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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 18, Number 11 November 2008 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health/Medicine Shelf Music Shelf
DVD Shelf Native American Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christmas Shelf Environmental Shelf
Jobs/Careers Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Preschool Shelf Cookbook Shelf Fiction Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf Science Shelf
Biography Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Ice Cream: The Full Scoop
Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
9780823421558, $16.95

The history and making of ice cream from farm to freezer is recounted in a series of fun rhymes and colorful drawings by Gail Gibbons in this fine 'full scoop' tale of ice cream's making. Kids receive a colorful story which outlines the entire process and provides mouth-watering cartoon drawings in the process.

Time is When
Beth Gleick
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768705, $15.95,

What is time? One could go on a long scientific answer, but that's not going to answer it for a child. "Time is When" is a children's picturebook looking to answer that question for young children without a masters in a difficult science. Originally written forty eight years ago, the lessons for young children still stand tall, and with new illustrations from Marthe Jocelyn, "Time is When" still will appeal to today's young children.

Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

CHEE-LIN: A GIRAFFE'S JOURNEY (9780618717200, $17.00) is set eighty years before Columbus, when China sent ships to explore the world - there to find the mysterious 'chee-lin', or giraffe. This story of the 'chee-lin' and its journey to China is a pick for kids with good picturebook reading skills: it reads like fiction with drama and excitement but provides a vivid, memorable history of the giraffe's impact on the world. Steve Jenkins and Robin Page's HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU CATCH A FLY? (9780618966349, $16.00) provides a fine picture book story of fast creatures and how different creatures can succeed at capturing the same prey. Drawings of birds and animals like offer insights into how very different creatures harbor similar habits.

Youngen Finds Her Song
Maria J. Andrade
Clara Publishing
680 Napa Court, Claremont, CA 91711
9780970634733, $15.99

Believing in oneself is a valuable and important skill. "Youngen Finds Her Song: An Inspiring Adventure from the Heart of Nature" is a story about building self-confidence and self-respect. Youngen learns about these values, along with friendship, with Rufus, Youngen's teacher. Inspiring and motivating for children, "Youngen Finds Her Song" is recommended for parents to read along with their children who are in first and second grades.

Kindness To Share From A To Z
Todd Snow, Peggy Snow, Kirsten Sevig
Maren Green Publishing, Inc.
5525 Memorial Avenue North, Suite 6
Oak Park Heights, MN 55082
9781934277164, $9.99,, 1-800-287-1512

'Family Values' includes the concept of 'kindness' -- the ability and responsibility to think of other people's feelings and needs. Charmingly co-authored by Todd and Peggy Snow, "Kindness To Share From A To Z" is a slim 32-page picturebook designed for children 4 and older. Delightfully enhanced with full color artwork by Kirsten Sevig, the simple one line of text per picture page in an alphabetical order provides youngster with twenty-six fun ways to share acts of kindness with others. From 'Ask someone to play with you' to 'Zip a younger child's jacket', "Kindness To Share From A To Z" is a superbly produced and enthusiastically recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, kindergarten, and community library picturebook collections for young children.

Fabulous Food Detectives
Susan Ingebretson, author
Liliane Grenier, illustrator
Playbooks, Inc.
111 Corporate Drive, Ste 240, Ladera Ranch, CA 92694
9781604760743, $10.38

Fabulous Food Detectives is a spiral-bound "playbook" meant not for theater acting, but as an educational tool for young people in the classroom to read aloud. Designed for young people in grades 4-8, Fabulous Food Detectives has six main dialogue roles suited for different reading skill and comprehension levels. The brief yet engaging story follows a family that loves to experiment with both science and food, and who discover a way to do both at once for the upcoming school science fair! A delightful way to motivate young students to partake in the joys of storytelling.

Which Instrument Is Right for Me?
R. E. Loy, author
J. Seda, illustrator
Vantage Press Inc.
419 Park Avenue South, 18th floor, New York, NY 10016
9780533157099, $7.95 1-212-736-1767

Which Instrument is Right for Me? is a brief, simple children's storybook told through poetic rhyme about a young girl trying to decide which instrument she wants to learn how to play. Should she learn the ukelele, and call up thoughts of peaceful Hawaiian beaches with her music, or the tuba, with its unforgettable sound, or the saxophone, flute, or drums? There are so many instruments to choose from! Yet no matter what she picks, she is well aware that to master any instrument (even one's voice) takes time, practice, and commitment to the beauty and wonder that is music. Simple black-and-white line drawings enhance this delightful book especially recommended for musically inclined young children or middle school libraries.

Green Light, Red Light, Go!
Joann Jackson
PO Box 151, Frederick, MD 21705-0151
1604417781, $24.95,

Green Light, Red Light, Go! is a flat-spined softcover picturebook that uses simple color illustrations and friendly text to teach young children how to properly cross the street. "Look both ways before crossing the street! Make sure there are no cars coming toward the way you are about to cross. In addition, make sure cars are not turning the corner. Then you may cross the street." Green Light, Red Light, Go! is especially recommended for parents to share with children, and educators to share with preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school students. Highly recommended, the simple safety principles Green Light, Red Light, Go! are vital to protecting children's lives.

Kathryn Otoshi
KO Kids Books
PGW (distribution)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780972394642, $16.95

One is a surreal, minimalist picturebook about standing up to bullies, but instead of starring humans or anthropomorphic animals, One assigns personalities to smears of color. The Red smear starts bullying the other colors, puffing itself up big - but then the grey number 1 comes, tells jokes, and refuses to back down no matter how much Red postures. "One turned to the colors and said, 'If someone is mean and picks on me, I, for One, stand up and say, No.'" The other color smears agree and turn themselves into numbers as well; even Red learns that it can get along with the others, though it takes some convincing! The unforgettable, simple tale and its resounding metaphor is highly recommended for parents and children to share. Highly recommended.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Smart Fitness Smart Foods
Ronno & Liz Jones-Twomey
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477
$15.95 1-800-631-2187

Developed with the aid of Carol Ann Erickson, a Licensed Brain Gym Instructor with the International Educational Kinesiology Foundation, Ronno and Liz Jones-Twomey's album Smart Fitness Smart Foods: Brain-Based Movement & Healthy Nutrition Songs is a music CD for young people with a strong educational message. Divided into two groups, "Fitness Workouts" and "Food Songs", the upbeat, cheery music conveys important lessons about healthy food choices as well as applying brain-based, guided movements to improve absorption of the lessons. Stress-management strategies round out this excellent resource, which supports USDA Pyramid guidelines for nutritional choices and active living. The fitness workout tracks are "Smart Fitness, Smart Foods", "Step It Up!", "Invite a Vitamin to Dinner", "(I'm Not Gonna Be A) Couch Potato!", "Veggie Power", "Mission Nutrition", "Happy to Be Me", and "It's Been a Really Good Day", while the food song tracks are "Step It Up!", "Invite a Vitamin to Dinner", "(I'm Not Gonna Be A) Couch Potato!", "Veggie Power", "Mission Nutrition", "Happy to Be Me", "It's Been a Really Good Day", "Happy to Be Me" (instrumental), and "It's Been a Really Good Day" (instrumental). Enthusiastically recommended for fostering a love of fitness and good nutrition in young people.

The Music Shelf

Sesame Street Playground
Putumayo Kids
c/o Putumayo World Music
411 Lafayette St., 4th floor, NY, NY 10003
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Multi-region encoded and suitable for viewers of all ages, Sesame Street Playground: Songs and Videos from Around the World is a music CD with bonus DVD of melodies from Sesame Street productions worldwide. Featuring thirteen songs from Brazil, France, China, India, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania as well as two from the U.S., Sesame Street Playground is sure to foster tolerance and appreciation of different cultures. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's music collections. The video DVD playlist consists of "Galli Galli Sim Sim - Show Open" (India), "Ricas Frutas" (Mexico), "En Den Dino" (Israel), "Pollution Song" (South Africa), and "The Song of Caretakers" (Russia).

