental dangers and synthetic rubber are also presented. "The Biography Of Cotton" (0778724808, HC, $23.92/0778725162, PB, $8.95) by Niki Walker is the history of a natural fiber from its beginnings in Pakistan and Peru to its world wise uses today. Also addressed are related issues of slavery, child labor, and the manufacturing process. "The Biography Of Bananas" (0778724832, HC, $23.92/0778725197, PB, $8.95) by Carrie Gleason is enhanced with colorful photographs and maps as it presents how bananas are grown, how they are harvested, and why bananas may well become extinct! "The Biography Of Sugar" (0778724859, HC, $23.92/0778725219, PB, $8.95) by Rachel Eagen presents a history enriched with images and maps as it details how sugar grows, which countries produce it, and the role of slavery in the history of its production. "The Biography Of Spices" (0778724840, HC, $23.92/0778725200, PB, $8.95) by Ellen Rodger showcases the dramatic history of the spice trade and how spices have been used to flavor foods, cure the sick, and even make perfume! "The Biography Of Chocolate" (0778724816, HC, $23.92/0778725170, PB, $8.95) by Adrianna Morganelli is the fascinating history of a treat that every child is familiar with and will be excited to learn more about. Designed with a fifth grade reading level, appropriate for children ages 7 to 14, and featuring both a glossary and an index, 'How Did That Get Here' is a highly recommended series for school and community libraries (as well as Home Schooling curriculum supplements) as being as inherently entertaining as they are outstandingly educational.

Picture Window Books
151 Good Counsel Drive, Minneapolis, MN 556001 1-877-371-1536

'Whose Is It?: Community Workers' is a new six volume series of informative, 24-page, full color, 10" by 10" picturebooks specifically designed to introduce children ages 4 to 8 and in Preschool through Second Grade a variety of different community employments through the accouterments that various workers perform when carrying out their particular duties. Each of these six titles is filled from cover to cover with fun facts and vibrant illustrations enhancing a text that places each showcased worker into their proper community and job context. The six titles comprising 'Whose Is It?: Community Workers' includes "Whose Coat Is This?: A Look At How Workers Cover Up – Jackets, Smocks, and Robes" (1404815988PI); "Whose Gloves Are These:: A Look At Gloves Workers Wear – Leather, Cloth, and Rubber" (1404815996PI); "Whose Hat is This?: A Look At Workers' Footwear – Flippers, Sneakers, and Boots" (1404816011PI); "Whose Tools Are These?: A Look at Tools Workers use – Big, Sharp, and Smooth" (140481602XPI); and "Whose Vehicle is This?: A Look at Vehicles Workers Drive – Fast, Loud, and Bright" (1404816038PI). Although each title is available separately ($23.93 list/$17.95 library), school and community library systems are advised to acquire the entire set ($143.58 list/$107.70 library) for their young students and patrons.

Chrysalis Education
c/o The Creative Company
123 South Broad Street, Mankato, MN 56001 1-800-445-6209

'Live Action' is a series of four 32-0age books by Andrew Langley focused on physical activities children are commonly encouraged to participate in. "Jumping" (1593891504, list/$27.10/library $18.95); "Running" (1593891482, list $27.10/library $18.95); "Swimming" (1593891512, list $27.10/library $18.95); and "Walking" (1593891490, list $27.10/library $18.95). Each title is enhanced for students in grades one through three with large, dramatic, full color photographs combined with a multi-leveled text showcasing body movements by comparing humans and animals. Movement of the human form is deftly illustrated and analyzed through sports and dance, with animals being presented as they move naturally through their environment. This provides children with a readily accessible understanding of the human body and the concept of adaptation in animals. Enhanced with facts and figures, 'words to remember', a glossary, and an index, elementary school and community libraries should acquire the entire 'Live Action" series ($108.40 list/$75.80 library) for their young students and patrons.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591

The 'Symbols of America' series by Terry Allan Hicks ($19.95 Each) is a fine series for grades 3-4 studying American history: each book provides some 40 pages of background detail on a popular American symbol. Books covering UNCLE SAM (0761421378), THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE (076142136X), THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (0761421351), ELLIS ISLAND (07614321343), THE CAPITOL (0761421327) and BALD EAGLE (0761421335) each cover politics, choices and background history, serving as important study primers for the young. The 'Kaleidoscope' series ($19.95 Each) provides nearly 50 pages of information for grades 4-5, covering major topics kids typically write reports on. Joe Thoron's EARTHQUAKE (0761421025), VOLCANOES (076142105X), TORNADOES (0761421041) and HURRICANES (0761421033) survey the science and problems of major natural disasters, while Dan Elish's NASA (0761420460), SATELLITES (0761420983), GALAXIES (0761420479) and SUN (0761420487) provide a blend of natural history and insights on human endeavors. Grades 5-6 will be the likely audience of the 'Great Explorations' new additions ($22.95 each), which hold about 80 pages each of historical background on major discoverers, making them suitable for both biographies and history research. James Collier's CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (0761422218), Serenity Young's RICHARD FRANCIS BURTON (0761422226), Patricia Calvert's KIT CARSON (0761422234), Dan Elish's EDMUND HILLARY (0761422242), and Steven Otfinoski's HENRY HUDSON (0761422250) each blend color illustrations with plenty of facts about each explorer, his motivations, the politics and culture of the times, and his lasting influence. All are top picks.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Star Bright Books
The Star Building, 42-26 28th Street, Suite 2B, Long island City, NY 11101 718-784-9112

