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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 11 November 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Psychology Shelf Biography Shelf
Christian Shelf Board Book Shelf ABC Shelf
Counting Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Native American Shelf Fiction Shelf
Science Shelf Computer Shelf Environmental Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Activity Shelf Holiday Shelf Geology Shelf
Books in Series Hoopoe Books Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Who Will Speak For Me?
Lorraine Sherman Mason, author
Thinkstock, illustrations source
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480822726, $16.95,

"Who Will Speak For Me?" is a dynamic guidebook of empowerment for girls and young women with a dual focus both on teaching young women to speak up for themselves in situations of possible abuse and also on the community responsibility of all adults to take responsibility for advocating for safety for young girls and those unable to protect themselves. The author believes the following: "It is incumbent upon us all to keep a watchful eye, be accountable, and be advocates for the safety and well-being of those least able to protect themselves, girls and children in general." "Who Will Speak For Me?" was written primarily to accomplish the goal of empowering young girls to speak out requesting help and education regarding self-defense when they are in a harmful situation, such as sexual abuse, regardless of the identity of the perpetrator. The format of "Who Will Speak For Me" involves a series of questions implying a scene of endangerment of a child or girl, with an answered response from different community figures, adults, family members and others. It is a very powerful format, accompanied by poignant, aptly chosen, Thinkstock illustrations. An example is the following: "Who Will Speak for Me? When walking down the street or playing in my neighborhood can be unsafe for me? When men look at me like they want to undress me with their eyes? I will keep a watchful eye said the man/woman/girl/boy on the street. Tell those who care about you so they can handle it (pp. 8-9)." The use of different colored text shows a change of narrator, or speaker. The final example is a powerful summary and appeal: "Who Will Speak for Me? When I return home and everyone treats me like I should be ashamed of what happened to me? When I try to recover and everybody keeps reminding me that I 'was the girl who...' We will speak for you and protect you, said the community. We will let them know that you are more than what happened to you said the family, neighbors, community, and nation. We will all speak for you and keep you safe (pp. 20-21)." "Who Will Speak For Me?" is a powerful tool for change and healing in the movement to empower young girls and women around the globe.

Mama's Knight
Aurora Whittet
W. I. Creative Publishing
837 Glenwood Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55405
9781945769083, $16.95, HC,

"Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story Of Love" by Aurora Whittet is a picture book story that is especially appropriate for a young child who is informed that their mama has cancer. The basic message is that it is going to be a scary journey, but the young boy or girl can help his or her mama just by being themselves because their mama loves them just the way they are. Any boy and any girl can be their your mama's knight. "Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love" is an emotional toolbox that can help kids and parents communicate about what it means for Mama to have cancer. "Mama's Knight" is filled with tools and activities designed to make coping with illness easier on both parent and child, and can be personalized for each child. "Mama's Knight" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Question Is Why?
Jeff Yager, author
Nancy Bata, illustrator
Hannacroix Creek Books
1127 High Ridge Road, #110, Stamford, CT 06905
9781938998683, $24.95, HC, 36pp,

At a certain age, young children become very curious and they start asking "Why?" When a parent (teacher, educator, grandparent) responds with an answer, these inquisitive children will often respond with another "Why?" Engagingly written by Jeff Yager and charmingly illustrated throughout by Nancy Bata, "The Question Is Why?" was inspired by the author's son, Bradley. There are 26 different questions and answers, each corresponding to a letter of the alphabet, as well as a surprise bonus question at the end of this educational and fun children's book. There is also a list of additional activities parents and educators can do with children to inspire inquiring minds as well as a list of related children's books to explore. Consistently entertaining from beginning to end, "The Question Is Why" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for children ages 2 - 7, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "The Question Is Why?" is also available in a paperback edition (9781938998690, $14.95) and in a Kindle format ($4.99).

The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway: A KinderGuides Illustrated Learning Guide
KinderGuides, author
Maggie Chiang, illustrator
KinderGuides c/o Moppet Books
9780997714500 $16.95

The Old Man and the Sea is one title in the KinderGuides series of illustrated learning guides that aim to introduce classic literature to a younger audience and encourage children to partake in the joy of reading. The text is simplified to be more accessible to young people, but retains the spirit of the original, and colorful illustrations frame the words on every page. The story is Ernest Hemingway's timeless tale of an aged, lonely fisherman and the friendship he strikes up with a young boy. Also included are an "about the author" section, a list of main characters, key words, quiz questions, and more. Although streamlined, the KinderGuides version of The Old Man and the Sea still spans 40 pages, and is best suited for young readers who are ready to take their first steps beyond picturebooks. A choice pick for school and public library children's collections! Also highly recommended are other adapted classics in the KinderGuides illustrated learning guide series: Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" (978099714517, $16.95), Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (9780997714524, $16.95) and Arthur C. Clarke's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (9780997714531, $16.95).

Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, author/ illustrator
Kane Miller
c/o EDC Publishing
P.O. Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74147
9781610674416, $12.99,

"Cordelia" is a wonderful story described as "a modern-day fable about believing in yourself and your dreams." Appealing to an audience of children ages 3-7, "Cordelia" delineates a tale of the magic of self empowerment. The entrancing rhyming narrative, coupled with bright, clear, boldly outlined color illustrations, reveal a unique heroine who is able to soar into the air with the birds solely on the power of her belief. The crisis occurs when Cordelia began to listen to the doubts and comments of well-meaning others, who didn't believe that she flew through the air. Cordelia began to wonder, "Does who you are depend on what other people think?" And her doubts fed, and her spirit stopped soaring, and the inevitable happened, reflected in a changing and muting of the bright colors: "Cordelia began to walk, in an ordinary way. Like everybody else, on an ordinary day. As the days passed, Cordelia stayed on the ground. Life became gray - there was no color; there was no sound. She missed the stars and the moon. She missed the bird's sweet song. She missed the mighty whale - everything was wrong." The bright colors of the illustrations become shades of gray, matching the text. Then there is a moment of self-reckoning: "As she thought about her friends, her sadness became anger. She was mad at herself for letting other people change her. Who was anyone to say, if she could or couldn't fly? What was or wasn't possible - if they didn't even try?" Then follows an amazing transformation which allows the power of imagination to lift Cordelia into the air again with her feathered friends, singing to the whales and greeting the moon and stars. "Cordelia" is an adventure that empowers and encourages every young reader to spin out their own dreams in exactly the same way, discovering their own amazing stores of vision, courage, belief, and bravery. It is a wonderful exercise of self-discovery, of immeasurable value to all ages and readers.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Elke and Alex Barber's What Happened to Daddy's Body? (9781785931070, $18.95) is a simple picture book about death, and explains what happens after death using language a young child can readily understand. Parental assistance will enhance a young child's pursuit of this book's subject as a loving mother explains to her youngsters what happened after their father died. The duo also cover a related subject in Is Daddy Coming Back in a Minute? (978178521063, $18.95), which explains sudden death using much the same format and the color illustrations of Anna Jarvis, whose efforts support both books. As a child moves from enjoying her father's participation in her life to struggling to understand his sudden absence, a gentle mother strives to answer every question. Parents will find these the perfect tools for explaining and exploring a parent's death.

The Psychology Shelf

Baxter Turns Down His Buzz
James M. Foley, author
Shirley Ng-Benitez, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433822681, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Written for children ages 4 to 8 with ADHD and impulsiveness by licensed psychologist James M. Foley, "Baxter Turns Down His Buzz" is the story of a high-energy rabbit who learns to control his activity level. His uncle Barnaby guides Baxter through the steps necessary to "turn down his buzz" through behavioral strategies like mindfulness, progressive relaxation, and visualization, rather than medication. Charmingly illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez, "Baxter Turns Down His Buzz" also includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers". Specifically intended for children ages 5 to 8, "Baxter Turns Down His Buzz" is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Biography Shelf

Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas, with 21 Activities
Simonetta Carr, author
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613731932, $18.99, PR, 129 pages,

"Michelangelo for Kids" is a stunning illustrated art biography from a stellar series of artists' lives for kids. Filled with color illustrated of famous works of art and collected writings by Michelangelo, this beautiful biography is appealing to young readers (age 12 and up) because of its hands on approach. Built into each section are suggested fun art activities to help convey awareness of the complexity of the tasks achieved by Michelangelo in his amazing lifetime. Some of these projects are ceiling painter for a day (the child attaches a drawing to the underside of a table and then colors it in from underneath), carving a soap figure, learning cross-hatching, finding hidden pictures, and creating a geometrical pattern, even making a recipe for making authentic garlic bread! All activities have simple directions and commonly available required items for completion, with some supervision. In addition, the whole biography is prefaced by a humble, informative Note to Readers that explains some of the myriad difficulties of writing a biography of a person you have never met. "Michelangelo for Kids" begins with a Time Line of important events in the life of Michelangelo listed chronologically by date from 1475 to 1564. All the eight chapters of the biography are written with flair, accuracy, descriptive explanations, and assurance. The chapter titles trace some of the transformations and daunting tasks achieved by the great artist, sculptor, and writer. Each chapter has multiple illustrations, color photographs, and drawings to illuminate the story. Chapter 1, An Unquenchable Passion, traces the beginning life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, including time in his infant years spent with a nurse from a family of stonemasons in Settignano, home of stoneworkers and the popular gray stone called pietra serena, or serene stone. Following are chapters 2, From Forger to Wonder, chapter 3, To Please a Pope, chapter 4, A Daunting Ceiling, Chapter 5, For the Love of Florence, chapter 6, Judgment and Grace, chapter 7, At the Service of a Troubled Church, and chapter 8, The Last Years. One fascinating illumination of a representation of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling is a diagram of the 33+ separate paintings that are included in the whole ceiling mural, with explanations of the subject matter of each separate painting. With profound respect for the overwhelming complexity of the works of Michelangelo, the junior biography, "Michelangelo for Kids" covers the span of the amazing and prolific artist's known life and achievements. This is a fabulous, useful, and inspiring resource for students, teachers, parents, and libraries. Other titles from this creative series are also very highly recommended.

Ticktock Banneker's Clock
Shana Keller, author
David C. Gardner, illustraotr
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369560, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Throughout his life, Benjamin Banneker was known and admired for his work in science, mathematics, and astronomy, just to name a few pursuits. But even when he was born in Maryland in 1731, he was already an extraordinary person for that time period. He was born free at a time in America when most African Americans were slaves. Though he only briefly attended school and was largely self-taught, at a young age Benjamin displayed a keen aptitude for mathematics and science. Inspired by a pocket watch he had seen, at the age of 22 he built a strike clock based on his own drawings and using a pocket-knife. This picture book biography focuses on one episode in a remarkable life. Deftly written by Shana Keller and beautifully illustrated by David C. Gardner for children ages 9 to 12, "Ticktock Banneker's Clock" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school and community library picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted that "Ticktock Banneker's Clock" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.41).

The Christian Shelf

God Gave Us Thankful Hearts
Lisa Tawn Bergren, author
David Hohn
WaterBrook Press
c/o Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
9781601428745 $10.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Part of the "God Gave Us" series for young Christian children, God Gave Us Thankful Hearts is a picturebook about the importance of appreciating the good things in life. Little Pup learns from his wise and compassionate mother as they journey outdoors in autumn, go fishing, and gather apples. "'The trick to having a thankful heart,' Mama said, 'is thinking about the things that make us happy, rather than the things that don't.'" Gentle illustrations add the perfect touch to this heartwarming picturebook. God Gave Us Thankful Hearts is beautiful to page through, and a joy to read aloud during storytime or bedtime.

Rufus and the Very Special Baby
Carla Barnhill, author
Natasha Rimmington, illustrator
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506417622, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

There are a charming group of baby animals that lived in Palestine during the time of Jesus. In "Rufus and the Very Special Baby: A Frolic Christmas Story" a very special baby has arrived and the Frolic friends are gathering their gifts to welcome the baby. Rufus wonders what he could possibly offer such a special child. A thoroughly charming and wonderfully well illustrated picture book story for children ages 3 to 5, "Rufus and the Very Special Baby" is a sweet and entertaining twist on the familiar Christmas story as children follow along with Rufus to discover that he had a Christmas present for the baby Jesus all along. Very highly recommended for family, preschool, and community library Christmas themed picture book collections, it should be noted that "Rufus and the Very Special Baby" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The Radical Book for Kids
Champ Thornton
New Growth Press
9781942572718, $24.99, HC, 272pp,

"The Radical Book for Kids: Exploring the Roots and Shoots of Faith" by Champ Thornton is a fun-filled explorer's guide to the Bible, church history, and life for boys and girls ages 8 and up. Along with examining some of the most exciting realities in the universe, the profusely illustrated text is chock-full of fun facts and ideas from cover to cover. Deep truths are communicated to elementary and middle-school aged kids while stimulating their curiosity and sense of adventure within a gospel-centered framework. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "The Radical Book for Kids" is informative, fun, and highly recommended for family, church, and community library Christian Studies collections.