Loquat Rooftop
Randy Kaplan
Yellow Thing Records & Books
Kindie Rock PR (publicity)

Though family-friendly, Randy Kaplan's music CD album Loquat Rooftop is not just for kids. Featuring vibrant, original blues/folk-rock songs that flirt with whimsical lyrics and toe-tapping rhythms, Loquat Rooftop makes a most delightful holiday gift. The tracks are "Good Morning Blues", "Clothes Dryer", "Mazal Mazal", "No Nothing", "Charlie Brown", "Move It On Over", "The Fire Engine", "Sweetie Pie Honeycake", "The Ladybug Without Spots", "Boogie Woogie Washer Woman", "Loquat Rooftop", "The Sour Song", "Go Tell Aunt Rhody", "(Don't Say) Anything at All", "Tomorrow", and "Gotta Get Gone". Highly recommended for all ages.

The DVD Shelf

Dropping in on Grandma Moses
Pam Stephens, author
Jim McNeill, animator
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025-6159 1-800-255-8629
9781562905972, $29.95 (DVD)
9781562905989, $15.95 (book)

Dropping in on Grandma Moses is the latest in a lovely series of animated children's DVDs featuring the cheerful anthropomorphic Puffer as he drops in on great artists through history. Grandma Moses is a particularly exceptional individual, since she didn't start painting until she was 70 years old! Biographical sequences and full-screen images of Moses' paintings reveal the true stories behind classics such as "The Quilting Bee", "Taking in Laundry", "A Country Wedding", "Hallowe'en", "Moving Day on the Farm", and "Sugaring Off in the Maple Orchard". A fun and educational way to get young people interested in the amazing world of art. Also highly recommended is the companion picturebook by the same name (9781562905989, $14.25), a read-aloud delight for parents and children to share.

Readeez: Volume One
The Readeez Company
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
DVD, $18.00,

When it comes to small children, learning is most effective when it is also fun! That's the basic educational concept underlying "Readeez: Volume One", a forty-minute DVD comprised of a series of one-minute mini-videos that incorporate an 'immersive' approach to acquiring reading skills. Combining the written word with the spoken word (including the form of a song lyric) facilities the young viewer in developing basic literacy skills. Words are presented in stories, songs, riddles, rhymes, and distinctive characters. Charming illustrations by Gerry O'Neill further enhance the blended learning and entertainment aspects. Unique, 'kid friendly', and effective, "Readeez: Volume One" is especially recommended for family, preschool, day-care, elementary school, and community library literacy education materials collections.

Earth Science
Rock 'N Learn
PO Box 3595, Conroe, TX 77305-3595
9781934312056, $19.99 1-800-348-8445

The latest in a series of Test Preparation DVDs for young people, Earth Science takes viewers on an amazing, computer-animated journey sure to capture the imagination as well as educate. Designed specifically to prepare viewers for standardized tests at grade five, Earth Science hosted by the cheerful Marko the Pencil, and covers topics ranging from how Earth's orbit causes the seasons to the water cycle, what causes weather, sedimentary rocks and fossils, topography and volcanoes, plate tectonics, energy and resources, and much more. A welcome addition to public and especially grade school libraries, and the perfect gift for any child with a blossoming interest in science. 61 minutes.

Breakfast Because!
Learning ZoneXPress
PO Box 1022, Owatonna, MN 55060
1571757309, $99.95 1-888-455-7003

Intended for viewers from grade five to adult, Breakfast Because! is an educational DVD about the value of eating a healthy breakfast to start the day. Touching upon the importance of incorporating a variety of nutritious foods, with suggestions for healthy breakfast ideas even if one is eating at a fast food restaurant, Breakfast Because! goes on to correlate how smart breakfast choices affect one's muscles, bones, blood, brain, and daily performance. Additional tips for choosing breakfast basics such as distinguishing healthful cereals and learning how to decipher Nutrition Facts labels round out this solid resource. Highly recommended, especially for public school DVD collections. Approximately 24 minutes.

The Adventures of Walker & Ping Ping
Little Emperor LLC
118 Spring Street, 3rd Flr, New York, NY 10012
Andrea Blain Public Relations, Inc. (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Intended for young viewers ages 3-8, The Adventures of Walker & Ping Ping is an iParenting Media Award-winning DVD following a young boy, Walker, who has just moved to Hong Kong with his parents to Hong Kong. While outside with his dog Jack, he makes a brand new friend in the Chinese girl Ping Ping. The adventures on the DVD are "The Great Wall", in which Walker and Ping Ping meet and get to explore one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and "The Chinese Market", where they use a magic flute to travel great distances and befriend people in the Chinese market. An official selection of the 2009 Kids First Film Festival, The Adventures of Walker & Ping Ping features an open-minded approach to learning about other cultures, and is highly recommended both as a gift for children and as a welcome addition to public library children's DVD shelves. 50 minutes, color.

The Native American Shelf

Coyote Speaks Wonders Of The Native American World
Ari Berk and Carolyn Dunn
Abrams Books for Young Reader
c/o Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810993723, $24.95,

Rich traditions, stories and artifacts are ways in which we learn about the history and culture various Native American tribes. A beautifully designed book co-authored by Ari Berk and Carolyn Dunn, "Coyote Speaks Wonders Of The Native American World", provides an overview of nearly fifty known tribes drawn from all regions of North America. As the authors simply state, stories carry traditions. However, traditions are not always simple and they are what defined each tribe as its own distinct people. Artfully designed with beautiful pictures, "Coyote Speaks" will show the meaning and role of certain animals and symbols, what shamans and medicine people do, and how the animal world, natural world and spirit world interact. This book encourages better understanding of Native American cultures in presenting through word and image some of the life ways and story-paths of America's first people. Rich in design and ease of text, as well as profusely illustrated throughout, "Coyote Speaks Wonders Of The Native American World" is for young readers to adults and is very highly recommended for school and community library Native American reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Great Pika Pie Caper
Marlene Clapp
Privately Published
17 7th Street, Harwich, MA 02645
9781605520124, $15.50

Just because someone loves something, it doesn't mean they want to become it. "The Great Pika Pie Caper" tells of Atwood, a young pika who loves adventure almost as much as he loves food. One wrong step however may make him end up as the eaten instead of the eater, and it's up to his friends to prevent a tragedy in the making. A moving story of friendship and caution for young readers, "The Great Pika Pie Caper" is a good choice for younger readers trying to make the gap between picture books and novels.

Vicki Silver Mysteries: Cruise Control
Alissa Wood
Summertime Books
P.O. Box 79684,Forth Worth, TX 76179
9780980186116, $7.99, 176 pp.,

The Vicki Silver Mysteries are back with "Cruise Control", author Alissa Woods' newest addition to her popular series for young readers ages 12 to 18! Vicki and C.J. are off for a week of fun and sun aboard the cruise ship Crystal Palace. Their plans suddenly change when a soon to be groom disappears just before the wedding. The bride puts Vicki and her friends on the case. Did the groom get cold feet? Did he fall overboard? Or was it something worse. For Vicki and her friends time is short; they only have seven days to figure this out on one of the largest cruise ships on the seas or this groom may be lost out at sea forever. Author Alissa Wood has written another deftly penned and exciting tale of mystery and suspense in her Vicki Silver Mysteries series showcasing young woman and her friends who solve crimes and other mysterious events in their hometown of Sport, Maine. "Cruise Control" is especially recommended for school and community library contemporary fiction collections.

