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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 11 November 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Preschool Shelf Christmas Shelf
Family Issues Shelf Biography Shelf Judaic Studies Shelf
Christian Studies Shelf Mythology/Folklore Shelf Activity Book Shelf
CD Music Shelf Audiobook Shelf DVD Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Books in Series Picturebook Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Fiction Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose
Scott Gustafson, illustrator
The Greenwich Workshop, Inc.
151 Main Street, Seymour, CT 06483
9780867130973, $19.95

Graced with museum quality artwork by Scott Gustafson, the Greenwich Workshop edition of "Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose" is one of those rare books that will please and enchant readers of all ages from preschoolers to grandparents. This coffee table sized volume is a compilation of opening lines from an impressive and extensive series of classic children's rhymes ranging from Jack and Jill; Humpty Dumpty; Three Blind Mice; and Wee Willy Winkie; to Little Jack Horner, Peter Piper; Old King Cole; and Little Boy Blue. While "Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose" is enthusiastically and unreservedly recommended for family book shelves, it would also make a wonderfully appropriate choice for community library Memorial Fund collections and would grace the personal collection of anyone appreciative of fine art.

Gustafer Yellowgold's Have You Never Been Yellow?
Morgan Taylor
Apple-Eye Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
AEP-002, $16.99

A DVD/CD production showcasing nine original songs by illustrator and songwriter Morgan Taylor, "
Gustafer Yellowgold's Have You Never Been Yellow?" is the utterly charming sequel to "Gustafer Yellowgold's Wide Wild World" that debuted to great acclaim and popularity in the spring of 2007. In this latest chronicle of the adventures of Gustafer Yellowgold (a charming visitor from the Sun), we follow along with Gustafer's friends that include Forrest Applecrumbi (a well-dressed Pterodactyl), Slim the Eel, and Asparagus the Dragon. The lively and minimally animated illustrations enhance the catchy tunes with such novelty tunes as "The Mustard Slugs"; "The Bluebird Tree"; "Pinecone Lovely"; "Aye, Aphid", "Birds", "Beard For All Seasons, "Punching Cheese"; "The Cactus Calls", and the signature piece, "Dream in Green". Superbly produced from beginning to end (all videos are playable in normal, karaoke style, and/or with audio commentary by Morgan Taylor), and with a total running time of one hour, "Gustafer Yellowgold's Have You Never Been Yellow?" is especially recommended for children ages 3 through 6 and would make a very highly popular addition to family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Oh No, Domino
Kim Adlerman, author
Danny Adlerman, musician
The Kids at Our House
47 Stoneham Place, Metuchen, NJ 08840
9780970577375, $17.95

Oh No, Domino is a delightful children's picturebook with an accompanying audio CD featuring an audio performance of the story and a piece of whimsical music as a bonus. A little black-and-white spotted puppy named Domino looks round and round, trying to find thrown balls in a merry game of fetch, but so many other wonderful, colorful objects distract his attention! The simple outline-style drawings add a charming touch to this lighthearted story especially sure to appeal to young dog lovers.

The Farmhouse Adventures Of Norm, The Ninja River Mouse
Don Arends
Mission Manuscripts Inc.
1000 Jorie Boulevard, Suite 206, Oak Brook, IL 60523
9780976888017, $9.00

"The Farmhouse Adventures Of Norm, The Ninja River Mouse" by Don Arends is the entertainingly story of a little mouse with exceptional talents called Norm who lives on the banks of the Moselle River in Germany. Norm must use his ninja skills when confronted with all manner of enemy attacks by the dastardly owl Morgan during his many adventures. It's interesting to discover that Norm's best friend is a lovely silver haired kitten named Kathy!. The stories are based on a true travel incident along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers experienced by author Don Arends and deftly incorporate interesting facts associated with real historical locations. Nicely illustrated with black-and-white images by Sue Swanson and Jim McDonald, "The Farmhouse Adventures Of Norm, The Ninja River Mouse" is a thoroughly entertaining read (and is also available as a 30-minute long CD for $6.00) for children and recommended to parents, teachers, and librarians as being appropriate for inquisitive boys and girls. Also very highly recommended reading is Don Arends' previous children's book "Grandpa Grouper The Fish With Glasses" ($12.00).

The Preschool Shelf

My Favorite Sounds
Peggy Snow, author
Brian Barber, illustrator
Maren Green Publishing Inc.
5525 Memorial Avenue North, Suite 6, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082
9781934277027, $15.99

My Favorite Sounds: From A to Z is a rhyming children's picturebook that describes a sound associated with each letter of the alphabet. "Q q / Quacking Ducks / The rain has stopped and the clouds have gone away. / Quacking ducks waddle through the sunlit puddles, / Wagging their tail feathers as they walk. / I wonder if they're trying to talk, / Or if they're laughing as they splash and play." The color illustrations by Brian Barber brim with vigor and enthusiasm, in this lovely read-aloud ABC book highly recommended for children's library collections.

The Christmas Shelf

How the Elephants Saved Christmas
Linda L. Olson, author
Greta Gretzinger, illustrator
Gold Star Press
PO Box 1866, Wilson, WY 83014
9781424340446, $18.95

How the Elephants Saved Christmas is a charming holiday picturebook that blends traditional holiday themes with a positive message of cultural diversity, disability, and endangered species. When Santa and his reindeer fall from the sky and get stuck in a watering hole in Africa, Santa must find a way back to the North Pole before sunrise to protect the magic of Christmas. Fortunately, wild elephants and the boy who lives with them come to the rescue; now, Santa must save them in turn when drums sound out peril for the elephants. The warm color illustrations complement the involved narrative, which is sufficiently text-heavy that How the Elephants Saved Christmas is ideal for slightly older picturebook readers or for adults to read aloud to children.

