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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 11 November 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Holiday Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Poetry Shelf
History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Science Shelf
Geography Shelf Health Shelf Education Shelf
Native American Shelf Environmental Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Activity Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Music Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Counting Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Travel Shelf
Reference Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Ellie's Long Walk
Pam Flowers, author
Bill Farnsworth, illustrator
A. & A. Johnston Press
P.O. Box 188, Talkeetna, Alaska 99676
9780615340777, $9.95,

"Ellie's Long Walk: The True Story of Two Friends on the Appalachian Trail" is the story of a 2000 mile hike down the Appalachian Trail, taken by the author, Pam, and her faithful black Labrador, Ellie. Beginning in March of 2008, in Maine, Ellie and Pam hike together for 6 months, ending up at Amicola State Falls National park, Georgia. "Ellie's Long Walk" explains many unexpected dangers and trail obstacles met by the pair of travelers, including a thunderstorm with many downed trees, a tricky cliff climbing path to find, and an icy stream leading to a waterfalls, which Ellie falls into and narrowly escapes. Through discouragement, hardship, cold, injury, and discomfort, Ellie provides unfailing support and cheer to Pam, and the two keep going together until they make it to the end of the Appalachian Trail. Sensitive paintings of beautiful scenes, as well as frightening events, help document the epic journey of "Ellie's Long Walk. The only in-print children's book about the Appalachian Trail, "Ellie's Long Walk" has been nominated for the 2012 Chickadee Award (children's choice award from the state of Maine), the 2012 Red Clover Award (the children's choice award from Vermont), and also potentially the 2012 Children's choice award in Michigan and New Hampshire. "Ellie's Long Walk" belongs in every child's nature education library.

The Holiday Shelf

Cheryl Christian, author
Wish Williams, illustrator
Star Bright Books
30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595722836, $5.95,

"Witches" is an exciting, colorful, Halloween tale in verse, with a tiny but definite message of inclusiveness triumphantly embedded in both text and illustration. Capering, rollicking young witches in masks prepare for a spooky night of entertainment. First they make a disgusting gooey, concoction which all must taste. Then they clean up and prepare to go trick or treating outdoors in the dark and spooky night. Amidst all the fun, masks, costumes, candy, and celebration is one small witch with braces on her legs and adaptive cuff crutches to help her walk independently. She joins in the fun and later on the walk for treats outside she is seen in the background being pushed in a nice wheelchair. No special attention is paid to this particular witch, she is simply included in the festivities. Meanwhile the Halloween verse tale follows an enchanted path to a happy evening of festive fun for youngsters. "Witches" is sure to appeal to children age 4 and up, and to adults who will be pleased at its thoughtful, unassuming content.

Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving
Howard Binkow, author
Susan F. Cornelison, illustrator
Thunderbolt Publishing
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
978098261543, $15.00,

"Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving: A Christmas Story" is an illustrated tender teaching tale from the much beloved Howard B. Wigglebottom series produced by the We Do Listen Foundation, which teaches important life skills to children ages 4-8 using humor and realistic situations. Following Howard through a scary journey that teaches him to appreciate all the gifts he has taken for granted, "The Power of Giving" teaches children more about the true meaning of Christmas through learning to identify with those less fortunate than ourselves. A series of lesson and reflection questions are suggested at the end of the book for further reflection and learning. "Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving" is a gift that will go on giving. The color illustrations add charm and tangible glow to each page. Also recommended in this series is "Howard B. Wigglebottom Blends in Like Chameleons: A Fable About Belonging," (ISBN 9780982616550, $15.00).

The Picturebook Shelf

A Storm Called Katrina
Myron Uhlberg, author
Colin Bootman, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318
9781561455911, $17.95,

"A Storm Called Katrina" is the illustrated fictional story of a 10 year old boy named Louis Daniel who lived in New Orleans when it was struck by Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. Children will identify with the experiences encountered by young Louis during the impact of Katrina and in the desperate time that followed. Louis flees by boat with his mother and father to the Superdome and he experiences many strange and frightening events there. He manages to hang on to his beloved brass horn, which plays a crucial part in Louis' finding his father in the Superdome after he gets lost trying to find the family something to eat. The crowded and dangerous survival conditions in the Superdome are carefully described, in ways that Louis would have experienced them. Finally Louis' father finds him and his Mama and the buses come and people are taken to other locations for safety. But Louis and his family and an adopted stray dog decide to stay in New Orleans and begin rebuilding because it has always been their home. Additional facts and figures about Hurricane Katrina's disastrous impact on New Orleans are provided in the last two page, along with a list of other books and website resources on Hurricane Katrina. A portion of the proceeds from sales of "A Storm Called Katrina" will be donated to the Norman Mayer library in Gentilly, New Orleans, the area in which the fictional Louis Daniel lives.

Clucky the Hen
Mar Pavon, author
Monica Carretero, illustrator
Cuento de Luz
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9788415241089, $14.95,

"Clucky the Hen" is an English translation of a Spanish children's book destined to become an imaginative classic, winner of an International Latino Book Award by the Latin Literacy Now organization. Written for children ages 5-7. "Clucky the Hen" is an adorable character, with many quirky characteristics, beloved by her chicks. Although some have reported, from one country to another, the rum our that "Clucky is a terrible mother!" her chicks are devoted to her and feel safe with her despite her unpredictable ways. "Clucky the Hen" is translated into simple rhyme and three-dimensional-appearing, softly colored illustrations help illuminate the Hen's unique character. Children will love and identify with "Clucky the Hen," a beautiful story about the value of individuality and being true to yourself.

Laura Nadler Scott, author
Marguerite Massa, artist
Eifrig Publishing
P.O. Box 66, 701 Berry St., Lemont, PA 16851
9781936172412, $14.99,

"Achoo!" is a charming colorful illustrated sneezing monkey tale in tasteful verse. Filled with color and charm, "Achoo!" appeals to an audience of children ages 2 to 8 just what a monkey with a miserable cold should do to get well. Although Mayor Munkin believes it's his sole responsibility to come up with a cure, he discovers that the best ideas do not always have to be his. Wise monkey Mubby makes a healthy blue leaf soup that soon cures both little Lulu, Mayor Munkin, and everyone. "Achoo!" is a delightful rhyming tale with comic style color illustrations that children will love.

The Tree Monkeys
Wynne Marshall, author
Cynthia G. Hale, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781617772986, $11.99,

"The Tree Monkeys" is a colorfully illustrated morality fable for young children about a young boy who refused to share a tree he believed was his with other creatures. The myth of ownership is explored and debunked in this brilliantly illustrated story. The boy is outraged to find a disrespectful tribe of monkeys capering in his tree at the top of the mountain one day. He declares they are monsters and vows he will not share his tree with them, though they invite him up to a fruit picnic. To prove his rightful ownership, the boy brings a large axe the next day, and proceeds to laboriously chop the tree down. At his expected moment of triumph, he realizes he has destroyed his wonderful tree, rendering its birds, monkeys and other sheltered life forms including himself, tree-less. "The Tree Monkeys" is a sophisticated examination of the destructiveness of the myth of ownership, laced with humor, cartoon-like bright illustrations, and fresh dialogue.

A One-Eyed Horse in a One-Horse Town
Julie Mahler Harris, author
Bonnie Lemaire, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781456553371, $9.95,

"A One-Eyed Horse in a One-Horse Town" is a heartwarming tribute to the author's real horse, a half-blind old horse who could dance to music and stole the hearts of the town (minus one cranky neighbor). Written in song-like verse format and colorfully illustrated with zany, cheery paintings, "A One-Eyed Horse in a One-Horse Town" is a true tale of triumphing over limitations and overcoming disabilities. Children age 4 and up with get the message and enjoy the tale very much.

The Adventures of Sigi, a Day in the Mangrove Forest
Candace Carson, author/illustrator
Sigi and Lulu Productions
7508 Weeping Willow Drive, Sarasota, FL 342401
9781937339005, $11.99,

"The Adventures of Sigi: A Day in the Mangrove Forest" is the fifth book in The Adventures of Sigi series of children's picture books about a real dog who lives in Florida. Sigi tells the tale of his exploration of the Mangrove Forest in verse, with lots of repetition, color, shape and number recognition experiences for young readers. "The Adventures of Sigi: A Day in the Mangrove Forest" teaches observation of the many interdependent species that call the mangrove forest home, plus underlining respect and caution for animal species with some ability to threaten a dog or a human, such as poisonous snakes and/or alligators. This book and series is recommended for children ages 3-8. A special section at the end titled Did You See? encourages young readers to use their skills and visual senses to learn about the mangrove forest and its inhabitants. The quirky combo photo/collage illustrations display just the right combination of humor and information.