Moroccan Mystery
Nancy V. Riley
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9780595486960, $11.95

Written by the wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Moroccan Mystery is the first of the "Passport Series" of books designed for young adult readers ages 8-12, about teaching young people more about the world and its cultures outside of their hometown. Young Aili and Julia Turner are the daughters of of the new U.S. Ambassador to Morocco; in their new home, the learn about the unfamiliar world of Islam, its customs, and the day-to-day life of people who follow it. They make a new best friend in Abla, but her stepfather Aziz, a well-known businessman, is more than a little intimidating. Aili happens to discover that he exports endangered animal skins; can she and Julia put a stop to his cruel trade? A thoughtful look into life at an American Embassy, and the rewards of learning about other people's ways of life as well as a rousing adventure, Moroccan Mystery is highly recommended for school and public library young adult fiction collections.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Haunting on Devil's Den Road
Karen Chilton, author
Gary McCluskey, illustrator
Snug Harbor Press
PO Box 5696, Wakefield, RI 02880
9780982057506, $10.99

Book one of the "Ghost Girls" series, The Haunting on Devil's Den Road a fantastic novel following thirteen-year-old Paige Parker (about to turn fourteen), who has suddenly had to move to the rural village of Heather Hollow. At first she's afraid the boredom will kill her, but then she learns her new home has a shocking roommate - the ghost of a girl who died more than a century ago, who is connected to an infamous vampire buried in the local cemetery! With the help of best friend Amelia, Paige must deal with both the mundane problem of the local clique of girls on mopeds, and the supernatural threat of something murderous in the woods, capable of hunting its prey through time and beyond death. Paige must discover the truth of her strange new home and how to defend herself from a terrible doom, before it's too late! A spine-tingling adventure that teen girls are sure to love.

Edgar Font's Hunt for a House to Haunt Adventure Three
Patrick H.T. Doyle
Armadillo Books for Young Readers
232 Waller St., San Francisco, CA 94102
9780978613228, $7.99

Edgar Font's Hunt for a House to Haunt Adventure Three: The Flint Island Treehouse is the third in a series of chapter books for young readers ages nine and up. The Font family, consisting of Edgar and his two grandchildren, encounter a young ghost who needs their help; they must put together clues and break an ancient spell. If they fail, they could be trapped forever! A handful of black-and-white illustrations enhance this surprisingly hefty narrative, almost three hundred pages in length. A treat for young readers who enjoy upbeat stories of adventure and spooky ghosts! Also highly recommended are the first two books in the series, "The Castle Tower Lighthouse" and "The Fakersville Power Station".

The Dragon's Familiar
Lawrence J. Cohen
iUniverse, Inc.
c/o Author House
1663 Liberty Dr. Suite #300, Bloomington, IN 47403
9780595514137, $15.95

The Dragon's Familiar is a fantasy novel for young adults, about a twelve-year-old boy adrift in Brooklyn's childcare system, drawn through a demonic mirror into the fantasy world of Abydonne. Young Cory Avalon is discovered to be a magical prodigy - at an inexplicably rapid pace, he learns how to raise shields, attack with lightning, turn invisible, and even summons a youthful golden dragon to be his familiar. His prodigious talent is so great, whispers circle that he might be the one to defeat the malevolent Asmodeus, who threatens the world from his ominous stronghold of Abyollydd! Inspired by the wondrous tapestry of Welsh and Finnish mythology, The Dragon's Familiar is a joy to read for fantasy lovers of all ages, and for dragon enthusiasts in particular. Highly recommended.

Time of the Thunderbird
Diane Silvey, author
John Mantha, illustrator
Dundurn Press
3 Church Street, Suite 500, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5E 1M2
9781550027921, $11.99

Illustrated with a handful of black-and-white drawings, Time of the Thunderbird is a children's novel in the style of a Native American folklore, as told by award-winning author Diane Silvey (herself a member of the Sechelt Indian Band). Teenage twins Kaya and Tala seek to discover why the children from a village in British Columbia have vanished. Earth dwarves are being blamed for the disappearances, but Kaya and Tala are convinced they're innocent. In their quest to rescue the kidnapped children, they must pass a succession of tests, encountering mystical creatures ranging from a talking rock to a cedar ogre to Aixos, the most fierce of all sea serpents, and even the terrifying Thunderbird himself! Also highly recommended is Silvey's previous novel featuring Kaya and Tala, "Spirit Quest".

The Christmas Shelf

The Christmas Bears
Chris Conover
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
18 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780374332754, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

The Christmas Bears is a children's picturebook following a family of anthropomorphic bears who are hard at work preparing for Christmas. Pa bear has perhaps the most important job of all - one that has him dress up in a red-and-white suit, and that requires the help of flying reindeer! Playful, rhyming text and colorful illustrations that almost make one want to reach out and feel how fuzzy they are distinguish this excellent picturebook, perfect for the family to share while getting into the holiday spirit.

The Reindeer Chronicles: The Great Candy Cane Caper
Joe C. Watson
Xulon Press
2180 West State Road 434, Suite 2140, Longwood, FL 32779
9781606470060, $10.99 1-866-381-2665

Beginning a series of children's chapter books about the history of reindeer at Christmas Village at the North Pole, The Reindeer Chronicles: The Great Candy Cane Caper is joyful tale following two young reindeer, PJ and Zipper, and their struggle to stop evil elf Baddy Twoshoes' plan to ruin Christmas for the world. They must team up and use everything they know about how Christmas Village works to save the day! A delightful, Christmas-themed storybook with inventive explanations for how Christmas magic really works, The Reindeer Chronicles: The Great Candy Cane Caper is the perfect literary treat to help little ones get in the holiday spirit.

The Environmental Shelf

Brainiac's Go Green! Activity Book
Mara Conlon, author
David Klug, illustrator
Heather Zschock, designer
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
9781593598068, $12.99

Recommended for young people ages eight and up, Brainiac's Go Green! Activity Book is a hardbound, spiral-spined (the better to lay flay for easy use), consumable activity book with an eco-friendly theme. Even a pen made of recycled materials is included! Chapters are packed with money-saving, earth-first recycling tips from remembering to recycle one's phone book to donating used clothes to a secondhand store rather than giving them away, making the most of reusable plastic bottles instead of buying water bottles over and over again, and much more. Activities include word finds, crosswords, connect the dots, mazes, and more. Packed with fascinating scientific information about the earth as well as solid basics for being an ecologically friendly citizen, Brainiac's Go Green! Activity Book is enthusiastically recommended as a gift that educates as well as entertains, especially in today's modern world of increasingly scarce natural resources.

The Jobs/Careers Shelf

Our Farm
Michael J. Rosen
Darby Creek Publishing
7858 Industrial Parkway, Plain City, OH 43064
9781581960679, $18.95 1-800-328-4929

Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family's Farm is a densely packed, 144-page nonfiction book portraying the many aspects of day-to-day life on an Ohio family farm. From raising chickens and cows, to delivering calves, disposing of manure, showing pigs at a fair, hunting, cleaning and cooking animals for their meat, putting together square bales of hay and much more, Our Farm gives a living, breathing, look at the hard work, good food, fun, and challenges that flows by in the yearly turn of a farm's seasons. Chapters are narrated in quotes of various family members, and illustrated with beautiful color photography on virtually every page. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections, Our Farm is a vital educational resource particularly given how today's American society is increasingly estranged from its agricultural roots.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

It's Moving Day!
Pamela Hickman, author
Geraldo Valerio, illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781554530748, $16.95 1-800-265-0884

It's Moving Day! is an exceptional children's picturebook that surveys the many woodland animals occupying an underground burrow throughout the seasons. From a cottontail rabbit, who raises five tiny kits, to a yellow-spotted salamander, to a raccoon mother, milk snakes, and more, each inhabitant finds safety and security while they need it, yet each has to move on when the time comes. The final page has thumbnail biographies of each creature, too! Illustrated in the dynamic, colorful style of artist Geraldo Valerio, It's Moving Day! is a captivating introduction to the amazing world of the wildlife that might easily be found in one's own backyard. Highly recommended.

Who's Been Here? A Tale in Tracks
Fran Hodgkins, author
Karel Hayes, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892727148, $15.95 1-800-685-7962

Who's Been Here? A Tale in Tracks is a thoughtful children's picturebook that introduces young people to the concept of recognizing different animals by their tracks. Three children and their golden retriever are out on a winter's day; their dog spots a number of different animal tracks in the snow. One set belongs to a cat, another to a turkey, still another a moose - uh-oh, those lead to a skunk! The colorful artwork beautifully captures the beauty of fresh winter morning snow, in this playful and inquisitive story.