John Stadler presents two easy reader picturebooks for young children just beginning to sound out their first words and sentences. Snail Saves the Day (1595720456, $5.95) is a silly and whimsical book about two mismatched football teams - one of small animals and one of big animals. Dog, the leader of the smaller team, decides he will throw the football to Snail - but where is Snail? Snail's journey to be in the right place at the right time is spelled out in very simple sentences such as "Snail drives the car" and "Dog throws the ball". Three Cheers for Hippo! (1595720464, $5.95) is about a Hippo who loves to fly in an airplane, and brings three friends to experience parachute jumping. But when the three friends slowly float down from the sky, their course veers over a swamp of hungry alligators, and only Hippo can save the day! Both playful books are ideal for reading aloud to infants and toddlers.

The Preschool Shelf

Alphabet Explosion!
John Nickle
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
0375835989 $16.95 1-800-726-0600

Teach kids the alphabet with a different kind of picture book: one which invites a treasure hunt through crazy worlds where poodles paint, crows ride in corncob cars, frog nurses administer care, and more. Each page holds a caption telling how many 'a' 'b' or other letter objects appear on the colorful image-laden page: it's up to the kids to find and identify them!

The Picturebook Shelf

Ann McCallum & James Balkovek
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street , Watertown, MA 02472
1570918945 $6.95 1-800-225-3214

Written with imagination and humor by Ann McCallum and nicely illustrated throughout in full color by James Balovek, "Beanstalk: The Measure Of A Giant" is a clever picturebook twist on the classic fairy tale of a young man who exchanges the family cow for some magic beans and climbs into a cloud kingdom where he tricks a giant and steals a goose that lays golden eggs. But in "Beanstalk", young Jack befriends the giant. But how can a 20-foot giant and a 4-foot boy get along together? Part of the fun is the use of mathematics to figure out the ratios of human-to-giant sized fun. The illustrations help young readers with understanding the math concepts employed as Jack and his new giant friend solve their seemingly conflict height problems. Also available in a hardcover edition (1570918937, $16.95) "Bean Stalk" is very highly recommended reading for children ages 7 to 10, and a unique addition Home Schooling curriculums, as well as elementary school and community library collections for young readers.

Ken Robbins
Roaring Brook Press
143 West Street, New Milford, CT 06776
1596431849 $14.95

Written by Ken Robbins, Pumpkins is a picturebook celebration of the edible plant that is cherished as a Halloween symbol. Full-color photography offers a tour of the life of a pumpkin plant, from seeding to flower to fruit and harvest, and finally being carved into a scary jack-o-lantern. The perfect seasonal read-aloud book for Halloween, Pumpkins is especially fun to page through for young pumpkin lovers eagerly looking forward to the holiday season.

Princess Madison and the Whispering Woods
Karen Scalf Linamen & Phyllis Hornung
c/o Baker Publishing Group
PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
0800718429 $12.99

Written by Karen Scalf Linamen and illustrated by Phyllis Hornung, Princess Madison and the Whispering Woods is a picturebook story about a young princess who disobeys her father's commands to ensure her safety. Far worse than getting lost in the Whispering Woods, tired, hungry, cold, and scared, is her fear that her father's love for her will evaporate because she disobeyed. But after her rescue, she learns that her parents will always love her, even though they must be stern with her for putting herself in danger. A gentle parable with an important lesson for young children to absorb, ideal for bedtime or storytime reading.

I Like Noisy Mom Likes Quiet
Eileen Spinelli & Lydia Halverson
Ideals Childrens Books
535 Metroplex Drive, Suite 250, Nashville, TN 37211
082495517X $11.95

Written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Lydia Halverson, I Like Noisy Mom Likes Quiet is a lighthearted picturebook about a racoon mother and son. The mother likes quiet activities, such as drying the cat on the porch, and the son loves nothing more than making lots of noise! But one day the noisy boy does his best to tiptoe and whisper all day long, because he wants nothing more than for his mother to enjoy Mother's Day just as she wants. The playful, humorous and finely detailed color illustrations bring this charming family story to life.

The Peach Tree
Norman Pike, Robin & Patricia DeWitt
Stemmer House Publishers
4 White Brook Road, Gilsum, NH 03448
0880450142 $15.95

Written by Norman Pike and illustrated by Robin & Patricia DeWitt, The Peach Tree is a picturebook story about the delicate balance of ecology. When a peach tree cared for by a farmer and his family is beset by hungry aphids, it wilts because it cannot sustain their excessive appetite. But the farmer knows just what to do - he invites a ladybug family to have its young on the peach tree. The peach tree feeds the aphids, and the aphids feed the ladybug larvae, and together all three species flourish; the peach tree eventually bears delicious fruit. Highly recommended.