Pirate vs. Pirate
Mary Quattlebaum and Alexandra Boiger
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor, New York, NY 10011
9781423122012 $16.99

PIRATE VS. PIRATE: THE TERRIFIC TALE OF A BIG, BLUSTERY MARITIME MATCH tells of one Bad Bart, a burly boy pirate, who faces off with Mean Mo, the mightiest girl pirate on the opposite coast. When the two meet in the middle there's a contest to see who is the best pirate in the world. From cannonball-hurling to hurling pirate insults, this provides a fun, whimsical story perfect for picturebook readers with some basic skills who want something different in their story lines.

Tricycle Press
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019

Betsy Franco's DOUBLE PLAY: MONKEYING AROUND WITH ADDITION (9781582463841, $15.99) provides a basic primer on addition within the context of a fun picturebook tale. Here best friends on the playground discover the math concept of doubling as they explore jump roping, competitions and more. Kids receive a basic, easy introduction that will lead to multiplication skills in this fun primer. Anna Grossnickle Hines' I AM A TYRANNOSAURUS (9781582464138, $12.99) tells of a little boy who pretends to be different dinosaurs until his mother joins in with a snack and assumes the role of a mother dinosaur. A whimsical story evolves in a very simple picture book.

North-South Books
350 - 7th Avenue #1400, New York NY 10001-5013

Rick de Haas' PETER AND THE WINTER SLEEPERS (9780735840331, $16.95) tells of Peter, who lives in a lighthouse with his grandmother and his dog Leo. He loves his lighthouse home - until he gets snowed in and all the animals want to come in for refuge. His solution is to offer beds to them all - and fun drawings makes this a top pick for any leisure reader. Hans Christian Andersen's THE NIGHTINGALE (9780735840294, $16.95) receives lovely drawings by Pirkko Vainio and requires some reading skills for complete enjoyment. Gorgeous watercolors capture the essence of his lovely story in a recommended pick for any picturebook collection strong in classic folk stories.

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

Jane Kohuth's ESTIE THE MENSCH (9780375867781, $16.99) presents a young Jewish girl's discovery that to be a mensch means to be a good, well-behaved person. The trouble is: Estie doesn't want to be a well-behaved person - or even a person at all. She wants to be an animal - or anything but a mensch! The dual meaning of 'mensch' is explored in this whimsical story especially recommended for Jewish collections. April Stevens & Sophie Blackall's EDWIN SPEAKS UP (9780375853371, $16.99) tells of a disastrous shopping trip by the Finnemore family - who haven't even hit the stores yet, as Mrs. Finnemore keeps losing things. Baby Edwin is trying to help but he can only babble - or does he know something? A fun 'lost and found' story evolves. Hannah Shaw's SCHOOL FOR BANDITS (9780375867682, $16.99) tells of raccoon parents who worry about their child Ralph's terrible habits. He's clean, polite - how can he evolve into a great raccoon bandit? There's only one possible approach in this whimsical story of a too-good raccoon. Monica Brown's WAITING FOR THE BIBLIOBURRO (9781582463537, $16.99) tells of Ana, who loves stories but has read every book in her small village. One morning she encounters two burros carrying a traveling library full of books and finds her world enriched by all their stories. This takes the idea of the mobile library a step further and is a top recommendation for book-loving kids. The read-together rebus story WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL! By Judy Sierra (9780375867286, $7.99) tells of the first day of school for a frog and his three animal friends. In substituting pictures for many of the words, this provides a user-friendly introduction to ease new readers into the text concept. Phillis Gershator's MOO, MOO, BROWN COW, HAVE YOU ANY MILK? (9780375867446, $16.99) takes a well-known nursery rhyme and turns it into something different, offering new animals and twists on the concept. A little farm boy queries his animals about their talents and gifts in an engaging story paired with fun drawings by Giselle Potter. All are top recommendations!

The Fiction Shelf

The Dragonfly Prophecy
Jacquelyn Castle
Class Act Books
3000 N. Rock Road, Newton, KS 67114
9781935048831, $17.95,

Upon adulthood, all one truly has in uncertainty. "The Dragonfly Prophecy" tells the story of Lexi Blane, as she faces adulthood and what lies ahead of her. As everything she knows collapses onto herself, she learns of her destiny and what she can do about it. An intriguing coming of age novel, "The Dragonfly Prophecy" is very much recommended reading.

Lucy Dakota
C. S. Shride
My Piece of the Puzzle, LLC
PO Box 261179,
Lakewood, CO 80226-1179
9780983386315, $22.95,

Exploration is more than knowing something's there, it's truly discovering it for yourself. "Lucy Dakota: Rocky Mountain Beginnings" is a modern adventure novel following the story of Lucy, an adventurous girl who embarks on a journey throughout the Rocky mountains and sees a good dose of the rest of the natural world. Sure to be a treat for any young readers who have a fascination with the giant world we live in, "Lucy Dakota" is a fine pick and much recommended addition to any young adult fiction collection.

The Birthday Present
Roy Stanley, author
Roy Stanley and Vickie Froelich, illustrators
Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
701 Smithfield St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9781434909091, $9.00,

"The Birthday Present" is a delightful story in brief chapters about an owl who decides to give himself a name for a birthday present, so that he can introduce himself to all the other animals at the birthday tea party. Of course this strikes the other animals as a bit odd or even unfair, until they decide that Owl, in his wisdom, must pop out a name for each of them, so they can all attend the birthday tea party and introduce themselves and converse properly. Despite the exhausting reaction he experiences after each namegiving, Owl works his way through a long list of animal namings from Kookaburra to Platypus. The birthday tea party with tea and apricot yum-yums remains a center attraction, but the animals agree the odd wisdom of Owl is the main attraction. Charming black and white cartoon-like illustrations add zest to the characters of "The Birthday Present," which exudes a gentle type of old-fashioned appeal for young readers age 7 and up. Adults will also enjoy reading "The Birthday Present" to younger children.

Cimarron Sunrise
Brenda Turner
Yorkshire Publishing
9731 East 54th St., Tulsa, OK 74146
9780881442656, $12.99,

"Cimarron Sunrise" is a historical fiction novel for students in 4th grade and above about a single mother (who happens to be a sharpshooter taught by Jesse James) and her two children as they decide to stake a land claim in Indian Territory around the late 1800's, at the time of the first land rush. Nine year old Maddie and her older brother Nick face danger, floods, excitement and hardships on their trip west from Missouri with their Ma, Young readers will taste the adventure in every page, with an enriching portrait of the realities faced by young pioneers in the "Sooner" state before it was a state. Short, action- packed chapters are embellished with historically accurate, detailed black and white drawings, that all help keep the pages turning quickly. A short vocabulary list and some study questions under author's notes pages help to add to the quality education result of reading "Cimarron Sunrise."

Down the Mysterly River
Bill Willingham
c/o Tor/Forge
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9780765327925 $15.99

Down the Mysterly River pairs illustrations by mark Buckingham with Bill Willingham's first novel for young adults, telling of a Boy Scot and orienteering expert who suddenly finds himself lost in the woods, with no memory of how he got there. His encounters with talking animals leads him to realize he's no longer in his familiar Pacific Northwoods home - and is involved in a struggle against hunters who capture their prey and make them zombies. A fascinating tale evolves, perfect for young adults who like animal fantasies.

The Bridge
Stan Crader
610 East Delano Street, Suite 104
Tucson, AZ 85705
9781587369087, $21.95,

The concept of love strikes us hard and leaves us searching for it all too quickly. "The Bridge" is a coming of age tale as Tommy Thompson spends a summer with a motorbike in his sights as he tries to deal with middle school and brushes up with romance. With humor and a good dose of Christian faith, "The Bridge" is a fine pick with plenty to consider, highly recommended.

Emma, Dilemma, the Nanny, and the Best Horse Ever
Patricia Hermes
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761459057 $15.99

Emma, Dilemma, the Nanny, and the Best Horse Ever, tells of Emma, who has always loved animals but who really falls for the beautiful horse Rooney. She rides him at a stable and thinks of him as her own horse until she discovers he's for sale and becomes determined to buy him. Add her best friend's move and Emma faces a host of problems that seem to have no easy solutions. Kids ages 8-11 will find this a fine leisure read!