The Self-Help Shelf

Nobody's Perfect
Ellen Flanagan Burns, author
Erica Pelton Villnave, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433803796, $14.95 1-800-374-2721

Though written for young people ages 8-12 (grades 3-6), Nobody's Perfect: A Story for Children About Perfectionism is more than a storybook; it directly addresses a very common psychological problem among both kids and adults - the compulsion to be perfect. Young Sally Sanders feels like a failure if she can't be the best; as a result she procrastinates, avoids new experiences, and relentlessly compares herself to other. Her teachers and mother try to help her overcome her inferiority complex, and she gradually learns the fun of relaxing and trying out new things without worrying so much about being the best. "Sally was surprised to hear her mom say that it was important to work hard and have fun... 'But I might not be any good at soccer,' Sally added. It was the real reason she didn't sign up. She felt embarrassed to admit that she might not be good at something... 'That's okay,' Mrs. Sanders assured her. 'Imagine all the fun you'll miss if you let that stop you.'" The thoughtful handling of an important real-life issue makes Nobody's Perfect highly recommended, and an absolute must-have for children's grade school and public library collections. Nobody's Perfect is also available in a paperback edition (9781433803802, $8.95).

The Preschool Shelf

Mommy & Daddy Help Me Grow
P.S. Cantor
On the Grow
c/o Syllable Publishing
935 Blue Gentian Road, Eagan, MN 55121
9780979909108, $7.95

Mommy & Daddy Help Me Grow is a board book perfect to share with little ones up to three years of age. The text consists of simple, rhyming early-life lessons like "I eat fruits and veggies red, yellow and green. / Then bathtime makes me soft and clean." The soft color illustrations of infants and their loving parents reinforce the family-bond emphasis of this delightful baby book.

The Cookbook Shelf

Kids! Picture Yourself Cooking
MaranGraphics Inc.
Course Technology
c/o Cengage Learning
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, Mi 48331-3535
9781598635256, $12.99,

Children who are taught fundamental kitchen skills and who are imbued with an appreciation for cooking will find those to be assets and attitudes that will serve them and their loved-ones well throughout the course of their lives. Designed specifically for children ages 7 to 12, "Kids! Picture Yourself Cooking" is a compendium of wonderful recipes with step-by-step 'kid friendly' directions. Information is provided with respect to basic kitchen tools and their uses, food safety, and simple cooking skills that are employed in common cooking preparations. Enhanced with a glossary, 'special tips', and fun cooking facts, "Kids! Picture Yourself Cooking" is an ideal introductory cookbook for aspiring young kitchen chefs and a welcome addition to family, school home economics classes, and community library instructional reference collections.

The Fiction Shelf

The Last Cowboys
Harry Horse
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561454518, $12.95,

An old man and his dog and a hilarious adventure. "The Last Cowboys" is told through a series of letters from a Grandfather to his grandchild as he travels across America to find his dog Roo's grandfather, an ex-actor who has taken residence in the Wild West. An entertaining story to be read between parent and child featuring ducks, democratic horses, and more, "The Last Cowboys" is something to consider for any with a need for a good children's story.

Captain's Best Imbecile
Marie E.H. Burghard
860 Aviation Parkway, Suite 300, Morrisville, NC 27560
9781435738072, $12.99,

Suddenly Pre-Algebra seems all the more bearable. "Captain's Best Imbecile: A Young Pirate's Story" follows young Jack as he finds himself an unwilling member of a pirate crew. The crew, of course, is not the smartest of the bunch, which makes Jack's time easier in some ways, harder in others. A rolling story of humor that tackles popular fantasy and pirate story cliches with a razor wit, "Captain's Best Imbecile" is a great story for any child with an interest in pirates.

The Adventures of One Feather
Daniel Farside, author
Ron Wheeler, illustrator
One Feather Books
$3.95 each

Based on stories and characters that author Daniel Joseph Farside created to tell his son Alex while he was growing up, The Adventures of One Feather is a set of children's chapter books with simple black-and-white illustrations, following the exploits of young One Feather of the fictional Kattywampas Native American tribe in the Valley of Endless Breath. In book 1, "One Feather Takes a Leap of Friendship" (9780967110820), One Feather's friend Crumbling Rock must learn not only how to harden one's skin against cruel words from another boy, but also the true meaning of courage and the importance of helping others. In book 2, "The Race Up Rattlesnake Mountain" (9780967110837) One Feather tries to convince Crumbling Rock to join him in a traditional race up Rattlesnake Mountain - a dangerous affair, but participating in a competition and giving it one's all has its own rewards! In book 3, "Earning the Golden Feather" (9780967110844), a rare Golden Feather is discovered - who does it belong to? Or rather, who is most worthy to wear this treasure through their brave deeds? All three books are fun and easy-to-follow, great for preteens to read on their own or for adults to read aloud during storytime.

Wings of a Bee
Julie Roorda
Sumach Press
1415 Bathurst Street, #202, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5R 3H8
9781894549684, $10.95,

No one's childhood is normal, and definitely not Bronwyn's. "Wings of a Bee" follows her strange and unique childhood, filled with paranormal beings who scare off the few friends she can make. The only person she can call her friend is her little sister, Carey. Carey is a sick little girl, and seems to be getting sicker. Bronwyn simply doesn't know how to deal with this, making "Wings of a Bee" a riveting tale many children will relate to.

Ribbon the Border Collie
Lyn Bezek, author
Su Hand, illustrator
Western Reflections Publishing Company
PO Box 1149, Lake City, CO 81235
9781932738513, $11.95 970-994-0110

Ribbon the Border Collie: From Herder to Healer is a chapter book for young adults about a strong-willed, black-and-white Border Collie who loves to herd sheep, cattle, goats, and even the family cat. But when Ribbon is injured by a car, she is no longer able to herd animals. Her owner Allison is devastated, but Allison's mother suggests that perhaps Ribbon can become a Therapy Dog, who brings good cheer to patients in hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes. Can Ribbon learn new tricks, and even a new career? A heartwarming inspirational story about adapting to change and discovering new talents, highly recommended for young dog lovers.

Penny the One-Eyed Puppy
Gerald A. Starr
Vantage Press
419 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10016
9780533158928, $7.95,

There are very few things in this world that determination cannot overcome. "Penny the One-Eyed Puppy" tells of one puppy in particular by the name of Penny. Born with one eye, she was rejected by her owner, but was soon adopted by a caring family. Despite her disability, she over came and did what any dog would do, and brought much love and kindness to her family. "Penny the One-Eyed Puppy" is a treat for children who are dog lovers who want to understand the differences about people through their canine friends.

Twoey & the Goat
Robbie Timmons
Mitten Press
2500 South State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
9781587265174, $15.95 1-877-722-2264

Set at a ranch that exists specifically to raise racehorses, Twoey & the Goat is the story of a young horse named Two Links Black (affectionately nicknamed "Twoey") who has the bloodline of champions. But natural talent is not enough - he needs to train, developing his running skills, concentration, and confidence to grow up a winner. Told from Twoey's point of view, Twoey & the Goat follows a racehorse's life from intense training to the excitement of the race to the thrill of victory and the pain of career-ending injuries. The final couple pages tell the real-life story of Twoey, an actual horse upon whom the story is based. Twoey & the Goat is especially recommended for young horse lovers who enjoyed the classic "Black Beauty" and yearn for more.

The Ghost of Northumberland Strait
Lori Knutson
Napoleon & Company
178 Willowdale Avenue, Suite 201, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M2N 4Y8
9781894917438, $9.95 1-877-730-9052

The Ghost of Northumberland Strait is a chapter book for young adults, following a thirteen-year-old girl named Charly (with a "shhh") who moves to Prince Edward Island with her mother and sister. When she and her friends dare to break into an old weather-worn house, she feels the emanation of a mysterious presence. Drawn to investigate the mystery further, she discovers the building transformed into the grand manor it once was, and inhabited by a young woman only Charly can see. A thoughtful, haunted mystery, sure to captivate young readers to the very last page.