The Board Book Shelf

One Yellow Fish
Linda Kranz, author/illustrator
Muddy Boots
c/o The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200, Guilford, CT 06437
9781630762469, $6.95,

"One Yellow Fish" is a delightful, artistic counting adventure, presented as a light but sturdy board book for young readers ages 0-4 years. The brightly decorative, imaginative rainbow fish groups imagined by award winning artist and author Linda Kranz take the counting adventure beyond all fish counting expectations. Against a murky, mysterious, photographed marine background, one yellow fish meets one triangle fish, then two colorful fish, and then three square fish, and on and on until the final pages, which are narrated descriptively: "One yellow fish with lots of new friends." It is a rainbow fish melee, filled with delightful, bold, colorful detail. "One Yellow Fish" is a great new counting book that will delight and cheer a whole new generation of toddlers.

The ABC Shelf

D is for Dump Truck
Michael Shoulders, author
Kent Culotta, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369751 $16.99 hc / $10.25 Kindle

D is for Dump Truck: A Construction Alphabet is a children's ABC picturebook with a brief, rhyming verse about construction tools for every letter of the alphabet. "A is for Alarm: Alarm goes off. Hip-hip-hooray! / The wait is over. Today's the day. / Round up equipment and the crew. / There's construction work to do, do, do." D is for Dump Truck rolls off the tongue when read aloud, and is an excellent picturebook for parents to share with young children.

The Counting Shelf

Around the Moon 1,2,3: A Space Counting Book
Tracey E. Dils
PO Box 1329, Mankato, MN 56002
9781681520001, $20.95, HC, 24pp,

Young readers ages 5 to 7 will build counting skills and content knowledge with "Around the Moon 1,2,3: A Space Counting Book". Impressively illustrated throughout, "Around the Moon 1,2,3: A Space Counting Book" increases number familiarity and counting skills, while also introducing fun astronomical facts. Each spread clearly displays the featured number, plus photos to depict that number of objects. Simple text and high-impact photos develop basic math skills. "Around the Moon 1,2,3: A Space Counting Book" introduces the moon, planets, and other objects in space, while teaching the concept of counting to ten, making it highly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended is the second title in this outstanding series by Tracey Dils, "Down in the Jungle 1,2,3: A Rain Forest Counting Book" (9781607537151, $20.95, HC, 24pp).

The Easy Reader Shelf

Owl Sees Owl
Laura Godwin, author
Rob Dunlavey, illustrator
Schwartz & Wade Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553497823, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

With just three or four words per page, "Owl Sees Owl" is a picture book story that follows a baby owl one night as he leaves the safety of his nest (Home/Mama/Brother/Sister) and explores the starry world around him (Soar/Glide/Swoop/Swoosh). Inspired by reverso poetry, the words reverse in the middle when the baby owl is startled upon seeing his reflection in the pond (Owl/Sees/Owl). Afraid of it, little owl takes off toward home, soaring over farms and forests (Swoosh/Swoop/Glide/Soar) until he is finally safely home again (Sister/Brother/Mama/Home). Imaginatively written by Laura Goodwin and beautifully illustrated throughout by Rob Dunlavey, "Owl Sees Owl" is particularly recommended for children ages 3 to 7 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Eat, Sleep, Poop
Alexandra Penfold, author
Jane Massey, illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385755030, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Deftly written by Alexandra Penfold and charmingly illustrated by Jane Massey, "Eat, Sleep, Poop" is a simply hilarious book about the busy life of babies. The new baby hasn't been here very long, but already has a busy schedule: Eat, sleep, and, of course, poop! This wonderfully entertaining picture book looks at life inside and outside of the crib from a baby's-eye view is the perfect present for new parents and siblings-to-be, as well as ideal for children ages 2 to 5. While highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Eat, Sleep, Poop" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

The Picturebook Shelf

The Glump and the Peeble
Wendy Meddour and Rebecca Ashdown
Frances Lincoln Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847807090, $17.99,

The Glump and the Peeble tells of a 'glump' who longs to be a 'peeble' - and the same holds true for the peeble, who longs to be a glump. But when they meet each other and begin to learn about their differences, something magical happens. This story of friendship, adaptability, and many talents is a heartwarming and fun read that kids with good reading skills and many parents will choose for its original story and particularly it's original, colorful images.

You're Doing That in the Talent Show?
Lynn Plourde
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484714911, $16.99,

You're Doing That in the Talent Show? is illustrated by Sue Cornelison and outlines a hippo and a mouse who decide to concoct an act to ace the school talent school. There are all kinds of options, from dance to a play - but all have their issues. Also an issue are the two very different approaches of the friends: one wants to hide and blend in, but Penelope wants to be outrageously noticeable. A fine story of compromise and effort makes for a lovely leisure read.

I Want to Be Famous!
Bracha Goetz
Saturn's Moons Press
9780997536348, $11.99, PB, 24pp,

Bracha Goetz is the author of 32 picture books specifically written to help children grow spiritually, inspiring each uniquely beautiful soul to shine. "I Want to Be Famous!" is her latest effort and the dynamic story of a young boy who suddenly finds fame through a serendipitous event. He revels in the public attention until one day, everyone begins to give special status to someone else. Seymour is devastated until he discovers that he doesn't really need all that attention from others because there is a spotlight within him that never dims, emanating from the radiance of his soul. And as Seymour begins breaking his habit of seeking endless attention from others, the best kind of applause possible resounds through the Universe. "I Want to Be Famous" is a valuable children's book that also effectively addresses the impact of social media on today's children - and demonstrates how to genuinely build self-esteem in the face of its challenges. Children are easily inspired and are ready for critical thinking at an earlier age than their generational counterparts. Bracha utilizes storytelling to teach children how to navigate through life's challenges bringing back an ancient art. Simply stated, "I Want to Be Famous" is unreservedly recommended for personal, family, elementary school and community library collections for young readers.

Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies
Jaime Amor
Watkins Publishing
Angel Business Club
9781780289564, $12.95 PB, $8.99 Kindle, 48pp,

"Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies" introduces a little seahorse by the name of Norris who is excited to be joining the Best Fish in the Sea club. Unfortunately, there are a few bullies in the club who do their best to make him feel bad about himself. With the help of his true friends, Norris learns to take pride in who he is, long nose, slow swimming and all. He starts up the Being Me club, and soon finds that everyone wants to be friends with him. "Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies" concludes with a relaxation and some affirmations to reinforce author Jaime Amor's basic message. Of special note is the information at the back of this charming picture book to help parents and teachers introduce children to yoga, even if they don't practice yoga themselves. "Norris the Seahorse Takes on the Bullies " by Jaime Amor is specifically written to help children ages 4 to 8 in building self-confidence and dealing with bullying and is particularly appropriate for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. Also very highly recommended is Jaime Amor's picture book "Lulu the Lion Cub Learns to Roar" (9781780289571, $12.95 PB, $8.99 Kindle).

My Perfect Friend?
Craig Kunce
Windhill Books
9781944734008, $14.00, PB, 64pp,

Sadie is trying to find the perfect friend. But can any friend be perfect? In Craig Kunce's utterly charming children's book Sadie will meet a lot of interesting friends along the way. Some won't share, some stretch the truth, some want her to disappear. and some bark out loud! Will Sadie find her perfect friend, or will she learn something more about friendship and herself? Affably illustrated and engagingly written, "My Perfect Friend?" is a wonderfully entertaining and original tale that is especially recommended for children ages 3 to 8, and would make an enduringly popular addition to preschool, elementary school, and community library children's books collections.

Peg + Cat: The Penguin Problem
Jennifer Oxley & Billy Aronson
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763690731, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

Peg and Cat are at the South Pole preparing to watch the ski race at the Animal Winter Games. Suddenly they spy the Penguins zooming downhill. CRASH! The Penguins apologize ("Snow problem," says Cat), but it seems that there is a problem: the Penguins keep slamming into things! So they all try again, with Peg shouting directions each time they come to a hurdle. "Go over! Go under! Go in between!" But the Penguins still have no clue, because they don't know what over, under, and in between mean. Luckily, Cat points out some directional arrows to follow, and a problem is solved -- for the moment. Now can anyone figure out how to keep the ice floe the Penguins have landed on from tilting? A delightfully charming picture book by the team of Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, "Peg + Cat: The Penguin Problem" is especially appropriate for children ages 3 to 7 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

My Pancakes Taste Different Today!
Heather Wood Galpert & Bruce Galpert, authors
Barbara Cate, illustrator
Wagon Wheel Productions
9780997484106, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Could a Pancake have the power to shape a child's view of their world? It was a surprise to Ethan that his favorite breakfast, a stack of steaming hot pancakes, would reveal many ways that nature and people work together. He discovered that everyone has a hand in taking care of nature. Ethan would have never guessed that his simple, innocent act of tossing an oil can into the lake, just to make a big splash for fun, could change his whole wide world. The slippery journey of the oily OOZE leaking from the can, across the lake, down the river to the beaver ponds, and into the fields of grain brought all of Ethan's friends together. Everyone pitched in to clean up the OOZE from the lake, the fish, and the fields, to get rid of the mess around the lake they all loved. They celebrated with a party and plenty of pancakes. Collaboratively written by the wife and husband team of Heather and Bruce Galpert, and charmingly illustrated by Barbara Cate, "My Pancakes Taste Different Today!" will have a very special appeal for children ages 3 to 8. Certain to be a popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "My Pancakes Taste Different Today!" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.49).

Adventures With Andy & Susi
Donna Hall
Noble Point Publishing
9780986293023, $14.99, HC, 36pp,

"Adventures With Andy & Susi: A Stormy Weekend" is a Victorian Sci-Fi inspired tale, set in the far away hills of a family orchard. Armed with his flashlight, goggles and field clothes, Andy is a young explorer sets off for adventure. His curiosity is kindled by hydro-turbines, a steam-driven wheel chair, and a tidal-powered city with hyper-loop trains where he attends school. Earth's endless clean power drives his intellect as the hills free his adventurous spirit. Susie is a cat who narrates as the watchful conscience to Andy, always cautious of a situation where they might be headed. Yet, she never leaves his side. Spring has arrived and the changing weather can bring a surprise. Has Andy's love of adventure taken him too far this time? Deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Donna Hall, "Adventures With Andy & Susi: A Stormy Weekend" will prove to be an enormously popular read for children ages 6 to 8. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collection for young readers, it should be noted that "Adventures With Andy & Susi: A Stormy Weekend" is also available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Halfway Wild
Laura Freudig, author
Kevin M. Barry, illustrator
Islandport Press
PO Box 10, Yarmouth, ME 04096
9781934031483, $17.95, HC,

On some days, there's just not a good word for the way you feel. If your socks are sagging and your pants are wrinkled, what do you call it? Maybe you re feeling like a turtle. Maybe you re feeling halfway wild. In "Halfway Wild", writer Laura Freudig describes those feelings in this poetic and playful picture book that connects children ages 4 to 8, not just to feelings and emotions, but also to animals and the quirks and patterns of the natural world. Young readers will follow a family throughout a day as they march through meadows like ants, dive to the depths like seals, play hide and seek like fireflies, and chatter like raccoons, until, at last, when the house is still and all we can hear are the soft, slow breaths of the ones we love, we re a family of bears. Illustrator Kevin Barry beautifully and flawlessly blends the real with the fantastic in illustrations that will make children marvel, dream, and lean in for a closer look. "Halfway Wild" is a unique, entertaining, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to any and all family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Answer
Rebecca Sugar, author
Tiffany Ford & Elle Michalka, illustrators
Cartoon Network Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780399541704, $9.99, HC, 32pp,

