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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 11 November 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Parenting Shelf Biography Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Gardening Shelf Board Book Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Poetry Shelf LGBT Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf World History Shelf Psychology Shelf
Music CD Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Books in Series
Story Monsters Ink Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

She Did It!
Emily Arnold McCully
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781368019910, $21.99, HC, 272pp,

In the pages of "She Did It!: 21 Women Who Changed the Way We Think", children ages 8 to 12 will discover new heroes among these twenty-one women who in their time rose up to challenge the status quo, championed others, and made their voices heard. Ranging from Jane Addams to Alice Waters, these women range from groundbreaking artists and social justice advocates to scientific pioneers and business innovators. "She Did It!" showcases a strong thread of trailblazing women that runs through decades and centuries of American history. Written in compelling, accessible prose and vividly illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully, "She Did It!" is an informative and memorable collection of inspiring and expertly researched profiles charts the bold paths these women forged in the twentieth century. While unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "She Did It!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Kissing Hand 25th Anniversary Family Edition
Audrey Penn, author
Ruth E. Harper & Nancy M. Leak, illustrators
Tanglewood Publishing
9781939100184, $19.99, HC, 32pp,

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Now in its 25th year of printing, "The Kissing Hand 25th Anniversary Family Edition" has found its way into the hearts of teachers, librarians, parents, and children around the world, especially during times of separation like starting school, entering daycare, or going to camp. Children ages 4-8 can celebrate the special Kissing Hand anniversary with Chester and his mother in this limited edition family keepsake with a dedication page, Letters to Chester booklet download and, of course, heart stickers! Simply stated, every family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, or community library picture book collections should include a copy of "The Kissing Hand 25th Anniversary Family Edition".

Henry is Kind: A Story of Mindfulness
Linda Ryden, author
Shearry Malone, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884486619, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Ms. Snowden and her class practice sending kind thoughts to the people they love, and they launch a class Kindness Project. There is only one problem: Henry can't think of one kind thing he has done. Declaring that kindness is stupid, he stomps to the classroom door on the verge of tears, but his classmates save the day by reminding him of the kind things he has done for each of them. Henry's discovery of the many ways he can be kind will inspire young readers ages 4-6 to use the simple mindfulness practices taught in "Henry is Kind: A Story of Mindfulness" to develop their own capacities for kindness. A unique and wonderfully entertaining picture book by the author Linda Ryden and illustrator Shearry Malone, "Henry is Kind: A Story of Mindfulness" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Not Just a Book
Jeanne Willis, author
Tony Ross, illustrator
Andersen Press USA
9781541535695, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Cleverly written by Jeanne Willis and charmingly illustrated by Tony Ross, the primary message of "Not Just A Book" is that a book is not just a book. A book can be so many things: a hat or a building block, a flower press or a fly-swatter! But books are so much more than that. They can make you feel and can take you anywhere; they can make you laugh and can teach you anything you want to know. Fun, engaging, and certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8, "Not Just A Book" is unreservedly recommended.

Sign Here
Gabrielle Djanogly, author
Adele Mildred, illustrator
Prestel Junior
c/o Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791372976, $14.95, PB, 48pp,

It's hard to apologize. It's hard to say thank you. Sometimes it's even hard to invite someone over for a birthday party. Illustrated by Adele Mildred, "Sign Here: Twenty-Two Unofficially Official Pull-Out Forms for Dreams, Pets, Pocket Money, Feelings, Secrets and So Much More" by Gabrielle Djanogly is a cleverly designed, slyly bureaucratic collection of "forms" that makes dealing with these childhood issues a great deal less awkward and a whole lot more fun for children ages 6-9. Issued in impressively official script and language by the Department of Regret, Remorse, and Reconciliation, the Union of Childhood Revenue, the Ministry of Dreams, and other indispensable offices, these forms help kids say some of the hard stuff: "I've eaten the last piece of...," "You're the best sister in the world," "Thank you for buying me stuff I need," "Thank you for buying me stuff I don't need." And, because it's important to record even your most private feelings, there are forms to verify that one's parents are, indeed, aliens; that the surprise birthday gift was not actually a surprise; that you had a really scary dream; and other conundrums not easily expressed in person. Highly adaptable to meet the needs and desires of any boy or girl, these forms can be endlessly photocopied -- and of course filed away by parents and grandparents for future reminiscences and chuckles! "Sign Here" is unique, original, fun, and very highly recommended -- especially as a birthday or Christmas gift!

Isosceles' Day
Kevin J. Meehan, author/illustrator
Isosceles Holdings LLC
P.O. Box 4616, Jackson, WY 83001
9780999630112, $9.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle, 32pp,

"Isosceles' Day" is a beautiful, moving story of a day in the life of a real dog, who rescued from an early life of abuse by the author and introduced to a warm, safe comfortable life with other animal friends. Told in poignant verse, the story is presented by isosceles' friend, a caring mole. Humorous, quirky illustrations present different events and friendly encounters in Isosceles' day, from a dancing breakfast egg to a singing moose, and a high wire- walking frog. Isosceles experiences his day as a series of mysterious but happy adventures, from a blowing fan to watching a lizard eat peas, and drinking from a hose. held by a friendly seagull. At the end of it all, Isosceles is all tired out and ready to rest and sleep against a bag of apples, lulled by the fiddle music of a frog. "Isosceles' Day' pays tribute by its vivid descriptions to a gentle process of healing and return to wholeness that the dog experienced in his new home with the author. The message is one of compassion and love for all creatures.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

My Storee
Paul Russell, author
Aska, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335774, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

A young boy has a mind full of wonderful stories, but when he gives them to his teachers his pages come back covered in red spelling corrections. It seems his dyslexia will always hold him back from succeeding as a writer. Then a new teacher arrives at the school. Mr. Watson tells magical stories and draws wonderful pictures. He makes his students feel safe, and most importantly, he doesn't cover the boy's stories in red pen. At last, the boy feels comfortable enough to just write! "My Storee" by the team of author Paul Russell (who as a dyslexic boy was inspired to become the writer and teacher he is today because of one teacher who believed in him) and illustrator Aska, celebrates acceptance in a world that can often seem too difficult for dyslexic children to enter because of the rules that surround it. "My Storee" highlights the magic and importance of ideas which are too often forgotten because of an over-emphasis on rules, structure and spelling. With its artfully presented message the just because you can't spell doesn't mean you can't write, "My Storee" is a critically important and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children aged 4-7.

Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything
Chelsea H. Rowe, author
Frank Dormer, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561458486, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Ebenezer is a little boy who collects words. But it's hard to find someone who shares his passion. No one seems to understand Ebenezer's word collections, but his efforts are finally appreciated when he meets Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald doesn't have a word collection -- but he does have lots of ideas. Together, they can make stories. Illustrated by Frank Dormer, "Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything" is author Chelsea H. Rowe's offbeat story about friendship, collaboration, and a love for both language and stories. Perfect for vocabulary building for children ages 4 to 8, "Ebenezer Has a Word for Everything" also includes a list of words and definitions in the back, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Social Issues Shelf

Jennifer Sattler
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364169, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Bully the bullfrog lives in a pond full of lilies. The flowers are beautiful, fragrant, and enjoyed by the many other creatures that also inhabit the pond. The pond is a very pleasant place to live. Or it should be. Instead, Bully decides that only he should be able to enjoy the beautiful lilies. He demands that the other inhabitants of the pond leave. And once Bully has the flowers to himself, his selfish behavior almost destroys them. Can anyone stop Bully and his bullying ways? As it turns out, the answer is YES! Charmingly written and illustrated by Jennifer Sattler, "Bully" is wonderfully entertaining with its underlying message for children ages 5-7 that standing up together can make all the difference in the world! While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bully" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.58).

The Cookbook Shelf

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs
America's Test Kitchen
17 Station Street, Brookline, MA 02445
9781492670025 $19.99 hc / $11.76 Kindle

Ideal for readers age 8 and up, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs is a cookbook filled with 100+ straightforward recipes and full color photography on every page. From Breakfast Tacos with Bacon, to Veggie Wrap with Hummus, Best-Ever Pasta with Butter and Parmesan Cheese, Rice and Bean Bowls with Corn and Avocado Crema, Strawberry Shortcakes, and more, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs is packed with recipes perfect for making delicious treats for oneself, family mealtime, or to share with friends. Highly recommended. Tips, tricks, techniques, and guides to cooking basics such as how to crack eggs, how to melt butter, how to zest and juice citrus fruit and more round out this excellent, kid-friendly cookbook.

The Parenting Shelf

Mom's Busy Days
Elise Raucy, author
Estelle Meens, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828201, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Maggie and Ethan's mom has a lot to do. Carpools, work emails, laundry -- the list is endless! But when life feels like it's going by too quickly, she makes sure to take some time to cherish the moments spent with her family. Sometimes a busy schedule can get overwhelming and waylay a parent's best intentions for dedicated family time. Deftly written by Elise Rauch and charmingly illustrated by Estelle Meens, "Mom's Busy Days" is a sweet picture book story that explains to children ages 4-8 that while parents have a lot to do, even the busiest families can find time to savor those little moments and special time together. Of special note is the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" by Julia Martin Burch. "Mom's Busy Days" is a very highly and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young children.