When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four
Jerry Camery-Hoggatt, author
Mark Elliot, illustrator
Baker Publishing Group
PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
9780800718367, $18.99

When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four: A Christmas Memory is a picturebook set in the 1960s about the true meaning of Christmas. Written from the perspective of a young boy whose 4' 11' mother feels "Eleven-Foot-Four" on the inside, When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four tells of the drastic changes in his life that shrank his family - his uncle and cousins moved away, his older siblings grew up, and his father left the family, leaving his mother to take care of just him and his two siblings. Money becomes tight, and for the first time, he sees his mother cry on Christmas. Resolving never to let this happen again, he and his siblings work together to raise money and have a truly wonderful Christmas the following year; all of them learn together what it's like to feel "Eleven-Foot-Four" on the inside. When Mother Was Eleven-Foot-Four has Christian themes and references, but first and foremost it is a beautifully illustrated Christmas story, ideal for young readers who are almost ready to crack open their first chapter book.

Christmas Lullabies To Create Memories
Paige Stroman
Extreme Dreams, LLC
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
PS4630, $15.00

Showcasing twelve superbly performed songs with Christmas themes, Page Stroman's "Christmas Lullabies To Create Memories" is an enthusiastic recommendation for family and community library CD music collections for young children. Of special note are the beautifully stylized 6- and 12-string guitar accompaniments by Bernie LaBarge, the keyboard and background vocals, and Paige's own crystal clear voice that enriches her performance of traditional favorites and original compositions alike. The pieces comprises this simply outstanding CD recording include: Christmas Lullaby; A Come Emmanuel; Away In a Manger; Christmas As It's Meant To Be; Jingle Bells; My rocking Chair; Baby's First Christmas; Hark The Herald Angels Sing; Ornaments; Silent Night; and Music Box.

The Family Issues Shelf

More Feelings Only I Know
Susan McKenna
Wayfarer Press, LLC
PO Box 948, Union Lake, MI 48387-0948
9780978996512, $14.95

Pediatric nurse Susan McKenna has created another helpful picturebook for both children and parents titles More Feelings Only I Know: Divorce and Fighting are Hurting My Heart. More Feelings Only I Know is told from the point of view of children who are caught in the middle of mom and dad fighting during the process of a divorce. "It hurts me to see you making each other feel bad, especially when it's another person I love. It scares me to see you like this. You are supposed to make me feel safe. I do not want to know what you are fighting about, and I don't want to hear you hurting." The simple color illustrations walk children through the importance of not blaming themselves, acknowledging one's feelings, and knowing that both parents love them. A special parental guide rounds out this welcome and duly appreciated resource. Also highly recommended is McKenna's previous picturebook about divorce, "Feelings Only I Know".

Why are You My Mother?
Deborah Hamilton, author
Jamie L. Andrules, illustrator
Dreams Due Media Inc.
PO Box 1018, Firestone, CO 80520
9780978920203, $9.99

Written by Deborah Hamilton to serve as a valuable aid for foster and adoptive families, Why are You My Mother? A Mother's Response to Her Adopted Daughter is a rhyming, flat-spined picturebook that follows a mother's answers to the questions of a daughter adopted at a young age, yet old enough to wonder why she has a change of family. "I know I just met you. / But I've waited for you all my life. / I'm your mother. / It was meant to be. // You walked into my home. / And captured my heart. / And I love you. / I always will." The simple illustrations are a pastiche of solid colors, and add the perfect touch to this heartwarming read-aloud storybook. Highly recommended.

Incredibly Lonely, That's Me
Ben Keckler, author
Dick Davis, illustrator
Eagle Creek Publications
PO Box 781166, Indianapolis, IN 46278
9780976909323, $17.95

Incredibly Lonely, That's Me is a children's picturebook featuring a poem about loneliness. Written from the perspective of a young girl who is still coming to terms with the loss of her beloved older sister, Incredibly Lonely, That's Me touches on issues of painful feelings like grief, and the questions that plague a hurting young person - when will these haunting emotions go away? Is there hope in the world of loneliness? The illustrations by Dick Davis emphasize the protagonist's feelings by showing her drawn in grey (sometimes with a slight touch of color when she dares to feel a little better) amid a colorful world. Highly recommended, especially as a tool to share with young people to help them work through their feelings.

Still My Grandma
Veronique Van den Abeele, author
Claude K. Dubois, illustrator
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802853233, $16.00 1-800-253-7521

Still My Grandma is a children's picturebook about the bond between granddaughter Camille and her loving Grandmother. Camille's grandma has Alzheimer's disease, which makes forget Camille's name or her do other strange things sometimes. Even though Grandma has to move out of her house and nurses have to help care for her, Camille finds ways to carry on their special traditions. The simple, mauve-themed illustrations balance this heartwarming read-aloud story, ideal for introducing young children to the concept of Alzheimer's and forms of dementia that can afflict elderly loved ones.

The Biography Shelf

Benjamin Franklin
L. L. Owens
ABDO Publishing Company
8000 West 78th Street, Edina, MN 55439
9781599288406, $32.79

Part of the "Essential Lives" biography series of people who have altered the course of history, Benjamin Franklin is the true story of inventor and American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin. Written for young adults, Benjamin Franklin includes an extensively researched accounting of Franklin's life, timelines, a selected bibliography, glossaries, source notes by chapter, an "essential facts" overview of each topic, black-and-white and color illustrations, and much more. A user-friendly resource enthusiastically recommended for classroom use and school or public library collections.

Barack Obama
William Michael Davis
OTTN Publishing
16 Risler Street, Stockton, NJ 08559
9781595560247, $16.99

Part of the "Shapers of America" series, Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope is a remarkably extensive biography for young adults about the charismatic African-American state senator from Illinois who has become one of the Democratic Party's most prominent figures. Tracing the journey of his life from Hawaii and Indonesia to Harvard Law School, Chicago's South Side, and the halls of Congress, Barack Obama is illustrated throughout with black-and-white as well as color photography. Chapter notes and an index round out this highly accessible resource especially recommended for school and community library collections.

Kellie's Book
Kellie Greenwald
Rayve Productions
PO Box 726, Windsor, CA 95492
9781877810428, $24.95

Kellie's Book: The Art of the Possible is the children's picturebook autobiography of Kellie Greenwald, born with Down syndrome and a hole in her heart, now age twenty-nine with a successful career, friends in her group home, a cat she takes care of, and a loving family. Kellie's Book is a positive affirmation of love, hope, and the joy of life, told in Kellie's own words and illustrated with her color artwork. "I used to work at Roush's Drug Store. I helped with customer services. I would take them to the aisles to get products from A to Z." Since Kellie's Book uses a direct transcript of Kellie's printing by hand rather than a typeface, very young children might need a little help reading the words aloud. Enthusiastically recommended for personal and library children's collections.