115 W. 18th St., New York NY 10011

Erica S. Perl's NINETY-THREE IN MY FAMILY (0810957604, $15.95) tells of a little boy's unusual reply to the simple question of how many are in his big family. Not just humans are included: there are 27 owls, six goldfish, and much more, all making up a hilarious rhyme which speaks of family differences and chaos. Graeme Base's UNO'S GARDEN (0810954737, $19.95) tells of Uno's visit to a forest, which so enchants him that he decides to live there. He loves his rural home – until the animals begin vanishing one by one, and a little village grows up around his isolated home. A slow counting progression of plants, buildings, and one 'snortlepig' accompany gorgeous, colorful Base drawings in every page in a top pick librarians must have.

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Alan Durant's BURGER BOY (0618714669, $16.00) provides a vivid story of a boy who only eats burgers – and seems to have an unlimited appetite for them. Until one day, when he becomes a boy-sized burger, only to find everyone wants a piece of him! You can imagine the fun Mei Matsuoka has illustrating this zany tale. Angela McAllister and Tiphanie Beeke's BRAVE BITSY AND THE BEAR (0618639942, $16.00) tells of little Bitsy, who falls out of her girl's pocket in the woods and is found by Bear, who's on his way home for his winter nap. The two become friends – but can Bitsy keep him awake to remain so? David Wiesner's FLOTSAM (0618194576, $17.00) provides a wordless picture story in a set of images which tells of something astonishing which washes up on a beach. Color panels recount an amazing underwater camera that has captured some very different images during its journeys, and provides a fun, thought-provoking fantasy read kids will appreciate.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's THE KINDNESS QUILT (076145313X, $16.99) tells of a class project – a Kindness Product which involves sharing acts of kindness. Minna and her family do lots of kind things: which would fit the project's requirements? Minna creates her own act of kindness in response to her teacher's project in this fun story of a rabbit's project. Carol Nevius' BUILDING WITH DAD (0761453121, $16.99) will appeal to grades 3-5 with its sideways presentation of a father and son building project. Realistic drawings by Bill Thomson accompany simple rhyming descriptions of a construction site's equipment and action.

c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Elvira Woodruff's SMALL BEAUTIES: THE JOURNEY OF DARCY HEART O'HARA (0375826866, $15.95) tells of one of the children who live in the cottages of an Irish town in 1845, and who listens to her grandfather's tales of fairy queens and glens. Darcy is special because she notices and appreciates the little magic things around her – even in the face of poverty. But will her gift follow her to the New Country? Adam Rex's drawings are gorgeous. Mini Grey's THE ADVENTURES OF THE DISH AND THE SPOON (0375836918, $16.95) provides a different spin on the nursery rhyme: here the utensils run off into the night, sail to America, and become a vaudeville act – spoiled only by their very different adventures among street gangs of jagged knives and rusty forks. Young picturebook readers will relish this different take on a classic.

Great Big Guinea Pigs
Susan L. Roth
175 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10020
1582347247 $17.95

During a bedtime story a little guinea pig learns the truth about his very big ancestors: pigs which were as big as buffalo and weighed almost a ton. They also walked upright and were too heavy to run. How did they evolve into today's small guinea pigs? A parent has a canny answer for everything in this zany tale.

The Warlord's Alarm
Virginia Walton Pilegard
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
1589803787 $15.95 1-800-843-1724

Nicholas Debon provides engaging drawings for the seventh book in the 'Warlord's' series. This math adventure encourages kids to use and test math skills to provide solutions to dilemmas in the plot: here two boys worry they won't be able to wake the warlord before the sun rises. How can they tell time when traveling? A simplified Chinese water clock is involved…

The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed
Alison Inches
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
0152164669 $16.00

Bryan Langdo illustrates a wonderful new story for ages 3-7 in The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed, in which a girl's stuffed animals are not at all ready to go to sleep. What's a little owner to do? But she has some ideas on how to calm them down, in this different kind of 'go to bed/get sleepy' tale.

Mama, I'll Give You the World
Roni Schotter & S. Saelic Gallagher
Schwartz Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
0375836128 $16.95 1-800-726-0600

There are some 13 million single mothers raising kids in America today – so most timely is MAMA, I'LL GIVE YOU THE WORLD which tells of a daughter who watches her mother work at the beauty salon. Mama's birthday is coming – and Luisa decides to do something special to change her world. A gentle story will appeal to many a child with a single parent.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116