The Biography Shelf

The Capture of Black Bart
Norman H. Finkelstein
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613739952, $17.99, HC, 160pp,

Black Bart was not the Old West's only stagecoach robber, but he was the most famous. To many people, he was a folk hero: a robber who didn't threaten or harm passengers. He was a bandit with a sense of humor who wrote poetry. In robbing at least 28 Wells Fargo stagecoaches across Northern California between 1875 and 1883, he never fired a shot or injured anyone. His gun, it turned out, was never loaded. Newspaper stories about the poet robber's exploits and about Jim Hume, the unyielding chief detective of Wells Fargo, became popular reading throughout the West. Black Bart seemed to enjoy the chase. During one robbery the driver told him, "They'll catch you one of these days." Bart answered, "Perhaps, but in the meantime, give my regards to J. B. Hume, will you?" For eight years, each new robbery (and each new story) made Hume even more determined to track him down. Exceptionally well researched, written, organized and presented for a young readership, "The Capture of Black Bart: Gentleman Bandit of the Old West" is unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library American Biography collections for children ages 10 and older. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Capture of Black Bart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.32).

Dr. Jo
Monica Kulling, author
Julianna Swaney, illustrator
9781101917893, $17.99,

Dr. Jo: How Sara Josephine Baker Saved the Lives of America's Children is illustrated by Julianna Swaney and reads like fiction, incorporating drama and a storyteller's compelling descriptions into the biography of a girl who loved adventure, grew up in 1800s New York, and dreamed of becoming a doctor against all odds. Kids with good reading skills will find this a compelling story of achievement, suitable for easy report-writing or leisure pursuit alike.

Margaret McNamara
Schwartz & Wade Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
9781524765880, $17.99,

Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton features lovely artwork by Esme Shapiro and provides ages 4-8 with a fine biography that uses period letter-writing style to tell the story of a 1700s female born into a rich family who was destined to marry into a powerful family until she fell in love with Hamilton and supported his life and ambitions. She outlived her husband by fifty years, founding an orphanage and performing other good deeds to keep her husband's memory alive. Shapiro's art reflects period paintings from the 18th century and support the story with lovely embellishments.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

A Day in a Forested Wetland
Kevin Kurtz, author
Sherry Neidigh, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628559125, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Engagingly written by Kevin Kurtz and beautifully illustrated by Sherry Neidigh, "A Day in a Forested Wetland" enables children ages 8-11 to join in a journey through the aquatic habitat of a forested wetland and learn about the birds and bobcats, the beavers and beetles, and other wildlife that call the soggy forest home. This rhythmic, nonfiction look into a typical day for the animals that live in this wet habitat is an especially an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library wildlife picture book collections for children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Day in a Forested Wetland" is also available in a paperback edition (9781628559132, $9.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.95).

A House in the Sky
Steve Jenkins, author
Robbin Gourley, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580897808, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Turtles, birds, fish, beavers, and kangaroos are just like people in that they too need homes, and can take up residence in unusual places. A simple main text by author Steve Jenkins introduces similarities between human and animal homes while sidebars detail the unique qualities of each animal and its home. Stylized yet realistic watercolor illustrations by Robbin Gourley prove that nonfiction can be accurate and elegant, and as entertaining as fiction. Featuring a beautifully illustrated and informatively layered narrative, "A House in the Sky" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets & Wildlife collections for children ages 3-7.

Billy Jean the Cloud and Bill the Hawksbill Turtle
Hyacinth Paul, author
Shirin Dey & Hyacinth Paul, illustrators
Simply Hyacinth
c/o CreateSpace
9781986230377, $14.99, PB, 52pp,

"Billy Jean the Cloud and Bill the Hawksbill Turtle" presents a child's story book approach to the issue of endangered animal species, using the endangered species represented by the main characters, Billy Jean the cloud and Bill the Hawksbill turtle. Bill lives in the oceans of the world, and Billy Jean is the cloud of water in which Bill lives. Together, the pair roam through the oceans of the world, and through evaporation and condensation, Billy Jean sees wonderful animal species in many different lands. When she returns to Bill, she tells him of the declining numbers of many endangered species of animals on land and in the sea. Together Billy Jean and Bill discover many species that are dwindling and becoming fewer in number, including Adia, the gorilla, Ben the black rhinoceros, Sasha, the Amur leopard, Krisna, the elephant, Maya, the orangutan, Shiny the tiger, Vandy, the Vaquita and Yan, the Yangtze finless porpoise. the beautiful Hawksbill turtles are also almost extinct. Together the pair decide to leave a message written in the sandy beaches of the Cape of Good Hope, for all people to see: "Save the coral reefs the oceans & the forests. Save all our beautiful animal friends!" The unusual approach and presentation of the issues of endangered animal species is both touching, and moving, but also not overwhelming to young readers. The brightly colored, sunlight -dappled illustrations of the beautiful animals in oceans and on land are also moving and varied, complementing the text.

A Pandemonium of Parrots and Other Animals
Hui Skipp, Illustrator
Big Picture Press
c/o Candlewick
9781536202793, $16.99,

A Pandemonium of Parrots and Other Animals provides a colorful series of drawings that support facts about frogs, sloths, lemurs, and other creatures, and illustrates the descriptive words used to capture their group activities. The 'conspiracy of lemurs', 'huddle of penguins', 'ambush of tigers', and more invite the very young to enjoy basic facts about these animal groups, and makes for lovely and fun reading.

The Gardening Shelf

Errol's Garden
Gillian Hibbs
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781786280855, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Errol loves gardening, but he doesn't have a proper garden. Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can't do everything on his own. Luckily, help is near at hand. Deftly written and charmingly illustrated by Gillian Hibbs, "Errol's Garden" is a heart-warming and inclusive picture book tale about how one small boy's dream of a garden unites a diverse community in a positive and enriching experience for everyone. A wonderfully enjoyable read from beginning to end, "Errol's Garden" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 6. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Errol's Garden" is also available in a paperback edition (9781786280848, $7.99).

The Board Book Shelf

Worries Are Not Forever
Elizabeth Verdick, author
Marieka Heinlen, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631983160, $8.99, Board Book, 24pp,

It's normal for toddlers to worry and feel anxious -- they have enough experience with the world to know that things may go wrong. With warmth and empathy, "Worries Are Not Forever" is a board book that will help little ones ages 1 to 4 to understand what it means to worry and that everybody worries, even grown-ups. But worries don't last forever. They can help their young worries go away. Through colorful illustrations by Marieka Heinlen and the simply presented ideas of author Elizabeth Verdick, toddlers learn to talk to someone, get a hug, keep hands and bodies busy, think good thoughts, and more. Of special note is the inclusion of tips for parents and caregivers, making "Worries Are Not Forever" especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Chadwick And Friends
Priscilla Cummings, author
A. R. Cohen, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764355790, $12.99, Board Book, 24pp,

Chadwick the Crab and his friends (Bernie the Seagull, Hector Spector Jellyfish, Baron von Heron, Toulouse the Canada Goose, and Matilda Egret, to name a few) live in the Chesapeake Bay and share many adventures. Now a lift-the-flap board book for children ages 5 - 6, "Chadwick And Friends" introduces the Bay's most endearing crab and his buddies with fun rhymes and offers flaps that lift that reveal who's who. A colorful and charmingly delightful and thoroughly fun board book that will increase language and identification skills, along with developing small motor skills and hand-eye coordination, "Chadwick And Friends" is very highly recommended for family, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Canadian Animals ABC
Geraldo Valerio
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771473460, $9.95, Board Book, 36pp,

Written and illustrated by Geraldo Valerio for children ages 1 - 3, "Canadian Animals ABC" is a charming and 'kid friendly' introduction to the alphabet and Canadian wildlife. Each individual letter of the alphabet is paired with a Canadian creature from the Arctic Fox to the Grizzly Bear rendered playfully in Geraldo Valerio's signature paper collage style. "Canadian Animals ABC" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Hannah Eliot, author
Archana Sreenivasan, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534419902, $8.99, Board Book, 24pp,

Each autumn children in India gather with their friends and family and light their brightest lanterns as part of an annual celebration called Diwali -- the festival of lights! Written by author hannah Eliot and charmingly illustrated by Archana Sreenivasan, "Diwali" is a lovely board book in which young children ages 3 to 5 will learn that the five days of Diwali are a time to pray for a bountiful season, celebrate the special bonds between siblings, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. The third book in the delightful Little Simon board book series 'Celebrate the World', which highlights special occasions and holidays across the globe, "Diwali" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Happy Halloween!
Abrams Appleseed
c/o Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419729676, $7.95, Board Book, 18pp,

It's Halloween and all the different creatures have come out to play in Pintachan's "Happy Halloween! board book From page to page, children ages 3 to 5 can watch spooky faces change as if by magic in this fun, interactive, innovative, Venetian blind - style little volume! Perfect for the Halloween season, "Happy Halloween!" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections!

Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210

A premier publisher of books for children, "Child's Play" has come out with a new four title series of twelve page, lift-the-flap board books by Ailie Busby for children ages 2 - 4. This simply outstanding and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series about what we look like, feel like, eat and do includes: "Feeling Great!" (9781786281951, $6.99); "Feeding Time!" (9781786281920, $6.99); "Looking Good!" (978178621944, $6.99); "On the Go!" (978178621937, $6.99). All four of this colorfully charming board books are very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Meet Me at the Farmers Market
Lisa Pelto, author
Paula S. Wallace, illustrator
Reading Is Key Publishing
9781945505409, $12.95 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 30pp, Ages 3-7,

"Meet Me At the Farmers Market" is an inviting story about seven-year-old Sophia and her friends and family who all love their weekend trips to the Farmers Market. There are so many things to see, do, and hear, and taste. Many other people stroll by with their children and pets, mostly friendly dogs. Musicians sing, and fresh vegetables and other foods are ready for sale. Sophia and her family go to the Farmers Market every week, rain or shine. They also visit the Farmers Market in other cities when they travel. Sophia enjoys getting her face painted, Logan likes balloon animals, and other friends just like to eat the yummy foods, such as hot pretzels, popsicles, lemonade, and cinnamon rolls. Sophia's mom buys fresh vegetables, and also bacon, meat and eggs. There are different vegetables in different seasons. Spring brings asparagus and greens, summer brings watermelons and peppers, and fall brings orange pumpkins. Everyone enjoys going to the Farmers Market in all the growing seasons. Brightly colored paintings bring the experience of attending Farmers Market to life for young readers.

The Last Rhino
Deborah Stevenson, author
Morgan Spicer, illustrator
Krista Hill, editor
Frog Prince Books
9781732541047, $11.95, PB, 88pp,

On the beautiful African savanna, a baby rhino called Ayubu spends happy days with his mother Nthanda and their friend, Imari the cattle egret. Life is peaceful for the most part, but the ever-present threat of poachers looms. In the face of tragic loss, Ayubu must make a promise to be brave and survive. In a world where dangers abound, can one little rhino keep such a big promise? A story of family and friendship, loss and courage, and above all, hope, "The Last Rhino" by author Deborah Stevenson and illustrator Morgan Spicer is a charming and moving picture book story for young readers ages 6 to 12. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Last Rhino" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

If You Give the Puffin a Muffin
Timothy Young
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310
9780764355523, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In "If You Give the Puffin a Muffin", everyone's favorite puffin is back, and guess what -- he's still ANGRY! When Puffin is offered a muffin, he realizes that he's the subject of another picture book and the target of a rhyming scheme gone wrong. His emotions take over and chaos ensues as he tries to escape the story line. Luckily, Puffin knows just where to turn for help. Children ages 5 to 6 will see what happens when characters from other picture books come to Puffin's rescue and will have fun spotting characters and scenes from author Timothy Young's previously published picture books, as well as references to other children's classics. Will Puffin get lost in the fantasy worlds, or will he find his way out? A wonderfully original and entertaining read from first page to last, "If You Give the Puffin a Muffin" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections!

It's a Firefly Night
Dianne Ochiltree, author
Betsy Snyder, illustrator
Blue Apple Books
9781609056186, $12.00, PB, 32pp,

"It's a Firefly Night" is an appealing, creative, award winning children's book that reaches both children and adults with its beautifully presented story of the miracle of evening fireflies. It is perfect for an evening story to share with a young child, telling of the glowing fireflies with words and sparkles on each dark, midnight blue page. Gently versed text is perfectly paired with lush, fairytale-like illustrations of a small girl and her dog catching and releasing fireflies on a soft summer night. At the end of an enchanting story, there are two pages of firefly facts showcased in glowing globes of light, to help encourage further learning about these wondrous natural creatures. A lovely bedtime book for children ages 3-7 years, "It's a Firefly Night" lulls, enchants and teaches through the senses in a shared experience of wonder.

Scanner and the Icky, Sticky Gum
Una Belle Townsend, author
David Barrow, illustrator
Doodle and Peck Publishing
P.O. Box 852105, Yukon, OK 73085
9780999249741, $19.99 HC; 9780999249734, $10.99 PB, 34pp,

Second in a new series featuring Scanner, the library Scottie, "Scanner and the Icky, Sticky Gum" is a delightful story about an inquisitive library Scottie dog who ventures into a wastebasket and emerges laced with icky, sticky gum. "Scanner and the Icky, Sticky Gum" is an action driven story for children ages 4-8 years. Brightly colored action illustrations complement the exciting narrative. Scanner is both scolded and rescued by the librarian Miss Copywright for his trash can bubble gum adventure. With the help of the card catalog, Miss Copywright discovers the secret to gum removal in the 648 section, after drafting help from the janitor to put Scanner in a cardboard box, to minimize gum spreading. First, she doused Scanner with peanut butter, then she gave him a bubble bath. Success! Scanner tramped away clean from his bubble bath treatment, planning his next exciting library adventure (oh, no!). Kids will adore Scanner and his very own library adventure series, and especially "Scanner and the Icky, Sticky Gum."

Queen Panda Can't Sleep
Susanna Isern, author
Mariana Ruiz Johnson, illustrator
StarBerry Books
c/o Kane Press, Inc.
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
9781635920956, $18.00, HC, 40pp,

Queen Panda hasn't been able to sleep for days. Her subjects are worried and exhausted from serving her day and night. Something must be done! As news spreads throughout the kingdom that a reward will be given to whoever can make the Queen sleep, animals from faraway places rush to the palace to try their luck. Who will find the magic solution to Queen Panda's problem? Bright illustrations by Mariana Ruiz Johnson bring together animals from all over the world in this humorous and clever bedtime story by author Susanna Isern. "Queen Panda Can't Sleep" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

The Dancing Little Girl
William L. Hess
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
9781480953215, $24.00, HC, 36pp,

"The Dancing Little Girl" by author and illustrator William L. Hess is a cute picture book tale about a little girl named Azian who tells her daddy she wants to be on the Majorette team at her school because she has such a love for dance. Azian teaches children ages 4-6 that if we try really hard at following our dreams, we can accomplish them -- and so much more! While very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dancing Little Girl" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

My BIG Book of Beginnings!
Carmel Stoesz, author
Federico Rivarola, illustrator
Beloved Connections Pub.
9781775138402, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Dreamlike illustrations by Federico Rivarola capture the heart and awaken the soul of children ages 5-6 in this inspiring and original picture book by author Carmel Stoesz. "My BIG Book of Beginnings!" is an exploration of wonder and insight, connection and love in an empowering and holistic approach, while also invoking the principles of conscious parenting, positive parenting, Montessori & Waldorf schools as well as family home schooling curriculums. While very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My BIG Book of Beginnings!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Peggy Day's Martha's Vineyard Adventure
Barbara Dourmashkin
Poppy Press
9780989406000, $19.95, HC, 38pp,

"Peggy Day's Martha's Vineyard Adventure" by author and artist Barbara Dourmashkin is a beautifully illustrated children's picture book about a little girl named Sarah and her dog, Peggy Day. As they go on a romp around the Vineyard. Peggy Day breaks her leash on the front porch of the Menemsha Market when she starts chasing a runaway kitten. Sarah chases them to the dock, up to the Cliffs, through the Ag Fair, and eventually down-Island. When she spots a dog running on to the ferry, she is convinced that her dog is gone forever. Sadly she heads home in the evening, lamenting that it has been the worst day of her life, only to discover an amazing surprise! Deftly crafted, imaginatively original, and unfailingly entertaining, "Peggy Day's Martha's Vineyard Adventure" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers ages 5-7.

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!
Trudy Ludwig, author
Patrice Barton, illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780399557132, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Owen McPhee is a little boy who doesn't just like to talk, he loves to talk! He spends every waking minute chattering away at his teachers, his classmates, his parents, his dog, and even himself. But all that talking can get in the way of listening. And when Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say. The collaborative work of author Trudy Ludwig and illustrator Patrice Barton, "Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!" is a charmingly entertaining picture book story for children ages 5-8 that subtly presents the underlying message about the importance of listening. While very highly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Quiet Please, Owen McPhee!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Jason and the Crawdad King
Joseph Drumheller, author
Lili Avakem, illustrator
Golden Bell Studios
9781946185037, $15.95, HC, 30pp,

Jason loved the creek by his house and visited his animal friends each and every day. One day, his whole life changed after he came across a tangled up crawdad in desperate need of help. Upon freeing the crustacean, Jason asked of no reward from his new talking friend. The crawdad was so struck by the boy's natural and unassuming kindness that he promised the boy many wonders in his dreams that night. Engagingly written by Joseph Drumheller and beautifully illustrated by Lili Avakem, "Jason and the Crawdad King" is an awe-inspiring, eye-opening journey into a natural dreamscape where compassion is rewarded with feats of wonder! Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, this is a children's book meant especially for anyone who want to pass on lessons of love, kindness, and an appreciation for nature to young children.