Kyleah's Tree
Janet Muirhead Hill
Raven Publishing Inc.
PO box 2866, 125 Cherry Creek Road, Norris, MT 59745
9780977252596, $12.00,

When nothing is going right, sometimes all you can do is run away. "Kyleah's Tree" is the tragic tale of one young Kyleah. Losing her brother, losing her father, losing her own personal place, she finds the only person to understand her in her foster brother. The two leave the serenity of Kansas on a long whirlwind journey that crosses international borders, learning that even when things are at their worst, love and respect can bring joy to one's heart. "Kyleah's Tree" is a unique story of growing up done in a rarely before seen way, greatly recommended to youth readers.

Boomtown Book One
Nowen N. Particular
Thomas Nelson
P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781400313457, $16.99, 323 pp.,

Searching for a book that will ignite the interest of intermediate level readers -- particularly boys? "Boomtown Book One" is a very highly imaginative, entertaining, and reader engaging novel by author Nowen N. Particular which brings to life 'Boomtown', a quirky place that is home of Chang's Famous Fireworks Factory, a series of robberies and lots of strange neighbors whose favorite past time is blowing things up! Enhanced with the inclusion of more than 85 drawings and maps throughout its pages, "Boomtown" will keep the kids reading with great enthusiasm from first page to last. Beneath all the explosions, "Boomtown" also explores the central question of what a health community looks like as the main characters struggle to trust their neighbors. Delightfully funny, visually stimulating, deftly written, "Boomtown" is especially recommended for 'tween' aged young readers. With a free teacher's guide, as well as additional information on the author, "Boomtown" can be obtained and would make a popular addition to any school or community library fiction collection.

Jonathan's Journey to Mount Maipu
Ellen Wolfson Valladares
Argami Productions
PO Box 267702, Weston, FL 33326
Blessingway Author Services (publicity)
134 East Lupita Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505
9780979832406, $12.95,

Heroes come in the most unlikely forms. "Jonathan's Journey to Mount Maipu" tells of a child who is afraid of the dark, awkward, yet soon finds himself the only hope against a Shadow looming over a mountain he gets lost on. A host of charming characters go to help him on his journey, giving young readers much to inspire them and learn to value friends. "Jonathan's Journey to Mount Maipu" is a great fantasy for juvenile readers, recommended.

The Francis Tree
Kevin Prochaska
Evergreen Press
PO Box 191540, Mobile, AL 36619
9781581692693, $12.99

A question asked by many a young child and dog lover where do pets go when they die? "The Francis Tree: A Delightful Tale for Animal Lovers of All Ages" is a Christian children's book that seeks to answer that common question through fiction. Thomas discovers a special place and is shocked when he finds every species of animal on the earth within. He then meets Francis, the man behind all of this, who tells of what it's all about, the dark secrets within. "The Francis Tree" is a good choice for fiction for young Christian fantasy readers.

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

Barnaby Grimes is a tick-tock boy: a messenger boy who uses any and unusual means to delivery his message in a urban world packed with hellish creatures. His journey across the rooftops one night leads him to encounter the huge beast that is threatening the world and when his old friend vanishes, it's up to Barbaby to uncover the truth in the gripping fantasy story by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell, Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the Night Wolf (9780385751254, $15.99). Polly Horvath's MY ONE HUNDRED ADVENTURES (9780375845826, $16.99) tells of pre-teen Jane, who is ready to move beyond her family and their cozy hose by the see to step into strange places. And that summer adventures keep finding her, from a solo ride in a hijacked hot-air balloon to strange new friendships and uncertain family relationships. A fine story of discovery evolves. Michael Scott's THE MAGICIAN (9780385733588, $16.99) adds to 'The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel', this telling of a dangerous book that holds the secret to the destruction of the world and two children who hold the key to preventing disaster. This companion to THE ALCHEMYST blends mythology, folklore and magic in a fine addition to the series saga. Henry H. Neff's THE TAPESTRY: THE SECOND SIEGE (9780375858965, $16.99) is also second in a series, this telling of a hidden artifact whose pages hold the key to creating or destroying existence itself. A dangerous quest to protect the dangerous artifact from a vengeful demon draws individuals around the world into magical corners of influence in this second in a series, recommended for fans of the first installment. Laurel Snyder's UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS (9780375847196, $16.99) tells of a milkmaid and her best friend, a prince, who have spent much of their young lives playing and teasing. But now Wynston is commanded to locate a princess companion and Lucy feels left out so she leaves on a mission to find the mystery of her missing mother. Wynston's search for his playmate involve the two in a series of mishaps and adventures in this fine story of self-discovery and friendship.

114 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011-5690

Impy and his friends are young cockroaches who just can't help butting in when anything concerns them especially when the roach family's home is threatened with ruin. And in such a case, it's up to little Impy to investigate the future of his colony and to uncover unique methods of saving his home. Add a healthy dose of intrigue and you have a fun, light-hearted read for kids in grades 4-6 with Jane Leslie Conly's Impetuous R., Secret Agent (9781423104186, $16.99). Donna Jo Napoli's MOGO, THE THIRD WARTHOG (9781423108160, $15.99) tells of a warthog who is the runt of the letter, determined to survive in the tough African savanna. When it's time for him to leave home he faces many dangers and ironically his bossy, lazy older siblings may not have his resilience when it comes to survival tactics. A fine story of friendship and survival evolves in this fun adventure born of The Three Little Pigs.

Antsy Does Time
Neal Shusterman
375 Hudson Street, new York NY 10014
9780525478256, $16.99

Antsy Bonano and his pal are watching a struggle with a runaway parade balloon when Antsy finds out his friend has only six months to live. Antsy gives him a month of his life to help out and crazy misadventures affect both of them in this fun story of fantasy and high spirits.

River Song
Belinda Hollyer
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10017
082342149X, $16.95

Jessye loves living with her Nana in the Maori village by the river, but she also misses her mother and their very different world in the city. So when one day her mother returns and asks Jessye to return to the city, she's willing to give her flighty mother one more chance until a handsome stranger threatens her world. Her determination to survive and build a better life makes for an inviting saga of change and adjustment in RIVER SONG.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Imagine... Amazing Me!
Libbi Chilia
Halo Publishing International
6415 Granger Road, Independence, Ohio 44131
9780979742934, $12.95

Imagine... Amazing Me! is a simple, easy-reader picturebook showing full-color photographs of many different young children (ages 1-7 or so) with limb disabilities playing sports, reading books, and generally enjoying life with smiles on their faces. "It must be really hard to be a person who has a disability. Glad I don't." The positive, upbeat message for kids is that a limb disability can't stop someone from making the most out of life. Highly recommended, not just for children with limb disabilities, but also for any child who has a friend or a classmate with a malformed limb.

Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

StingRay, Lumphy and Plastic are back in more adventures for middle school readers in Emily Jenkins' TOY DANCE PARTY (978037539351, $16.99): six interconnected stories, to be specific, about toy best friends who band together as their little girl owner ages, and they must face worries over new toys. Between worries about going old, though, the toy pals have fun and adventures from a snowstorm to the dreaded vacuum cleaner. An engaging, whimsical fantasy. Marion Dane Bauer's THE GREEN GHOST (9780375804838, $11.99) tells of Christmas Eve hen a family on the way to a grandmother's house in a snowstorm hits a dangerous blizzard. A kindly old man helps and a green ghost who needs help is the key to future happiness in this companion to THE RED GHOST and THE BLUE GHOST. Joan Betty Stuchner's HONEY CAKE (9780375851896, $11.99) tells of David Nathan, whose life in Copenhagen has changed after Nazis take over. His parents always worry and his older sister keeps strange hours. Will David's special errand one night change his life? A fine story of survival and courage emerges. Judy Blume's GOING, GOING GONE! WITH THE PAIN AND THE GREAT ONE (9780385733076, $12.99) receives James Stevenson's fun and simple cartoon drawings as it provides seven funny new stories about Jake and Abigail, who are always experiencing adventure. Grades 3-5 will find it a lively set of adventures perfect for chapter book involvement. Lenore Look's ALVIN HO: ALLERGIC TO GIRLS, SCHOOL, AND OTHER SCARY THINGS (9780375839146, $15.99) tells of a boy who is afraid of nearly everything, from bridges and substitute teachers to girls. But he loves comics and superheroes and dreams he also is a superhero. Can Alvin overcome his many fears to be a true superhero? LeUyen Pham's fun drawings accent a realistic tale.

c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson, New York NY 10014

The kids in Room 3B are excited when a real mailbox is donated to their room and they get to learn how mail is delivered. Miss Mackle assigns everyone a job but when several kids find their bookmarks vanish, Harry discovers a thief is using the mailbox. It's up to them to investigate in Suzy Kline's Horrible Harry and the Dead Letters (9780670063468, $13.99 ), a fine tale for beginning chapter book readers. Janet Taylor Lisle's HIGHWAY CATS (9780399250705, $14.99) provides a fine tale of a tough bunch of stray cats holed up in the woods and the arrival of three tiny kittens who manage to cross a busy highway to find them. The mystical kittens prove not only resilient but bring together the highway cat clan in a battle against bulldozers in this fine story of cat courage.