Eva Montanari's A VERY FULL MORNING (0618563180, $16.00) tells of Little Tooth, who faces the first day of school with so many ideas that she just can't sleep. What will be her first impression on viewing the room of strangers? A fun, bunny-oriented theme results. Helen Lester's BATTER UP WOMBAT (0618737847, $16.00) tells of a new baseball season and a hilarious baseball team facing a new season. Wombat loves games – but has never heard of baseball. How can he play? Mark Svendsen's CIRCUS CARNIVORE (0618563288, $16.00) tells of Kate, who pouts and screams when she doesn't get her way – and inside her head is a noise machine which makes all of her naughty noises, fueled by inner noise architects. So what happens to the team when she's forced to be quiet? Ben Redlich's drawings lend humor and fun. David A. Johnson's SNOW SOUNDS: AN ONOMATOPOETIC STORY (0618473106, $16.00) tells of silent snowfall and a noise day after it, as machine, man and child begin to dig out. The blend of poetry and paintings provides a vivid story of snow's aftermath. Dashka Slater's FIREFIGHTERS IN THE DARK (0618554599, $16.00) tells of a girl who hears sirens from the fire station and knows the team's going – all the way to Pluto! Nicoletta Ceccoli provides vivid drawings to accompany the fine story of heroic firefighters. Linda Michelin's ZUZU'S WISHING CAKE (061864640X, $16.00) tells of a set of magic hands and a great imagination which allows Zuzu to make nearly anything – except a friendship with the boy next door. D.B. Johnson provides the winning zany pictures to illustrate Zuzu's dilemma over making a friendship work. Katie McKy's PUMPKIN TOWN! (061860569X, $16.00) tells of what can be done with a thousand pumpkins or more. A small town faces too many pumpkins one year, and it's up to Jose and his brothers to make plans for a virtual mountain – with explosive results. Pablo Bernasconi's drawings are fun. Lise Lunge-Larsen's NOAH'S MITTENS (0618329501, $16.00) tells of Noah, predicted to grow up to do wonderful things, and who becomes an inventor despite self-doubt. It's his friendship with animals, however, which really brings out his best contributions, with Matthew Trueman's drawings providing engaging embellishment. Maxine Kumin's MITES TO MASTODONS (0618507531, $16.00) uses original poetry and art in combination to survey animal habits and inspirational talents. From the smallest inchworm and polliwogs to anteaters and kangaroos, Pamela Zagarenski's fun drawings bring the animal world to life. Chris Van Allsburg's THE STRANGER (0395423317, $18.95) tells of a farmer who accidentally hits a stranger with his truck – a man dressed strangely, who then has amnesia. The family takes in the stranger and becomes fond of him – but he has peculiar habits. What will prove the truth about his past? Kids in grades 3-4 will find THE STRANGER different and engrossing.

Big Pig
Malachy Doyle & John Bendall-Brunello
Simon & Schuster UK
c/o Trafalgar Square Publishing
PO Box 257, Howe Hill Road, North Pomfret, VT 05053-0257
0689874847 $19.95 1-800-423-4525

A big pig has been comfortably living indoors since small pighood – but now he's too big, and has to go live outdoors. The trouble is – Big Pig is used to his old home – so he keeps going back home, prompting John Henry to try new options. Hilarious experiments evolve.

Walker & Company
104 – 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011

Brian Moses' TROUBLE AT THE DINOSAUR CAFΙ (0802795994, $16.95) tells of dinosaurs at the cafι who do fine until a carnivore interrupts the plant eaters. Will the plant eaters succumb to his insatiable hunger – or is it time to call in reinforcements? Garry Parsons provides funny drawings for a funny story. Marni McGee &Ian Beck's WINSTON THE BOOK WOLF (0802795692, $16.95) tells of a wolf with a big appetite – for books. He loves to eat words – can he be cured? Ian Beck's drawings are engaging, fun illustrations of a toothy dilemma. Karen LeFrak's JAKE THE PHILHARMONIC DOG (0802795528, $16.95) tells of a dog who loves to play fetch – and loves music even more. He's treated to a lesson in real music and soon finds himself accompanying each instrument – until the entire orchestra plays, and he must learn to listen. When a crisis happens, Jake's right there to save the day. Marcin Baranski's drawings are simple, yet fun embellishments.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003

David Greenberg's DON'T FORGET YOU ETIQUETTE! THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MISBEHAVIOR (0374349908, $16.00) pairs pictures by Nadine Bernard Wescott with twenty hilarious poems stating views on bad behavior – with a difference. From kissing Komodo dragons to answering the phone properly, fun rhymes pair with zany scenes for maximum impact. Barbara McClintock's ADELE & SIMON (0374380449, $16.00) tells of Adele's younger brother Simon, who has all kinds of possessions when she picks him up at school. He's not to lose anything - but distractions happen and he arrives home without many things. Fine watercolors accompany a gentle story of items lost – and found. Cynthia Cotton's ABBIE IN STITCHES (0374300046, $16.00) features Beth Peck's realistic and warm drawings as it tells of an 1800s girl who hates her sewing duties, and is determined to have books instead of needles when she's grown. It's not until a wise teacher invites her to experiment that Abbie comes to appreciate the joys of a non-book activity.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
0763620971 $16.99

Barbara Williams' ALBERT'S GIFT FOR GRANDMOTHER (0763620971, $16.99) pairs Doug Cushman's fun drawings with the story of Grandmother Turtle's birthday and Albert's special plan to teach her how to play marbles – plans ruined by the weather. What can he give his grandmother instead? This Albert sequel stands well alone or with the prior adventure. David Martin's ALL FOR PIE, PIE FOR ALL (0763623938, $15.99) receives Valeri Gorbachev's simple and fun drawings as it tells of Grandma Cat, whose pies not only reach relatives but are appreciated by Grandma Mouse, Grandma Ant, and more. A fun tale of animal delights evolves. Stoo Hample's BOOK OF BAD MANNERS (0763629332, $15.99) illustrates nose pickers, stinkers, table deserters and more, using fun rhymes and simple yet zany drawings for embellishment. Kids will learn and find it revealing of etiquette snafus. Michelle Knudsen's LIBRARY LION (9763622621, $15.99) receives Kevin Hawkes' engaging, lovely drawings as it tells of a rule-following head librarian whose rules are thwarted by a friendly lion. There are no rules about lions in the library – but he seems to fit in anyway – and even helps. Can rules be broken? Sometimes… E. Nesbit's JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (0763621242, $16.99) enjoys Matt Tavares' fine drawings as it tells of one jack, who can't seem to do anything useful for his poor mother, until his beans sprout into a stalk to another world. Will his upbringing allow him to become a better person even as he confronts a greedy giant? Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman's THE RUNAWAY DINNER (076361426, $15.99) tells of a dinner that decides it doesn't wish to be eaten, leading hungry Banjo on a chase for Melvin the sausage. A wild menu dash evolves in this hilarious, different tale.