The Lucky, Lucky Leaf
David Hoskins, author
Chantal Bourgonje, illustrator
Hubble & Hattie
9781787113060, $9.99, HC, 32pp,

It's a windy autumn day and the forest friends are out catching falling leaves for luck. Nim wants to break his all-time record of five lucky leaves before tea time. But the more leaves he catches the more accidents he seems to have catching them. And then Kay accidentally hurts Nim's feelings. Forget breaking records, will Nim survive until teatime? Engagingly written by David Hoskins and charmingly illustrated by Chantal Bourgonje, "The Lucky, Lucky Leaf: A Horace and Nim Story" is an ideal and highly recommended picture book entertainment for children ages 5-6, making it an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, kindergarten, elementary school, and community library collections.

Polonius the Pit Pony
Richard O'Neill, author
Feronia Parker Thomas, illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781786281869, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

When Polonius the pit pony escapes from the coal mine he's worked in all his life, he joins a family of Travelers. Although he enjoys the freedom and the fresh air that their lifestyle offers, he wishes he could give something back to the family in return. When the chance arrives for him to do something to help, he rises to the challenge, and uses his intelligence and skills to save the day. Based on true events, charmingly illustrated by Feronia Parker Thomas, and deftly retold by Richard O'Neil (who is a master of the oral tradition), "Polonius the Pit Pony" bears witness to the Traveler values of independence, initiative, courage and hard work. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Polonius the Pit Pony" is also available in a paperback edition (9781786281852, $7.99).

Henry and the Yeti
Russell Ayto
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681196831, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

The problem is that nobody knows if yetis actually exist. Henry, however, is a young boy who is sure they do, and he sets off on an expedition to find one. He has packed everything he needs, including a camera to take photos for evidence. But can he find a yeti? And will anyone believe him when he returns home? Told through charming illustrations, this is a heart-warming and witty story about believing in yourself (and yetis) by author and artist Russell Ayto will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-6.

Born Bad
C. K. Smouha, author
Stephen Smith, illustrator
Cicada Books
9781908714534, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Author C. K. Smouha's "Born Bad" is an accessible and lighthearted picture book that cleverly introduces young readers ages 4-9 to issues surrounding identity and transformation through humor and surprising animal facts. Stunning illustrations by Stephen Smith bring Wolf's journey and subsequent transition to life and are complemented by Cicada Books' elegant packaging and flawless production values, making "Born Bad" highly recommended, especially for community, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Liza Jane & the Dragon
Laura Lippman, author
Kate Samworth, illustrator
Black Sheep
c/o Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617756610, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Liza Jane is a young girl who believed she could find better parents. So she fired her mom and dad and hired the first applicant who came to the door. It was a dragon so what could possibly go wrong? And at first everything was fun. The dragon did whatever Liza Jane wanted him to do. But it turned out the dragon had only one response to all problems -- opening his mouth and belching fire. Suddenly, people were scared of Liza Jane. The pizza delivery man didn't want to come to her house. No one wanted to play with her. And all that fire was very bad for the furniture. Could Liza Jane have been wrong about what kind of qualities she wanted in a parent? Written with an impressive originality by Laura Lippman and illustrated with the exceptionally artwork of Kate Samworth, "Liza Jane & the Dragon" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children 4 to 8.

A Dog Named Doug
Karma Wilson, author
Matt Myers, illustrator
Margaret K. McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442449312, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Dogs love to dig! But one dog named Doug takes digging to new heights (and depths) in a laugh-out-loud picture book for children ages 4-8 from author Karma Wilson and illustrator Matt Myers. When Doug digs he doesn't just dig holes in the backyard. He digs ditches the size of tractors! He digs tunnels through gold mines! He even digs his way into the White House! Even the Secret Service can stop this digging doggy, because when Doug digs, oh boy, does Doug DIG! Lively, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "A Dog Named Doug" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Dog Named Doug" is also available in a digital book format ($10.99).

I Feel Teal
Lauren Rille, author
Aimee Sicuro, illustrator
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481458467, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

A little girl has a rainbow of emotions in this gentle debut picture book that encourages little ones to express their feelings through color. Children have lots of feelings, and "I Feel Teal" is sweet rhyming story by Lauren Rille and illustrated by Amiee Sicuro that cleverly uses colors to explore the wide range of emotions little ones experience throughout the day, from a shy scarlet to a quiet ecru to an exuberant magenta. Along the way "I Feel Teal" celebrates individuality and self-acceptance -- after all, our feelings are the palette that makes us who we are! Of special note is that Lauren Rille is an art director in the Simon & Schuster children's division who makes her picture book debut with "I Feel Teal" and has her own web site at While "I Feel Teal" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Pterodactyl Show and Tell
Thad Krasnesky, author
Tanya Leonello, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261345, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Deftly written by Thad Krasnesky in rhyming couplets, and with colorfully funny illustrations by Tanya Leonello, "Pterodactyl Show and Tell" is that story of a young boy who brings his pterodactyl to school for show-and-tell resulting in hilarious havoc. The creature's delightfully demented antics, the kids' expressions as they try to avoid the hungry pterodactyl, and the out-of-control imagination of the boy yield a wild and wacky romp. "Pterodactyl Show and Tell" will have special appeal for kids ages 5-7 who dig dinosaurs! While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Pterodactyl Show and Tell" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Cleo and Cornelius
Elizabeth Nicholson, Janine Pibal, Nick Geller, authors
Michelle Thies, illustrator
Getty Publications
c/o J. Paul Getty Museum
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90049-1682
9781947440036, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Two cats, adventurous Cleo and couch potato Cornelius, live in ancient Egypt, where cats are worshiped like gods and goddesses. After Cornelius accidentally boards a boat departing on a voyage across the sea, Cleo and Cornelius find themselves in the faraway city of Rome, a place where dogs are treated like kings. In Rome, the activities never end! Cleo and Cornelius race chariots, play games, perform in a theater, and more. Do they even want to return to Egypt? A spin on Aesop's classic fable "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", Cleo and Cornelius is teeming with hungry hippos, toga-clad dogs, and dancing cat mummies, bringing new excitement to a timeless tale. Collaboratively written by the team of Elizabeth Nicholson, Janine Pibal, Nick Geller, and beautifully illustrated throughout by Michelle Thies, "Cleo and Cornelius: A Tale of Two Cities and Two Kitties" is a wonderfully entertaining and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-5.

Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans
Jessie Miller, author
Barbara Bakos, illustrator
Maverick Arts Publishing
9781848863132, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Rooster is so excited when his new skinny jeans arrive: the sparkling stitching, a striking gold hue, and the indigo denim, a dazzling blue! But what will the other animals think of his stunning new style? Charmingly written by Jessie Miller and delightfully illustrated by Barbara Bakos, "Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans" is a wonderfully original and unfailingly entertaining storybook tale for children ages 8 to 12, making it an ideal and certain to be enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans" is also available in a paperback edition (9781848862821, $7.79).

No More Noisy Nights
Holly L. Niner, author
Guy Wolek, illustrator
Flash Light Press
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781936261932, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Who is making so much noise and how will Jackson ever get to sleep? Despite some silly, sleepy mistakes, genteel Jackson finds a fun and quiet activity for each of his noisy neighbors. He finally gets a great night's sleep -- and discovers three new friends in the morning. Cozier than a mole in fuzzy pajamas, author Holly Niner and artist Guy Wolek deftly collaborate, making "No More Noisy Nights" an underground, under-the covers read-aloud picture book that is perfect for calming bedtime the boogety-woogeties of children ages 5 to 7. A wonderfully charming and fun read from cover to cover, "No More Noisy Nights" is very highly and especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "No More Noisy Nights" is also available in a paperback edition (Scholastic, 9781338270785, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

What in the World Is Wrong with Gisbert?
Jochen Weeber, author
Fariba Gholizadeh, illustrator
Flyaway Books
9781947888029, $16.00, HC, 32pp,

In the pages of "What in the World Is Wrong with Gisbert?" by author Jochen Weeber and illustrator Fariba Gholizadeh, children ages 3-8 will meet Gisbert, a tall, young giraffe. Gisbert is tall enough to do everything a giraffe might want to do, and his life is good. But one day, something happens. Gisbert's friends start making fun of him, and with each negative comment they say, he begins to shrink! What in the world is wrong with Gisbert? An entertainingly insightful picture book that helps teach children about the consequences of bullying and the power of friendship, "What in the World Is Wrong with Gisbert?" is a unique, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Little Otter Learns To Swim
Artie Knapp, author
Guy Hobbs, illustrator
Ohio University Press
215 Columbus Road, Suite 101, Athens, OH 45701
9780821423400, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

Charmingly written by children's author Artie Knapp and beautifully illustrated by wildlife artist Guy Hobbs, "Little Otter Learns To Swim" is the picture book story of a baby river otter who learns to swim, dive, and play in her natural habitat. Encouraged by her mother, the little otter soon sets out to explore on her own, quickly learning to escape shoreline predators and to find her way back to the security of home. "Little Otter Learns to Swim" is an entertaining and colorful tale for age 4-8. The story is enhanced for children by the inclusion of two pages of fun facts about river otters, as well as information and resources from the River Otter Ecology Project. Unique, engaging, entertaining, "Little Otter Learns To Swim" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Animal/Wildlife picture book collections for children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Little Otter Learns To Swim" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Eppie the Elephant
Livingstone Crouse, author
Steve Brown, illustrator
Silver Dolphin Books
c/o Printers Row Publishing Group
10350 Barnes Canyon Road, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92121
9781684123773, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