In "The Answer", Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar deftly explores the meaning of love as Ruby and Sapphire look to build a new life on a strange planet called Earth. Dazzling illustrations from show artists Elle Michalka and Tiffany Ford fully capture Ruby and Sapphire's wonder and surprise as their story takes a course that fate never planned for them. "The Answer" is not only a charming love story, but also tells the origin of Garnet, leader of the Crystal Gems. Garnet's story of self-discovery will be treasured by Steven Universe fans of all ages. Especially recommended for children ages 8 to 12, and while "The Answer" will prove to be an especially popular addition to family, elementary and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of students in grades 3 to 7 that it is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Bear Who Wasn't There: And the Fabulous Forest
Oren Lavie, author
Wolf Erlbruch, illustrator
Black Sheep
c/o Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617754906, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

A few minutes after Once Upon a Time, a bear awakes to find he has lost something very important: himself! He sets out into the Fabulous Forest to find himself, using only a few clues scrawled on a piece of paper: the bear he's looking for is a nice bear; he is a happy bear; and he's very handsome too! These sound like pretty good qualities to Bear, and so begins his memorable journey. With the help of Fabulous Forest critters like the Convenience Cow, the Lazy Lizard, and the Penultimate Penguin, Bear finds that he himself is just what he's been looking for all along: a nice, happy bear -- and handsome too! Imaginatively written by Oren Lavie and beautifully illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch, "The Bear Who Wasn't There: And the Fabulous Forest" is classic fable in the making and will prove to be an original and enduringly popular addition for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 7. It should be noted that "The Bear Who Wasn't There" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

The Mermaid and the Parakeet
Veronique Massenot, author
Vanessa Hie, illustrator
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372655, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Inspired by Henri Matisse's massive and joyous cutout work, The Parakeet and the Mermaid, author Veronique Massenot and illustrator Vanessa Hie have created a delightful children's picture book about the unlikely friendship between a mermaid and a parakeet. When a mermaid is thrust out of the sea by a massive storm she becomes stranded in a tree. Not knowing how she can return to her home without legs, she meets a parakeet who is so moved by her plight he finds a way to help her. Vanessa Hie's gorgeous, deeply hued illustrations incorporate the shapes and colors found in Matisse's original masterpiece, which is reproduced at the end of the book. "The Mermaid and the Parakeet" is simple but profound story of bravery and friendship that is unreservedly recommended, especially for children ages 4 to 10, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Mr. Moon
Michael Paraskevas
Crown Books
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780399549922, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

There is a lot of work to be done before the sun greets the dawn. But with the help of Mr. Moon's light, all the creatures of the night are able to do their jobs -- cloud fluffers are fluffing, crooning crickets are performing, and cows are jumping over the moon. All night long, Mr. Moon keeps watch, making sure the world is ready for a new day when you awake. Deftly written and charmingly illustrated by Michael Paraskevas, "Mr. Moon" is an especially recommended picture book story for children ages 3 to 7. Certain to be a perennial favorite, "Mr. Moon" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "Mr. Moon" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

The Gnomes in the Trees
C. L. Collyer, author
Richa Kinra, illustrator
Inspirion2, Inc.
9780997330304, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

At Jacky Foster's eighth birthday party, he is surprised when a statue of a gnome suddenly comes alive. The gnome asks Jacky to help his family who live in a faraway place called Gnomia. Jacky and his dog Sparky go off to help. When he returns home he discovers that the gnome statue suddenly runs off into the woods. But is it all just fanciful dreaming, or did his discovery really happen? Only Jacky Foster knows for certain. An original and imaginative story by C. L. Collyer, "The Gnomes in the Trees" is charmingly illustrated by Richa Kinra is especially suitable and recommended for children from 4 to 10 years of age. While highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Gnomes in the Trees" is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.99).

Real Cowboys
Kate Hoefler, author
Jonathan Bean, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544148925, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

"Real Cowboys" is author and illustrator Kate Hoefler's realistic and poetic picture book debut about the wide open West. In this superbly entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 7, the myth of rowdy, rough-riding cowboys and cowgirls is remade. Indeed, "Real Cowboys" is a timely and multifaceted portrayal reveals a lifestyle that is as diverse as it contrary to what we've come to expect. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Real Cowboys" is also available for personal reading lists in a Kindle format ($12.99).

Lion's Lullaby
Mij Kelly, author
Holly Clifton-Brown, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781484725269, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

"Lion's Lullaby" is the picture book story of a young girl who, with the help of hugs and lullabies, tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one. A cuddly good-night read for the parents of children ages 2 to 5, illustrator Holly Clifton-Brown's soft palette and adorable illustrations are perfectly paired with Mij Kelly's comforting rhyming text set -- this outstanding combination set the perfect tone for bedtime. Simply stated, "Lion's Lullaby" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, and community library picture book collections.

Hurry Up, Henry
Jennifer Lanthier, author
Isabelle Malenfant, illustrator
Puffin Canada
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780670068371, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Henry's mother and father and sister are always telling him to hurry up, and his best friend, Simon, never slows down. Henry doesn't like to be late. But he doesn't want to hurry, either. He likes to take his time and often sees things that his family miss in the rush. For Henry's birthday, Simon arranges for a special present that lets Henry take the time he needs -- with his whole family! A wonderfully entertaining picture book for young readers ages 3 to 7, "Hurry Up Henry" is engagingly written by Jennifer Lanthier and charmingly illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant. Indeed, "Hurry Up Henry" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Up Up Up
Phoebe Fox, author
Michael Hale, illustrator
Southwest Human Development
c/o Michelle Parker-Rock
PO Box 26595, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
9780692727706, $13.99, HC, 32pp,

When Mouse, Frog, Duck, Snake, Dog, Chimp, Seal, Sheep and Bear are invited to a birthday party on the 10th floor, the elevator seems to be the best way up, up, up. Original and engagingly written by Phoebe Fox and charmingly illustrated by Michael Hale, "Up Up Up" is an unfailingly humorous story told mostly in pictures will particularly delight and entertain young children ages 4 to 7. It is interesting to note that the publisher, Southwest Human Development, is one of the nation's largest nonprofits dedicated to early childhood development. They are a leader in early literacy, distributing over 140,000 children's picture books annually to kids who do not have access to books. While very strongly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should also be noted that all proceeds from the sale of "Up Up Up" will be in support early literacy programs.

The Three Lucys
Hayan Charara, author
Sara Karn, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781600609985, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

Luli likes to sit in the shade of an olive tree with his beloved cats: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. But when Luli and his parents go to the city to see his aunt and uncle one weekend, the cats must stay behind at home. After a fun visit with family, Luli is looking forward to going home and seeing the Lucys. But then Luli's hometown comes under attack and the family must seek refuge at his aunt and uncle's house. Luli doesn't understand what is happening and worries about his pets. Who will keep the three Lucys safe? And when will he and his family be able to return home? "The Three Lucys" is a picture book story for children ages 7 to 12 that was inspired by real events of the July War in Lebanon. This is a tenderly told story of loss, rebuilding, and healing is a tribute to the sustaining love of family, and to the power of the human spirit to hope for a peaceful future. Unique and compelling, entertaining and inspiring, "The Three Lucys" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Emma Dodd
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763689407, $12.99, HC, 24pp,

Charmingly written and illustrated by Emma Dodd, "Together" is the picture book story of a little sea otter who loves spending time with his parent -- learning new things, playing together, or even just holding each other. In fact, every day this little sea otter spends with his parent is special, just because they are together. Especially recommended for children ages 2 to 5, "Together" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Journey
Francesca Sanna
Flying Eye Books
c/o Nobrow Inc.
9781909263994, $17.95, HC, 48pp,

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis, "The Journey" by Francesca Sanna (an Italian illustrator and graphic designer) is a beautifully illustrated picture book that deftly explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. "The Journey" is especially commended for children ages 3 to 7 and will prove to be a unique and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Very Tall Tale of Ranger the Great Pyrenees and his Adorable Friend Miss Keys
Danielle A. Vann
Waldorf Publishing
2140 Hall Johnson Road, #102-345, Grapevine, TX 76051
9781943846832, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Ranger, the Great Pyrenees, and an adorable skunk by the name of Miss Keys, meet on Miss Darlene's sweet twenty-two acre farm. Keys finds a new home on the farm after her momma, Daffodil, the real stinker, heard that a circus train had pulled into town. Just like that, she trades a skunks life for the bright lights of being a superstar. The unlikely duo of doggie and skunk grow quite well, but dream of their own adventurous tale. The two pack a bag and set off to see the world. Soon the news of their travels spreads far and wide, and the best friends take in some amazing sights. That is until one night when the snow sets in, and the pair starts yelping for help. A ranch hand comes to their rescue and sees the pair home. Along the way, Ranger and Keys learn that home is the best place to be as long as you have your best friend by your side. Charmingly written and illustrated by Danielle A. Vann, "The Very Tall Tale of Ranger the Great Pyrenees and his Adorable Friend Miss Keys" is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 7 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Tuktuk: Tundra Tale
Robin Currie, author
Phyllis Saroff, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29464
9781628558791, $17.95,

"Tuktuk: Tundra Tale" is a beautifully illustrated story of a collared lemming named Tuktuk, who seeks to prepare for the cold, dark Arctic winter of 6 months by moving into a discarded, furry kamik, or waterproof boot. Like all creatures of the Arctic, Tuktuk knows that the Arctic winter lasts 6 months and is very dark and cold, with no sun at all for almost three months. Every animal seeks to prepare for the cold and dark in different ways. Tuktuk is delighted to find the kamik which had fallen off the sled of an Inuit driver. perhaps the kamik will make a better winter home than a winter nest lined with musk ox hair, which was his usual winter home. The drama of the story develops when other Arctic animals decide to try to use the kamik for themselves to keep warm. Clever Tuktuk deals with Putak, the polar bear, Aput, the Arctic fox, and Masak, the caribou, in turn. Each animal desires the kamik at first, but Tuktuk tricks them into trying on the kamik in an unlikely way, convincing them that they did not need a furry kamik after all. in the end, Tuktuk curls up alone in his furry kamik winter home and gave a happy sigh, saying,"perfect! One furry kamik is just right for a collard lemming!'' Through the story's narrative, features and animals of the Arctic are highlighted and demonstrated. At the end of the book, the For Creative Minds section includes more information on polar seasons, Arctic skies, Arctic vocabulary (including Inuit vocabulary, weather vocabulary, and geologic vocabulary), and Life in the Cold, Animal Fun Facts. This is an excellent, educational, and appealing series for readers between the ages of four and eight years.

Coat of Many Colors
Dolly Parton, author
Brooke Boynton-Hughes, illustrator
Grosset & Dunlap
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, new York, NY 10014
9780451532374, $17.99,

"Coat of Many Colors" is a tenderly illustrated song story based on the song lyrics by author Dolly Parton, who wrote the original song remembering the loving sewing work of her mother who stitched together a coat for her out of a box of donated patches and rags. Every page has beautiful illustrations done in pen and ink and watercolor, depicting the young blonde girl and her beloved coat of many colors that her mama made for her. "Coat of Many Colors" is a about enduring love made tangible without money, and it is also about being proud of such a gift of love despite harsh, unkind, or bullying remarks made by others. The author believes "there is absolutely nothing wrong with being different". "Coat of Many Colors" was written for children to help plant seeds of tolerance, understanding, and acceptance for all. This beautiful children's book is part of a kind and vast legacy, also enriched by another special song reference by Dolly Parton for children who experience bullying or teasing. in a postscript she provides the free download link to the song, "Making Fun Ain't Funny," at "But they didn't understand it, and I tried to make them see/ that one is only poor only if they choose to be./ Now, I know we had no money,/ but I was rich as I could be/ in my coat of many colors/ that my mama made for me.... made just for me."