Elizabeth Miles
Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
9781442422247 $17.99

Fury tells of Chase and Emily, popular at high school who are in the right social set. But quarterback Chase hides his anger and poor foundations while Emily hides her secret crush on her best friend's boyfriend. Their impulse to act on their secret lives leads to danger when three beautiful girls appear to know their secrets - and are determined to make Chase and Emily pay. Kids ages 14 and older will find this a moving story.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Ramin Ganeshram's STIR IT UP! (9780545165822, $16.99) tells of Anjali Krishnan, a girl with a passion for cooking who grows up with food from her Indian parents' roti shop. Anjali wants to be a celebrity chef, so when she gets the opportunity to compete on a kids' cooking reality TV show, she works hard to make her dream come true. Cooking and family interactions provide a spicy plot recommended for teens who like food. Kathryn Lasky's WOLVES OF THE BEYOND: WATCH WOLF (9780545093149, $16.99) tells of an uncertain peace between the wolves and grizzly bears of the Beyond - a peace broken when a bear cub is snatched by a wolf. Faolan is a young wolf raised by a bear mother and finds himself in the middle of a race war in this vivid story, recommended for teen fantasy readers. Meg Cabot's ABANDON (9780545284103, $17.99) tells of Pierce, who has visited the realm of the dead and who has moved to a new town to escape her fears of death finding her. But the dark force after her has followed - and Pierce is afraid this time she won't escape the underworld he offers. A fine novel of afterlife and intrigue evolves for older readers. Garth Nix and Sean Williams' TROUBLETWISTERS (9780545258975, $16.99) tells of Jaide and Jack Shield, who find weather and magical disaster happens when they're around. The twins go to live with relatives they've never met when a mysterious explosion levels their house from the inside - and find danger follows them. This is Book One of a series, and opens with a bang. Jo Treggiari's ASHES, ASHES (9780545255639, $17.99) tells of a teen who lives beyond the end of civilization as she knows it - and who finds her beloved New York City is a new world. Lucy survives alone in the now-wild Central Park, hunting and foraging for food until she meets Aidan, who urges her to join a band of survivors. A top survival story evolves with many twists and turns. Susan Shreve's THE LOVELY SHOES (9780439680493, $16.99) tells of Franny, who suffers from both a birth defect in her foot and a beautiful and embarrassing mother. High school brings new challenges: dating and new social interactions Franny fears - but her mother plans a journey to Italy to a shoemaker who will create a custom pair of gorgeous shoes for her, and the journey will change her life. A vivid story of disability and achievement involves teens.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Brighter Books
4825 Fairbrook Crescent
Nanaimo, BC Canada V9T 6M6
9780986555589, $15.95,

You can't control everything forever. Set in a sci-fi world filled with clones and cyborgs, "Catalyst" follows young Micah, who through a turn of events finds that his fate and his future suddenly in his hands; can he push back against the heavy control that threatens to stifle him? The first of series, "Catalyst" is a riveting read that should prove very much hard to put down for young adult science fiction readers looking for a new series to sink their teeth into.

Miguel Lopez DeLeon
Moon Shadow Press
c/o Wakestone Press
200 Brook Hollow Road, Nashville, TN 37205
9781609560089, $18.99,

When power is discovered, one must learn how to use it responsibly. "Galadria: Peter Huddleston and the Ties of Passage" is a youth fantasy following young Peter as he comes to terms with his responsibility and power. He learns there is much to protect and there's more on the line for him than a summer gone wrong. "Galadria" is a fast paced and much recommended read that shouldn't be overlooked.

A Rat's Tale: Pemba Is Innocent!
Heidi Jackson, author
Kurt Jones, illustrator
Tate Publishing
127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064
9781606040355, $7.99,

"A Rat's Tale" is the first book in a series of juvenile fantasy fiction with a pair of giant rats for protagonists. Pemba and Prince Alden are two giant rats from opposite universes with one charge in common: They must leave their homes to seek out an experience known as the magical moment. Convinced they are the last of their kind, imagine the shock and surprise when hero and heroine meet in the Blue Forest and discover they were destined to be together. "A Rat's Tale" is full of surprises and action, with the plot twists perfectly amplified by black and white shaded drawings for illustrations. "A Rat's Tale" is just the right combination of fantasy, action and adventure with some solid core family values built in. This series will have high appeal to juvenile readers in the middle school years. Also recommended in this series is "A Rat's Tale II: Escape From Rattovia," (9781617396939, $12.99).

Spark the Stone Man
Asya Pekurovskaya, author
Olga Titova, illustrator
9780982848739, $21.00,

"Spark the Stone Man" is second book of the first series about the discovery of Lemon Drop Valley's secret dwellers. Characterized by incredible anime-influenced illustrations of high artistic quality and daring, imaginative action-oriented characters and plot twists, "Spark the Stone Man" takes the young reader farther into the strange fantasy world of Lemon Drop Valley, where all is not so well as it might seem. Suffice it to say, a dangerous quest confronts Spark, dealing with wizards, obstacles, and the imprisonment of Stella, a furry tailed Yushka beauty that Spark has secretly fallen in love with. Risking all to bring her carrots to ward off starvation while in the granite prison. The magic way in which Spark is invited to attempt to rescue Stella is absolutely in character, and "Spark the Stone Man" ends with a cliffhanger invitation to read the next installment as soon as it is available (after this volume has been read 18 times by the fans)! "Spark the Stone Man" is an inventive, vivid, embroidered chapter fantasy tale that will keep the interest of middle school age to elementary age children.

A Boy and His Bot
Daniel H. Wilson
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor
New York, NY 10010-7728
9781599902807 $16.99

During an elementary school field trip Code finds a small metallic bee that guides him from his world to a land of robots, where he discovers the only key home lies in a dangerous rescue mission to find an object before an evil ruler takes over. Any fan of the Transformer movies will find much to intrigue in this science fiction plot that follows a buy's journey to save his new robot friends from doom.

The Nameless World
Heather Payer-Smith
Privately Published
9781461112655, $9.95,

Through mystery and wonder, lives are in Noah's hands. "The Nameless World" follows Noah as he stumbles upon a puzzle which takes him to another world. As he discovers evidence revealing his missing science teacher, Noah find that the puzzle leads to another, making "The Nameless World" an insightful spin of mystery and proves to be quite the fun read.

Kaladar Books
Box 5226, Larkspur, CA 94977-5226

Book 1 of the 'Spanish Gatekeeper', Empire of the Ulfair (9780983192909, $11.95) by Bernard Dukas, was a 2011 Compton Crook Award Finalist for best new novel and blends science fiction, fantasy and adventure in the story set in 1900 and telling of Peter de Soto, an English schoolboy, and his cousin, Bonifacia Espasande, who uncover a family heirloom with powers to lure them off-world into a universe filled with strange creatures and challenges. Powerful dialogue and twists and turns of plot make this an exceptional read that ends with a mystery - followed in Book II, Gwellem's Hitch (9780983192923, $11.95). The second book is best read with the first and picks up the story of the cousins now marooned on the planet. Peter's purpose is to reunite with his love and find the wizard that can bring them home, while Bonifacia's seeking to rectify a mistake that threatens her friends. The strong protagonists and their interactions make these highly recommended young adult fantasy reads.

The Christian Shelf

Bedtime Bible Stories
Candle Books
9781859859186, $9.99,

The stories of the Bible have stayed with us with their timeless nature. "Bedtime Bible Stories" is a collection of illustrated stories for parents to read with children telling of the many stories of the Bible with a thoughtful and clear art style throughout. Stories include Noah's Ark, David and Goliath, and several stories surrounding Jesus. "Bedtime Bible Stories" is a choice pick for any Christian parent who wants to bring a little faith to bedtime.