The Music Shelf

Marvelous Day!
Rounder Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
11661-8142-2 $14.98

Very highly recommended for children ages 2 to 9, "Marvelous Day!" showcases the talent and originality of children's entertainer Steve Roslonek who performs professionally as SteveSongs. This newest CD album features sixteen lively and 'kid friendly' tunes that range in genre from funky rock, to flute-y folk, to power pop – and blends a sophisticated mix of instruments while dong so. It should be noted that children actually helped to write three of the original songs. The individual pieces compiled in this delightful musical collection include Elephant Hide and Seek; If You Want to Fly; Fast Monkey; Opposite Day; Spyrtle the Turtle; Bother a Sleeping Lion, and Why Not to Do it; The Veggie Song; We're On Our Way; Ducks hatching; The Audition; the Joe; She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain When She Comes; Hero; Water Cycle; Jack's Lullaby; and the title piece, Marvelous Day.

My Best Day
Trout Fishing In America
Trout Records
PO Box 914, Prairie Grove, AR 72753
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
TRT-18 $14.98 1-888-439-8342

"My Best Day" is the latest CD album of children's music to be released by the Grammy Award nominated group, Trout Fishing In America (otherwise known as guitarist Ezra Idelt and bassist Keith Grimwood, who have been playing together and making music to delight and entertain children for more than 30 years). This simply outstanding and highly recommended contribution to family and community library music collections for young listeners was recorded before a live audience in an event sponsored by the Arkansas Educational Television Network where Ezra Idelt and Keith Grimwood were joined by multi-instrumentalist performer and Trout record producer Fred Bogert. "My Best Day" is almost like being in the front row of a Trout Fishing In America concert and includes the performances of I've Got a Friend – and he Wont Be Quiet (3:19); My Hair had a Party Last Night (2:57); My Best Day (3:37); Simon Says (4:48); Sailing (2:50); It's a Puzzle (2:41); Fill It Up (4:05); Alberta Postcard (4:55); Bob and Bob (3:47); Day Care Blues (5:30); Alien in My Nose (3:36); Something Sweet (2:11); Beans and Weenies (2;25); Murrell's (4:10; and My Pants Fell Down (2:13).

You Are My Little Bird
Elizabeth Mitchell
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
SFW CD 45063 $11.98

Elizabeth Mitchell has a well deserved reputation for her children's music. Her homemade (quite literally being recorded out of her home in the Catskill mountains with her husband and musical partner Daniel Littleton) and intimate recordings draw heavily on old-time folk, blues, and country songs adapted into what has become a wealth of musical classics for youngsters. "You Are My Little Bird" is a compilation of some of her best work over the years and deftly reflects her contributions to the genre. Highly recommended for family and community library CD music collections for young children and showcasing seventeen titles with a total running time of 34 minutes, the individual pieces include Little Liza Jane (2:24); Whose My Pretty Baby (1:53); Zousan/Little Elephant (1:39); Little bird, Little Bird (2:28); Three Little Birds (2:33); What Goes On (2:53); Pom Na Tu Ri/Springtime Outing (1:20); Buckeye Jim (2:01); Peace Like A River (2:57); Los Pollitos/The Little Chicks (1:51); Winter's Come And gone (1:59); Little Wing (2:39); Lilly Pond (0:59); The North Wind (0:39); If You Listen (3:12); Down In The Valley (2:21); and Grassy Grass Grass (0:56).

Tall And Small
Rebecca Frezza
Big Truck Music
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
BT9105 $15.00

With the help of guest artists on cajon, bvodhran, electric violin, and trombone, singer, dancer and actress Rebecca Frezza and her eight-piece band, Big Truck, provide children ages 4 to 8 with fourteen new, energetic and entertaining songs characterized by Frezza's vocals. "Tall And Small" is a flawlessly produced CD of music specifically designed for children too old for pre-school music but not yet ready for mainstream "pop" numbers. The fourteen original and highly recommended pieces comprising this outstanding recording include: Happy; Sweet Harmony; I'm A Kid; Can't Let Go Blues; Take A Ride; Show Me!; Tell Me A Story; It Wasn't Me; It Goes...; Daydreamin; Won't Let The Rain Keep Fallin'; Colors; Turning And Turning; and the title number, Tall And Small.