Dance With Me
Penny Harrison, author
Gwynneth Jones, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Eisle Publishing Pty Ltd.
9781925335231, $17.99,

"Dance With Me" is a charming, tenderly illustrated story about a tiny ballerina in a music box, who became the favorite playmate of a little girl when she "twirled and whirled, swayed and swirled, and sang to the little girl, 'Come, dance with me.'" But gradually the little girl grew up and didn't have time to dance and play with the little music box ballerina, so one day she decided to jump down and escape from her wooden music box. The tiny ballerina swirled and twirled and invited a bee, a turtle, and a leopard to dance with her, but they all declined, with varying degrees of pleasantness or threat. So the ballerina jumped back into her little wooden music box just as the girl came into the room. Although the ballerina again twirled and swirled and invited the girl to dance with her, instead she closed the lid to the music box. The ballerina was quiet in the music box, closed up on a shelf for many years, along with the toy turtle, bear, bee, and backpack leopard she had tried to dance with. One day, the box was opened again, and the sleepy little ballerina looked out over a green forest and tranquil lake, and into the face of another little girl, like the one she used to know, who began to twirl, whirl, sway, and swirl, singing, "Come, dance with me!" The gentle narrative, enchanting whimsical illustrations of golden lines of music, leaping tiny ballerinas in search of running deer for partners, contrasting with softly blurred pine trees, all combine to create a warm, rich, inviting fantasy that transcends years and promises eternal youth.

Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Three new picture books are fun reads and top recommendations for young leisure readers. Derek Anderson's Ten Hungry Pigs (9780545168489, $16.99) offers winning, fun drawings to accompany the story of ten hungry pigs who have different ideas of favorite foods. But are there really only ten hungry pigs? Fish, bees, macaroni and cheese - oh my! The food and counting fun excels as it's enhanced with large-sized color drawings. Michelle Meadows' Super Bugs (9780545687560, $16.99) is illustrated by Bill Mayer and tells of super-strong helpful insects who work from dawn till dusk saving their fellow bugs from crime, slime, and threats. The oversized drawings are lovely embellishments to two-line rhymes documenting these super-insects and their missions. Patrick Downes' Come Home, Angus! (9780545597685, $17.99) tells of young Angus, who wakes up in such a bad mood that he decides to run away from home. His pancakes are too skinny and nothing is going right on the home front - but is the outside world any better? Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend to appreciation of this fun tale. All are top picks for young leisure readers.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Danna Smith's Swallow the Leader: A Counting Book (978054415188, $16.99) tells what happens when a shark is allowed to play follow-the-leader with the other fish. Kids are lured into a counting game as they explore their world and follow a dubious game that holds some surprises. Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes's Before Morning (9780547979175, $17.99) tells of a small child who wishes for a different kind of day than she usually gets. Kids who prefer reduced-word and wordless picture books will find this is sparing of word but powerful in dark imagery imparted by scratchboard art as two award-winning authors explore the idea that a sense of magic exists behind the ordinary working world. C. Roger Mader's Stowaway in a Sleigh (9780544481749, $17.99) tells of a too-curious cat, Slipper, who faces down Santa and finds herself on an extraordinary adventure. Just in time for the holidays, Stowaway in a Sleigh's different take on Christmas experiences will especially delight those looking for a different kind of holiday title, replete with beautiful large-size drawings. Stephen Krensky's Dinosaurs in Disguise (9780544472716, $17.99) enjoys lovely color drawings by Lynn Munsinger as it follows a journey through a world where dinosaurs replace common sights. Perhaps they aren't really extinct: they're just hiding! And once they got used to blending in, hiding became a way of life for them. Kids will enjoy the whimsical and fun examination of just how this happens in the world. All are fine presentations that represent the best of this publisher's seasonal catalog.

Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Lucia Panzieri's Little Brother Pumpkin Head (9780823435371, $16.95) is illustrated by Samantha Enria and tells of a boy who has a brother on the way. Because of this, his mother is doing strange things - and somehow she always wants to eat pumpkin... so much so that the boy has a nightmare about his would-be brother being born with a pumpkin head. Good reading skills or parental assistance will lend to the enjoyment of this curious, different approach to a mother's pregnancy during the Fall season. Valeri Gorbachev's Pizza-Pie Snowman (9780823436545, $16.95) provides the winning story of Pinky, who wants to get a pizza for his mother and himself. He's on a mission that nothing can shake, whether it be invitations to play along the way or the presence of a walking snowman. Wait - maybe something can sway him from his task! Kids with basic reading skills will enjoy this curious encounter. Mordicai Gerstein's The Sleeping Gypsy (9780823421428, $16.95) is a lovely presentation based on Henri Rousseau's ethereal painting of the same name, and tells of animals who come across a sleeping gypsy in their desert home. Who is she, and what are the stories of the rabbit, snake, and a host of other animals who encounter her? Kids are invited to think about the lovely picture and a host of fantastic possibilities in its story. All are excellent, unique picture book offerings.

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

Rita Meade's Edward Gets Messy (9781481437776, $17.99) is illustrated by Olga Stern and tells of a particular pig who, unlike his friends, hates getting messy. In fact, he makes it a point to never get messy - until one day everything changes. The fun tale of a pig who doesn't even spill good provides a hilarious look at why it isn't easy being a 'particular pig'. Adam Lehrhaupt and Scott Magoon's I Will Not Eat You (9781481429337, $17.99) tells of hungry Theodore, who considers the possibility that everything in his world a potential meal, until a boy enters his life. As the cave monster considers and rejects numerous meals, he finds he isn't really hungry at all. Maybe he just needs the right food? A fun story packed with unexpected moments evolves. Cynthia Rylant's Creation (9781481470391, $17.99) is a Christian retelling of the Biblical story of creation for the very young, and begins with the creation of light, darkness, and then the world. The effort stays true to Biblical events but presents the story in very simple language children will find accessible. These are all fine leisure readers for the young.

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

Michael Paraskevas's Mr. Moon (9780399549922, $17.99) tells of a watchful benevolent moon which keeps watch over the night world and makes sure things go smoothly on the night shift. What is there to keep track of? Between jumping cows, friendly roaming ghosts, and tap-dancing stars, the night world is alive. Gorgeous drawings throughout make this a winner. Laura Godwin and Rob Dunlavey's Owl Sees Owl (9780553497823, $17.99) tells of a little owl who is wide awake and ready for adventure. He's off to find it, and a series of one-word rhymes helps the very young picture book reader fly with him. Jennifer Lanthier's Hurry Up, Henry (9780670068371, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Isabelle Malenfant as it tells of a boy who hates to be late, but doesn't want to be hurried. His family is always telling him to hurry up, but in contrast, he can never keep up with his friend Simon, either. Can't he just take his own time without being pushed, either way? A birthday gift offers something special in this moving story. Maureen Fergus's The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold (9781770498242, $16.99) presents a terrible dilemma, spices its story with pictures by Cale Atkinson, and tells what happens when Santa stops believing in a boy's ability to move from bad to good. Is it a practical joke, or a scheme to steal gifts? Santa even doubts Harold's cookies, now. What's a boy to do? A fine story of change and trust evolves. Laura Murray's The Gingerbead Man Loose at the Zoo (9780399168673, $16.99) receives simple, fun drawings by Mike Lowery as it follows the escapades of a gingerbread man and his classmates who embark on a scavenger hunt at the zoo. When the Gingerbread Man is separated from his friends, he finds he must solve all the riddles quickly to catch up with them. A fun, cartoon-like collection makes for a light-hearted tale.

The Bilingual Shelf

El Torneo De Trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament
Nicholas Kanellos, author
Anne Vega, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858329, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

"Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, doggies, kitties and mousies: Welcome to the grand Tongue Twister Tournament!" And so begins this championship in which the best tongue torturer will win the tongue twister trophy in the bilingual picture book "El Torneo De Trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament". The competitors include a variety of quirky characters, including Lengua de Lagarto, or Lizard Tongue, whose tongue is tied "just so." There's Grumpy Granny, who raps about a raggedy cat, and El Chupacabras, who loves to eat critters, "even insects are for me / cows and cats and doggies too / chupa chupa chupa cabras, BOO!" Many of the tongue twisters included in this unique picture book for young children ages 6 to 9 and will be familiar to Spanish-speaking children-and their parents too! But "El Torneo De Trabalenguas / The Tongue Twister Tournament" also includes tried-and-true tongue twisters familiar to English speakers, like "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." With colorful illustrations depicting the unique contestants, this bilingual collection of phrases that are difficult to say quickly will challenge children to excel in both English and Spanish and is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Marisol McDonald and the Monster/ Marisol McDonald y el monstruo
Monica Brown, author
Sara Palacios, illustrator
Adriana Dominguez, Spanish translator
Children's Book Press
c/o Lee & Low Books Inc.
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9780892393268, $18.95,

"Marisol McDonald and the Monster" is a completely imaginative collaboration between highly a distinguished, award-winning author and illustrator team. A Junior Library Guild selection, "Marisol McDonald and the Monster" features a spunky, outside -the- box heroine from a blended family of Peruvian/Scottish descent, who loves the letter "m." Every page is filled with fabulous, blooming color illustrations if every story detail described, plus two gripping narratives in Spanish and English, studded with words beginning with the featured letter, "m." Unfortunately there is one word beginning with the featured letter which Marisol does not like...Monster! Although she knows they aren't real, she imagines a mythic creature with scary eyes, wild fur, pointy claws, and sharp teeth! Marisol is terrified of a thumping bumping sound she hears in the night. Imagining a monster, she calls for her family, but there is no monster under her bed. later, Marisol devises a creative solution to her midnight monster fears: She imagines and creates her own monster, naming her Melody, and places it in a box home under her bed. Still, thumping bumping sounds again awakened her that night, and she called all her family, Mami, Dad, and two brothers, and they heard the monster noises too! The monster mystery turned out to be noises made by the family dog, Kitty, who is playing with his ball, pushing it against the wall with his nose! All is well with the McDonald family and Marisol goes happily back to sleep cuddling and comforting her toy monster and her Kitty monster. A wonderful Author's Note and bilingual Glossary complete the unique "Marisol McDonald and the Monster," a book of great appeal to readers ages 6-11. Every single award this series has gathered is very well deserved!

Mama the Alien/ Mama la Extraterrestre
Rene Colato Lainez, author
Laura Lacamara, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9789780892392988, $17.95,

"Mama the Alien" is a brilliant, brightly illustrated bilingual story about a girl named Sofia who discovers an unexpected word on a card in her Mama's purse that leads her to fearful, strange imaginings. The card had her mother's name on it and the word "alien." Sofia begins to imagine what sort of alien her mother could be, even though her mother and father tried to explain the card to her. Sofia even does research in the library on all sorts of alien beings, mostly from outer space. There are many unusual twists in Sofia's imaginings about her Mama's Alien card, but the crowning discovery comes when Sofia confronts her mother, looking very alien indeed, with a green facial and cucumber slices on her eyes and curlers in her hair, undergoing a beauty treatment for a very special reason. Finally Sofia understood that her mother had an alien card because she was from another country, not from outer space. Sofia's Mama explained that she had a Resident Alien card to allow her to live and work in the United States. then she had another card to replace that called a Permanent Resident card. But the very special ceremony that she is preparing for with her beauty treatment is best of all. Sofia's Mama is about to become a citizen of the United States of America in her special ceremony. In reality, to achieve this, she had to pass many tests, fill out many papers, and pay many expensive fees. It is a complex, long, expensive process, not described in the book, but known by all who have experienced it. Finally, Sofia celebrated with her mother and father by giving her a very special present. "Mama the Alien" is a bilingual story that introduces and defines the concepts of citizenship, immigration, and aliens. "Mama the Alien" is a joyful celebration of a family member's earned citizenship of the United States of America.

The Native American Shelf

I Am Not a Number
Jenny Kay Dupuis & Kathy Kacer, authors
Gillian Newland, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583944, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by the team of Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer, "I Am Not a Number" is the story of a young Canadian aboriginal girl named Irene who is removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school. Irene is confused, frightened and terribly homesick. She tries to remember who she is and where she came from despite being told to do otherwise. When she goes home for summer holidays, her parents decide never to send her away again, but where will she hide and what will happen when her parents disobey the law? Superbly illustrated by Gillian Newland, "I Am Not a Number" is taken from a dark period of white dominance over native families and culture. Specifically written and illustrated for young readers ages 4 to 8, "I Am Not a Number" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Fiction Shelf

The Hero Two Doors Down
Sharon Robinson
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545804516, $16.99

Sharon Robinson's The Hero Two Doors Down is recommended for advanced elementary-level grades as it tells of eight-year-old Brooklyn boy Stephen, who is enamored of the Dodgers and spends all his time involved in sports. When he hears a rumor that an African American family is moving to his all-Jewish neighborhood - an unusual event in 1948 - he receives a surprise that challenges notions of heroes, prejudice, and friendship. The Hero Two Doors Down is a thoughtful historical novel, highly recommended.