Anna Mei, Blessing In Disguise
Carol A. Grund
Pauline Kids
c/o Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819807960, $8.95,

The third title in the popular "Anna Mei" series for middle grade children ages 8-12, "Anna Mei, Blessing in Disguise" follows American -adopted, Chinese seventh -grader Anna Mei through the trials of adjusting to junior high homework expectations and discovering an annoying new boy genius student, Kai Hao Chen from Beijing. To make complicated matters even worse, her adopted parents seem determined that she will become best buddies with Kai, whom she considers to be a conceited show-off. Many assumptions are challenged in this comfortable chapter book about a girl facing the combined pressures of adjustment to changing cultural, educational, and religious expectations, added to the normal stress of growing through the early teen years. Anna Mei discovers many things about herself, her adopted parents, and her friends. Kids will identify with the struggles of Anna Mei, learning to grow with her. This is an excellent Catholic Christian series, with an underlying message of tolerance of differences.

The Adventures of Lumi Nary Light
Sonya Haramis, M. Ed., author/illustrator
Joanna Paxinou, editor
Peace of the Dreamer
9780976224723, $7.95,

"The Adventures of Lumi Nary Light: A Fairy Tale of a Teeny Tiny Angel" is a delicate teaching tale for young children with a powerful message of peaceful spiritual enlightenment and growth. The award-winning visionary author has created a magical world with tiny good angels, some of them like Lumi, striving for growth and improvement and wanting to help and comfort small children in distress everywhere. In the guise of rescuing two lost children, Lumi guides the children through the steps of meditation and visualization to help them discover their way (home, or to enlightenment). "The Adventures of Lumi Nary Light" is a small chapter book, illustrated by the author with charming black and white drawings of the world of Lumi and friends. It will appeal to both children age 8 and up and adults. It would be a lovely book to read aloud, chapter by chapter, to younger children. Its message of love, peace, and progression is based on a practical core of daily living reality that is discernible through the fairy dust. "The Adventures of Lumi Nary Light" is sure to spawn sequels that will be as beloved as the first luminescent tale.

Judy Christie
Barbour Publishing
P.O. Box 719
Uhrichsville, OH 44683
9781616264529, $9.99,

Independence is powerful, but there are those who only wish to help. "Wreath" follows young Sixteen year old Wreath Willis who is struggling with her own, finding solace in a junkyard. As she meets with many people in her life and finds with her help, their lives change, and they want to do the same for her, Wreath fights it. A coming of age novel of working with others and facing one's own future, "Wreath" is an excellent addition to any community library youth Christian fiction collection.

The Judaic Shelf

Hashem Is Truly Everywhere
Chani Altein, author
Marc Lumer, artist
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628575, $12.95,

"Hashem Is Truly Everywhere" is a color illustrated child's book that explores the Judaic concept that God, or Hashem, Creator of all, is present everywhere. Written in catchy verse, with colorful cartoon illustrations of each phrase's important idea, "Hashem Is Truly Everywhere" is a wonderful book to introduce young children to the Judaic concept of the omnipresent Creator, Hashem. Innocent theological questions are asked of an older boy (Tzvi) by a younger boy, so all ideas are very child friendly in presentation. "Hashem Is Truly Everywhere" is a reassuring theological question and answer book that children ages 3-6 will enjoy very much.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Viku and the Elephant
Debu Majumdar, author
Lynn Wolfe, illustrator
Bo-Tree House
1749 Del Mar Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83404
9780983222705, $12.99,

"Viku and the Elephant: A Story from the Forests of India" is an early readers' chapter book, suitable for children in grades 2-5. Colored pencil drawing of jungle settings and exotic animals and people decorate the exciting tale of a young Indian boy and his elephant friend, Haatee. Haatee communicates with Viku by using primarily two different sounding trumpets, one happy and one sad. Viku and Haatee have exciting adventures together discovering and thwarting evil ivory poachers. The wisdom of nature and its many animals and birds is a them throughout "Viku and the elephant." At the end of the book, a list of questions and a foreign words and pronunciation guide help young readers advance in their learning about life in parts of India. "Viku and the Elephant" deserves the awards which it is sure to collect, a praiseworthy book to educate young students about the realities of living in a far-off, exotic land. Simultaneously, they will identify with Viku and Haatee and the obstacles they must face and overcome.

Except the Color Grey
Arlene Alda
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9
9781770492844 $16.95

Except the Color Grey provides a vivid set of colorful pages exploring why the color grey should be included as a favorite. Very easy text and links between color and colorful objects make for a fine survey that explores the basics of color and its eye-popping opportunities in the world. Kids with rudimentary reading skills will find this a perfect introduction!

I Remember When...
Dawn Wynne, author
Andrea Vitali, illustrator
Privately Published
01746111801, $14.99,

"I Remember When..." is an original unique interactive board book for children inspired by stories the author's grandmother told her as a child. Each page half contains a textured object that illustrates a part of the special memory, like a towel bit hung on a line to dry, a plastic dial on a phone, a corrugated pretend washboard, etc. The memories described are real, precious, and unique to the current generation of grandparents. Although "I Remember When.." was initially designed to appeal to preschoolers and toddlers, elementary school children also will love it. A creative contribution to convey the technological distance the generations have come within only 50 years or less, "I Remember When..." is a gift to be used and treasure, a tiny snapshot of the past to share with children of today.

A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon
Audrey Penn, author
Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
Tanglewood Publishing
P.O. Box 3009, Terre Haute, IN 47803
9781933718521, $7.95,

"A Bedtime Kiss for Chester" is an illustrated board book about reassurance at sleep time for young children, ages 1-4. Chester Raccoon is snug in his tree hole with his mother as the sun comes up. It is his bedtime, but he sees shadows from the creeping sunlight that make him think of crocodiles, spiders, and bears. Although his mother reassures him that nothing bad will happen in the afternoon, and his brother is sleeping peacefully, Chester struggles with fears and doubts. His mother reassures him with a kiss, hug, smile, and a promise of safety and Chester falls asleep with dreams of fireflies in the night. Children will love the gentle versed text and the carefully crosshatched illustrations in subdued greens and browns, light and shade. "A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon" is a dreamy daytime lullaby for cranky, tired toddlers.

Froggy Boots Go With Everything
Jill Zabkar Martin, author
Kirsten Gaede Van Mourick, illustrator
JZM Media
PO Box 1512, Los Gatos, CA 95031
9780984394609, $6.99,

"Froggy Boots Go With Everything" is a delightfully color illustrated board book for preschoolers that celebrates the special versatility of a beloved pair of green froggy boots. Children will adore finding the little peeping froggy that hides somewhere on every page. The friendly large print rhyming text keeps a youngster's interest, while the charming illustrations suggest further adventures and stories on each page. At the end is a list of objects for children to hunt for in all the illustrations, including the ubiquitous froggies. To stimulate young imaginations and promote adventurous play and fun, read "Froggy Boots Go With Everything" to your favorite youngster.

The Poetry Shelf

There's A Story In Every Box
Doc Lawrence, author
David DiTuillo, illustrator
c/o Lawrence R. Birzon
9781456746117, $13.99,

Written in the tradition and style of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, "There's A Story In Every Box: Poems for Big Kids and Little Kids" is a kooky collection of zany poems encouraging kids to develop more compassion, individuality, and practical solutions, with a trend towards "cultural crossover" empathy. One poem, titled "Streaming" strikes the reader as characteristic, if brief: "Row, row, row your boat./ 'Cause it won't go where you want unless you do (p. 67)." Whimsical black and white illustrations pick up poetic themes and images. Emotions are frequently close to the surface, in the form of tears or laughter. "There's a Story in Every Box" may be a step more complex than Seuss, a shade less ethnic than Silverstein, and certainly a bit more obfuscatory in its rhetoric (but encouraging creativity!); nevertheless, it is surely destined to be another middle school children's favorite classic.

Mommy Daddy Evan Sage
Eric McHenry, author
Nicholas Garland, illustrator
Waywiser Press
c/o Dufour Editions Inc.
P.O. Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425
9781904130451, $16.95

"Mommy Daddy Evan Sage" is a frolicking narrative poem about a very imaginative seven year old boy, his not quite two year old sister, and their bemused and befuddled mother and father. "Mommy Daddy Evan Sage" is never quite what you expect it to be, but it has many hidden funny surprises in it. "Mommy Daddy Evan Sage" is spunky adventure poetry written from a child's original point of view. There will b many spontaneous smiles and frequent laughter from adults who read "Mommy Daddy Evan Sage" to their children. This reviewer suspects it is a book intended to educate parents, but kids will love it too. The black and white linoleum style wood block illustrations add greatly to the whimsy and charm of "Mommy Daddy Evan Sage." Children of all ages will enjoy this creative narrative poem. They will enjoy filling the blanks with their own version of the further adventures of Evan and Sage.