It's the first day of school for Eppie the elephant, and she's a bit nervous about one thing: that her new classmates won't understand her allergy to nuts. Like many kids today, this fun-loving elephant can't partake in peanuts, pecans, or pistachios and has to be careful about what she eats. Eppie makes fast friends with Allie the alligator and Pearl the squirrel, but when Eppie's allergy is explained at lunch, will her friends still stand by her side? Young Readers ages 6-8 will relate to "Eppie the Elepnant" and it's heartwarming, lyrical story of understanding and acceptance. Deftly written by Livingstone Crouse (who has spent the last twenty years either selling, editing, or writing books for children) and charmingly illustrated by Steve Brown, "Eppie the Elephant" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Lost in the Library
Josh Funk
Henry Holt
9781250155016, $17.99,

Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude is illustrated by Stevie Lewis and tells of library lions Patience and Fortitude, who wait every day to greet library visitors until one night Patience goes missing. The lions must be in their places before the sun rises, but Fortitude is forced to search for his missing friend in the immense library. The New York Public Library is presented in a vivid, fun story young readers will relish.

Big Brother Peanut Butter
Terry Border
9781524740061, $17.99,

Big Brother Peanut Butter tells of Peanut Butter, whose mother has a bun in the oven. Peanut Butter is going to be a big brother; but first he has to figure out his new role and duties in life. It's up to his friends to help him understand what it means to be a sibling, and what to expect from the new arrival in this bright, fun picture book story of love which uses bright, bright sandwiches as a way of imparting the essentials of brotherhood.

So Many Sounds
Tim McCanna
Abrams Appleseed
9781419731563, $12.99,

So Many Sounds is illustrated by Andy J. Miller and offers read-aloud parents a fine set of rhymes that uses everyday sounds and a rollicking lilt that kids will enjoy repeating. These encourage singing, rhymes, clapping, and more, and are based on familiar daily experiences and interactions kids will readily relate to. The large-size, colorful drawings are also fun.

Simon & Schuster/Atheneum

Two excellent new titles stand out from the crowd with engaging drawings and stories that are original and thought-provoking. How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine (9781534410978, $17.99) is written by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville and illustrated by Giselle Potter, all of whom bring to life the story of brilliant autistic inventor Dr. Temple Grandin and an invention that lets her be held without the side effects she experiences. Kids with good reading skills receive a fine survey of life from an autistic child's perspective. Jessie Oliveros writes The Remember Balloons (9781481489157, $17.99), which receives simple color embellishments by Dana Wulfekotte, who brings to life this story of a boy whose balloons holds his memories. Grandpa has a lot of balloons and stories, but his begin drifting away, and even James can't capture them. It's up to James to find a way to share his balloons with his grandfather in this gentle story for ages 5-9, which offers pointed reflections on aging and helping the elderly.

Candlewick Press

Two picture book readers are bright, inviting productions that are a cut above most, promising lasting leisure read attention and high-quality library lending value. David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise (9780763688424, $16.99) provides a sequel to the Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken and will prove accessible and inviting to picture book readers with basic skills. The little red chicken has just learned in school that every story holds an 'elephant of surprise.' Taught to expect the unexpected, the little chicken and her father begin to look for the surprises in stories that seem obvious in this fun, colorful reading adventure. Bethanie Deeney Murguia's Do You Believe in Unicorns? (9780763694685, $14.99) provides a very simple reader about a horse in a hat who just might be a unicorn in disguise. After all, why would a unicorn want to hide its best attribute? Kids receive a fun, simple story of all the reasons why an ordinary horse would wish to wear a hat in this whimsical story.

Scholastic, Inc.

Five new picture book stories are top picks for discriminating leisure readers and libraries seeking top-notch acquisitions. Jeff Smith's Smiley's Dream Book (9780545674775, $17.99) comes from the author of the best-selling series Bone and provides younger picture book audiences a fun story of happy Smiley Bone, who begins to count birds in the woods. Smiley can hardly keep track of them, and must develop a different way of counting in this fun picture book story about a lot of colorful singing birds. Claire Evans' The Three Little Superpigs (9781338245455, $14.99) continues the story after the pigs defeat the Big Bad Wolf. Here the dynamic trio have been renamed The Three Little Superpigs and spend their days fighting crime and enjoying their newfound fame, until trouble arrives. Can the Superpigs overcome additional adversity and live up to their former success? Sabina Gibson's Unicorn Magic (9780545813310, $17.99) tells of magical unicorns in the Forever Forest. Pearl spins clouds, Ruby paints the sky, Marigold plants flowers; but only Periwinkle hasn't discovered her true calling. Kids with good reading skills will find this a compelling story of a unicorn who finds her unique abilities. Tammi Sauer's Knock Knock (9781338116946, $16.99) is illustrated by Guy Francis and tells of Bear, who is trying to get ready for his long winter nap despite friends who don't want him to sleep. The 'knock-knock' joke goes a step further as a pileup of friends seem intent on keeping Bear from the one thing he wants most: a long winter's nap. Tim McCanna's Jack B. Ninja (9780545917285, $16.99) is illustrated by Stephen Savage and takes the nursery rhyme "Jack Be Nimble" into the world of ninjas as jack swims, sneaks, and journeys through the world evading detection and danger. A fine rhyme involving a host of ninjas leads to a completely unexpected, satisfying conclusion in a unique, lively story highly recommended for kids and parental read-aloud participants alike.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Simon Spotlight

Two new 'Ready to Read' primers are recommended picks for parents looking to guide youngsters from picture books through graded reading. Lauren Thompson's Mouse Loves Fall (9781534421479, $17.99) is a pre-Level 1 primer for shared reading and simple vocabulary building that tells of two mice who love autumn play. They jump into leaves, and a gentle counting rhythm is created as they play. Buket Erdogan's drawings are fun embellishments to the play time. Eric Carle's Can a Cat Do That? (9781534427259, $17.99) offers sight words, word families, and repetitive rhyme to reinforce a survey of what cats can do in comparison with other animals. Kids who own pets will find this a fun tale, while parents and educators will relish the opportunity to get youngsters reading through level-appropriate primers that are colorful and fun.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Dragonwatch: Wrath of the Dragon King
Brandon Mull
Shadow Mountain Publishing
P.O. Box 30178, Salt Lake City, Utah 84130-0178
9781629724867, $18.99, HC, 416pp,

After a humiliating defeat at the hands of Kendra and Seth, Celebrant, King of Dragons, prepares to unleash his fury and take control of his native preserve. Two of the seven dragon sanctuaries have already fallen. Will Wyrmroost be next? Armed with secret information from a new ally, Celebrant seeks a talisman that will guarantee victory in the war against the humans. With a cursed castle and traitorous creatures standing in the way, Kendra and Seth must attempt to foil Celebrant's plan and beat him to his prize. Will the two young caretakers rally enough support from the creatures of Wyrmroost to quell the uprising and protect the world from draconic dominion? One thing is certain - dragons are deadly foes, and one wrong move could bring swift defeat. It will take more than Kendra, Seth, and their current allies have ever given to endure the wrath of the Dragon King. The second volume in author Brandon Mull's 'Dragonwatch' series, "Wrath of the Dragon King" is an entertainingly compelling read from first page to last. Featuring more plot twists and turns than a carnival roller coaster, "Wrath of the Dragon King" is very highly recommended, especially for school and community library Fantasy Adventure Fiction collections for young readers ages 8 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wrath of the Dragon King" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.62) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (9781629724904, $34.99, CD).

Etty Steele Vampire Hunter
Grayson Grave
Privately Published
9781717836168 $6.50 pbk

Written especially for young adults ages 8-12, Etty Steele Vampire Hunter is about a vampire hunter girl who has unfortunately lost her powers. When she discovers that the new boy in her class is a vampire, she resolves to protect her classmates, including her close friend April, who tries to befriend the creature. But why is this vampire boy shy, nervous, and nothing like the cruel monsters her mum warned her about? Then an entire vampire clan starts making trouble in town; surely the boy has something to do with it! A supernatural soiree sure to satisfy young vampire fiction fans, Etty Steele Vampire Hunter is highly recommended for school library fantasy collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Etty Steele Vampire Hunter is available on Amazon's Kindle platform.

The Elsewhere Emporium
Ross Mackenzie
c/o Floris Books
9781782505198, $9.95, PB, 288pp,

The shop known as the Elsewhere Emporium has vanished without a trace. Will it ever reappear? As they search for the lost Emporium, Daniel and Ellie encounter magical bookshops, deserted islands, and an array of magicians (both dead and alive). Meanwhile a dangerous force is attacking the Emporium from the inside, waiting for a chance to break free. "The Elsewhere Emporium is the highly anticipated sequel to Ross Mackenzie's award-winning "The Nowhere Emporium". Young readers ages 8-12 will once again be transported into a magical realm where imagination is power and anything is possible. Loyal fans of Ross Mackenzie fantasy fiction will be astonished by the new wonders beyond the Emporium's doors as the gripping mystery unfolds. While very highly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Elsewhere Emporium" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.49).