Meet the Bobs and Tweets
Peter Springfield
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545770726, $9.99,

Meet the Bobs and Tweets enjoys full-color illustrations throughout by Kristy Caldwell as it tells of a family of Bobs, who are slobs, and their neat neighbors The Tweets. Can these two very different families live next door to one another in peace? A zany, fun series of encounters creates 72 pages of colorful and whimsical neighborly differences that kids will love.

Squirrel in the House
Vivian Vande Velde
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823436330, $15.95,

Squirrel in the House is illustrated by Steve Bjorkman and returns the mischievous squirrel from 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel = 1 Dog = Chaos to a new adventure recommended for ages 6-10. Here Squirrel decides to crash a party at Cuddles the dog's house, but his antics aren't welcome. 72 pages of fun documents what happens when a human boy gets in trouble, and how a determined squirrel can come to the rescue. Kids will be delighted by the fun black and white drawings that capture a crazy squirrel's antics.

Hurricane Kiss
Deborah Blumenthal
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320, Park Ridge, IL 60068
9780807534489, $16.99, HC, 256pp,

For sixteen-year-old Jillian McKay, the threat of Hurricane Danielle means a long car ride with her neighbors -- including River Daughtry, the former star quarterback of Harrison High. The guy who was headed to glory until suddenly he disappeared to a West Texas juvenile detention center. Once cocky and flirtatious, he's now silent and angry. When their evacuation route is gridlocked, River is the first to recognize the danger they're in. Together he and Jillian set out to seek shelter in their abandoned high school. As they wait out the storm, they confront the past and realize survival is about more than just staying alive -- it's about fighting for yourself. Inspired by author Deborah Blumenthal's personal experience with Hurricane Rita, "Hurricane Kiss" is a consistently compelling read from first page to last and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Hurricane Kiss" is also available in a paperback edition (9780807534502, $9.99) and in a Kindle format ($6.40).

The Mask That Sang
Susan Currie
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781772600131, $9.95, PB, 112pp,

When Cass's estranged grandmother unexpectedly leaves her house and savings to Cass and her mom, it is just the thing they need to change their lives. Cass is being bullied at school, and her mom just lost her job (again) so they pack up and move in. Cass finds an intriguing and powerful mask in her new room, and she is inexplicably drawn to it. A strange relationship grows between Cass and the mask; it sings her songs, shows her visions of past traumas and encourages her to be brave when facing bullies. The mask eventually leads her to discover her own Cayuga heritage and leads her into the arms of a community that's been waiting for them. An inherently engaging read from cover to cover, "The Mask That Sang" is especially recommended for young readers ages 9 to 12, making it an ideal and popular addition to school and community library Children's Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Mask That Sang" is also available in a Kindle format ($6.15).

The Awakening of Sunshine Girl
Paige McKenzie
Weinstein Books
345 Hudson Street, 13th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781602862746, $16.00, HC, 304pp,

Having passed her test, Sunshine's Luiseach powers are now fully awakened and for months now, She has felt spirits everywhere: heard voices, felt emotions - intense and sometimes overwhelming. She tries to ignore them, but it is impossible. Hoping to get her powers under control - and hoping for answers to her never-ending questions - she agrees to undergo training with her Luiseach mentor, even though she still hopes to give up her powers someday. She and her mentor clash left and right; he doesn't understand or approve of her attachment to the humans in her life; and she can't understand how he could give her up so many years ago, only to endanger her mother's life as part of a test. Sunshine's training is every bit as terrifying and creepy as her test was, and along the way she meets and befriends another young Luiseach, forcing her to confront her feelings for Nolan. Though her mentor is reluctant to answer her many questions, she finally learns more about her lineage, as well as the rift that threatens the future of Luiseach and the human race... and the crucial part she has to play in repairing it. A consistently entertaining and engaging novel from first page to last, "The Awakening of Sunshine Girl" is highly recommended for young readers ages 12 to 17, and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "The Awakening of Sunshine Girl" is also available in a paperback edition (9781602863125, $9.99) and in a Kindle format ($8.99).

The Hawkweed Prophecy
Irena Brignull
Weinstein Books
345 Hudson Street, 13th floor, New York, NY 10014
9781602863002, $18.00, HC, 368pp,

Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn't lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don't belong and seeking escape. Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they've never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other. A superbly crafted, reader engaging read from first page to last, "The Hawkweed Prophecy" showcases author Irena Brignull's impressive storytelling abilities and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections for young readers ages 12 to 18. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Hawkweed Prophecy" is also available in a Kindle format ($11.99).

Bullies at Finley High
Keith Thomas Walker
PO Box 331585, Fort Worth, TX 76163
9780996750530, $9.99, PB, 214pp,

Corey is no stranger to bullies. After a harrowing middle school experience, he hopes to turn things around at Finley High. But reinventing yourself isn't so easy when the same, pesky peers follow you year after year. Despite the daily harassment, Corey finds happiness with a new crush, but the bullies are quick to steal their joy. With eyes filled with anguish, he realizes there's only one way to make all the pain go away. Taking on an all too common problem in highschool, "Bullies at Finley High" is an exceptionally well written and deftly crafted novel that will hold special appeal to young readers ages 12 to 18. Especially recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bullies at Finley High" is readily available in a Kindle format ($2.99).

Shepherding Sam
Melinda Johnson
Ancient Faith Publishing
PO Box 748, Chesterton, IN 46304-0748
9781944967079, $12.95, PB, 112pp,

Sam's Aunt Eva says he's like a tornado he causes a ruckus everywhere he goes. But Aunt Eva won't give up on Sam, and neither will Saucer, the monastery's corgi puppy. Saucer lives at the monastery, but he dreams of herding sheep. With no sheep in his life, Saucer tries to herd everyone else farm animals, nuns, and especially Sam. Sam doesn't want to follow anyone, not even a funny puppy. But Saucer knows that if he just keeps trying, he can bring this lonely boy back to the flock. "Shepherding Sam" by Melinda Johnson is a wonderfully charming and engagingly entertaining read and a highly recommended addition to personal, family, school, and community library fiction collections for young readers.

The Best Man
Richard Peck
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803738393, $16.99, HC, 240pp,

Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth in the person of Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school. But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn't see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he's the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story. Especially recommended for young readers ages 9 to 12, "The Best Man" is another terrifically engaging and entertaining novel by Richard Peck and very highly recommended for both school and community library Children's General Fiction collections. For personal reading lists" The Best Man" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99). School and community librarians should note that "The Best Man" is also available in a complete and unabridged CD audio book (Listening Library: 9780735288867, $30.00).

This Is Not The End
Jesse Jordan
Medallion Press, Inc.
c/o Medallion Media Group
4222 Meridian Parkway Suite 110, Aurora, IL 60504
9781942546306, $9.99, PB, 450pp,

James Salley is turning sixteen, and it's not going well. His family's too busy to care, the local bully creates new tortures daily, someone appears to be following him, and he's just learned that he's the Antichrist. All James ever wanted out of life was for Dorian Delaney (the operatically trained and suicidal girl of his dreams) to fall as in love with him as he is with her. But once he's told of his bloody destiny, he finds himself fighting between who he thought he was and who he's supposed to be. With the school librarian pushing him to begin the Apocalypse, an irritable homunculus watching his back, and a murderous cabal of Catholics following him everywhere, James must discover how to navigate a world in which everything he's ever believed is wrong -- and if it's possible to be the hero of a story when you've already been cast as the villain. An exceptionally well written and riveting read from cover to cover, "This Is Not The End" showcases author Jesse Jordan as an impressively skilled storyteller. While very highly recommended for school and community collections for young readers ages 12 to 18, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "This Is Not The End" is a also available in a Kindle edition ($7.03). Highschool and community librarians should also be aware that "This Is Not The End" would be an ideal addition to their audio book collections as well (Blackstone Audio, 9781504750349, $29.95, CD, Complete & Unabridged).

It Started with Goodbye
Christina June
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310758662, $12.99, PB, 272pp,

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she's stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF's gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she's not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela/fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way. A modern play on a Cinderella them, "It Started with Goodbye" shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules. An unfailingly entertaining and thoroughly engaging read from cover to cover, "It Started with Goodbye" is highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted that "It Started with Goodbye" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.99).

The Science Shelf

What On Earth? Water
Isabel Thomas and Pau Morgan
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781682970195 $12.95

What On Earth? Water is packed cover to cover with fascinating facts and simple, hands-on science activities for kids ages 6 to 9. Colorful illustrations on every page demonstrate the amazing water cycle that nourishes all life on planet Earth. "Clouds are not the only things that give us clues about the weather. In the past, people noticed that many plants and animals behave differently when it's going to rain. Cows lie down on the grass. Seagulls come inland. Dandelion and clover flowers close up." Activities such as making a water filter, secret salt pictures, or a paper waterwheel with inexpensive materials make What On Earth? Water a memorable source of educational fun. What On Earth? Water is a choice pick especially for public and grade school library children's collections. Also highly recommended is "What On Earth? Wind" (9781682970188, $12.95), another book in this excellent series by Isabel Thomas and Pau Morgan.

Bathroom Science
Christine Taylor-Butler
Portable Press
c/o Printer's Row Publishing Group
9781626865877 $14.99 spiral bound / $7.99 Kindle

Bathroom Science: 70 Fun and Wacky Science Experiments lives up to its title with seventy inexpensive, hands-on experiments that kids can perform to learn about basic scientific concepts and principles. Parental supervision is advised, but cleaning up after the educational fun is easy - any mess simply drains away or flushes down. Each experiment includes simple black-and-white illustrations, a list of materials, step-by-step instructions, and a "What's Going On Here?" scientific explanation. For example, "One Corny Experiment" teaches kids about how a non-Newtonian fluid behaves, by making some out of a mixture of cornstarch and water. Bathroom Science is perfect for rainy-day or any-day activity, highly recommended.

Where Do Rivers Go, Momma?
Catherine Weyerhaeuser
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878426560, $12.00, HC, 32pp,

Every child learns about the water cycle in school, and with the help of "Where Do Rivers Go, Momma?" they will come to love every aspect of it, from mighty rivers rushing downhill to the sea to rainbows formed by the sun shining on water droplets in the sky. Using pictures and language that children ages 6 to 9 will understand and enjoy, author and illustrator Catherine Weyerhaeuser combines her talents as a geologist, educator, and illustrator to describe how water moves around the Earth. Detailed illustrations of watery landscapes with lush ferns and aquatic creatures will thrill students in grades 1 to 4, and providing straightforward explanations of the water cycle, such as where water goes when it soaks into the ground, the final pages of "Where Do Rivers Go, Momma?" tell the stories of several well-known rivers and aquifers and the challenges we face in providing clean water to future generations. Beyond a simple teaching tool, Where Do Rivers Go, Momma? inspires its readers to become stewards of the blue planet making it a critically important and enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library picture book science collections for young readers.

The Computer Shelf

Scratch Programming Playground
Al Sweigart
No Starch Press
245 - 8th Street, San Francisco, CO 94103-3910
9781593277628 $24.95 pbk / $13.54 Kindle

Thoroughly accessible to readers ages 10 and up, Scratch Programming Playground: Learn to Program by making Cool Games is a guide to using Scratch, a colorful drag-and-drop programming language ideal for coding video games or learning the basics of how to code. An excellent, beginner-friendly resource, Scratch Programming Playground teaches the reader how to make and test simple games on Scratch, including platformers, shooters, and maze games. Full-color screenshots on virtually every page and an index enrich this reader-friendly, hands-on guide, highly recommended for programming novices of any age who want to make games, have fun, and learn simple coding!

The Environmental Shelf

Gaia and the Golden Toad
Joan Muller
Mascot Books
9781631778292, $14.95, HC,

Engagingly written and beautifully illustrated by Joan Muller, "Gaia and the Golden Toad: A Tale of Climate Change" is a fact-based picture book fantasy that tells of the travels of Earth's child: Gaia. As Gaia makes her usual rounds of the world, she soon discovers that much has changed and many of Earth's creatures have been harmed by climate change. Through her travels, Gaia learns that Earth's children offer hope for all creatures' survival. Of special note is an informational listing of the various features animals and a kind of postscript on 'What is happening to Gaia? How you can help to protect her? Simply stated, "Gaia and the Golden Toad" is an original and very highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections on the effects of Climate Change for young readers.