The History Shelf

The Town That Fooled the British
Lisa Papp, author
Robert Papp, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Ste. 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364848, $16.95,

"The Town That Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story" is a historic reconstruction tale from the Tales of Young Americans series, introducing the character of young Henry Middle, a fictional but realistically based hero from St. Michaels, Maryland, a town of shipbuilders. The mighty British navy fleet sails up the Chesapeake River determined to destroy the shipbuilding town. What can one boy do to help a town of shipbuilders outsmart the British? In this American David and Goliath tale, the American creators of the Baltimore Clippers prepare to flee the threatened attack of the dreaded British fleet. The time is the summer of 1813. Henry's mother is a nurse, and the family decides to stay hidden in their cellar to help care for the wounded. Henry takes two lanterns intending to deliver them to his father, who serves in the town militia. The town's militia dreads the British cannons' attack, and the gunmen who will come ashore. But a rainstorm with fog can help to turn the tide for the American town, if they will listen to young Henry's inspired idea to hang the lanterns high in the trees to fool the oncoming British ships and cannons. "The Town That Fooled the British" is based on a historical event. To pique young readers' curiosity about the significance of their nations' history, Tales of Young Americans will hopefully continue to produce inspiring literary offerings appealing to children ages 6-10.

Always Plenty To Do: Growing Up On a Farm in the Long Ago
Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, author
Texas Tech University Press
Box 41037, Lubbock, Texas 79409
9780896726925, $21.95,

"Always Plenty To Do: Growing Up On a Farm in the Long Ago" uses a variety of sources to present farm life for children 100 years ago in what is known as the Bread Basket of America, the Great Plains States. "Always Plenty To Do" describes what farm life was like for farm children of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with vivid descriptions of chores and exercises and responsibilities in a typical day. Hard work and the uncertainty of farming make for a family full of workers from a very young age. There were both advantages and disadvantages to living an isolated farm life in this era. Children got to be outdoors much of the time, to interact with their natural environment. They often grew most of their daily food and helped prepare it, so often they ate a locally sustained, healthy diet. No access to the Internet or cars or fast transportation made for increased isolation, but there was perhaps a compensation for that. Life was quieter, less confusing. Education was not always easily available, and was consequently prized and hopefully extended at home. Living space was small, but the outdoors was a vast playground, when chores were done. All activities were subject to the whims of the weather. "Always Plenty To Do" is divided into 5 chapters focusing on living and working on a farm, going to school, playing on a farm and conclusions and comparisons between life as it was then and as it is now, especially for children. Study questions at the end, notes, and a vocabulary list aid middle school age children's education about rural life for children in the past. Black and white or sepia photographs of farm children on the prairies and other farms add authentic interest.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Pond Babies
Cathryn Falwell, author/illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892729203, $15.95,

"Pond Babies" is a beautiful picture book for children ages 2-5 about the young of many different creatures whose native habitat is a pond. Frog babies, loon babies, deer babies, turtle babies, and even a human baby are featured. The paintings are beautifully textured and detailed, with decorated and illustrated text itself. At the end of the book are a series of creative suggestions for "Pond Baby" activity exercises that kids will love, plus some additional instructions and suggestions to parents about allowing children to use their 5 senses to explore the natural habitat safely. "Pond Babies" is a multi-generational hit that also delivers a message of wilderness stewardship and conservation awareness.

Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden
Kathy M. Miller, author/photographer
Celtic Sunrise
P.O. Box 174, New Ringold, PA 17960
KSB Promotions (publicity)
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780984089314, $19.95,

"Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden" is a child's photo-essay about a mother and father chipmunk and their four baby chipmunks, born in springtime. A sequel to "Chippy Chipmunk: Parties in the Garden," "Babies in the Garden" delivers more charming colorful photographs of four charming baby chipmunks, named Rosalie, Roosevelt, Rachel, and Benjamin, all named after famous conservationist historic personalities. The baby chipmunks are so excited to discover the garden world outside their burrow. Beautiful bird pictures (goldfinch, cardinal, bluebird, oriole, chickadee, woodpecker, hummingbird) are also featured as part of the chipmunks' garden world, as well as a rabbit, eagle, owl, and an old red squirrel, who incidentally warns the baby chipmunks about the possible danger of Chester the cat. Although the chipmunks are fearful of the danger of Chester the cat, Mama Lily tells them not to fret, since they were born with instincts and skills to help protect them. She tells them to go play in the garden, in the sunshine. Another day, Chester sees the chipmunks through the window and Mama Lily sounds the warning squeek! while Papa Chippy bravely faced Chester through the locked screen door, tail aloft. The baby chipmunks were safe and sound! "Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden" is a nature education reading treat for children age 4 and older.

Ten For Me
Barbara Mariconda, author
Sherry Rogers, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607180852, $8.95,

"Ten For Me" is a colorfully illustrated, humorous math/nature educational book for children ages 5-10. Tantalizing rhymes and action pictures take readers on a butterfly catching odyssey with Rose and Ed, friends in a race to see who can add the most butterflies to their "catch.' Along the way are many opportunities to learn to count, add, identify butterfly body parts and learn the sequence of the butterfly life cycle, as well as butterfly identification skills. Using humane capture and release tactics, Rose and Ed have lots of fun learning how to add and identify butterflies, and so will young readers. For a fun way to learn addition and lots of fascinating butterfly facts, read "Ten For Me" with you elementary school-age child. "Ten For Me" is also available in hardcover, eBook downloadable English, and eBook downloadable Spanish, as well as eBook subscription.

Where Wild Horses Run
Georgia Graham, author/illustrator
Red Deer Press
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, ON, Canada L3R 4T8
9780889954489, $18.95,

"Where Wild Horses Run" is a beautifully illustrated book about a young wild foal named Brown Foal who lives with her mother and band of mares in Gold Stallion's band, in an area known as Nehemiah's Valley, in the mountains of Canada. Based on actual observations made by the author of the few surviving wild horse bands, "Where Wild Horses Run" is a fluid tribute and documentation of the ways in which wild horses manage to thrive in a forbidding environment filled with natural predators. "Where Wild Horses Run" is a beautiful book, highly recommended as both natural observation, education, and adventure reading for children age 7 and up.

Bindi Irwin with Jess Black
c/o Sourcebooks
1935 Brookdale Road, Suite 139
Naperville, IL 60563
9781402259319, $4.99,

"Roar!" is sixth in the popular junior wildlife adventures series with Bindi Irwin, 12-year old daughter of wildlife conservationists Steve (deceased) and Terri Irwin. In this latest adventure of the enormously appealing and successful series, Bindi travels to Sumatra with her family to collect three tiger cubs for the Australia Zoo. While there, she becomes involved in a rescue effort to foil a dangerous tiger poaching scheme. As in the previous five Bindi Wildlife Adventures Books, many educational facts about (tiger) animals are interwoven in the plot. Bindi encourages kids everywhere to become Wildlife Warriors, a worldwide movement associated with the Australia Zoo. In "Roar!" her final charge to would-be Wildlife Warriors is: "Don't support companies that directly damage the environment, or support activities that destroy habitat." Bindi is an experienced media artist, TV success, and winner of two Nickelodeon awards who has also launched her own clothing line, Bindi Wear International, and co-starred in the film "Free Willy 4" with Beau Bridges. "Roar!" moves quickly through brief action chapters that will intrigue young readers with an interest in preserving endangered wildlife species and the environment.

The Science Shelf

Bang! How We Came To Be
Michael Rubino
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
9781616144722, $17.00,

"Bang!" is a creatively illuminated and illustrated Big Bang creation of the universe text for children ages nine and up. Beginning with an explosion over 13 billion years ago that spewed galaxies, "Bang!" proceeds to follow the projected progression of events on or from the vantage of earth, with approximate datings at the head of each page/era. From the initial explosion to 4 million years ago and the evolution of human beings, to the present, with overpopulation, species extermination, and environmental destruction, "Bang!" emphasizes the interdependence of species and ends with some specific recommendations for ensuring the continuation of our world as we know it: "To make a start, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, conserve energy, recycle waste, and switch to a healthier, more vegetarian diet (p. 67)." "Bang!" is the ideal primer of Darwinian cosmos expansion for kids" will appeal to kids with or without a sense of responsibility to the natural environments. "The Tree Monkey" is also available as a free audio digital book download, at an eLive book download coupon code in the back of the book.