The Little Unicorn
Sheri Fink, author
Lynx Animation Studios, illustrator
Whimsical World
PO Box 241442, Los Angeles, CA, 90024
9781949213003, $24.95, HC, 28pp,

The Little Unicorn lives in an enchanted forest powered by the magic of her inner sparkle. When she begins to doubt herself, the magic within her and her surroundings begins to disappear. She sets off on a journey to save the forest by rediscovering her sparkle, only to find it in the place she least expects. An original heartwarming picture book story by author Sheri Fink that is charmingly illustrated throughout by the Lynx Animation Studios, "The Little Unicorn" will helps young children realize that we all have an inner sparkle, and that can all create magic when we believe in ourselves. "The Little Unicorn" is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Anna and the Apocalypse
Katharine Turner & Barry Waldo
c/o Macmillan
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250318800, $10.99, PB, 272pp,

Anna Shepherd is a straight-A student with a lot going on under the surface: she's struggling with her mom's death, total friend drama, and the fallout from wasting her time on a very attractive boy. She's looking forward to skipping town after graduation but then a zombie apocalypse majorly disrupts the holiday season. It's going to be very hard to graduate high school without a brain. To save the day, Anna, her friends, and her frenemies will have to journey straight to the heart of one of the most dangerous places ever known, a place famous for its horror, terror, and pain -- high school. Inspired by the musical feature film, "Anna and the Apocalypse" is a deftly crafted horror comedy novel about a teenager -- who faces down a zombie apocalypse with a little help from her friends. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Anna and the Apocalypse" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.80).

The Knife of Never Letting Go
Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press
9781536200539, $24.99,

The Knife of Never Letting Go is Book One in the Chaos Walking series, and tells of Prentisstown, where everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts. Todd can hear his dog Manchee's thoughts, as well; but when he and his pet come upon an area of silence, he discovers a terrible secret that leads him and his companion to flee. But how can any escape be made when everyone around is a mind reader? A compelling story evolves, offering unexpected twists and turns throughout.

The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond
Max Brallier
9780425292082, $13.99,

The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond is illustrated by Douglas Holgate, whose peppering of black and white drawings throughout enhances the return of a best-selling series for ages 8-12. A winter storm challenges Jack and his friends, gives the group new traditions, and introduces a new villainess. Both prior series fans and newcomers will find these encounters with undead librarians and monsters to be filled with fun and intriguing scenarios that continue to challenge the Last Kids.

Scholastic, Inc.

Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather (9781338215533, $17.99) provides a sequel to Dragon Rider and tells of rider Ben and his dragon Firedrake, who have found new homes that separate them. They can only see each other once in a while; but when they learn that the lost winged Pegasus horses are about to go extinct, they are charged with seeing that three remaining eggs are protected, even if they have to go on a quest to do so. Prior fans will appreciate this ongoing adventure. Kasie West's Listen to Your Heart (9781338210067, $17.99) tells of loner Kate, who doesn't like talking to others. She's the last person who would join a school podcast, much less be chosen as its host; but Kate finds herself forced to deal with listeners and give advice to others in this moving story of a shy girl's venture into unfamiliar territory. Lisa Schroeder's See You On A Starry Night (9781338195743, $16.99) tells of Juliet, whose parents have separated. Juliet and her sister move to a small beach town, but she never really feels she fits in until she meets Emma and her quest to send a message in a bottle out to sea. Joining her, she gets an answer she can't believe. A magical story ensues that is replete with hope and intrigue alike.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Until Proven Innocent
Laura Stewart Schmidt
Black Rose Writing
PO Box 1540, Castroville, TX 78009
9781684331277, $16.95, PB, 247pp,

When fifteen-year-old Alison's grandfather hints their family was involved in the fiery deaths of a woman and her daughter fifty years ago, her grandmother acts like it's his Alzheimer's talking. Alison doesn't believe her and decides to investigate. She is stunned to learn her grandmother was accused of starting the fatal blaze. Even though she wasn't convicted, she was ostracized by the community and has lived her life under a cloud of suspicion. Alison is determined to find out the real cause of the fire and clear her grandmother's name. But the house in which the family died is slated for demolition in two weeks, so she's running out of time. And the more clues she uncovers, the closer she gets to unmasking a killer - who may make Alison the next victim. A superbly crafted and unfailingly entertaining mystery by an author with a genuine flair for character and narrative driven storytelling, "Until Proven Innocent" by Laura Stewart Schmidt is unreservedly recommended for school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of mystery/suspense buffs that "Until Proven Innocent" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

The Field
Ian Dawson
Book Baby Publishers
9781543943313, $14.63, PB, 250pp,

When fourteen-year-old Daniel Robinson is abducted during a game of hide-and-seek, his focus switches from enjoying his summer vacation to simply staying alive. He must find the courage and strength to escape his captors and get home, no matter what it takes. Will he survive? Or is this a nightmare that's too real to escape? As Daniel finds himself at the mercy of his captors, his best friend Kyle sets out to bring him back to safety. With nothing but teenage instincts to guide him, Kyle's quest could result in a happy ending -- or in tragedy. "The Field" is the debut novel of author Ian Dawson in which he draws from his real-life experiences to create an action-adventure story about unconditional friendship, courage, and determination. While a deftly crated, consistently engaging and impressively entertaining read from beginning to end, "The Field" is very highly recommended for both school and community library collections for children 9-12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Field" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Words We Don't Say
K.J. Reilly
9781368016339 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Recommended for young adults ages 14 and up, Words We Don't Say is a novel about a high school teen struggling to cope with the death of his best friend. Joel Higgins has 901 unsent text messages saved on his phone. Ever since that day, there have been people he can't talk to in person; he drafts text messages, but never hits send. He still manages to attend school and perform mandatory voluntary service in the soup kitchen, and he dreams of the amazing girl Eli... but he can't bring himself to hang out with people in real life, or maintain any friendships. Eli doesn't know how he feels about her, and his junior year is shaping up to be as miserable as his sophomore year was. But as Joel spends more time at the soup kitchen, serving meals to war veteran - including one known as Rooster - and a new kid named Benji who has a tendency to talk without thinking, he begins to learn that there is more to the world around him than his own pain. Words We Don't Say is emotionally moving, especially recommended for school and public library YA collections, and also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99).

Pap Pap Goes to Paris and So Does Ricky!
Janie Dempsey Watts, author
Lyn Martin, illustrator
Privately Published
9781981886326, $12.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 32pp,

"Pap Pap Goes to Paris and So Does Ricky!" is an exciting travel story about a boy and his grandfather who make a pilgrimage together to Paris, and climb the Eiffel Tower. Joyous colored illustrations show young Ricky's excitement over the snowglobe of the Eiffel Tower and his grandfather's planned trip to Paris. Although Pap Pap had planned to go with Ricky's Uncle Tony, a phone call changes that plan because of a bicycle accident leaving Uncle Tony with a broken leg. Tony will be unable to make the planned trip to Paris with Pap Pap. Ricky decides it would be a fine idea to accompany his Pap Pap to Paris instead. They work hard to convince Ricky's mother and father of this new plan. Charming illustrations show Ricky's mother holding two baby twins who are crying while she is discussing the trip with Ricky. Finally, both parents agree to the plan, and Ricky promises to bring them back presents, and even a present for the twins. The exciting plane trip to Paris is on! Ricky learns some French expressions such as s;il vous plait, bon soir, bonjour, merci beaucoup, and more. The French vocabulary words are listed with their pronunciations at the end of the book. Ricky learned many wonderful things about Paris on his trip with Pap Pap, learning to list things that Parisians love as they climbed the many steps of the Eiffel Tower. What do Parisians love? cobblestones, croissants, dogs, statues, steps and more! But Ricky loved best of all being with Pap Pap at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. "Pap Pap Goes to Paris and So Does Ricky!" is a wonderful book for children and also adults who long to visit the famous city on the Seine.