The Judaic Studies Shelf

Dov's Mitzvah
Risa Rotman, author
Ariel Bauer, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
762 Park Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216
9781929628360, $10.95

Dov's Mitzvah is a rhyming, brightly illustrated children's picturebook about the positive effect that a "mitzvah", or good deed, can have. When a young boy decides that the time to do a good deed - clearing a rock from a place where people walk - is right now, another person sees his example and does a good deed, and another sees her, and so on. From a woman visiting the sick to a little girl asking a shy classmate to play to a rabbi's joy in teaching the Torah to his synagogue, the mitzvahs abound and bring happiness. A wonderful read-aloud story written especially for Jewish households, but featuring an uplifting message that transcends religion.

Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale
Sarah Marwil Lamstein
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781932425741, $16.95

Ages 4-8 will find here a compelling folk story of a year without Chanukah, and a poor man who decides to light the menorahs in search of remembering the miracle of the season. He asks a local scribe to write a letter to god and prays for oil to light the poor town's menorahs - and an unexpected result lends to suspicion Hayim might be a thief. This fine retelling of a Jewish folk story is an excellent addition for any Jewish library.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Animals of the Bible from A to Z
Alice Camille, author
Sarah Evelyn Showalter, illustrator
ACTA Publications
5559 West Howard Street, Skokie, IL 60077
9780879463311, $16.95 1-800-397-2282

Animals of the Bible from A to Z is a Christian ABC book for young children. Each two-page spread associates a different animal mentioned in the Bible with a letter of the alphabet, along with a simple color illustration. A fun and adventurous book to read aloud to young people and help them learn their ABCs. "X is for the extra-special donkey that could talk! / Y is for the yearling lamb that gave his life for Jesus."

The Toucan, the Tiger, & the Elephant
Erin Kathleen MacKenzie, author
Stephen Adams, illustrator
Author House
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781425988067, $18.49 1-800-280-7715

The Toucan, the Tiger, & the Elephant: How the Tiger Got His Meal is a delightful picturebook set in a mystical jungle where three friends live: the Toucan, the Tiger, and the Elephant. Featuring involved, lengthy text ideal for young readers who are ready for chapter books, The Toucan, the Tiger, & the Elephant follows the three animals' plan to serve Tiger a tasty meal - by hunting and ambushing a cruel alligator who has been tormenting the forest! Author Erin Kathleen MacKenzie considers her picturebook to be inspired by Jesus Christ, though there are few overtly religious themes present in this timeless story of friendship.

The Mythology/Folklore Shelf

Vatsala Sperling, author
Sandeep Johari, illustrator
Inner Traditions International, Ltd.
One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767
9781591430735, $15.95 1-800-246-8648

Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World is a children's picturebook based on a classic East Indian story from the Mahabharata. Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World is the story of a boy born to the Queen when she was much too young to care for a child; she sent him away, to be raised by poor and humble yet loving parents. He became entangled in a terrible war, and though the mystery of his birth was finally revealed, the truth came too late to prevent tragedy. Karna: The Greatest Archer in the World does not gloss over the sorrow, pain, and death present in the original Mahabharata tale, yet it also celebrates the brilliance, love, and loyalty in Karna's life. A welcome introduction to other cultures for young readers, illustrated in a style reminiscent of traditional Indian artwork; the text is sufficiently involved as to be on the level of chapter books. Highly recommended.

The Activity Book Shelf

Discovering Black Bears
Margaret Anderson, Nancy Field, & Karen Stephenson, authors
Michael Maydak, illustrator
Dog-Eared Publications
PO Box 620863, Middleton, WI 53562-0863
9780941042376, $8.95

Discovering Black Bears is a consumable book featuring twenty activities and stories for young readers curious about black bears. From a page of black bear stickers, to a board game based on the life cycle of a black bear, to a matching game of famous bears in popular culture, to a simple crossword puzzle of bear words and much more, Discovering Black Bears offers a hands-on learning experience. Enthusiastically recommended for any child with a keen interest in these amazing creatures, and good for keeping kids amused during camping trips.

The CD Music Shelf

The Movement
Kiddo Publishing
6506 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711
CD $16.00

Winner of a 2007 Parents' Choice Gold Award, The Movement is a music CD of positive-themed hiphop music for children and adults alike featuring the music of the Figureheads band. Songs explore such themes as making good decisions, discovering one's voice, and the crucial powers of family and friendship. The tracks are The Movement, Identity, Casper Interlude #1, Window, Just Right, T.I.M.E., Hop To It, Casper Interlude #2, Ride Out, Stir It Up, Love, Casper Interlude #3, Make Your Move, and Keep It Movin'. An energetic and enthusiastic music CD sure to prove a lively listening experience for all ages.

Under The Mystic Sea
Maria Sangiolo
Long Night Moon Music
PO Box 285, Pomfret, CT 06258
Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
RRR106, $17.99

Maria Sangiolo is an award-winning recording artist and contemporary folk musician. Her latest CD album is "Under The Mystic Sea" and showcases songs for children that are hallmarked by their truth, purity, and social values as much as their melodic harmonies, beautifully performed vocals, and compelling lyrics. Flawlessly recorded, this highly recommended and delightful collection includes: Giggly Girl (3:36); Mermaid Molly (2:56); Rock Penguin Hop (2:34); It's Too Hot! (3:47); At the 'Quarium' (1:58); Celia Says (3:34); Save the Sharks! (2:42); Power Shower (1:40); Hairbrush Blues (2:45); Penguin Sounds (:13); Down by the Ocean (2:23); going Over the Sea (2:36); Wibbaly, Wobbaly, Woo! (2:33); Dolphin Sounds (:32); No Dolphins Here (2:39); Little Miss Magic (3:40); Talia Too! (2:12); and Baby's Boat (2:49). Featuring a total running time of 57:11, "Under The Mystic Sea" also includes four sing-along tracks for children: Save the Sharks! (2:46); Giggly Girl (3:43); Mermaid Molly (2:58); and Rock Penguin Hop (2:35). Ideal for families and perfect for both school and community CD music collections for young children, "Under The Mystic Sea" is will prove to be a welcome and popular acquisition. Also highly recommended are Maria Sangiolo's previous CDs for children: "Hello Moon (2000) and "Fairy Moon: Songs of the Ring" (2004).