Baby Loves Jazz
The Verve Music Group
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
B0007025-02 $12.98

"Baby Loves Jazz: Go Baby Go" is the debut CD album of children's music from The Verve Music Group and the first of a planned series of 'Baby Love' collections. The eighteen numbers comprising "Baby Loves Jazz' include some beloved and traditional songs of childhood with a jazzy new arrangement replete with energetic riffs and scats that will have kids 'grooving to the beat'. Other tunes are soothing jazz lullabies suitable for helping young listeners off to a nap time dreamland. This highly recommended and entertaining compilation of classic kids tunes (and some original compositions) includes: Baby Loves Jazz Them; Happy and You Know It; ABC; The Trumpet; Working on the Railroad; Old MacDonald; The Piano; Paw Paw Patch; The Drums; Ten Little Monkeys; The Wheels on the Bus; The Saxophone; Scat Song; go Baby Go; The Bass; You Are My Sunshine; Banana Boat song; and Lullaby Jazz.

We've Got Harmony
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740
KIM 9190CD $TBA 1-800-631-2187

"We've Got Harmony!" is a new CD music release from Kimbo Educational that showcases twelve lively, entertaining, technically impressive, and confidently recommended as being a collection of thoroughly 'kid friendly' songs for young children about themselves and the world they live in. Designed to enhance a child's feelings about themselves, their friends, and their families, the songs comprising "We've Got Harmony" include The Clapping Song; The First Day of School; Primary Colors; Count Your Money; I Fly My Kite; Goober Peas; Harmony; Look at the World; In Grandma's Garden; I Love the Island; On a Rainy Day; and I Wish. Two other new CD releases From Kimbo Educational are also ideal for family, school, and community library collections for children: "Choo Choo To The Zoo: Creative Movement & Play" (KIM 9187CD) and "Get Fit Aerobics: Workouts For Ages 7 To 12" (KIM 9186CD).

Children Are Sunshine
COV Productions
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
CD $15.00 1-800-448-6369

Asheba is David Asheba Wilson and "Children Are The Sunshine: Asheba's Caribbean Music For Children showcases his impressive talent in performing music for young listeners that is inspired by his home country of Trinidad. This splendid and highly recommended multi-cultural compilation is a musical blending of Carnival and other Caribbean style celebrations performed by a troubadour of outstanding ability. This very highly recommended CD recording presents sixteen wonderfully entertaining and lively tunes that include All Around the Kitchen (3:44); Amahlittle Pumpkin (3:43); ABC (5:36); Magahmoto (5:06); Sapodilla (3:38); Dreadee (5:09); Birthday Thing (3:03); Donkey Cart (3:12); You Are My Sunshine (4:14); Picoplat Calypso (4:49); Hope (5:36); Dub-ABC (5:36); Dub-Birthday (3:07); Dub-Cookie (3:48); and Dub-Kitchen (3:46).

Dance With The Animals
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
RL902 $19.99 1-800-348-8445

Designed for the enjoyment and active 'dance along' participation of children ages 3 to 6, "Dance With The Animals is a superbly produced and presented 45 minute DVD in which young viewers learn about more than sixty different animals and put their own creative imaginations into play by imitating those animals. Combining live action with animation, children not only enjoy the music and dance (which enhances the motor skills associated with creative movement and the cognitive skills of listening and following directions) while learning about animals common to the farm, the forest, and found at the zoo. The fourteen segments comprising "Dance With The Animals" include: Animals, Animals; Learn About Pets; Pet Care; Pet Sounds Game; Pet Parade; Farm Animals; Farm Game; The Sound Farm; Barnyard Dance; Forest Animals; Forest Homes; Forest Frolic; Zoo Animals; and Safari Line. With a total running time of 44 minutes, this full-color, informative and fun, "Dance With The Animals" will make a wonderfully popular addition to family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library DVD collections for kids.

Cathy & Marcy's Song Shop: Live In Concert
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
Community Music Inc.
PO Box 5778, Takoma Park, MD 20913
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
DVD $TBA 1-800-669-3942

Recorded before a live audience of children and their parents, "Cathy & Marcy's Song Shop: Live In Concert" showcases two full-length interactive live concert videos featuring the musical talent and performances of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer as they provide a full hour of musical fun for kids of all ages. Original released in 1996 on VHS, this new DVD will entertain and enthrall a whole new generation of children. Backed-up with banjo, guitar, hammered dulcimer, percussion, and even yodeling, "Cathy & Marcy's Song Shop: Life In Concert" includes sing-along songs, Clap-along tunes, and 'Sign-alongs' that will delight and engage young viewers. From classics like 'Oh, Susannah' to Cathy & March originals like 'Take Good Care of Each Other', this outstanding children's music DVD is a winning addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections!