Mountain Wildflowers for Young Explorers
Sharon Lamar
Mountain Press
Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425785 $14.00

Any collection strong in nonfiction for elementary-level readers in grades 3-5 will find Mountain Wildflowers for Young Explorers: An A to Z Guide offers a lovely discussion of over twenty-five flowers accompanied by watercolor illustrations of each, natural histories, discussions of how the Native Americans used them, and where and when to find the flowers in the mountain states. From flower-related activities for homeschoolers and classrooms alike to a glossary and resources, this is a fine addition to any mountain botany kids' collection.

The Geography Shelf

Secret Agent Jack Stalwart
Elizabeth Singer Hunt, author
Brain Williamson, illustrator
Weinstein Books
c/o Perseus Book Group
387 Park Avenue South, NY, NY 10016
9781602861527, $5.99,

"Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: The Mission to Find Max: Egypt" is the 14th book in a multi-cultural/geography-educational series for children written about nine-year-old Junior Agent Jack Stalwart of the Global Protection Force. In this volume, jack seeks and eventually finds his long lost brother, Max, with the help of Kate, a fellow GPF Junior Agent, and another GPF insider, Jack finds himself in a desperate race against a greedy archaeologist who threatens to use an ancient Egyptian treasure for evil ends. This action packed, globe-trotting adventure series has been selected by Virgin Atlantic Airways for the education and entertainment of children on their long flights, as well as being featured on UK talk and radio shows. Cartoon-like (reminiscent of anime) illustrations in black and white help keep reader interest high through the page-turning. Appealing to children ages 6-9, "The Mission to Find Max" will intrigue young readers and teach them more about the culture and history of ancient Egypt. Also recommended in this series is number 13 in the series, "Secret Agent Jack Stalwart: The Hunt for the Yeti Skull: Nepal," (ISBN 9781602861510, $5.99).

Meet Us at the National Parks
Andrew F. Johnson, author
Jennifer Johnson Haywood, illustrator
Haywood Studios Inc.
P.O. Box 115, Hastings, MI 49058
9780615389950, $16.95,

"Meet Us at the National Parks" is an illustrated children's book that teaches familiarity with many of the famous National Park sites in the United States. spunky kid explorers rove trails with catchy, rhyming text accompanies colorful cartoon scenes, each displaying a sign indicating the name of the National Park portrayed. Featured scenes from Mount Rushmore, Glacier, Hawaii Volcanoes, Denali, Acadia, Crater Lake, and Boston National Parks are included. From Sequoia, Yosemite, and Death Valley, to Golden Gate, these intrepid explorers delight in finding new attractions in many beautiful parks and sites. the last page and the back cover of the book contain many park signs and a map of the United States showing many of the National Park Service sites and others presented in "Meet Us At the National Parks." Additional fun activities, puzzles and games for Junior Rangers are offered online at WebRanger, as well as at National Park Visitor Centers. "Meet Us At the National Parks" will appeal to kids age 5 and up.

The Health Shelf

Life of Shouty: Food & Fitness
NeonSeon, author/illustrator
P.O. Box 11922, Atlanta, GA 30355,
9780984206919, $14.95,

"Life of Shouty: Food & Fitness" is the second book in a series titled the Life of Shouty, a saga about a being who "goes from overweight and overwhelmed to fit and focused." Written in inspirational, piquant verse and filled with large, colorful cartoon-like illustrations, "Life of Shouty: Food & Fitness" is characterized by very familiar dilemmas facing a junk food eater who strives for better, healthier choices in his life. Although Shouty has a faintly alien cone-head-like appearance, this trait is somehow endearing, and readers will identify with his battles with his personified midnight junk food cravings. "Life of Shouty: Food & Fitness" is a quirky manual to self empowerment and improved health. "Life of Shouty" may be written for a young audience, but its appeal will cross generation boundaries.

Charlie and Me
Kathryn Archambault, author
William E. Hamilton, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 101, Edina, MN 55439
9781592983940, $ 16.95,

"Charlie and Me" is a heartwarming children's book about a boy named Charlie who has cystic fibrosis, or CF, an inherited chronic disease affecting the lungs and digestive system. Based on the life of a real person and his friend, "Charlie and Me" uses gentle rhyming text and realistic, joyous, colorful paintings to show what Charlie's life is like as he grows up, and how his friendship with Kathryn, the author, develops through the years. In the 1950's, children diagnosed with CF rarely lived past the age of 5, but medical advances have given today's CF children a longer life expectancy. "Charlie and Me" is a touching book, not at all maudlin or hopeless, that speaks realistically to children about living with CF.

The Education Shelf

Pay Attention, Emily Brown!
Linda Burton, author
Carl Burton, illustrator
Woodbine House
6510 Bells Mill Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817
9781606130278, $16.95,

"Pay Attention, Emily Brown!" is a vividly illustrated inspirational book in rhyme for kids and parents of all ages. It is especially relevant to kids (and their parents) who have trouble focusing, or paying attention. The message is that the best way to get through to any preoccupied (or differently abled) child is with humor, love, kindness, and patience. "Pay Attention, Emily Brown!" is both outrageous in its humor and teasing in its tone. It is a book that will get the attention of even an Emily Margery Brown. Recommended as suitable for children ages 4-8.

The Native American Shelf

Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie
Jonathan Graves, author
Gail Haley, illustrator
Parkway Publishers, Inc.
421 Fairfield Lane, Blowing Rock, NC 28605
9781933251745, $15.95,

"Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie" is a wonderful children's tale about a girl who dreams of flying. Accompanied by her dog, Mullaby, Isabella discovers a magic beanie with a propeller, which she decides to try out on a magical mountain location called Blowing Rock, where tales record an Indian brave was once blown back when he fell off a cliff. Guided by a special mentor named Wind Lady, or Wind Keeper, Isabella explores the area near Blowing Rock with her family on a picnic. Isabella mysteriously meets Wind Keeper and Red Tail, her hawk spirit bird, who explains that the red feather she has given Isabella is from Red Tail, and it can give her the power to fly, on the condition that she use this power only to help others. Soon Isabella has the chance to test this gift of power, when she uses her ability to fly to rescue Mullaby who is threatened by a copperhead snake on a mountain side. The book closes with Isabella dreaming of her adventure in flying, with a promise of many more adventures to come. Beautiful paintings convey the uplifting moments of the story with poignancy and style. "Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie" is also a reframing of an older, Native American traditional source tale that anchors it in modern settings and culture, inviting cross -cultural pathway, ties, and investigation.

The Environmental Shelf

Riparia's River
Michael Caduto, author
Olga Pastuchiv, artist
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine 04345
978088483274, $16.95,

"Riparia's River" is an eco-tale for children that teaches both the cause and the creation of solutions for non-point source pollution of flowing water streams and rivers. Filled with lush, sun-splashed water color paintings of river and riverside habitat and the birds, insects and plants that shelter there, "Riparia's River" is a beautiful teaching fable for children in elementary grades 3-6. A group of friends discover their favorite swimming spot on the river is polluted, and harmful to the fish and animals that live in it. They are taught by a lady naturalist named Riparia what can be done to clean and repair the riverbanks and restore clean river habitat. The children cooperate and work with a will, inviting others to help when their replanting of riverside plants project grows. "Riparia's River" is a wonderful, empowering story for children who will inherit tomorrow the rivers, habitat, and creatures of today's ongoing stewardship. A nice community spirit message is embedded in the illustrations' use of multiracial profiles for all the children, conveying the added idea that cleaning up our rivers and habitat is a global concern.

Habitat Spy
Cynthia Kieber-King, author
Christina Wald, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A-2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
978160718323, $8.95,

"Habitat Spy" is a color illustrated nature education book for children age 5 and up that invites children to use their observation skills to seek and identify plants, invertebrates, birds, mammals, and more that live in 13 varied habitats. These include the backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. In addition to a charming versed narrative that accompanies a spotlighted child looking with binoculars in different habitats, there are four additional pages of related educational activities to help underline more nature lessons about habitat spying. "Habitat Spy" is also available in hardcover, and eBook in English and in Spanish. A sure way to make learning about the natural environment and its inhabitants, "Habitat Spy" is an excellent resource for concerned and thoughtful parents and educators. Also recommended as a nature educational title from this publisher is "Prairie Storms (ISBN 9781607181392, $8.95)." by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Kathleen Rietz.