Gran, You've Got Mail!
Jo Hoestlandt
Delacorte Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385735650, $14.99

Annabella's father wishes her to master the computer keyboard so Annabelle decides to begin writing to Gran, her great-grandmother, to add interest. Of course Gran is not online so Annabelle must print and mail her letters off but a correspondence soon evolves between the two evoking friendships and understanding. A fine story of evolving family ties between generations makes for an inviting easy reader.

Ursula Vernon
c/o Harcourt Children's Books
525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
9780152063757, $15.00

Nurk is a quiet shrew who hides at home until a mysterious letter involves him in a dangerous rescue mission and Nurk is not a brave soul. His adventures with strange dragonflies and others will gain him a host of friends, a few enemies, and many terrifying moments in this story of a shy shrew who is not very brave despite his new calling. Elementary grades will find it a gentle, fun story.

The Picturebook Shelf

Taylor's Birthday Party
Hana Khan, author
Mai S. Kemble, illustrator
Red Cygnet Press
11858 Stoney Peak Drive, #525, San Diego, CA 92128
9781601080486, $15.95

Taylor's Birthday Party is a charming children's picturebook about the treasure that is true friendship. Baker and Taylor are two anthropomorphic cats and best friends. Taylor's birthday is coming, so Baker decides to throw a special surprise party. But there are so many tasks to perform; one disaster strikes after another. Ultimately Baker learns that no matter what went wrong in the execution of the party, it's the effort, love, and hard work that matter most. As a special bonus, young people can hunt through the colorful pictures to discover eight mice hiding in the pages. An upbeat story, good for parents to share with children or for young people to discover on their own.

Ethan the Ending Eater
Debbie Ladd, author
Shaun Nakasone, illustrator
Deb on Air Books
9780972761529, $17.95

Veteran high school teacher Debbie Ladd presents Ethan the Ending Eater, a rhyming children's picturebook about a mysterious succession of robberies - endings from books everywhere have disappeared! Hot on the trail, Detective Robbins and his faithful dog at last discover mischievous elf who has been eating endings. Fortunately, the remorseful elf changes his ways - "I'll eat my fruits and vegetables / And whole wheat bread and jelly. / For books stay in the head and heart, / While food goes in the belly." The bright, cartoony illustrations perfectly complement this wonderful, read-aloud storybook designed to foster a love of reading in young people. Highly recommended especially for children's library picturebook collections.

The Rope
Joe Kulka
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589804876, $15.95 1-800-843-1724

Award-winning author and artist Joe Kulka presents The Rope, a children's picturebook about the dangers of getting what you wish for. A farm family sees a mysterious rope danging from the sky, with the sign "Pull for More" on it. What could it mean? Well, when they call for something and pull on the rope it drops down from the sky - but it's not such a simple prospect. Calling for "soup" gets one drenched with food, calling for "shoes" just rains down a host of non-matching left-footed shoes, and calling for "money" rains down pennies from the sky - a storm that lasts for hours and does severe damage to the house and the truck! The family finally learns their lesson and burns the rope, but on the last page a metal chain has appeared in its place. A charming tale, brought life with brilliantly exuberant (but not excessively exaggerated) artwork.

Class Three at Sea
Julia Jarman, author
Lynne Chapman, illustrator
Carolrhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9780822576174, $16.95 1-800-328-4929

Class Three at Sea is a whimsical, rhyming children's picturebook following a class of children on a field trip aboard a boat. They enjoy the sights and befriend an octopus in need, and the octopus turns out to be their best ally when pirates take over the ship! With help from sea creatures, the pirates are overthrown, and the kids make the miraculous discovery of an island of treasure. A playful storybook that never takes itself too seriously, Class Three at Sea is a cheery adventure from cover to cover. Also sure to delight young readers is the previous picturebook in the series, "Class Two at the Zoo".

Oh No, Woolly Bear!
Patricia McFadden, author
Michele Coxon, illustrator
Star Bright Books
The Star Building, 30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595721495, $6.50 1-800-788-4439

Oh No, Woolly Bear! is a new softcover "Lift-the-Flap Book" about a little woolly bear caterpillar and his search to find just the right place to spend the winter. The rhyming narrative follows Woolly Bear as he asks one insect (or arachnid) after another where they spend the cold months, and whether they have any room. But a bee's hive is only for bees; a gathering of ladybugs is too crowded; and the dragonfly nymph stays under the cold ice - far too chilly! At last Woolly Bear finds a whirligig beetle friend to snuggle up next to for the winter. Each two-page spread features a flap young readers can lift to continue the story, making Oh No, Woolly Bear! a delight for inquisitive young readers, though the flaps are a bit too fragile to withstand the rigors of public library usage.

The Baseball Brothers
Anne Fredrickson, author
Kathryn Weaver, illustrator
White Barn Books
6905 290th Street W., Northfield, MN 55057
9780615201467, $12.95

The Baseball Brothers is a children's picturebook about the true story of a large family who grew up on a farm together. For fun, there was next to nothing the brothers loved more than to play baseball together! "There were enough brothers to have a player for every position on the team, plus a batboy and two coaches. Grandpa Herman played second base and center field." The team even enjoyed a thrilling victory at a county fair game! Eventually the brothers got older and didn't have time to play baseball with one another anymore, but they retained a love of the sport which they handed down to their children. The soft color artwork evokes the exuberant spirit of late 1920's America, and an author's note includes photographs of the family that played together. An unforgettably vivid book of a family that was literally big enough to be its own baseball team!

The Bomb that Followed Me Home
Cevin Soling, author
Steve Kille, illustrator
Monk Media
303 Park Avenue South, Suite 1063, NY, NY 10010
Leighton Media (publicity)
9780976777120, $14.95

The third book in the Rumpleville Chronicles of Fairly Twisted Fairy Tales, The Bomb that Followed Me Home is a topsy-turvy adventure following a young boy who is followed home by an incessantly friendly new pet. No, not a puppy (though it behaves just like one, oddly enough) - it's a playful bomb, complete with fuse! But taking proper care of a pet bomb is a big responsibility, and when it tracks mud in the house one too many times, a new home has to be found for it. The bomb-as-a-pet is most assuredly not the only surreal aspect to The Bomb that Followed Me Home; there are neighbors that speak in (translated) gibberish, not to mention the shocking "Kaboom" after the mundane "The End"! The whimsical, modern-art style of the illustrations are a perfect fit for the loopy mood of this delightful story.

First Dog Fala
Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, author
Michael G. Montgomery, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561454112, $16.95 1-800-241-0113

First Dog Fala is a children's picturebook based on the true story of the bond between American President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his little black terrier Fala. Given to Roosevelt as a gift from his cousin in 1940, Fala was the President's loyal friend through the darkest times of World War II. Chapters relate true anecdotes, such as the day Fala was given a birthday cake to eat but wouldn't chow down until all guests had left the room, or a true story of public outcry about when Fala was left behind on a Pacific island and a destroyer was sent to retrieve him, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and starting a public outcry. ("Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them," FDR famously said). The subtle, color illustrations bring to life this true story from Fala's diminutive point of view, in this wonderful picturebook especially recommended for young dog lovers.