The Cookbook Shelf

The Free Press
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020 1-800-223-2336

Two new cookbooks for kids comprise the 'Williams-Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen" series and are especially recommended for family and community library children's cookbook collections. "Fun Food" (0743278566, $19.95) showcases twenty-five thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes for beginning chefs ages 8 to 11 with clear, step-by-step, fully illustrated directions for easy-to-prepare recipes that range from such classics as macaroni & cheese; chicken noodle soup; sesame fish sticks; and spaghetti & meatballs; to veggie dishes for young vegetarians including stuffed baked potatoes; spring peas with mint; roasted carrots; and sauteed green beans. "Sweet Treats" 0743278577, $19.95) focuses on twenty-five delicious, easy, and 'kid favorite' deserts that go from Lemon Bars; Golden Layer Cake; and Chocolate Truffles; to Rocky Road Fudge; Ice Cream Sandwiches; and Watermelon Ice Pops. Both of these simply outstanding and very highly recommended cookbooks for kids are enhanced with a 'Science Corner' that explains the hows and whys of cooking and backing, and a 'Troubleshooting' section which identifies potential problems with ways to avoid or fix them. Enthusiastically commended for family and community library cookbook collections for kids, both the "Fun Food" and the "Sweet Treats" cookbooks would make ideal 'cooking class' texts for elementary school 'Home Economics' classes, and would prove ideal for supplementing homeschooling curriculums as well.

The DVD Shelf

3525 Del Mar Heights Road, #290, San Diego, CA 92130
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
DVD $14.95 1-866-816-4997

"Animals" is a active and fun 30 minute, full-color DVD that entertains even as it guides young viewers ages 3 to 7 in play-along and sing-along activities designed help them develop and exercise such skills as proper manners, preparing nutritious snacks, using imagination, and getting daily exercise. Kids have fun as they enhance their fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communication skills, cognitive skills, and socialization skills as part of this educational and interactive DVD experience. Also very highly recommended for family, preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and community library collections are the Tot-a-Doodle-Do! companion titles: "School" and "Transportation". All three of these outstanding DVDs for children are $14.95 for the DVD alone, and $19.95 for DVD's accompanied with a 'Craft Kit'.

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

"United States Government" is a new educational eleven volume ($39.95 each) series from Schlessinger Media for students in grades five through twelve. Each individual program is 23 minutes long and the DVD format allows for closed-captioning, English and Spanish language tracks, a chapter select feature, discussion questions, and an investigation data sheet. A free Teacher's Guide is available online at the Schlessinger Media website at The individual series titles include The History Of The U,.S. government; Comparative Government; The Declaration Of Independence; The Process Of U.S. Government; The U.S. Constitution & The Bill Of Rights; The Executive Branch; The Judicial Branch; The Legislative Branch; The U.S. Federal System; and "U.S. Foreign Policy. Blending archival footage, graphics, and interviews with governmental officials and other American citizens, "United States Government" is a welcome and strongly recommended addition to school and community library collections – and ideal, 'parent friendly' resource for supplementing homeschool curriculums.

Exploring Our Past: Comparing The Lives Of Native Peoples
Mazzarella Media, LLC
PO Box 86, Bristol, CT 06011
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
1934119008 $39.95 1-800-583-1998

Professionally narrated by Joanne Senandoah, "Exploring Our Past: Comparing The Lives Of Native Peoples" is a 20 minute DVD which compares and contrasts the daily lives, cultures, and environmental circumstances of early Native American people. Focusing on how the geography of the land affected and shaped Native American lives and customs, illustrated with beautifully recorded and realistic reenactment footage, enhanced with rare archival photos and colorful maps, the lives and customs of early Native Americans as lived in such disparate environs as America's eastern woodlands, desert southwest, and the Great Plains, their different and differing tribal lives are contrasted and explained. Designed and recommended for children in grades 3 to 6, "Exploring Our Past: Comparing The Lives Of Native Peoples" is part of a five-disc set ($189.95) which is especially appropriate for school and community library collections.

809 Highgrove Circle, Franklin, TN 37069
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc.
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076 1-877-464-8666

ThingamaKid has released two new attention engaging, family-value enhancing, inexpensive, wholesome, DVD/CD combo disc, animated music entertainments for young children. "Toddler Toons" ($9.95) is designed for preschoolers ages 2 to 5. The CD version features 16 delightful numbers ranging from 'The Muffin Man' to 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep'. The accompanying DVD shares 13 of the same songs – but also includes as a bonus feature an educational short. "Action Bible Toons" ($9.95) is also intended and appropriate for children ages 2 to 5, featuring a 16 tune track of songs with biblical themes such as 'Joshua Fought The Battle of Jericho' and 'Jesus Loves Me'. The accompanying DVD animates 13 of those same songs plus the addition of an education animated short. Both "Toddler Toons" and "Action Bible Toons" are superbly produced and highly recommended additions to family, preschool, Sunday School, and Summer Bible School CD and DVD collections.