The Bilingual Shelf

Rubber Shoes ...A Lesson in Gratitude
Gladys Elizabeth Barieri, author
Lina Safar, illustrator
Lilian Cosentino, translator
Big Tent
c/o Castlebridge Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310781, $17.95,

"Rubber Shoes ...A Lesson in Gratitude/ Los zapatos de goma...una leccion de gratitud" is a touching bilingual teaching tale about a girl who hates her new brown rubber shoes that her other bought for her on sale. she hates them so she plots ways to lose or destroy them, but they are the invincible rubber shoes. Finally her mother takes her on a trip to donate the shoes to another little girl whose reaction to the rubber shoes is very different, leading to an epiphany of gratitude for our charming heroine. "Rubber Shoes" is a beautiful lesson in gratitude and humility for children ages 4-8, written in both Spanish and English and tenderly illustrated in gentle semi-anime style.

The Activity Shelf

Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog
Barbara Gail Techel, author
Victoria Kay Lieffring, illustrator
Joyful Paw Prints Press
304 Kettleview Court, Elkhart Lake, WI 53020
9780980005257, $9.95,

"Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog: A PAWSitive Coloring and Paper Doll Activity Book" is a child's coloring and paper doll activity book based on the popular children's book of the same name, about an amazing dachshund named Frankie who loses sensation in her hind legs due to a terrible accident. Frankie is outfitted with a set of experimental wheels and a harness to help her learn to move about without using her hind legs. In addition to a narrated section with black and white drawings to color, there is a colored paper doll section with a very handsome Frankie and many different outfits for the different seasons of the year. "Frankie the Walk N' Roll Dog" is a charming gift for children age 5 and up who will enjoy both activities sections of the book, as well as remembering Frankie's motto, "Always be positive, make a difference, and keep on rolling!".

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Three Billy Goats Fluff
Rachael Mortimer, author
Liz Pichon, illustrator
Tiger Tales
5 River Road, Suite 128, Wilton, CT 06987
9781589251014, $15.95,

"The Three Billy Goats Fluff" is a gentle, knitter's new take on an old grim (really grim) fairy tale. The three Billy goats have to cross the bridge over the home of the troll, who cannot sleep because of the noise made by their little goat hoofs, "Trip-trap, trip-trap!" The sleep deprived troll threatens the three goats with various forms of goat stew and other delicacies, which frightens them so much they rush home to tell their mother, who happens to be a very creative knitter. What an imaginative solution she concocts for both the troll and the three Billy goats! Children will love the quirky, colorful illustrations and the funny new take on an old "grim" fairy tale. "The Three Billy Goats Fluff" is perfect for children ages 3-7.

The Social Issues Shelf

Wishes And Worries
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne St., 5th Floor, Toronto ON M5A 2P9
9781770492387 $17.95

Wishes And Worries: Coping With A Parent Who Drinks Too Much Alcohol explores that happens when dad's drinking ruins a birthday party. By assuming a fictional format yet addressing real-world problems surrounding a parent's alcoholism, this provides important information in an accessible form for kids affected by adult alcoholism, and is a top recommendation for picturebook fiction and health collections alike, needing basic reading skills to prove accessible.

The Cookbook Shelf

One World Kids' Cookbook
Sean Mendez
Interlink Publishing
46 Crosby St., Northampton, MA 01060-1804
9781566568661 $20.00

One World Kids' Cookbook: Easy, Healthy and Affordable Family Meals is a pick for kids in grades 4-6 and offers a blend of healthy cooking and international recipes the entire family can use. Dishes from around the world offer insights into various ethnic varieties while photos of children from around the world, kitchen tips, vegetarian substitutions for meats, and more create a lovely blend of geography and cultural insights and culinary fun. A top recommendation, this will introduce kids to foreign foods.

The Music Shelf

Strange Dees, Indeed
The Deedle Deedle Dees
Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Strange Dees, Indeed is a lively album by The Deedle Deedle Dees, a group of four teachers and musicians who strive to educate as well as entertain listeners of all ages. From a practical examination of the pacifist Hindu philosophy of Ahimsa ("no harm"), to the story of scientist Marie Curie who smuggled radium in her suitcase, to the crusading work of Sojourner Truth or speculation on how Sacagawea felt when she saw the ocean for the first time with her baby, Strange Dees, Indeed is an extraordinary tour of the lives of great people and how the world changed them even as they changed the world. Highly recommended especially for high school and public library music CD collections. The tracks are "Ah Ahimsa" (3:01), "Cool Papa Bell" (2:38), "a song for Abigail Adams" (3:05), "The Golem" (3:47), "Marie Curie" (3:17), "Sojourner Truth" (2:24), "River of Blood" (2:31), "Penny Farthing" (1:47), "Mayor LaGuardia's Stomach" (2:40), "Sacagawea" (3:24), "Sacagawea Sock It To 'Em Disco Addendum" (0:42), "Camperdown Elm" (1:58), "Birds of America Don't Care-Oh" (1:42), "Whaleship Essex" (3:17), "Skating in Old Bryant Park" (1:52), "Phineas Gage Has Something to Tell These People" (2:51), "Dead Horse Bay" (2:52), "Henry (Hudson), How Ya Gonna Find a Way?" (3:19), and "Bluebird Redbird, Redbird Reef" (3:15).

The Multimedia Shelf

Songs from the Baobab
Songs collected by Chantal Grosleziat
Musical arrangements by Paul Mindy
Illustrations by Elodie Nouhen
The Secret Mountain
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
9782923163796 $16.95

Songs from the Baobab: African Lullabies & Nursery Rhymes is a book-and-CD set gathering 29 songs from 10 African nations, including Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Togo, and more. Each song has a unique language, recorded with indigenous instruments and performed by women, men, and children. The beauty and natural rhythms of each lullaby's language is beautifully preserved, resulting in an eclectic, multicultural compilation that captures the universal quality of love within each culture's traditions. Lyrics, translations, and illustrations enhance the book component of this wonderful collection. 48 min.

Disney Collected Kids' Solos, 38 Great Songs (book and CD)
Walt Disney Music Company
Hal Leonard
P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213
9781617741050, $29.99,

"Disney Collected Kids' Solos" is a fabulous collection of medium level piano/vocal arrangements of popular songs to be sung by kids or adults. Containing such classic favorites as Bbibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," "The Bare Necessities," "Never Smile At a Crocodile," "So This Is Love," and "When You Wish Upon a Star," "Disney's Collected Kids' Solos" is sure to be a favorite. Along with the CD of piano accompaniments (performed by Lawrence Yurman, Louise Lerch, hank Powell, and Richard Walters), this collection will provide hours of musical exploration and fun for young vocalists and their teachers and families.

Glee Vocal Method & Songbook (with CD)
Kate Reid & Andy Waterman
Hal Leonard Corp
P.O. Box 13819, Milwaukee, WI 53213
9781617741074, $12.99,

"Glee Vocal Method & Songbook" is an excellent pop vocal studies resource for young vocalists and their directors. True to its title, "Glee Vocal Method & Songbook" contains melody line transcripts for 8 of "Glee's" most popular songs, specific vocal skill-building instructions complete with vocal exercises, as well as a teaching CD with two imaginary vocal students to help practice vocal skills and learn concepts, plus finally a full length version of all 8 songs for practice and performance. The 8 songs included are "Don't Stop Believin'," "Keep Holding On," "To Sir, With Love," "Hello, Goodbye," "Can't Fight This Feeling," "Lean On Me," Sing!", and "Telephone." Each song features a special key vocal or performance concept, such as vocal articulation, breath support for longer phrases, "Singing in the Pocket," or groove and feel, etc. In addition there are complete staging and choreography instructions for the 8 songs plus a chapter on using microphones and P.A. systems. With an added Glossary of vocal terms, the "Glee Vocal Method & Songbook" is a complete package about excellent pop vocal performance that will enhance vocal performances of aspiring vocalists.