The Dragonfly Secret
Clea and John Adams, authors
Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
Feather Rock Books, Inc.
4245 Chippewa Lane, Maple Plain, MN 55359
9781934066133, $16.95

A companion book to "The Dragonfly Door", The Dragonfly Secret: A Story of Boundless Love is a gentle children's picturebook about the friendship a between young boy and a simple dragonfly. The boy asks the dragonfly to do a couple small things in exchange for learning a secret; the dragonfly agrees to convey a message by finding an old baseball cap, landing on it, then touching a teddy bear while the boy's parents watch. Eventually, the dragonfly learns the true meaning of the message - the boy's parents can't see him anymore, but the dragonfly has a special gift, one that can show that the boy still loves them and is thinking about them. A heartwarming story about love that transcends the infinite, The Dragonfly Secret features text a little more complicated than that of most simple books, and is best shared between parents and children, especially in the wake of great loss. Also highly recommended is "The Dragonfly Door" (9781934066126, $17.95).

Adventures at Walnut Grove
Dana Lehman, author
Judy Lehman, illustrator
Lehman Publishing
15997 Hough Road, Allenton, MI 48002
9780979268601, $15.95

Adventures at Walnut Grove: A Lesson about Teasing is a children's picturebook about a group of forest animal children learning how to get along and have fun together. The story focuses on the harm that teasing can do - bad names or words can cause hurt, and keep even friends from having fun. The primary moral is "treat others the way that you would like to be treated. If you wouldn't like being called names please don't call other people names. It does not feel good to be teased." The beautiful color artwork brings the animal friends to life in a surprisingly realistic style, though they engage in anthropomorphic activities like an impromptu baseball game. An excellent picturebook, especially recommended for parents to share with children while teaching them proper behavior.

The King In The Field
Dina Rosenfeld & Jessica Schiffman
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628421, $10.95,

A picturebook is particularly effective for teaching children moral values while entertaining them at the same time. Written by former pre-school teacher and original children's storyteller Diana Rosenfeld, and charmingly enhanced with the colorful illustrations of children's book artist Jessica Schiffman, "The King In The Field" is a hardcover picturebook specifically designed for children ages 3 to 6 and tells the story of five friends who dream of seeing the king and making requests of him. A parable of the Hebrew month of Elul (just before the start of the Jewish New Year), "The King In The Field" will help boys and girls to understand that this is one of the best times to approach G-d with prayers and requests. "The King In The Field" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, synagogue, and community library picturebook collections for children.

Iris Has a Virus
Arlene Alda, author
Lisa Desimini, illustrator
Tundra Books
Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9780887768446, $18.95

Iris discovers that having a stomach virus is exhausting and her brother lets her know she always gets sick at the 'wrong time'. The blend of coping with illness and sibling rivalry makes for a fine set of rhyming couplets and paper-cut collage illustrations by Lisa Desimini, making a vivid story of illness, recovery, and family interactions.

Traction Man Meets TurboDog
Mini Grey
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375855832, $16.99

Traction Man is back in a sequel to TRACTION MAN IS HERE!, this offering a new set of adventures revolving around Traction Man and his pet Scrubbing Brush. This time it's up to Traction Man to save his dog from the Evil Bin Things. He must brave slimy spaghetti, potato peelings and more in the trash can to save his faithful friend in this hilarious cartoon comedy, perfect for reluctant picturebook readers.

The Donut Chef
Bob Staake
Golden Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
9780375844034, $14.99

A rollicking rhyme enlivens the beat of THE DONUT CHEF, telling of a baker who opens a business on a small street and watches the lines form for his famous donuts - until the competition arrives and a 'battle of the bakers' erupts. In an effort to out-do each other the donuts become stranger and stranger but two-year-old Debbie doesn't want anything memorable, all she wants is a plain glazed donut. Can her needs change a baker's path? A fine story of competition and unique fare evolves.

The Hinky-Pink
Megan McDonald
c/o Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0689875886, $16.99

Ages 4-8 will relish this story of a Hinky-Pink and a young seamstress in Old Italy who has only days to finish a beautiful grown for the princess to wear at the Butterfly Ball. A Hinky-Pink's unhappiness threatens the making of the gown, giving many pinches to express its dismay, in this story of supernatural influence.

Viking Press
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

SIMMS TABACK'S GREAT BIG BOOK OF SPACEY SNAKEY BUGGY RIDDLES by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg (9780670011216, $17.99) provides a satisfying collection to make kids laugh. Ages 5 and up will appreciate the blend of zany color drawings and whimsical riddles revolving around aliens, space, and otherworldly oddities. Tanya Lee Stone's SANDY'S CIRCUS (9780670062683, $16.99) provides a fine saga of one Alexander Calder, or Sandy: a playful man who produced colorful metal sculptures and amazing mobiles seen in public places around the world. Boris Kulikov's lively drawings are fun and colorful embellishments of Sandy's life and achievements.

The Elephant Wish
Lou Berger
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
9780375839627, $16.99

From the head writer of Sesame Street comes a debut picture book pairing gorgeous drawings by illustrator Ana Juan with the story of eight-year-old Eliza, who wishes for an elephant to come take her away for her birthday. Two days later an elephant comes down her street and takes her into a magical jungle lost to her parents. What can convince Eliza that it's worth it to return home to her family after such a journey? THE ELEPHANT WISH is a lovely and whimsical original story.

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

Joe Fenton's WHAT'S UNDER THE BED? (1418649437, $15.99) offers hilarious large-size drawings to accompany a query of possible monsters under the bed. Black and white and some other basic colors are thrown into the large-size drawings to provide a whimsical fun look at all the monster potentials of one small child. Demi's THE GIRL WHO DREW A PHOENIX (1418653477, $21.99) tells of young girl Feng Huang who finds a phoenix feather that has fallen from the sky. When she tries to draw the magical bird to share her inspiration nobody can tell what it is but the Queen Phoenix tries to help, sending Feng on a journey to find wisdom and right judgment, and other elements only powerful when shared. Sarah L. Thomson's IMAGINE A PLACE (1416968024, $17.99) features gorgeous paintings by Rob Gonsalves as it provides a lovely companion to the popular IMAGINE A NIGHT and IMAGINE A DAY. The full-page paintings are lovely embellishments to the 'Imagine' invitation for young picture book readers.

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

One night while Little Rabbit is sleeping a scary monster appears in his dream and carries him away a monster which lives on into day time. How can Little Rabbit concentrate on his day activities knowing the monster will never go away? Kate and M. Sarah Klise's LITTLE RABBIT AND THE NIGHT MARE (9780152057176, $16.00) offers fine solutions for the very young. Kara LaReau and Scott Magoon's RABBIT & SQUIRREL: A TALE OF WAR & PEAS (9780152063078, $16.00) tells of two friends who love their gardens until their veggies began vanishing. They only have each other to blame, and war erupts between them with some surprising results. Robert Weinstock's GIANT MEATBALL (9780152055950, $16.00) tells of the largest, rudest meatball that ever rolled, providing a hilarious picture book story of one giant meatball that churns through fields and towns thinking everyone admires him when really, everyone's just fed up. A fine lesson in self-image emerges. Kurt Cyrus' TADPOLE REX (9780152059903, $16.00) tells of Rex and Rex's neighbors: all swamp inhabitant but all very different. For Rex is letting his Inner T-Rex show forth finally and it holds some froggy implications for his swamp friends and associates. Alice Schertle's LITTLE BLUE TRUCK (9780152056612, $16.00) receives Jill McElmurry's fine drawings as it tells of Blue, a little truck with big-rig courage. When a big yellow dump truck far more important than he becomes stuck, can Little Blue come to the rescue? Bruce Hale's SNORING BEAUTY (9780152163143, $16.00) retells the story of Sleeping Beauty and it's quite a re-telling. Take a language and hearing problem, add some embellishment, and make good reading skills one of the requirements to absorb a hilarious, complex version and you have a fine picturebook take-off with zany drawings by Howard Fine. John G. Keller's THE RUBBER-LEGGED DUCKY (9780152052898, $16.00) tells of a duckling different than all the others: he doesn't waddle, doesn't quack, and is very different. Can he elude a hungry, successful fox? Henry Cole's whimsical drawings add color to a fun story.