The Audiobook Shelf

Audacious Audiopuzzles Book #1
Karen Richards
Leave a Little Room Foundation
No ISBN $14.99

Written by Karen Richards, a former editor of "Games" magazine, Audacious Audiopuzzles Book #1 is an audiobook on two CDs, featuring sound-based puzzles and challenges for listeners to solve. Some of the mind games include: name certain defined words beginning with the letter A, identify six sounds recorded in a gym, mentally fold/cut/unfold a piece of paper, and many more brain-teasers grounded in language, geography, math, and logic. A brain-stimulating audiobook especially recommended to help young people pass the time on long car trips.

A Crooked Kind of Perfect
Linda Urban, author
Tai Alexandra Ricci, narrator
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780739359617, $25.00 1-800-726-0600

A Crooked Kind of Perfect is an unabridged audiobook presentation of Tai Alexandra Ricci's debut novel for all ages, about a young girl with grand musical dreams. Zoe years to play on a baby grand piano, but what she gets is a wood-grained, vinyl-seated, wheezing organ "The Perfectone D-60" with a lesson book "The Hits of the Seventies". But when Zoe braves the Perform-O-Rama competition, she discovers that the path to what she's really looking for might be just a little different than anything she imagined. A delightful listening adventure ideal for library collections, car trips or just plain fun. 3 CDs, 3 hours 17 minutes.

The DVD Shelf

Shout Factory
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Two delightful DVDs in the "Maggie and the Ferocious Beast" series are sure to entertain young children. "Trick or Treat" (9781603990004, $14.99, 90 minutes) is a seasonal celebration of the power of friendship between Maggie, the large but lovable yellow Ferocious Beast, and the loyal pig Hamilton Hocks. The episodes include "Trick or Treat", "Three Little Ghosts", "Hide and Go Beast", and "Strings, Pumpkins And Hats" as well as eight bonus episodes. Additionally, "Somewhere in Nowhere Land" (9781603990042, $14.99, 90 minutes) offers the episodes "Pack Up Your Troubles", "Rain Rain Come And Stay", "A Beastly Garden", and "Mr. Shivers" and eight more bonus shorts. Both DVDs have audio tracks in English and Spanish, and offer a unique brand of kid-friendly animated fun.

Thomas' Halloween Adventures
Anchor Bay Entertainment
1699 Stutz Drive, Troy, MI 48084
DVD $14.98

Thomas' Halloween Adventures is the latest DVD in the Thomas & Friends children's series about a plucky railroad tank engine. Featuring eleven exciting episodes, a read-along story, two sing-along songs, the DVD game "Learn to count" and a character gallery, Thomas' Halloween Adventures is a wonderful seasonal treat filled with ghosts in the mist and mysteries to solve. A wholesome and entertaining addition to the Thomas & Friends series, recommended for library and family collections alike. 60 minutes, color.

Just the Facts: Microwave Ovens
Learning ZoneXpress
PO Box 1022, Owatonna, MN 55060
1571754636, $49.95

Chef Jonathan Locke explains how basic microwave ovens cook food in Just the Facts: Microwave Ovens, a classroom-friendly DVD intended for viewers in grades 6 and up. Also discussed are safety techniques, cooking recommendations when using a microwave, and a handful of easy quick-cook recipes. A brief yet educational DVD primer of microwave basics that everyone needs to know, presented in simple yet inviting terms. Closed-captioned, 16 minutes, color.

Suzi Shelton Live at Southpaw
Sur Media Services
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221
DVD $20.00

Suzi Shelton Live at Southpaw is a DVD of the delightful Suzi Shelton, an award-winning guitarist for children ages ten and under, recorded live at Brooklyn's Southpaw nightclub. A showcase of Suzi's imaginative and interactive presentation, Suzi Shelton Live at Southpaw features eleven beloved songs, including her past hits and a medley of newer rock winners: "Time To Say Hello", "Can You Imagine?", "Lift Me Up", "Honey My Love", "Goin' on a Road Trip", "One Day on the Porch", "No Ordinary Day", "Scooter Boy", "So Long Chocolate Cake", "Ten Thousand Kisses", and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". A cheerful and entertaining DVD ideal for children's parties and just plain singin' fun. 45 minutes 32 seconds, color.

The Cookbook Shelf

Let The Kids Cook!
Jo Anne Larzik
Now We're Cookin'! Kids
PO Box 122, Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750
9780978921309, $12.95

A soft cover cookbook for children with a spiral binding that allows for the book to be laid open and flat upon a kitchen counter or table, "Let The Kids Cook!" is a compilation of thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes ranging from Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Deviled Crab; Corn Chowder with Diced Tomatoes; Volcanic Salad with Dijon Shallot Vinagrette; and Mouth Watering Meatloaf; to "Creamy Pot Luck Vegetable Casserole; Iced Banana Cake; and Old Fashioned Lemonade. There are fifty fun 'spoon stickers' that kids can put on their own measuring spoons to coordinate with the measurements in the recipes. Selected and compiled by Jo Ann Larzik, and with illustrations by Patrick Larzik, "Let The Kids Cook!" is simply ideal as a beginning kitchen cookbook for kids!

The Usborne Yummy Little Cookbook
Rebecca Gilpin & Catherine Atkinson
EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
9780794516550, $7.99 1-800-475-4522

The collaboration of Rebecca Gilpin and Catherine Atkinson, "The Usborne Yummy Little Cookbook" is a compact compilation of wonderfully illustrated recipes for dishes that are certain to delight the palates, engage the appetites, and teach culinary basics to elementary aged children. Each easy-to-follow recipes features step-by-step simple instructions that will result in consistently high quality dishes of chocolates and candies ranging from Marshmallow Crunch; Spicy Christmas Stars; Chocolate Truffles; and Creamy Chocolate Fudge; to Easter Fruit Bread; Chirpy Chick Cupcakes; Iced Gingerbread Hearts; and Starry Jam Tarts. "The Usborne Yummy Little Cookbook" is an ideal and confidently recommended addition to family, school, and community library cookbook collections for children.