You Gotta Have Heart
Bruce Bernstein
Outsider Press
9781732165106, $9.99, PB, 172pp,

Orphaned at a young age, all Alan Michaels wants is a place to belong. But the independent, street - smart kid, who lacks self-confidence, has no clue how to deal with disappointment -- or a formidable bully who won't back down. And New York City is a tough town to grow up in if you are a kid who doesn't have much. But when he starts training at Sensei Hideki's School of Karate, he hopes his life will change forever. Determined to prove he's got what it takes to become a true warrior, Alan pushes his body and mind to the limit. But just when the karate school starts to feel like home, tragedy strikes again. Does Alan have the courage and inner strength to overcome the odds stacked against him? A deftly crafted and thoroughly entertaining read by an author with a genuine flair for originality character driven narrative storytelling, "You Gotta Have Heart" by Bruce Bernstein is very highly recommended for school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers ages 8 - 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Gotta Have Heart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Lulu the Broadway Mouse
Jenna Gavigan
Running Press Kids
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762464616, $16.99, HC, 256pp,

Lulu is a little girl with a very big dream: she wants to be on Broadway. She wants it more than anything in the world. As it happens, she lives in Broadway's Shubert Theatre; so achieving her dream shouldn't be too tricky, right? Wrong. Because the thing about Lulu? She's a little girl mouse! When a human girl named Jayne joins the cast of the show at the Shubert as an understudy, Lulu becomes Jayne's guide through the world of her theatre and its wonderfully kooky cast and crew. Together, Jayne and Lulu learn that sometimes dreams turn out differently than we imagined; sometimes they come with terms and conditions (aka the company mean girl, Amanda). But sometimes, just when we've given up all hope, bigger and better dreams than we'd ever thought could come true, do. A wonderfully crafted and unfailingly entertaining read from beginning to end, "Lulu the Broadway Mouse" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to both school and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 8 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lulu the Broadway Mouse" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Fifteen and Change
Max Howard
West 44 Books
c/o Enslow Publishing LLC
101 West 23rd Street, Suite #240, New York, NY 10011
9781538382608, $19.95, HC, 200pp,

Zeke would love to be invisible. His mother is struggling to make ends meet and stuck with a no-good boyfriend. Zeke knows he and his mom will be stuck forever if he doesn't find some money fast. When Zeke starts working at a local pizza place, he meets labor activists who want to give him a voice -- and the living wage he deserves for his work. Zeke has to decide between living the quiet life he's carved for himself and raising his voice for justice. An exceptionally well written novel by an author who has impressively mastered character and narrative driven storytelling, "Fifteen and Change" is an especially recommended addition to school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections for young readers ages 10 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fifteen and Change" is also available in a paperback format (9781538382592, $12.95).

Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks
Cynthia Leonor Garza, author
Alyssa Bermudez, illustrator
POW! Kids Books
c/o PowerHouse
9781576878941, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Lucia's little sister Gemma wants to be a luchadora (Spanish for 'tenacious person') like her big sister, but she is more bumble and splat than pizzazz and seems to find trouble wherever she goes. When Gemma makes a ginormous hole in Lucia's special silver mask, Lucia is incredulous and exasperated at how her little sister seems to get away with everything. But Lucia's grandmother, Abu, has an idea: a trip to the mercado to get Gemma her very own lucha libre mask. There are so many masks to choose from, and Lucia can't resist trying on masks and imagining all the new secret identities she could have if she had endless masks. When Lucia realizes she's misplaced her special silver mask, a frantic search ensues with Gemma's help. Lucia the Luchadora's big heart is on display again in her latest adventure, where she learns that some things, including trouble making little sisters, are one of a kind. The sequel to author Cynthia Leonor Garza and illustrator Alyssa Bermudez's "Lucia the Luchadora" (9781576878279, $16.99; 9781338314533, $10.95), "Lucia the Luchadora and the Million Masks" is a delightfully entertaining story for children ages 3-7 and very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Unstoppable Moses
Tyler James Smith
Flat Iron Books
c/o Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781250138545, $17.99, HC, 352pp,

Moses and his cousin Charlie were best friends, wisecracking pranksters, unstoppable forces of teenage energy -- until the night they became accidental arsonists and set in motion a chain of events that left Moses alone, guilt-stricken, and most likely trapped in his dead-end town. Then Moses gets a lucky break: the chance to volunteer as a camp counselor for week and prove that the incident at the bowling alley should be expunged from his record. And since a criminal record and enrollment at Duke are mutually exclusive, he's determined to get through his community service and get on with his life. But tragedy seems to follow him wherever he goes, and this time, it might just stop him in his tracks. A deftly crafted and inherently riveting read from first page to last, "Unstoppable Moses" by Tyler James Smith is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections for readers ages 12-18. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Unstoppable Moses" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (9781250300546, $44.99, CD).

The Christian Shelf

The Advent Storybook
Laura Richie, author
Ian Dale, illustrator
David C. Cook
c/o Cook Communications
4050 Lee Vance Dr., Colorado Springs, CO 80918
9780830776085, $13.99, HC, 64pp,

Inspiringly written by Laura Riche and beautifully illustrated by Ian Dale, "The Advent Storybook: 25 Bible Stories Showing Why Jesus Came" is a celebration of the Christian family's holiday traditions showcasing rich images and thoughtful retellings of ancient stories that feature God's recurring, faithful promise to rescue us. A simple question at the end of each story helps children ages 4-8 engage in understanding the bigger story God wants us all to know -- the good news of Jesus coming to save us. Parents and children alike will delight in the biblical messages of joy, hope, and peace every day as they look forward to celebrating Jesus' birth, making "The Advent Storybook" an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, church, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Advent Storybook" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.97).

May God Bless You and Keep You
Sarah Raymond Cunningham, author
Lorian Tu, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506445311, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

In gentle rhyming text, Sarah Raymond Cunningham's "May God Bless You and Keep You" explores the curiosity and wonder of a child's life from the playroom to the playground, dinnertime to alone time, all with a recurring chorus: May God bless you and keep you. Ideal as a gift for baptisms, baby dedications, showers, First Communions or graduations, "May God Bless You and Keep You" is a charmingly illustrated picture book by Lorian Tu that will give encouragement and blessing to kids ages 8-12 at any stage in the wondrous journey of growing up.

Fun With Angels
D. Thomas Halpin, FSP, author
Virginia Helen Richards, FSP, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819827425, $5.95, PB,

"Fun with Angels" presents 64 pages of word searches, crossword puzzles, dot to dot games, text in verse about angels in Judeo-Christian traditions and history, and coloring illustrations. Introduced by a mini portrait of a little angel who invites readers to discover how angels appear in the Bible, every page has intriguing material for young artists and scholars. Also included is Psalm 91:11 and a prayer to a guardian angel, long beloved of children. An answer page helps students work their way through the puzzles and brain teasers enclosed. Exciting portraits of different angels described in scripture passages are rendered for easy coloring by fledgling artists. "Fun with Angels" is sure to provide many hours of healthy activity and fun for kids while teaching them how to feel secure with God's love through angel avatars.

The Judaic Shelf

The Creation Book
Chani Gansburg, author
Dena Ackerman, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781945560064, $13.95, HC, 32pp,

The sky up high, the land and sea, a brand new world for you and me. Crisp writing by author Chani Gansburg and extraordinary illustrations by artist Dena Ackerman combine in "The Creation Book" to make a unique Judaic picture book for children ages 3-6, about the Creation of the world. Rhyming couplets detail the creations that Hashem brought into being on each passing day. Perhaps most important of all is the simple truth shining through the entire narrative: this wonderful world was designed especially for us, and it is good. "The Creation Book" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young children.

The Poetry Shelf

Bookjoy, Wordjoy
Pat Mora, poet
Raul Colon, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620142868, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

Whether children are collecting words, reading favorite books in the library, celebrating holidays, writing poems, sharing secrets, or singing a jazzy duet, words and books can take them on wonderful adventures and bring them joy. In "Bookjoy, Wordjoy", poet Pat Mora has brought together a collection of her poems that celebrates engaging with words and books in all these ways and more. Vivid illustrations by Raul Colon bring the poems to life and interpret the magic of the language with captivating images in a style influenced by Mexican muralists. Together the poems and illustrations are sure to inspire creative wordplay in readers of all ages, but making it an especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book poetry collections for young readers ages 6 to 12.

My Favorite Job Is You
Ashley Flynn
Wise Ink Creative Publishing
c/o Itasca Books
9781634891165, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

An anthem for working mothers everywhere, "My Favorite Job Is You" by author and artist Ashley Flynn takes young readers ages 3-6 on a mother's journey in finding her balance between motherhood and a career. This light-hearted poetic verse text serves as encouragement to all mothers rocking their babies to sleep at night and waking up before the sun to do it all over again. Ashley Flynn has deftly created the perfect story to communicate between mother and child no matter what job Mom does when they're away, the clearly presented message that being home is a mother's favorite job! Charmingly tender, impressively combining text with image, "My Favorite Job Is You" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book and poetry collections for children (and their mothers!).

I'll Root for You and Other Poems
Edward van de Vendel, poet
Wolf Erlbruch, illustrator
9780802855015, $17.00,

Wolf Erlbruch's lovely and uniquely odd drawings grace the poems translated by David Colmer in I'll Root for You and Other Poems, which will attract young readers familiar with words and poetic structure. From how rhinos, "short but bold," make large statements and hippos "always get to the bottommest" to rooting for the underdog against all odds, these are fun stories of animal achievers who like and deserve to win. Kids will find it inspirational and a series of fine examples of various approaches to poetry and achievement.