The Self-Help Shelf

Zach Makes Mistakes
William Mulcahy, author
Darren McKee, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631981104, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

For young Zach, a class field trip to the museum is about more than cool exhibits -- it is also about learning from mistakes and dealing with embarrassment. First he forgets to wear his field trip shirt, then he forgets the rule about not touching displays. His teacher helps him see that everyone makes mistakes -- and how to use them to grow. Using an easy-to- remember tool, the Key to Mistakes, she shows Zach and young readers ages 5 to 8 a simple three-step process: Detect (find the reason for the mistake), Correct (fix the mistake if you can), and Reflect (think back about your mistake to find what you can learn from it). "Zach Makes Mistakes" also includes a short note to help teachers, parents, counselors, and other adults reinforce the books' messages and practice the skills with their kids. The latest addition to author William Mulchay's outstanding 'Zach Rules' series for boys and girls, "Zach Makes Mistakes" is appropriate and highly recommended for elementary school and community library collections for young readers.

Stickley Makes a Mistake!
Brenda S. Miles, author
Steve Mack, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433822643, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

"Stickley Makes a Mistake! A Frog's Guide to Trying Again" is a specifically written and illustrated picture book to help children ages 4 to 7 needing to challenge themselves and accept when mistakes happen. Stickley the Frog learns new ways to view his mistakes, by taking a new look at the problem, practicing, asking for help, and trying again. "Stickley Makes a Mistake" will help children more easily understand a constellation of executive function skills which are largely abstract. Of special interest is a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with concrete strategies for boosting problem solving. "Stickely Makes a Mistake!" will prove to be a popular and valued addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended is Brenda Miles earlier picture book "Stickley Sticks to It!: A Frog's Guide to Getting Things Done" (9781433819100, $14.95 HC; 9781433819117, $9.95 Kindle).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The 13th Continuum
Jennifer Brody
Turner Publishing Company
200 - 4th Avenue North, Suite 950, Nashville, TN 37219
9781681622552, $34.95, HC, 416pp,

One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the descendants of the chosen survivors take refuge in thirteen contingency shelters buried deep underground, at the bottom of the ocean, and in the far reaches of outer space. In the underwater 13th Continuum, sixteen-year-old Myra Jackson has heard rumors and whisperings all her life of a magical place called "The Surface" where people could breathe fresh air, feel the warmth of something called sunlight on their skin, and see things known as stars and trees and mountains. Myra has never dared to ask whether the stories are true, since the act of speaking such words aloud is an offense punishable by death. But after she discovers that the air supply aboard her underwater colony is running out, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to find this mysterious place. To get there, she must first recover the only guide to the Surface called the Beacon, an ancient device that also connects her to Captain Aero Wright, a dashing young soldier from one of the only remaining space colonies. With the fate of all humankind depending on them, Myra and Aero must escape the tyrannical forces that rule their colonies, journey through the black depths of the ocean and across the cold void of space, to find each other on the Surface that their ancestors once called home. An original and deftly crafted science fiction novel, "The 13th Continuum" is especially recommended for young readers ages 12 to 18 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction (and especially science fiction) collections.

Tales of the Peculiar
Ransom Riggs
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780399538537, $24.99, HC, 192pp,

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant fairy tale stories by Ransom Riggs and comprise his "Tales of the Peculiar", a collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the locations of time loops, that he first introduced in his outstanding 'Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children' series. In his latest anthology of stories Riggs now invites young readers to these stories which have collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar. Featuring stunning illustrations from world-renowned woodcut artist Andrew Davidson "Tales of the Peculiar" is a compelling and truly peculiar anthology that is consistently compelling and unfailingly entertaining. While very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted that "Tales of the Peculiar" is also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9780141374482, $19.99) and in a Kindle format ($12.99).

Sam Gayton
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544636200, $16.99,

Hercufleas offers the fun story of a man-eating giant who attacks Greta's town, promoting her to recruit a tiny hero to defend it. Young flea Hercufleas is certain he'll be a wonderful hero, but he has a lot to learn as girl and flea face a long, arduous journey in a desperate attempt to save the village. More than just a story of a hero's simple encounter, Hercufleas examines the nature of courage and achievement in the context of a girl who believes in the power of even the smallest hero of all. Advanced elementary to early middle school readers will find it a fun leisure read.

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales
David Lubar
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765377265, $15.99,

Strikeout of the Bleacher Weenies and Other Warped and Creepy Tales will reach advanced elementary-grade to early middle school readers with the eighth fun collection involving the Weenies in a new escapade. Here is a short story gathering of over thirty new tales that offer scary, weird, and fun takes on events, from a mysterious new girl's strange abilities to a ball game gone awry. Prior fans especially will relish this fun gathering.

Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Tone Almhjell's Thornghost (9780803738973, $16.99) provides a compelling story that takes place in the woods that surround Niklas's home. Bad dreams, beasts brought to life from a vivid imagination, and a portal to another world lead Niklas on a journey to another land where animals speak and live under an evil ruler. Powering all this is his deceased mother's last words, which may hold the clue to saving two worlds. A gripping fantasy evolves. D.J. MacHale's Curse of the Boggin: The Library Book 1 (9781101932537, $16.99) also takes place in another world: this a place called the Library, where spirits and ghosts leave their stories. Marcus and his friends have found this world, but they have yet to find the answers which unlock its secrets. Because its forces are spilling over into their world, the three friends find themselves tackling a story that needs an ending, lest it bring their own world crashing down. An involving saga makes for a vivid fantasy read.

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

Two excellent new books are good picks for leisure readers looking for something different. Jennifer Weiner's The Littlest Bigfoot (9781481470742, $16.99) is recommended for ages 8-12 as it presents preteen Alice, who is ignored by her family and shipped off to the eighth boarding school of her young life. She wants to connect to the world and make a friend - but when she rescues Millie from drowning one day, she discovers Millie is part of a clan that most people don't believe exists. An exciting, different kind of friendship dilemma evolves. Natasha Lowe's The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel (9781481465335, $16.99) tells of Nora, who finds a baby in the flowerpot on her front steps, which fills her long-time dream of having a child. Mabel displays a talent for magic, however, and she is also fiercely independent. When she's accepted at witch school and finds her place there, she embarks on a journey to find out her true origins, with dangerous results. Both are excellent and involving reads.

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

Four new books from Scholastic provide fine leisure reading choices that are highly recommended picks for collections seeking good reads and new authors. M.G. Leonard's Beetle Boy (9780545854460, $16.99) will reach advanced elementary to early middle school grades as it tells of a father who vanishes from a locked room, leading Darkus to move in with an eccentric uncle and endure two horrible cousins who are fighting a beetle infestation. When Darkus discovers the beetles aren't ordinary bugs, but a super species with intelligence and a purpose, he becomes involved in events that place him at odds with a dangerous villain. Eliot Schrefer's Rescued (9780545655033, $18.99) tells of orangutan Raja, raised in captivity not in a zoo, but an American home. John grew up with Raja and the two are best friends, especially since John's parents have split up; but can he turn his back on a plan to send Raja away, now that the orangutan is grow? A desperate scheme is hatched which ultimately challenges the meaning of humanity. Tui T. Sutherland's Wings of Fire: Escaping Peril (9780545685443, $16.99) will delight young adult readers of dragon-based fantasies as it tells of Peril, a dangerous but loyal individual who has experienced political strife and struggles to stay true to a cause. Peril is loyal to Clay, the only dragonet who has ever been her friend, but when a threat from a former queen changes her life, Peril must embark on a trek hampered by a persistent turtle, SeaWing, who has his own agenda for loyalty and rescue. Can Peril complete her mission and save her friends and world? Wendy Spinale's Everland (9780545836944, $17.99) presents a London that has been destroyed by bombs and a deadly disease. In this shattered land are teen Gwen and her younger siblings who scavenge and struggle for survival in their much-changed world. One Captain Hook snatches such children and conducts experiments on them in a quest for knowledge; but when they grab Gwen's sister, she will do anything to get her back - even accept the help of the daring Pete and his gang of Lost Boys. A fine re-rendering of the classic Peter Pan evolves with many satisfying twists of plot.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery
James Ponti
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481436304, $16.99

James Ponti's Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery tells of twelve-year-old Florian, who has just moved to Washington. His secret technique for coping is T.O.A.S.T. and it's never failed him before; but this time it's about lead him into a mystery that's far more involved than the daily small conundrums of life. Young fans of detective and mystery intrigue will find this a thrilling read in which Florian delves into adult worlds and a crime syndicate's activities. Framed! is an excellent, exciting read from cover to cover.

The Audiobook Shelf

When the Sea Turned to Silver
Grace Lin, author
Read by Kim Mai Guest
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478912538 $24.00

When the Sea Turned to Silver is unabridged audiobook rendition of an original fairy tale ideal for young people in grades 3-6. When young Pinmei's grandmother is kidnapped by the emperor's soldiers, she and her secretive friend Yishan team up to stage a rescue. Their journey crosses paths with fantastic beasts, and even ventures into the depths of the ocean. When the Sea Turned to Silver is an extraordinary adventure, entrancing to the very end, and especially recommended for public and school library children's audiobook collections.

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Puny Pirates
Bill Harley, author and narrator
Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561459414 $16.95

Read aloud by author Bill Harley, Charlie Bumpers vs. The Puny Pirates is the unabridged audiobook rendition of the fifth book of the Charlie Bumpers series for young adults. Charlie is playing on the Pirates soccer team along with his best friends Tommy and Hector, but why won't the new coach give the trio of fast friends a chance to play on the field together? The Pirates are on a losing streak, but could Charlie and his friends turn the Pirates' luck around by selling candy? An upbeat, adventurous story, Charlie Bumpers vs. The Puny Pirates is a choice pick for public library children's audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 2 hours 30 min.

The Music CD Shelf

The Greatest Hits
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
Rainy Day Dimes, LLC
$15.99 CD / $9.99 iTunes

The Greatest Hits is a jubilant music CD gathering 21 of the most popular and oft-requested songs by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Selected from their seven award-winning, family-friendly music albums, The Greatest Hits is bursting at the seams with contagious enthusiasm and sing-along fun! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Pinata Attack", "Thingamajig", "Line and Dots", "Skunk Strut", "Blue Bear", "On My Bike", "Vacation", "Countdown Kids with Lucky (1-10)", "Monkey Jones", "Say What?", "Pretty Princess", "Let's Dance", "Abracadabra", "Cuantos Tacos (Taco Song)", "Happy Birthday", "Lemonade Stand", "Squirrely The Squirrel", "Shimmy", and "The Best Day". It should be noted that two bonus tracks, "8,000 Feet" and "De Colores" are only on the CD version, not the iTunes version.

Live in Colour
Marlowe & the Mix
Privately Published
$14.98 CD / $7.99 MP3

Live in Colour is a pop music album perfect for children's parties. The lively, energetic original songs encourage young people to move to the beat and sing along with the kid-friendly lyrics. Playful, funny, and just plain fun, Live in Colour is a choice pick! The tracks are "Live in Colour", "Show Your Glow ft. Mix Kids", "Picture Me in NYC", "Lights Out ft. Dylan & Aja", "Music & the Mirror ft. Raina", "Gemini", "Hi 5", "Change is Good ft. Aja", "Video Game Insane ft. Mathew", and "Allstars Shine On".

La La La
Priscilla Ahn
Privately Published
$12.99 CD / $9.99 iTunes

Korean-American musician Priscilla Ahn presents La La La, an original music CD of 12 family-friendly songs that will delight children and please parents. Ahn's silky, beautiful voice resonates in these heartwarming songs of innocence and tenderness. La La La is a joyful treasure, highly recommended. The tracks are "Body Sounds", "Elephant", "All by Myself", "Forever and Forever", "Vampire", "Leaves", "Des Jeunes Filles Et Des Fleurs", "Dust Bunny", "Little Boat", "In My Bed", "Desert Lullaby", and "Oyasumi".