The Fiction Shelf

1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's CORBY FLOOD (0385750900, $14.95) provides the second installment to 'Far Flung Adventures' – but no previous familiarity with the series is required to enjoy this, unrelated in plot to the first FERGUS CRANE of the series. Corby faces a cruise ship full of amazing devices and eccentric passengers when she and her family embark on an adventure. She also notices something isn't right – and uncovers a scheme. But will anyone believe her discoveries aboard the ship? Debi Gliori's PURE DEAD BATTY (0375833161, $15.95) presents another Borgia family adventure: autumn has come and the family's depressed since their nanny disappeared, taking with her many talents. And the house's father has even been accused of her murder. Soon depression gives way to magical hope as signs of clues emerge within the house and family. Borgia prior fans will find it easy to absorb the ongoing story of an unusual family. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' WOLFCRY: THE KIESHA'RA, VOLUME 4 (0385731957, $14.95) tells of Oliza, heir to Wyvern's Court, home of avians. Times and habits have changed after war which happened before her time, but Oliza finds old prejudices lingering – and is kidnapped before she can promote peace among her people. Her journey into the world of wolves will change not only her life, but the hopes of her people in this ongoing fantasy adventure prior fans will relish. Gary Paulsen's THE LEGEND OF BASS REEVES (038574661X, $15.95) is for any young reader who enjoys cowboy stories, and tells of one Bass Reeves, a successful frontier marshal who was born into slavery and evolved to serve the law. Fact blends with fiction in a novelization of his legendary life. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's WHO WON THE WAR? (0385731418, $15.95) tells of an ending summer vacation in an ongoing war between the Malloy girls and neighboring Hatford boys. It looks like the girls are finally going back home after a year, but the boys keep up their tricks and schemes anyway – until a big dare to prove who is really tops gets out of hand. Julie Schumacher's THE BOOK OF ONE HUNDRED TRUTHS (0385732902, $15.95) provides the notebook story of one Thea, who is to write four truths a day for her summer assignment. From her deeply held secret on how she lost her best friend Gwen to the discovery of other family secrets, THE BOOK OF ONE HUNDRED TRUTHS probes family relationships and a young girl's changes. Deborah Hopkinson's INTO THE FIRESTORM: A NOVEL OF SAN FRANCISCO, 1906 (0375836527, $15.95) tells how one Nicholas makes his way from cotton fields to San Francisco, on his own for the first time. His newfound freedom and positive relationships soon come to a crashing halt during San Francisco's earthquake, which places Nick in the middle of disaster and changes his life and world forever. Lesley M.N. Blume's CORNELIA AUDACIOUS AND THE ESCAPADES OF THE SOMERSET SISTERS (0375835237, $15.95) tells of the pre-teen daughter of world-famous pianists who leads a lonely life and isolates herself in a world of books –- until a famous writer moves in next door with her zany bulldog. And it takes such a pair for Cornelia to realize the value in the real world around her. David Levithan's WIDE AWAKE (0375834664, $16.95) tells of Duncan's support of a gay Jewish president, an election questioned, and a relationship which holds lots of risk. Romance and politics blend in a treatise older teens will find different and involving. Deborah Hopkinson's INTO THE FIRESTORM; A NOVEL OF SAN FRANCISCO, 1906 (0375836527, $15.95) tells of pre-teen Nicholas, who must find his own way in the big city of San Francisco. He's just starting to make a place for himself when the earthquake changes everything, prompting hard decisions on whether to help others, or help himself. Candie Moonshower's THE LEGEND OF ZOEY (0385732805, $15.95) tells of a girl who wants her parents to get back together and isn't interested in her grandmother's Native American roots. She just wants to fit in – until she's sent back to 1811, only to find a very different world with very different cultural values. Wendelin Van Draanen's RUNAWAY (0375835229, $15.95) tells of a resourceful young girl's successful flight from home – which will this time lead her across the country and facing homelessness. Her encounter with all kinds of people along the way teach her about life and all its possibilities – and its dangers. All are excellent leisure choices.

William Loizeaux
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374348022 $16.00

Nick's discovery of a helpless little bird begins an unusual friendship between the bird 'Marcy' and Nick, who learns to care for her and views her daily changes. Within the simple and common story of a kid nursing a wild animal and facing its successful departure is also the story of Nick's own changes and problems with family and friends. An easy, warm story.

Best Shorts
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley, Boston, MA 012116
0618476032 $16.95

Avi draws on her Newberry credentials and years of writing experience to select short stories old and modern ranging from mysteries and science fiction to adventure and more, for a powerful gathering perfect for introducing kids to the short story format. Louis Untermeyer, Theodore Tyler, Natalie Babbitt, Patricia McKissack and others all share the limelight with powerful creations kids will relish.

Lunchbox and the Aliens
Bryan W. Fields
Henry Holt
175 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10010
0805079955 $16.95

Lunchbox is a basset hound who's been stolen by aliens, who change him into a garbage-machine-making machine. His new task is to change Earth's trash into a food adored by aliens and dogs: will Lunchbox and his boy solve the world's garbage crisis in the process of forming interplanetary friendships? A zany tale evolves.

Regarding the Bathrooms: A Privy to the Past
Kate Klise
525 'B' St., San Diego, CA 92101-4495
0152051643 $15.00

Ages 9-12 will appreciate REGARDING THE BATHROOMS, a fun story of a middle school in the process of renovating disgusting basement bathrooms. Summer school students are equally preoccupied – with chasing down escaped convicts. Letters, black and white drawings throughout and an action-packed format lends adventure to a fun tale.

The Folklore/Mythology Shelf

The Dark-Thirty
Patricia C. McKissack
Alfred A. Knopf
c/o Random House
1745 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, NY 10019
0679818634 $18.95 1-800-726-0600

Excellent for either middle school readers or parental read-alouds with the family is a chilling gathering of supernatural folk stories in THE DARK-THIRTY: SOUTHERN TALES OF THE SUPERNATURAL. Black and white drawings by Brian Pinkney compliments a collection which offers tales inspired by African American history from slavery to 20th century time frames.

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

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