Books in Series

Smart Apple Media
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

Dinosaurs are the perennial favorites of curious children. Six representative categories of dinosaur are showcased for elementary school boys and girls in the new six volume 'Dinosaurs Alive!' series authored and illustrated by the team of writer Jinny Johnson and artist Graham Rosewarne. Written at a third grade reading level and with an interest level is appropriate for students in grades 2 to 5, each individual 32-page, 8-1/2" x 11-1/4" title is enhanced with a table of contents, a glossary, fact boxes, websites, an index, and a wealth of color illustrations. The individual books comprising this simply outstanding series include "Brachiosaurus And Other Dinosaur Giants" (978-1-59920-065-1); Iguanodon And Other Plant-Eating Dinosaurs (978-1-59920-067-5); "Pteranodon And Other Flying Reptiles" (978-1-59920-068-2); "Triceratops And Other Horned And Armored Dinosaurs" (978-1-59920-064-4); Tyrannosaurus And Other Mighty Hunters (978-1-59920-063-7); and "Velociraptor And other Speedy Killers" (978-1-59920-066-8). A visually impressive introduction to these prehistoric creatures, the 'Dinosaurs Alive' series is strongly recommended to both school and community library collections because it is as entertaining as it is informative. Although individual titles ($27.10 List; $18.95 Library) can be obtained separately, young dinosaur enthusiasts should be provided with the complete set ($162.60 List; $113.70 Library) for their reading pleasure.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$19.95 each

'The Elements' series expands with more excellent element-by-element coverages young scientists in grades 3-5 will appreciate. The latest group includes BROMIDE (9780761426851), CADMIUM (9780761416868), THE LANTHANIDES (9780761426875), and ZIRCONIUM (9780761426882): each book holds some 32 pages, including an index, glossary, plenty of contemporary color photos and explanations of how each element works. No science collection should be without.

The Picturebook Shelf

How Many Spots Have I Got?
Lauren A. McCabe & Nancy Pelham Foulke
Our Child Press
PO Box 4379, Philadelphia, PA 19118-8379
1893516024, $16.00

Engagingly written by Lauren A. McCabe and enhanced with the charming artistry of Nancy Pelham Foulke, "How Many Spots Have I Got?" is the lovely little picturebook story of a ladybug mamma and her ladybug son, and the boy's quest concerning spots (and his not having any) that leads him to encounters and conversations with frogs, rabbits, cows, and others on the subject. A delightful and original little story, "How Many Spots Have I Got?" is very highly recommended, especially for preschoolers and kindergartens.

Life's a Ball with Billy the Baseball
Mark Cervasio
Llumina Stars
7915 W. McNab Road, Tamarac, FL 33321
9781595267580, $12.95

Written by baseball enthusiast Mark Cervasio, Life's a Ball with Billy the Baseball is more than a picturebook; it's the amazing true story of how baseballs are made and what they're made of, down to the number of stitches used and how much they weigh. Told from the point of view of a cheerful, animated baseball, Life's a Ball with Billy the Baseball follows the perky Billy from his creation in a small round cork factory to his life in the major leagues to an unexpected home run that earns him a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Cheery, colorful illustrations pepper this delightful picturebook especially recommended for young sports enthusiasts.

Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, author
Miranda R. Mueller, illustrator
DRT Press
PO Box 427, Pittsboro, NC 27312
9781933084015, $16.95

Mishka: An Adoption Tale is a children's picturebook about a Western family's adoption of a Russian child - as told from the point of view of a stuffed bear. Mo is bought by a kind-hearted man and woman as a gift for a child, yet the young boy calls him "Mishka" - what does this mean? The man and woman give Mo to the boy with a promise to come back. A long time passes as Mo keeps the boy company amid a strange place full of children; eventually the man and woman come back to take the boy and "Mishka" home. During the trip, Mo learns that "Mishka" was Russian for "bear" all along! An enchanting story, heartwarming in its simplicity.

Tenzin's Deer
Barbara Soros, author
Danuta Mayer, illustrator
Barefoot Books
3 Bow Street, 3rd floor, Cambridge, MA 02138
9781905236572, $16.99

Tibetan medicine student Barbara Soros presents Tenzin's Deer, a children's picturebook grounded in traditional Tibetan culture. A young boy named Tenzin is born beneath a shining comet, and holds the collective wisdom of many generations within him. He is kind toward both people and animals; when he discovers a wounded musk deer, his compassion leads him to take it home and try to heal it. He names the deer Jampa, "loving kindness"; while he sleeps, a dream reveals to him how to help Jampa get better. As Jampa gradually recovers, Tenzin must learn his most important lesson of all: how to let go of what he loves. The gentle color illustrations add the perfect touch to this fable, which features fairly involved text and is ideal for young readers almost ready to make the transition to chapter books.

Armando and the Blue Tarp School
Edith Hope Fine and Judith Pinkerton Josephson, authors
Hernan Sosa, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781584302780, $16.95

Armando and the Blue Tarp School is a children's picturebook based on true events. In the 1980's, David Lynch traveled to Mexico and worked with young people who lived in neighborhoods amid mounds of trash. Out of a desire to help them earn a better future, he spread a blue tarp on the ground and began teaching them kindergarten, Mexican culture, and English as a second language, and even brought paint for them to work with. An anonymous reader learned of Lynch's efforts through a newspaper article and donated funds for the area to build a school of its own. Armando and the Blue Tarp School follows young Armando, who must work every day with his father to pick through trash and uncover valuable recyclables, and his desire to learn at the blue tarp school. When a terrible fire destroys Armando's neighborhood, the picture he draws becomes published in the paper and a mysterious benefactor donates the needed funds to create a new school where the blue tarp once stood! David Lynch is portrayed as Senor David in this upbeat children's book about hope for the future. Especially recommended as a way to remind young boys and girls how lucky they are to have the opportunity to learn.