Feel What U Feel
Lisa Loeb
Furious Rose Productions, Inc.
$9.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Feel What U Feel is an original, family-friendly album by GRAMMY-nominated music artist Lisa Loeb, best known for platinum-selling hit song "Stay (I Missed You)". Inspired by Loeb's own childhood memories, Feel What U Feel features charming, delightful songs that will resonate in the hearts of listeners of all ages. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Moon Star Pie (It's Gonna Be Alright)", "Say Hello", "Feel What U Feel (featuring Craig Robinson)", "I Was Here", "You Can Count On Me", "The Sky Is Always Blue", "Wiggle", "It's All Right To Cry (featuring Craig Robinson)", "Let's Keep the Band Together", "You Have It In You", "Wanna Do Day (featuring Ed Helms on Bluegrass Banjo)", and "You Can Count On Me (Lullaby)".

The DVD Shelf

Mischief Sunday & Other Inspired Adventures, Volume 4
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Mischief Sunday & Other Inspired Adventures, Volume 4 is part of a series of inspirational DVDs designed to teach young Christians ages 3-6 about biblical values, and can be paired with "The Whirl Story Bible" features 20 brief episodes, each about four minutes long. Deep theological concepts are addressed in a family-friendly way, through antics of animated characters. The challenges of adhering to one's faith in everyday life are directly addressed, and the short videos model behavior for kids without explicitly telling them what to do. An excellent resource of Christian families and church library DVD collections for children, Mischief Sunday & Other Inspired Adventures, Volume 4 is highly recommended. 60 min.

French for Kids: Les Saisons (The Seasons)

French for Kids: Les Saisons (The Seasons) is an educational DVD designed to help young children (ages 1-7) learn basic French. Fritzi and his friend Marie celebrate Fritzi's birthday in this sing-along, dance-along adventure. French for Kids is an interactive program designed with immersion in mind, using call-and-response and repetition to help build the viewer's French vocabulary, with a particular focus on words and phrases associated with the four seasons. Highly recommended for youth language-learning DVD collections! 35 min., French language, English and French subtitles.

The Activity Shelf

Medieval Creatures
Sabine Tauber, author/illustrator
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372815, $9.95,

"Medieval Creatures: Create Your Own Artworks! Sticker Book" is a fantastic sticker art book with 16 pages of over 260 color and black and white illustrations, plus 200 stickers of fantastic medieval mythic creatures from legends and stories. Designed to appeal to children age 6 and up, "Medieval Creatures Sticker Book" inspires kids to create their own fantastic worlds, using painting, coloring, drawing, and stickers, plus the carefully prepared authentic painting backgrounds for the illustrated creatures. Here are unicorns, dragons, maidens, knights, and fabulous monsters galore. Just in case some of the medieval creations look a bit fierce, there are pages and spaces for park settings for animals with cheerful faces too. The final pages of "Medieval Creatures" contains seven original images of paintings of creatures that were used to create the book, with coded accompanying titles and footnotes. "Medieval Creatures" is a fantastic way to introduce young artists/readers to the world of medieval imagination, encouraging them to pursue ideas and themes of their own.

Tractors and Other Things That Go
Make Believe Ideas Ltd.
9781780653396, $3.99

"Tractors and Other Things That Go" is a delightful black and white illustrated, 90 page coloring book with over 100 stickers for young artists/readers ages three years and up. In addition to tractors, there are portraits of rockets, robots, trains, skates, cars, and even a child riding horseback. Simple black and white line drawings will invite very young artists coloring efforts, along with the inviting colored stickers of tractors, cars, and a multitude of other wonderful things. "Tractors and Other Things That Go" is must-have activity material for young children who are fascinated by ways to move.

The Holiday Shelf

A Teeny Tiny Halloween
Lauren L. Wohl, author
Henry Cole, illustrator
Persnickety Press
9781943978021 $15.95 hc / $10.54 Kindle

A Teeny Tiny Halloween is a charming children's picturebook; the story is set during Halloween, but the underlying themes of resourcefulness and helpfulness apply year round. A teeny-tiny woman living alone in the woods has an unfortunate problem - her house is buried in orange-red fallen leaves! Her voice is too quiet to summon assistance, so what can she do? Fortunately there are trick-or-treating children nearby who can help, if she can only think of a way to get their attention! The phrase "teeny-tiny" is regularly repeated through the story, making it especially fun to read aloud and share.

The Geology Shelf

Rocks Minerals & Gems
Sean Callery and Miranda Smith
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545947190, $19.99,

Rocks Minerals & Gems: The Definitive Visual Catalog of the Treasure Beneath Your Feet will appeal to a wide age range and even into adult circles. It is presented in an oversized paperback format which allows for lovely full-page and close-up color photos by Gary Ombler, whose work highlights some 1,000 examines of rocks, minerals and gems. Layouts and discussions lend to both research and leisure browsing as they clearly identify the items and pair them with unusual facts and geological details.

Books in Series

Build a Neighborhood Library
Annette Gulati, author
Roger Stewart, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503807907, $28.50, 23pp, Library Binding,

"Build a Neighborhood Library" is an intriguing title from the Earth Friendly Projects series for elementary age children, to make with adult supervision or assistance. The book begins by exploring the different kinds and sizes of libraries, with an introduction From Trees to Paper to Books, that points out the impact of books on the environment and ways the publishers and others are seeking to counteract this. Just using a library is one good way of helping the environment. A suggestion to be explored is the concept of building a neighborhood library, such as those called the Little Free Libraries. People can start by creating a simple wooden box with a hinged door to hold donated books that can be borrowed and circulated for free. Planning suggestions and instructions and materials for creating the little library box are included. Building skills include woodworking skills, using a hammer, nails, glue, paint, screws, hinges, and installing a hook and eye set. Although simple instructions and illustrations are clear, adult supervision is encouraged whenever needed. After the project is finished, ways of collecting books to stock it are also listed in the side bar labeled Stocking Up. other informative sidebars give helpful tips or creative ideas for embellishing or finishing the project. "Build a Neighborhood Library" is finished with a glossary and list of other related helpful resources. For an excellent earth friendly project of a manageable size, "Build a Neighborhood Library" offers kids an inviting activity with long lasting rewards. Other titles in the Earth Friendly Projects series that are also highly recommended include: "Build a Weather Station (9781503807891)," by Carol Hand, "Build a Solar Cooker" (9781503807884), by Samantha S. Bell, "Build a Rain Barrel" (9781503807877), by Sally McGraw, "Build a Flytrap" (9781503807860), by Samantha S. Bell, "Build a Compost Tumbler" (9781503807853), by Tracy Abell, "Build a Compact Garden" (9781503807846), by Samantha S. Bell, and "Build a Birdhouse" (9781503807839), by Mirella S. Miller. All hardcover volumes of the Earth Friendly Projects series are illustrated clearly and in color by Roger Stewart.

The Life and Times of Lilly the Lash: The Garden Gathering
Julie Woik, author
Marc Tobin, illustrator
Whimsical Wizard, Inc.
9780966333572, $19.95,

"The Life and Times of Lilly the Lash: The Garden Gathering" is the first volume of a special children's series that helps form character, including developing a sense of self worth, plus values like sharing, honesty, respect for others, and balance. So far there are 5 volumes published in a series of 15 books designed to appeal to children ages 0-10 years (or even to 110!). In "The Garden Gathering," Lilly's past is described in the following passage of narrative verse: "You're probably wondering who Lilly could be? Such an odd looking fairy, to land in a tree. She once was an eyelash, who lived on my face. Who guided my soul with her goodness and grace. Glistening like stardust you'd find in a dream, she gave me the strength to build strong self-esteem. Teaching me morals on life and its flow, with each of her lessons, my spirit would grow." Fantastic, enchanting, shadowed illustrations trace the descent of Lilly and lightly trace the sleeping girl whose eyelash Lilly once was. Lilly's mission in "The Garden Gathering" is to seek out two special friends: Sunny the sunflower, who wished to be small, and Arnie the spider, who wished to be large, and to teach them a new way to see themselves. The creative, vivacious author's narrative style is perfectly enhanced with the dramatic, expressive color illustrations. In the end, Lilly teaches her lesson to Sunny and Arnie with a sprinkling of magic stardust, "like fresh fallen snow," leading them to learn to love and appreciate themselves as they are. "Sunny looked up and cried out to the stars, 'Why can't we like ourselves, just as we are?' Sunny now realized how foolish she'd been. Not allowing herself that great love from within." More great truths unfolding make "The Garden Gathering" a promising, magical book for children, which also comes with free educational activities and crafts plus fun facts relating to each book. Finally, a portion of each book's profits is donated to a chosen worthy cause, to help make our world a better place. Children will love, enjoy, and benefit from this creative, health-inspiring new series. Additional titles from the Life and Times of Lilly the Lash include the following: "The Toy Store" (9780966333589, $19.95), "Ocean Commotion" (9780982461198, $19.950, "The Kacklin' Kitchen" (9780989384001, $19.95), and "Jungle Jive" (9780986297922, $19.95); all are written by Julie Woik and illustrated by Marc Tobin.

Captain Perseverance: How I Became A Superhero
Brod Bagert, author
Cam Aitkenhead, illustrator
Juliahouse Publishing
PO Box 792330, New Orleans, LA 70179
9780996466547, $17.99, HC, 36pp
9780996466554, $8.99 PB, 36pp
B01DBD2SYS, $8.99, Kindle,

"Captain Perseverance: How I Became A Superhero" is an invigorating action poetry book with inspirational, exaggerated comic-book style illustrations that jump through the words on the page at the totally mesmerized reader. The powerful central parable of this amazing book is summed up in the final lines: "I am Captain Perseverance! Perseverance through and through. I became a superhero, and I promise....SO CAN YOU!" Brod Bagert is a prize winning juvenile author whose work has been characterized as 'play therapy' for children by a clinical child psychologist. Themes explored in "Captain Perseverance" include: the crucial importance of perseverance to be successful in all areas of life, inspiring children to develop their "grit potential," empowerment through the notion of "start with your worst, then make it better and better....," and more inspirational effects through powerful poetry, parables, and pictures. Common grade school hurdles such as creating a project for a science fair, reading, long division, and trying out for sixth grade band. Throughout "Captain Perseverance" the zany, driving, limited pallet of colors of super action illustrations maintain a high level of focus and interest. Kids will love to identify with Captain Perseverance, who declares: "I break the chains, I fly sky high, there's nothing I can't do!" This highly attractive, successful series soon will release new chapters in "The Adventures of the Grit Alliance: Major Effort and Commander Diligence!" "Captain Perseverance" is must read literature for elementary educators, students, and parents.

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

Three new series collections are highly recommended acquisitions for libraries looking for elementary-grade books that tie into curriculum studies and promise lasting value. The Source to Resource series for grades 4-5 ($20.70 each) supports Next generation Science Standards, the College, Career and Civil Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards, and more, and offers a series that focuses on how to find, extract, distribute and refine raw materials. Each book offers 32 pages filled with history, resource evaluations, discussions of different distribution and safety methods, and worldwide production efforts, all linked to case studies and examples from real-world operations. Michael Bright provides a number of these books. From Oil Rig to Gas Pump (9780778727064) covers the transportation and processing of oil and considers a future without it; From Field to Plate (9780778727057) tells of farming and food preservation, consumption, and issues affecting food distribution around the world; From Sunshine to Lightbulb (9780778727071) considers solar power, the national power grid, and the generation and use of electricity; and From Raindrop to Tap (9780778727088) focuses on water issues, conservation, and development. Jon Richards and Ed Simkins provide new additions to a developing series blending cartography with new methods of displaying information. Their series is 'Mapographica - Your World in Infographics ($20.70 each) and Art, Culture and Sports (9780778726555) and The Natural World (9780778726586) each use maps and 'infographics' to explore the world in new visual ways. Photos and maps offer geography designed to intrigue young readers and help them develop analytic skills, blending different kinds of maps into each title. The 'Well Made, Fair Trade' series ($20.70 each) explores how foods, familiar household items, and objects are made, marketed, purchased, and used. The center of this presentation is the idea of fair trade, and case studies and examples in each book highlight this concept and support the Framework for Social Studies: Economics, The Global Economy and other educational and state standards. Helen Greathead's series titles include My T-Shirt and Other Clothing (9780778727163), My Smartphone and Other Digital Accessories (9780778727156), My Bed and Other Home Furnishings (9780778727132) and My Chocolate Bar and Other Foods (9780778727149) all are important keys to understanding global production networks. Each of these series titles offers lasting value to libraries seeking references that are eye-catching, suitable for reports and research, and in keeping with the latest educational standards.