Music Play for Folks of All Stripes
Jim Gill
Jim Gill Music, Inc.
PO Box 2263, Oak Park, IL 60303-2263
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
9780981572116 $17.00

Music Play for Folks of All Stripes is a family-friendly music CD (with a bonus DVD!) that encourages active participation from listeners. Featuring fifteen original songs with a diversity of structures from showtune to country waltz to bagpipes, Music Play for Folks of All Stripes includes clap-alongs, finger plays, pretend games, and creative dances. A great way to engage as well as entertain young ones, Music Play for Folks of All Stripes is a choice pick for parents, babysitters, and elementary school library collections. The included DVD has live-action music videos of selected songs and is ideal for brightening up rainy days! The tracks are "Beethoven's Five Finger Play", "It Takes Some Friends", "Truck Stop", "Have You Seen the Trampoline?", "Johnny Cuckoo", "Bagpipes", "The Onomatopoeia Pizzeria", "I Was Born a Horn", "Bananas", "Habanera La La La", "Bounces Abundant", "I Changed My Mind", "Two for Tea", "Foot Notes", and "Living Inside of a Jar".

The Counting Shelf

Let's Count to 100!
Masayuki Sebe
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
25 Dockside Drive, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5A 0B5
1554536618 $16.95

Let's Count to 100! is counting picturebook for young people featuring simple, brightly colored illustrations. Every two-page spread has 100 of some playful creature (mice, elephants, cats, kids, etc.) for young people to count; the quirky art style is enhanced with subtle variations for kids to discover, such as how many ants are carrying candy, or which cat is being cuddled by a child. Let's Count to 100! is a delightful way for young people to practice their basic counting skills, and a choice pick for children's library picturebook collections.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Random Acts of Comedy
Jason Pizzarello
450 Seventh Avenue, Suite 809, New York, NY 10123
9780981909974, $19.95,

Comedy is easy to pick up, yet hard to master. "Random Acts of Comedy: 15 Hit One-Act Plays for Student Actors" is a collection of assorted plays that range in many types of humor from outright parody to twisting of classics to meta humor on the art of theatre. For anyone seeking to teach their students the art of humor, "Random Acts of Comedy" is quite the excellent source for inspiration.

The Travel Shelf

The (Not-For-Parents) Travel Book
Michael Dubois, Katri Hilden, Jane Price
Lonely Planet
150 Linden St., Oakland, CA 94607
9781742208145, $19.99,

"The (Not-For-Parents) Travel Book: Cool Stuff to Know About Every Country in the World" is a priceless travel resource book for kids on the go, with fascinating details about 200 countries of the world. Complete with inset maps, on-location color photos, scrapbook-style data presentation, and small paragraph infobytes on color highlighted sidebars, "The Not For Parents Travel Book" is sure to intrigue its intended audience of young would-be global travelers age 8 and up. The language style is cut-to-the-chase casual and cool, and the research is awesome too. Geographically arranged by continent, countries from Guatemala, Canada and the United States to China, Algeria and Australia are included, along with many tiny countries and a color-coded world map to locate them all. On the map pages, the countries are listed alphabetically, and color coded to match pages for the 6 major regions in the body of the book. "The Not For Parents Travel Book" is sure to appeal to kids, providing them with hours of painless cultural education about the multitudes of countries existing in the world today.

The Reference Shelf

The World Almanac 2012 For Kids
The World Almanac
Infobase Learning
132 West 31st Street, 17th Floor,
New York, NY 10001
9781600571527, $24.95,

The world has no shortage of facts and knowledge to learn. "The World Almanac 2012 For Kids" is an age appropriate reference to the ins and outs of today's world in politics, pop-culture, and history and countless other topics. Presented in full color with plenty of photographs, "The World Almanac 2012 For Kids" is a fine exploration of general reference, an ideal gift for the any child with a wide reaching curiosity about the world.

Books in Series

The Birth of Islam
Don Nardo, author
Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm St., Suite 387, Greensboro, NC 27406
9781599351469, $28.95,

"The Birth of Islam" is fourth in a series titled World Religions and Beliefs written for young readers age 12 and up. Filled with stunning color photos taken from many historic key locations in the emergence of Islam, "The Birth of Islam" provides succinct coverage of Islam's development in 7 chapters. Titles of areas covered by chapter are The Middle East Before Islam, The Emergence of the Final Prophet, Basic Beliefs and Rituals, the Early Caliphs and Expansion, Divisions Among the Faithful, Rise and Fall of the Umayyads, and The Abbasids and Golden Age. Frequent scripture quotations from the Qur'an along with references to other authorities on the history of Islam are featured, along with frequent stunning color photographs. A bibliography, glossary, and list of web sites completes this handy reference work on the birth of Islam. Also recommended in this series are the following titles: "The Birth of Christianity," also by Don Nardo (ISBN 97815993541452), "Mystics and Psychics," by Joanne Mattern (ISBN 9781599351483), and "Founders of the Faith," by Joan Price, (ISBN 9781599351476), all in hardback editions.

Arcturus Publishing
c/o Black Rabbit Books
PO Box 3263, Mankato, MN 56002

"Teen FAQ" features a series of six titles, each of which addresses in specific detail a healthy issue especially relevant to teens. Anne Rooney's "Alcohol" (9781848377028) addresses the problems and pressures of teenage drinking. Her "Bullying" (9781848377035) deals with the critical issue and impact of adolescent bullying. Ann Kramer's "Drugs" (9781848377042) focuses upon the chronic problem of teenage substance abuse. Jillian Powell's "Puberty" (9781848377066) answers all the basic questions appropriate to adolescent sexual maturation. Patience Coster's "Smoking" (9781848377073) cogently addresses the health and medical issues of smoking. Of special note are the 'It Happened To Me" boxes that enhance each title to the benefit of teen readers. Although each of these profusely illustrated titles are available separately ($32.80 List/$22.95 School/Library), both school and community libraries are encouraged to acquire the entire six volume series ($196.80 List/$137.70 School/Library) for the benefit of their students and young patrons.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

The Benchmark series 'Technology of the Ancients' ($22.95 each) provides grades 5-6 with a fine link between ancient cultures and their use of technology. In having individual books surveying each ancient world and its technology, kids receive fine reinforcement of the differences between eras and worlds. Wil Mara's THE MESOPOTAMIANS (9781608707676) and THE ROMANS (9781608707683) draws pictures of these two very different worlds and their accomplishments and inventions (the Mesopotamians were the first to structure everyday human life and invented the wheel, while the Romans are known for their roads), An Heinrichs' THE AZTECS (9781608707652) explores a culture that stretched cross much of Mexoamerica and invented a remarkable farming system, Kim Dramer's THE CHINESE (9781608707669) surveys China's many industries and discoveries, and Trudi Strain Trueit's THE VIKINGS (9781608707690) follows the Vikings' sailing voyages and longboat construction. All are excellent, vivid picks packed with history and illustration. The 'Flavors of the World' series ($21.95 each) will appeal to grades 4-6 with each book packing in over 64 pages of regional culinary history and insights. Patricia K. Kummer's THE FOOD OF THAILAND (9781608702381), Byron Augustin's THE FOOD OF MEXICO (9781608702374), Sara Louise Kras' THE FOOD OF ITALY (9781608702367), and Tamra B. Orr's THE FOOD OF GREECE (9781608702350) and THE FOOD OF CHINA (9781608702343) all pack in details on the flavor and culture of each country, discussing its customs and celebrations as it relates to food. All are fine recommendations for elementary-level geography collections.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 - 5th Avenue, 59th Floor
PMB 59051, New York, NY 10118
$15.95 Each

Eighteen new lower-level titles have been added to the Crabtree Connections group: each including texts written at three different reading levels on the same subject matter, and in different styles for grades K-2. Brief text is paired with modern colorful images and fun topics all contained in 24 pages packed with illustrations and including a glossary and index in each book. New to the Level One collection and highly recommended: Louise Spilsbury's BACKYARD BUGS (9780778778417), ONE EGG (9780778778479) and CATERPILLAR CAPERS (9780778778547), Anita Ganeri's SURVIVAL IN THE JUNGLE (9780778778585), Angela Royston's TADPOLE STORY (9780778778592), ocean: it's my home! (9780778778516), A BEAN'S LIFE (9780778778400) and OCEAN EXPLORER! (9780778778424), Sarah Levete's JUNGLE CRASH! (9780778778493), SAVE THE OCEANS (9780778778578) and RAIN FOREST (9780778778431), and Paul Mason's CARING FOR CRITTERS (9780778778486). All are top picks for any elementary-level collection seeking strong introductions.

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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