The Paper Dragonfly
Mary Watson
Shenanigan Books
129 West End Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901
9780972661430, $15.95

The Paper Dragonfly is a simple children's picturebook set in feudal Japan. A young boy named Kiyoshi loves making paper lanterns far more than learning the practical skills of farming; fascinated by dragonflies, he crafts a wondrous paper dragonfly lamp that glides virtually of its own accord. When his lamp accidentally starts a fire, the boy is despondent - but the lamp's beauty, as well as its danger, has attracted Imperial attention, and the Emperor himself desires the boy's services as the best lampmaker in the land! A gentle tale artfully presented with illustrations loosely reminiscent of traditional Japanese artwork.

The Purple Porpoise Preserves the Planet with a P
Jim Peluso
Angelcrest Publishing
PO Box 27, Syosset, NY 11791
9780979517211, $14.95

The Purple Porpoise Preserves the Planet with a P is a rhyming children's picturebook about a young boy who befriends a monocled Purple Porpoise with a magical letter P, that brings to life any word its holder speaks that begins with the letter P. At first they share a grand tour of pastries, but then the porpoise informs the boy of his true needs - to save the planet from the malevolent king of a palace. Only the boy can think of just the right word, "perish", to erase the palace and save the day! A singsong alliterative storybook jubilantly illustrated in bright colors, that begs to be read aloud.

The Kaleidoscope Kid
Elaine Marie Larson, author
Vivian Strand, illustrator
PO Box 23173, Shawnee Mission, KS 66283-0173
9781931282413, $19.95

The Kaleidoscope Kid: Focusing on the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism is a unique children's picturebook celebrating the gifts possessed by individuals with Asperger Syndrome and high-functioning autism. Written by English-as-Second Language teacher Elaine Marie Larson to help her grandson San, who has Asperger Syndrome, The Kaleidoscope Kid reminds young readers of the positive qualities held by those with autism spectrum disorders. "I Have a Keen Mind // Just Ask Me // Did you know / There are lizards that fly, / And snakes, fish and frogs / That soar through the sky? / It's an amazing thing / How some creatures / Can fly without wings. / How can it be? / Just ask me." Some of the rhyming verses have unusual features, such as being written backwards (a mirror helps to read them) or in the form of a Japanese haiku. The brilliant, solid color mosaic illustrations complement this uplifting picturebook, highly recommended for read-aloud sharing with autism spectrum children.

The Little Germ That Could...Creations
6815 Edgewater Drive, #108, Coral Gables, FL 33133

When author and illustrator Andrew Toffoli became aware of a lack of suitable teaching tools for children ages 3 to 8 on the subject of history, he created 'Hi-stories', a trilogy of picturebooks specifically designed to teach real history using imagination, humor, and animal characters. The result is "Christopher Cowlumbus" (0976323303), an adventurous bovine who sails across the Atlantic Ocean on the Santa Mooria and discovers American in a fabled retelling of the story of Columbus. "Michelangelo Bunnyrroti" (097632332X), the story of an artistically gifted hare who sculpts and paints magnificent works of art in a whimsical approach to telling the story of Michelangelo Bounarroti. "Bengalmin Franklin" (0976323311) features a scholarly Bengal tiger who made great discoveries and inventions in an equally inventive re-telling of the life and accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin. Attractively engaging, unfailingly entertaining, thoroughly 'kid friendly', each of these highly recommended picturebook titles are eminently suitable and appropriate for family, preschool, home school, elementary school, and community library collections.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

Ewetopia isn't comfortable in her own wool, and is determined to impress others - but all her attempts fall flat, until the Woolyones' Costume Ball arrives with a promise of fame in Helen Lester's The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing (0618868445, $16.00). She tries on over fifty costumes before she finds the perfect one - which seems to fall flat until a stranger brings a new dilemma to the ball. Lynn Munsinger's hilarious illustrations accent a fun take on the traditional Wolf story. Bruce McMillan's HOW THE LADIES STOPPED THE WIND (9780618773305, $16.00) tells of windy Iceland and village ladies who set out to stop the wind so they can go for a walk. Hungry sheep have other plans, however - and the singing ladies may be thwarted in their magic. Picturebook collections specializing in multicultural tales will find this a different, fun story. A.W. Flaherty's THE LUCK OF THE LOCH NESS MONSTER: A TALE OF PICKY EATING (0618556443, $16.00) enjoys fine drawings by Scott Magoon as it tells of a little girl who tosses her oatmeal overboard all the time. She's a picky eater - but a small worm who swims alongside an ocean liner bound for Scotland finds much good about her throw-aways - too good, perhaps it's a zany, fun Loch Ness story offering quite a different premise. Rebecca Bond's THE GREAT DOUGHNUT PARADE (0618777059, $17.00) tells of small Billy, who has a doughnut tied to his belt and finds himself leading a parade as a result. With its rollicking rhyme and fun paintings, it's a cheerful, fun easy read for beginning picturebook enthusiasts.

Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Andrea Beaty's IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT (081091106X, $15.95) tells of an architect who has been one 'since age two' when he builds a great tower in an hour of diapers and glue. So goes a rollicking, fun rhyme about a young, unappreciated architect who us unappreciated by his second-grade teacher, until a field trip helps recognize his unique talents. David Roberts' drawings are a fun addition to a pointed story of young genius. Jackie French's JOSEPHINE WANTS TO DANCE (0810994313, $15.95) enjoys Bruce Whatley's zany story of a kangaroo who doesn't want to hop, but dance. Josephine dreams of being in the ballet, but everyone rejects the idea and won't let her - until the prima ballerina twists has ankle on opening day and Josephine at last displays her talents. A fine story of achievement and possibilities.

Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Marie-Danielle Croteau's MR. GAUGUIN'S HEART (9780887768248, $18.95) is a winning story translated by Susan Ouriou and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, telling of the boy painter Gauguin and how he turned grief into a painting which would set his career. Based on a true story, it tells youngsters how to turn tragedy into success. Cary Fagan's MY NEW SHIRT (9780887767159, $22.99) tells of an unwanted yearly birthday gift which somehow winds out in the street thanks to an overactive imagination. Now David is in trouble - and finds himself chasing down the unwanted shirt. Dusan Petricic's illustrations are on the dark side but still intriguing additions to a zany, fun story. Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter's EATS (9780887768200, $15.95) presents an award-winning toy designer's story matching creatures with their favorite foods. Tom Slaughter's paper cut illustrations provide fine modern art embellishments to a fun story line perfect for libraries teaching modern art and needing picturebook embellishment.