The Hoopoe Books Shelf

Fatima the Spinner and the Tent
Idries Shah, author
Natasha Delmar, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698074, $7.99, PB, 37pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Kaavonia Hinton, Reviewer
Foreword Review (12/8/06)

Hoping to find a handsome, affluent husband, Fatima - a spinner by trade - joins her father on a trip to several islands in the Middle Sea. On the way to Crete, a violent storm destroys her father's ship, killing everyone except Fatima. Poor and alone, the girl befriends a family of weavers in Alexandria, and they teach her their craft. When she is captured by slave-traders and sold to a man who makes masts for ships, "her world collapses for a second time." Now happy with the mast-builder, Fatima finds her life disrupted once again while traveling to Java: "Whenever things seemed to be going well, something came and destroyed all her hopes." Distraught, Fatima cries, "Why is it that whenever I try to do something it comes to grief? Why should so many unfortunate things happen to me?" Yet, she refuses to lose hope. She goes to China and learns that the Emperor is looking for a female stranger who, according to a legend, will be able to make him a tent. By this time, Fatima has worked as a spinner, a weaver, and a mast-builder, unaware that each career prepared her for her final one as tent maker and wife and mother. The author, an Afghan scholar, adapted this well-known story from a version told by storyteller Sheikh Mohamed Jamaludin of Turkey. For most of his career, Shah collected, translated, and adapted stories grounded in the Sufi philosophy. At the time of his death in 1996, he had authored more than thirty-five books, including his signature work, Tales of the Dervishes: Teaching-stories of Sufi Masters over the Past Thousand Years, in which Fatima the Spinner and the Tent first appeared. Born in Hong Kong, the illustrator grew up in Argentina and now lives in San Francisco. Her father, Ng Yi-Ching, a noteworthy Chinese painter and poet, taught her to paint. This book is a worthy follow-up to her first, The Old Woman and the Eagle, which received favorable reviews. Here, the illustrations depict architecture, costumes, and decorations that reflect the culture and the time period. Family scenes are painted in bright cheery colors while scenes that capture Fatima's misfortunes are often in somber earth tones. The endpage drawing of a map invites readers to chart Fatima's travels. Designed for ages five and older, this book is an excellent example of a "Teaching-Story" used to promote critical thinking through the power of an entertaining tale. Discussions about goal-setting, perseverance, and hard work will come naturally while reading this volume. The conclusion explicitly states the book's moral: "It was through these adventures that Fatima realized that what had appeared to be an unpleasant experience at the time, turned out to be an essential part of the making of her happiness." For ages 8-14.

The Boy Without a Name
Idries Shah, author
Mona Caron, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698258, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

(Vol. 39, No. 2)

The Boy without a Name is one of three recent titles in the beautifully illustrated award-winning series of picture books by Idries Shah. In this story, a boy seeks and eventually finds his own name and is able to discard an old dream for a new and wonderful one. Among the many insights that this story introduces to children is the idea that it takes patience and resolve to achieve one'' goals in life. The other two books are The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal (2000) and The Silly Chicken (2000). The first is about a boy who uses his own knowledge to relive the fear of the townspeople. The Silly Chicken is a humorous tale that will intrigue young children and alert them to the dangers of being too gullible. Shah's versatile and multilayered tales provoke fresh insight and more flexible thought in children. For more than thirty years, until his death in 1996, Shah collected such stories from the Sufi tradition and adapted them to contemporary Western culture. For ages: 8-14

The Magic Horse
Idries Shah, author
Julie Freeman, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698241, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Barbara Chatton
College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
School Library Journal

Shah has collected hundreds of Sufi tales, many of which are teaching tales or instructional stories. In this tradition, the line between stories for children and those for adults is not as clear as it seems to be in Western cultures, and the lessons are important for all generations. This picture-book version of one of these stories tells of two princes, one of whom pursues his heart's desire with a mechanical fish invented by an ironsmith, and one who follows a more difficult path when he chooses a magical carved horse that appears less useful. The tale of the two brothers and their journeys is illustrated with jewel-toned, delicate paintings featuring the costumes, tools, buildings, and animals of the Moslem East. Each set of pictures is triple-framed with patterned motifs resembling the tiles and textile patterns of the culture. The two brothers do not represent good and evil as happens so often in Western tales, but instead merely the choice of two different paths. This unique quality as well as the rich art will invite discussions of differences in the characters and meanings of tales across cultures. Since little material from Sufi tradition is available for children, this book will be a welcome addition to traditional literature collections. For ages: 8-14

The Old Woman and the Eagle
Idries Shah, author
Natasha Delmar, illustrtor
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698180, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Kirkus Review

Out of Afghanistan comes this simple Sufi folk story collected by the late, noted Afghan author. In this gloriously illustrated tale, an old woman grooms an eagle to represent what she thinks is a pigeon - the only type of bird with which she is familiar. Its beak is bent, not straight like it should be, his claws are too long and its feathers are ruffled. The old woman straightens the eagle's beak, clips his claws, combs his feathers smooth, and then releases him back outside. When the eagle meets another, the second eagle helps brush up the first eagle's feathers and bends the eagle's beak to its rounded form. His claws will grow in time. Meanwhile, the two of them will stay away from silly people who think pigeons are eagles and eagles pigeons. Delmar's paintings are beautiful and realistic. The side panels with detailed borders reflect elements of the tale and foreshadow events or reflect the elegant setting. Given that there is so little available for children from this region, the classic story, packaged in an elegant design, will be a good addition to every collection. For ages: 3-11

The Man and the Fox
Idries Shah, author
Sally Mallam, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698210, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Mary Jean Smith, Reviewer
Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, Tenn.
School Library Journal

The late Afghan writer begins this tale with, Once upon a time, when the moon grew on a tree and ants were fond of pickles, there was a lovely brown fox. He meets a man who promises him a chicken and then gives him a heavy sack. The man tells Rowba to hide in the bushes so other farmers will not see him eating the chicken. The sack is full of stones, and the fox is soon caught in a net. Using a sharp stone from the sack, he cuts a hole in the net and escapes. Mallam's rich full-color illustrations in a folk style evoke an unfamiliar culture, while the clever fox reminds readers of characters in familiar fables. The bottoms of some pictures tell small stories, and more lessons can be learned here than merely why it is so difficult to catch a fox. This teaching story is a useful addition to folklore collections. For ages: 3-8

The Silly Chicken
Idries Shah, author
Jeff Jackson, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698197, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Lee Bock, Reviewer
Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, Wis.
School Library Journal

Set in the Middle East, Shah's retelling of a Sufi story sends a gentle message to readers: just because someone says it's so, does not make it so. A silly chicken that a wise man teaches to speak tells the people, "The earth is going to swallow us up!" After several panicked and humorously illustrated attempts to escape the earth, the people return to their village and question the chicken about where he got his information. Of course, he hasn't the slightest idea what he's talking about. With its simple language and repeating phrases, the story begs to be told, and Jackson's colorful pastel illustrations lend a zany accent to the antics. It's a classic case of "the sky is falling" for an ancient culture, and it still has the ring of truth today. For ages: 3-8

The Man with Bad Manners
Idries Shah, author
Rose Mary Santiago, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698227, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Marilyn Taniguchi, Reviewer
Beverly Hills (Calif.) Public Library
School Library Journal

This Afghani folktale has been recast in a modern Western setting, though Santiago's brilliantly hued, naive paintings give it a timeless quality. In a quaint village with well-cultivated gardens, everyone is courteous except for one man. He babbles "blah, blah, blah" in response to others' greetings, and in the night, bangs cans loudly. Everyone is happy when he leaves to visit friends in another village. A clever boy points out, though, that their problems aren't over yet, since the man will return. He has an idea that may make the rude fellow change his ways. This ingenious plan, carried out with the villagers' full cooperation, results in a happy ending for one and all. The tale's mild didacticism is leavened by Shah's gentle retelling and Santiago's artfully lighthearted illustrations. The artist has created a whimsically idyllic village of chunky houses surrounded by sunflowers and small gardens. Her delightfully childlike figures, with their comically exaggerated expressions, are perfectly cast to carry out this story's message of peaceful conflict resolution. For ages: 3-8

The Farmer's Wife
Idries Shah
Rose Mary Santiago
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698166, $7.99, PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Teresa Bateman, Reviewer
Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, Wash.
School Library Journal

This award-winning folktale from Afghanistan is a story from the Sufi tradition, collected and retold by Idries Shah (Hoopoe, 1998). The farmer's wife loses an apple down a hole. She asks for help in retrieving it, but is refused by an increasingly long list of naughty animals, people, and inanimate objects. At last it looks like things are working out, but there's an unexpected twist before all ends well. This delightful cumulative tale should tickle young listeners. An introduction provides information about the story's background and purpose, as well as a story overview. Then a female narrator expressively reads the tale as authentic background music accompanies the text. Young listeners will enjoy the story's rhythm, pacing, and repetition as they scan Rose Mary Santiago's brightly-hued, gently rounded illustrations. The English/Spanish edition is an excellent addition to bilingual folktale collections. For ages: 3-7

The Clever Boy and the Terrible, Dangerous Animal
Idries Shah, author
Rose Mary Santiago, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698234, $7.99 PB, 32pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Diane Olivo-Posner, Reviewer
Long Beach (Calif.) Public Library
School Library Journal

This entertaining folktale is part of an oral tradition from the Middle East and Central Asia. A boy visits a neighboring village where he discovers a frightened crowd pointing to "a dangerous animal" in one of their fields. The youngster soon realizes that the large and terrifying object is a "MELON!" He proceeds to show the villagers that it can be eaten, and then they are fearful of him. He laughs at their silliness and their fear of the unknown, and convinces them that they can also plant its seeds and grow their own fruit. The strangers take his advice and soon their town is called Melon Village. The satisfying ending includes an illustration of the boy looking out onto fields full of melons. The colorful and humorously rendered illustrations bring this story to life. A great choice for anyone looking for a fun folktale with a positive message. For ages: 3-8

Neem the Half-Boy
Idries Shah, author
Midori Mori and Robert Revels, illustrators
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698173, $7.99, PB, 36pp
For ages: 8-14
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Hazel Rochman
Booklist (10/1/98)

(A dual review of Neem the Half-Boy and The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water): These two old Sufi tales have been told and taught for hundreds of years in Central Asia and the Middle East. In the story about the lion, the all-powerful beast scares the other animals, but he is so frightened by his own fierce reflection that he won't drink from the pool. In the story about Neem, he is only a half-boy until he goes on a quest to brave the dragon in his lair. There are versions of these stories in many cultures; here, the endings are not confrontational but unexpectedly benign. The hero doesn't slay the monster; Neem befriends the dragon and buys him a cookstove. Despite his growling voice, the lion is really kind, and he learns from the butterfly that the water won't hurt him. The brightly colored, cheerful illustrations of both books express their upbeat peaceful messages. (10/1/98)

The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water
Idries Shah, author
Ingrid Rodriguez, illustrator
Hoopoe Books
171 Main Street, #140, Los Altos, CA 94022
9781942698173, $7.99, 36pp
Book formats: Paperback, Kindle, Apple iBook

Hazel Rochman
Booklist (10/1/98)

(A dual review of The Lion Who Saw Himself in the Water and Neem the Half-Boy): These two old Sufi tales have been told and taught for hundreds of years in Central Asia and the Middle East. In the story about the lion, the all-powerful beast scares the other animals, but he is so frightened by his own fierce reflection that he won't drink from the pool. In the story about Neem, he is only a half-boy until he goes on a quest to brave the dragon in his lair. There are versions of these stories in many cultures; here, the endings are not confrontational but unexpectedly benign. The hero doesn't slay the monster; Neem befriends the dragon and buys him a cookstove. Despite his growling voice, the lion is really kind, and he learns from the butterfly that the water won't hurt him. The brightly colored, cheerful illustrations of both books express their upbeat peaceful messages. For ages: 3-11.

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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