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

Graeme Base's latest ENIGMA: A MAGICAL MYSTERY (9780810972452, $19.95) follows in his THE ELEVENTH HOUR mystery and tells of Bertie Badger, who here solves the mystery of the vanishing magicians' props. Exquisite detail and gorgeous color mark another Graeme base winner as an amazing little investigator uncovers a number of clues. Susan Orlean's LAZY LITTLE LOAFERS (9780810970274, $16.95) enjoys drawings by G. Brian Karas as it questions why babies are 'lazy little loafers' who don't work and why people allow this. A little girl's observations and conclusions are hilarious. The original Laurent de Brunhoff book BABAR COMES TO AMERICA (9780810972445, $17.95) reprints a classic in telling what happens when the king of elephants receives an invitation to visit America. This 1965 winner is returned to print for the first time in many a year, and will prove appealing and fun to new Babar fans.

c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014

Will Moses' RAINING CATS AND DOGS (9780399242335, $17.99) covers all kinds of fun idioms and puzzling phrases, from how one can be 'in a pickle' to what happens when beans are spilled or fuses too short. Each phrase receives a definition and a fun, zany example perfect for read-aloud and quirky laughter. Stephen Krensky's SPARK THE FIREFIGHTER (9780525478874, $16.99) receives Amanda Haley's drawings as it tells of one Spark, who is a firefighter with a secret: he's a dragon afraid of fire. To be a proper dragon Spark must get over his fears and in fact his new job demands it in this fun story of courage. Jan Brett's GINGERBREAD FRIENDS (9780399251610, $17.99) tells of a lonely Gingerbread Baby who sets out to find a friend his own size but finds only frozen confections at the local bakery who are totally uninterested in friendships. When Gingerbread Baby is chased by hungry predators instead, he despairs of finding any real friends in this simple story of loneliness and searching.

The Science Shelf

Boy Were We Wrong about the Solar System!
Kathleen V. Kudlinski
c/o Penguin Publishing Group
345 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014
9780525469797, $15.99

Kathleen V. Kudlinski's BOY, WERE WE WRONG ABOUT THE SOLAR SYSTEM! is a light-hearted examination of the mistaken theories about the solar system and how science has changed over time. Fun drawings by John Rocco accompany light examinations of original theories and how they came to be disproven, from new technological advancements to the evolution of better telescopes. It's a fun survey for kids in grades 2-4.

The Biography Shelf

Ballots for Belva
Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011
9780810971103, $16.95

In 1884 men were the only people allowed to vote in national elections. One Belva Lockwood took the bold step of running for president to thwart the voting inequality and received votes. She fought for equal treatment for women, went to law school, and even argued cases before the Supreme Court: this picture book biography celebrates her life and little-known achievements.

Books in Series

Maren Green Publishing Inc.
5525 Memorial Ave. North, #6, Oak Park Heights, MN 55082 1-800-287-1512

Children by nature seek to please, to be helpful, to be curious, to fit in, and to want to succeed. Author Tod Snow has teamed up with illustrator Melodee Strong to create a series of four 24-page colorful paperback titles designed specifically for young children ages four and older to help them become the best that they can be. "You Are Healthy" (9781934277225, $8.99) focuses on what children can do to stay healthy through active play, eating right, washing their hands, drinking water, getting enough sleep, and simply spending time with those whom they love. "You Are Friendly" (9781934277188, $8.99) underscores the message that positive relationships with others is essential and created through such social skills and manners as saying 'please' and 'thank you', inviting others to join in and ply, treating animals and people kindly, offering to help out as a way of making and keeping friends. "You Are Helpful" (9781934277232, $8.99) introduces children to age-appropriate ways to help out and being independent such as putting toys away, getting dressed without assistance, waiting their turn, sitting sill at the doctor's office. "You Are Brave" (9781934277195, $8.99) is interpreted for children as being willing to meet new people, trying new foods, allowing friends to play with their toys, and being open to new experiences. Highly recommended for families, daycare centers, preschool programs, and elementary school library collections, all four of these outstanding and 'kid friendly' titles are also available as a set (9781934277140, $35.00).

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Marshall Cavendish's sets are fine references promising repeat interest from elementary-grade readers. The 'Saving Our World' series, for example ($19.95 each) holds 32 pages per book of basic information on conservation. Natalie Smith's HABITAT PROTECTION (9780761432258), Amanda Bishop's ENERGY CONSERVATION (9780761432241), Ellen Rodger's RECYCLING WASTE (9780761432227), Sean Price's WATER POLLUTION (9780761432210), Darren Sechrist's AIR POLLUTION (9780761432203) and Amanda Bishop's CLIMATE CHANGE (9780761432197) each narrow the focus on different aspects of world preservation, discussing all the basics of each issue and what is happening, from science to politics. The 'I've discovered' series provides 32-page books of simple introductory experiments to encourage kids to explore science through hands-on observation. Lynette Brent's HEAT (9780761451961), her LIGHT (9780761431985), Todd Plummer's ENERGY (9780761432029) and FORCE (9780761432045), and SOUND (9780761432074) and ELECTRICITY (9780761431954) all pack in exciting examples of basic science concepts. The 'Bug Alert' series offers 32-page books focusing on different types of bugs. Kirsten Weir's BUGS THAT HELP (9780761431923) and BUGS THAT LIVE ON ANIMALS (9780761431893), Cari Jackson's BUGS THAT BUILD (9780761431916), Gary Raham's BUGS THAT KILL (9780761431855), John Perritano's BUGS THAT LIVE ON US (9780761431879) and Cari Jackson's BUGS THAT DESTROY (9780761431886) all offer amazing eye-catching close-up color bug photos to delight any child interested in the insect world. Older readers in grades 4-6 will find perfect for reports the 95-page books in 'Family Trees ($23.95 each). Rebecca Stefoff does a fine job of pairing colorful photos with clear explanations of how the family trees work, from what makes up the family tree structure to living with different parts of the 'tree' inhabitants. THE MONERAN KINGDOM (9780761430766), THE CONIFER DIVISION (9780761430773), THE ARACHNID CLASS (9780761430759), THE RODENT ORDER (9780761430735) and SEA MAMMALS (9780761430728) are all outstanding detailed coverages with plenty of material suitable for reports. The 'Health Alert' library expands with new additions: each book of 64 pages for grades 3-5 holds basic health information and the latest research on various conditions. New to the series, $22.95 each) is L.H. Colligan's SLEEP DISORDERS (9780761429135) AND tick-borne illnesses (9780761429142), Terry Allan Hicks' OBESITY (9780761429111), Ruth Bjorklund's CYSTIC FIBROSIS (9780761429128), Camilla Calamandrei's FEVER (9780761429159) and Gretchen Hoffmann's CHICKEN POX (9780761429166). All are fine picks for health research. Also suitable for this age range up to grade 6 is 'The Amazing Human Body' ($23.95 each), with each book holding some 80 pages of facts about physiology. Gretchen Hoffman's DIGESTIVE SYSTEM (9780761430582), Ruth Bjorklund's CIRCULATORY SYSTEM (9780761430537), Lorrie Klosterman's ENDOCRINE SYSTEM (9780761430551), SKIN (9780761430575) and IMMUNE SYSTEM (9780761430544), Karen Haywood's SKELETAL SYSTEM (9780761430568) are all excellent and basic health system references. The 'Endangered!' series ($20.95 each) offers grades 3-4 some 46 pages of facts about different individual animals on the endangered species list. Karen Haywood's BEARS (9780761429876) and EAGLES (9780761429913), Marc Taylor Nobleman's SHARKS (9780761429883) and TIGERS (9780761429869), Johannah Haney's WHALES (9780761429906) and Ruth Bjorklund's WOLVES (9780761429937) all offer the basics about different threats to each species.

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

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