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

It's lunchtime in the old white cabin but Cat, Duck and Squirrel haven't got a ripe pumpkin for the Pumpkin Soup in Helen Cooper's Delicious! (0374317569, $16.00 ). Can they substitute something else? There are possibilities, but Duck won't consider them - so how can they find a new dish to share? Recipes and fun culinary insights abound in a fine, different story of sharing. Brock Cole's GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT (0374327378, $16.00) tells of a threatening foul ogre who demands one of the town's fair maidens - and it's easy for the town to decide on who to sacrifice: a poor girl who lives on the streets. They dress her finely and leave her for the Ogre - but it turns out he's quite fussy - and the girl uncommonly brave - in this fine, involving story. These are unique, excellent choices and top picks for any discriminating picturebook collection.

c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019 1-800-242-7737

A watchful wizard waits alone within his tower and ponders evil in Jack Prelutsky's THE WIZARD (9780061240768, $16.99 ) What's he planning on doing? A flea, a bird, and others fall victim to his evil changes - but there's a surprise in store. Brandon Dorman's fine and colorful full-page drawings are powerful accompaniments to a full-flavored, fun story very different from your usual wizard or fantasy tale - and easy to read. Holly Keller's HELP: A STORY OF FRIENDSHIP (9780061239137, $16.99) tells of Mouse and his very different friends who get along well - until Mouse hears from a mutual friend that his snake friend may be dangerous. Can friendships survive gossip? When Mouse is indeed endangered, danger - and rescue - come from unexpected places in this gentle story.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$16.99 each

Jacqueline Davies' THE HOUSE TAKES A VACATION (9780761453314) receives Lee White's drawings and tells of a house who decides it wants to take a holiday, too, when its owners go on vacation. The only problem is - different parts of the house want different things, so it can't decide on where to go. What happens when one part decides to go just where it wishes? Lots of fun! Eric A. Kimmel's THE THREE CABRITOS (9780761453437) enjoys Stephen Gilpin's whimsical goat pictures as it tells of three young goats who decide to go to a Mexican fiesta despite their mother's warning about a monster who lives under the bridge along the way. They ignore her - but when the monster jumps out, how can they fight it? A different and fun multicultural approach to 'three billy goats gruff' ensues!

Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Kids ages 3-7 will relish the fine story of autumn which has come to the woods, making poor Bear feel sick - too sick to play with his friends. So Bear's friends take good care of him, with herbal tea and lullabies until he begins to feel better in the warm friendship tale BEAR FEELS SICK by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman (0689859856, $16.99). Robert Kinerk's CLORINDA TAKES FLIGHT (0689868642, $16.99) will reach ages 4-8 with its fine story of Clorinda the cow, who notices the flight of a passing bird and longs to fly. She decides to become the first cow to fly - and enlists in the help of friends, who decide to assist despite the fact that cows have never flown before. Steven Kellogg's fun drawings enhance an unusual story packed with unexpected twists and turns.

Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495 1-800-543-1918

Monika Bang-Campbell's LITTLE RAT MAKES MUSIC (9780152053055, $15.00) will reach ages 6-9 with its easy reader about Little Rat, who longs to make music like the violinists she sees at concerts. Unfortunately, she hates to practice: it's hard and her violin squawks. How can Little Rat make beautiful music NOW? Any kid taking music lessons will relate to her dilemma. Adam Rex's PSST! (9780152058173, $16.00) tells of a bunch of animals who've been cooped up too long at the zoo. So when a little boy with capable hands happens along, he finds each exhibit wishes him to bring them something special. It's a unique, hilarious story highly recommended for any collection.

Random House/Knopf
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Roger Duvoisin's DONKEY DONKEY (9780375840654, $15.99) tells of a donkey who has the strangest ears on the farm - long, and sticking up straight. He wants a new look - but nobody can agree on how Donkey-donkey's ears should look best. Each farm animal has a different idea! This book first appeared in 1933 and is only the second written and illustrated by Caldecott medalist winner Duvoisin. It went out of print in the late 1970s, so it's an excellent acquisition libraries need to replace a well worn shelf classic. Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome's YOUNG PELE: SOCCER'S FIRST STAR (9780375835995, $16.99) tells of a poor Brazilian boy who kicks rocks down roads and dribbles balls made from rags - and who goes on to become the greatest soccer player of all time. His skills and the evolution of his talents make for engrossing reading for kids in grades 2-4. Beverly Donofrio and Barbara McClintock's MARY AND THE MOUSE, THE MOUSE AND MARY (9780375836091, $16.99) will reach ages 3-7 with its fine story of Mary, a Mouse, and how they grow up in the same house. Mary's own daughter is destined to grow up in the house with Mouse Mouse - but will mouse and girl ever meet? Their very different worlds one day blend in this fun story of a girl and a mouse.

G.P. Putnam's Sons
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Lynn Truss' THE GIRL'S LIKE SPAGHETTI: WHY YOU CAN'T MANAGE WITHOUT APOSTROPHES (9780399247064, $16.99) is an excellent grammar fun book which blends humor with pointed comments on how grammar can make a different in content. Examples of statements with and without apostrophes are presented in facing pages demonstrating how very different intentions can be with the wrong grammar choice. Many an adult will love this approach, also! David Ezra Stein's LEAVES (9780399246364, $15.99) tells of a young bear who has never seen leaves fall off a tree before. Should be try to put them back, or use them as bedding? Leaves are falling all over his island: what should he do? A whimsical story of seasonal changes will delight the very young.

Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Box 8515, La Jolla, CA 92038

Liz Lofthouse's ZIBA CAME ON A BOAT (9781933605524, $15.95) receives Robert Ingpen's dark but involving drawings as it tells of a girl who remembers all she's left behind as she crosses a sea to a new land where she and her family hope to find safety. Based on a real story, it tells of a family who has lost nearly everything - but each other. Colin Thompson and Amy Lissiat's THE SHORT AND INCREDIBLY HAPPY LIFE OF RILEY (9781933605500, $15.95) provides a run story of Riley, born happy and living a full albeit short life. Humans, on the other hand, live longer lives and are never happy. The clear lessons on love and how to be happy will involve many an adult, as well. Margaret Wild and Janine Dawson's BOBBIE DAZZLER (9781933605463, $15.95) tells of Bobbie, an energetic wallaby who jumps, skips and bounces. Her friends are impressed with her prowess, but she can't do the thing she most wishes to do - the splits. Only after much practice does she achieve her goal in this funny, satisfying story of determination. All are top picks for discriminating picturebook libraries.

Way Up in the Arctic
Jennifer Ward
Rising Moon
Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389
0873589289, $15.95

WAY UP IN THE ARCTIC is set to the tune of 'Over in the Meadow' and provides kids with a rollicking song exploring Arctic wildlife. Gorgeous color drawings by Kenneth J., Spengler supplements a fun blend of counting rhyme and natural history story: a perfect picturebook tale that entertains as it educates. Picturebook collections will find it a different, fun acquisition.

A Child's Guide to Common Household Monsters
James Otis Thach
Front Street
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 19431
9781932425581, $16.95

What can a young girl do when she realizes her house is full of monsters? She makes friends with them: a lesson for readers who will find amusing and fun this story of how she identifies and befriends a wide range of monsters. From closet monsters who like hanging clothes to the scary basement monsters who hides behind washers, this is a fun story of a young girl's confrontation with her fears.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Dinosaurs Across America
Phi Yeh
NBM Publishing
40 Exchange Place, Suite 1308, New York NY 10005
156163509X, $12.95

What is the best way to learn U.S. geography? Through Patrick Rabbit and a fun group of Dinos, who embark on a national tour of the U.S. Each page presents two states of information, using a full-color graphic novel cartoon format to spice up the facts, along with dinosaur conversations of discovery. Even the most reluctant young beginning geography learner will relish the fine approach that blends nonfiction with fiction in an exciting graphic novel format.

The Fiction Shelf

Converting Kate
Beckie Weinheimer
Viking Press
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
TCI Smith Publicity (publicity)
2 Split Rock Drive, Suite 12, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
0670061522, $16.99 1-800-847-5515

"Converting Kate" is a kind of coming-of-age story about a high school sophomore who is no longer certain that she is special, or that her church is the only true church. Kate is 15 years old and a member of the Holy Divine Church who compels fasting, daily Bible readings, limited contact with non-church members, stringent dress codes, and limited exposure to popular culture. While Kate's mother is a true believer, her father was not. His death requires Kate to thing through her beliefs about life after death and her church's beliefs about the fate of those who die outside the 'true faith'. When the family moves from Phoenix to coastal Maine, Kate meets new friends and encounters a broader, more inclusive world. Kate quits the Church of the Holy Divine, embraces concern for the environment, for human rights, and the questioning of authority. Very highly recommended reading and a welcome addition to school and community library contemporary fiction collections for young readers, "Converting Kate" is a skillfully written novel that underscores the evolution of a compliant young girl into a self-reliant young woman freed from the bonds of a narrow and restrictive religious environment.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's SIMPLY SARAH: PATCHES AND SCRATCHES (9780761453475, $14.99) provides elementary to middle school fiction readers with a fine chapter book story of Sarah, who likes to come up with big ideas to solve problems, and a best friend Peter, who has an impossible problem - he wants a dog, but Granny won't let him have one. No other pet will do - until an unexpected pet possibility leads to new ideas. Patricia Hermes' EMMA DILEMMA AND THE TWO NANNIES (9780761453536, $15.99) tells of Emma, who loves the family's new Irish nanny Annie. Annie likes pets, keeps secrets, and wears wonderful clothes - but when she returns to Ireland for three weeks to see her sisters, her charges panic: what if Annie doesn't return? What if their parents hire a new, less interesting nanny? Both are excellent, different chapter books with interesting dilemmas kids won't easily predict.

Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020 1-800-223-2336

Daniel Pinkwater's THE HOBOKEN CHICKEN EMERGENCY (141692809X, $16.99) tells of Arthur, who sets out to bring home the family's Thanksgiving turkey and instead returns with Henriette - a 266-pound chicken with an attitude. New illustrations by Pultizer Price winner Tony Auth enhances a new edition of a classic, funny tale perfect for libraries seeking to replace aging classics. Jennifer L. Holm's MIDDLE SCHOOL IS WORSE THAN MEATLOAF (0689852819, $12.99) is an exceptionally fun book for middle school readers and tells of Ginny, who has ten items on her to-do list for seventh grade. Unfortunately she keeps getting in trouble - none of which is on her list - and her fun story is told in a series of color facing pages of notes and experiences along with memos and easy eye-catching illustrations. Both are important, fun acquisitions.

The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands In California
Mary Hershey
Penguin Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9781595141507, $15.99

Alastair Hudson is a teen with a prosthetic leg and an attitude: he's determined to make his own jokes about his disability, but a summer visiting his father in California is challenging his sense of humor until he meets a teen soap opera star whom he wishes to impress. He may even conquer some of his ongoing fears to win her affections. A fine story of courage and romance ensues: perfect for middle school leisure reading.

Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer
Thatcher Heldring
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385733908, $14.99 1-800-726-0600

Toby Wheeler loves basketball and playing pickup games with his best friend TJ, but lately TJ's been acting like he's too busy for Toby, and it will once get worse once basketball season begins at their junior high, because TJ's the star of the team and Toby is nothing special at sports. When the coach offers Toby a chance to join the team he's eager to prove he can keep up with his friend - until he begins to realize he's just a benchwarmer not destined for fame. Romance changes the bigger picture in this fine story of athletic challenges.

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane
Polly Horvath
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374315531, $17.00

An accident leaves teen cousins Meline and Jocelyn parentless and they go to live with an unknown, eccentric uncle on his private island - there to discover a tragedy which brings them more fully in touch with their own grief and family connections. Their plans of escape are told in alternating chapters and makes for a vivid story packed with intrigue and revelations - a gripping, chilling tale perfect for leisure readers who demand action and insight.

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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