The LGBT Shelf

What Does A Princess Really Look Like?
Mark Loewen, author
Ed Pokoj, illustrator
Boutique of Quality Books
9781945448171, $17.95, HC, 30pp,

An original picture book story for children ages 5-7 featuring a young girl with LGBTQ parents, "What Does a Princess Really Look Like?" by author Mark Loewen and illustrator Ed Pokoj breaks common princess stereotypes. A little girl named Chloe sets out to craft her very own princess. She quickly realizes that princesses are more than just frilly dresses and tiaras. Chloe discovers that her power is not in how she looks, but in how she can affect others. Chloe learns that princesses are smart, kind but assertive, brave, strong and determined. In the end, it is Chloe's two dads who help her understand what princesses are not: Perfect. Chloe learns that her imperfections make her uniquely who she is. A unique, entertaining, and iconoclastic picture story from beginning to end, "What Does A Princess Really Look Like?" is especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "What Does A Princess Really Look Like?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.38).

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Fiesta Femenina
Mary-Joan Gerson, author
Maya Christina Gonzales, illustrator
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9781782854258, $16.99, PB, 64pp,

Eight Mexican folk heroines come to vibrant life in the pages of "Fiesta Femenina: Celebrating Women in Mexican Folktale", a fascinating anthology colorfully illustrated by Pura Belpr and written by educator and activist Maya Gonzalez. Drawing on centuries of Mexican traditions, "Fiesta Feminina" celebrates brave young girls, clever mythological characters and ambitious historic women leaders. With an illustrators note by Gonzalez and fully updated interiors, "Fiesta Feminina" joins the Barefoot Book's popular anthology collection as an engaging tool to weave a captivating storytime in the classroom or at home, making it very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 6-10.

The Red Castle & The Blue
Wendy Marech, author
Alayna E. Paquette, illustrator
Marloe Press
9780982349557 $16.99 hc

The Red Castle & The Blue is an unconventional fairy-tale novel for middle grade readers. Princess Azula of the blue castle is kidnapped by a red prince in search of a bride; supposedly, this is the dream of every princess... or is it? Certainly not this one! Azula makes up her mind to escape, embarking on adventures with spies in disguise, a knight caught between quests, and a mysterious masked man. It's a marked change from the refined, yet stifled life of a princess! A charming, thoughtful story about discovering one's passions and path forward, The Red Castle & The Blue is highly recommended especially for school and public library YA fiction collections.

The World History Shelf

History's Mysteries
Kitson Jazynica
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426331640, $14.99, PB, 160pp,

"History's Mysteries: Freaky Phenomena: Curious Clues, Cold Cases, and Puzzles From the Past" is a profusely illustrated compendium of real-life mysteries including: Is there any truth to the legend of Bigfoot?; Why have planes and ships suddenly disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle?; Is there really a lost city of gold in the jungle of Central America?; "History's Mysteries: Freaky Phenomena" covers some of history's most fascinating head-scratching conundrums, including the curse of the Hope Diamond, King Tut's tomb, black holes, the puzzling disappearance of ancient civilizations, cryptic creatures of myth and legend, long-lost treasure, and so much more. Kids ages 8 to 12 can dig into these mysteries, uncover clues, and ponder leading scientific theories to help decipher what really happened. Fun and informative, "History's Mysteries: Freaky Phenomena" is sure to keep curious kids engaged as they try to piece together these puzzles of the past! While very highly recommended for curious children, it should be noted by school and community librarians that "History's Mysteries: Freaky Phenomena" is also available in a Library Binding edition (9781426331657, $24.90).

The Psychology Shelf

The Adventures of Captain Waffello: Toasty's Revenge
Aiden Dennis, author
Angie Butler, illustrator
eBI Press
9780998415727 $12.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 42pp, Ages 4-6,

"The Adventures of Captain Waffello: Toasty's Revenge" is a fun, creative story written by an eleven year old boy with ADHD, with the editorial assistance of his mom and illustrator, Angie Butler. One goal of the writing of this book was to help other children stay focused and interested when working on any project. The book begins with some helpful tips for parents to help kids stay focused, including Action Fingers, questions, and the I Spy game. Captain Waffello and his sidekick, Sir Rup are devoted to spending their lives as superheros who work to bring down villains like Toasty the Terrible, Captain Waffello's long lost, burnt brother, and the Toastettes, Toasty's mini pancake minions. with the help of Action Kid (the reader, you!), Captain Waffello and Sir Rup uncover Toasty's evil plot to rig all toasters in the world to burn toast. In this game-friendly scenario, Action Kid (you, the reader) gets to use Action Fingers to help Captain Waffello and Sir Rup get through the obstacles at Big Al's Groceries to defeat Toasty's Evil Plot to rig all toasters in the world to burn toast. Action Fingers also help Action Kid, the reader, to get Captain Waffello and Sir Rup get through the checkpoints and defuse the Evil Plot. With many clever Action Fingers interventions, Captain Waffello is finally able to defeat the Evil Plot of Toasty by crossing the wires at the toaster factory fo make the toasters work perfectly, thus saving the world from burnt toast. Lots of action game illustrations of Captain Waffello and Sir Rup and Toasty and minions keep attention engaged in this riveting tale. The tale is completed by a page titled: Say Whaaaaat? How Did An 11 Yr. Old Boy With ADHD Write This Book? If interested in further series titles by Aiden Dennis, check out "How To Find 4-Leaf Clovers Using Secrets from Math and Science."

The Music CD Shelf

Building Blocks
Tim Kubart
Privately Published
$11.98 CD / $10.99 MP3

Building Blocks is a family-friendly music CD by Grammy Award-winning performer Tim Kubart. The heartwarming pop songs celebrate field trips, beloved pets, block parties, and growing up one day at a time. Energetic and cheery, building blocks is a choice pick for school or family children's music collections. The tracks are "Bigger", "Jump Right In", "Hold On", "Day One", "Field Trip", "Oopsie-Do!", "A Good Friend's Hard to Find" (feat. Sara Niemietz and Little Kruta), "It's Going Up!" (feat. Steve Burns), "Ready for You", "Sand + Imagination", "We Are Growing (feat. the Woodward Parkway Junoir Chorus)", and "Block Party" (feat. Genevieve Goings, Carly Ciarrocchi, and Drue Davis).

Inside I Shine
Danny Weinkauf
Red Pants Music
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Grammy Award-winning artist and bassist for "They Might Be Giants" Danny Weinkauf and the Red Pants Band present Inside I Shine, Weinkauf's fourth music album for children and families. Featuring positive-message songs especially for the littlest budding music fans, Inside I Shine is brimming with pep, vim, and vigor, ideal for playtime, children's parties, or pure lyrical fun. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Going to the Library", "Dozen Good Reasons", "B is for Body", "I don't want to live on the moon (Theme from Sesame Street)", "Over and Under", "Inside I Shine", "We Love to Verb", "Teddy Bear", "Tricycle", "Hey Mr. Bus Driver", "Pumpkins (are my favorite fruit)", "Grilled Cheese", "Good Morning to You", "The Moon is Made of Cheese (piano version", "Wiggle Wiggle", and "Library Piano".

Coloreando Dos
Marta Gomez & Friends
GLP Music
$14.99 CD / $8.99 MP3

Latin Grammy winning musician Marta Gomez and GLP Music present Coloreando Dos, a Spanish-language children's music album featuring traditional Latin American songs. Coloreando Dos is a joyful experienced steeped in Latin American rhythms, and an excellent way to practice Colombian Spanish. Highly recommended! The Spanish-language tracks (titles translated into English) are "The Little Coal Woman", "Maria Monitos", "I Have a Doll", "Ping Pong / The Sailor Who Went to the Sea", "A Thousand Secrets", "The Bridge is Broken", "Don Ramon", "To the Wheel, Wheel", "There Sat the Frog", "Male Parrot and Female Parrot", "Under a Button", "Go to Sleep My Child / Hush-a-Bye", "Masquerule", "Let's Go Tell Lies", "The Stars", and "Saint Anne".

Sonia De Los Santos
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Alegria! is a bilingual music album for families and all ages, featuring some songs in English and some songs in Spanish. Befitting the title, these delightful tunes celebrate the happy moments of life, featuring music that evokes the innate joy of dance and celebration. Alegria is the perfect family pick-me-up to counter a bad day, highly recommended! The tracks are "Alegria!", "Los Pajaritos", "Hey Little Bunny!", "Mariposa Montuna", "Mi Papa Me Va a Comprar", "Daisy Mae", "Colibri Amarillo", "Amapolita", "Songs for the People", "Corona de Flores", "La Maraca", and "Donde Tu Estes / Wherever You Go".

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Vampirina in the Snow
Countess Anne Marie Pace
Disney Hyperion
9781368023184, $17.99,

Vampirina in the Snow pairs fun drawings by Leuyen Pham with a fun new story for ages 3-5 based on the popular Vampirina Ballerina series and Disney Junior television show. Vampirina and her cohorts are determined to get everything they can from winter fun; but Vampirina is additionally tasked with translating her ballet abilities to the ice. From skeleton bobsledding to getting ambushed during a snow fight, kids receive a fun story that pairs winter play advice with Vampirina's special seasonal challenges in a fun story young picture book readers will enjoy.

Books in Series

Cooking Around The World
Jeff Sferazza, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781538218594 $22.60 each, HC, 24pp, hardbound

"Cooking Around the World" is a cultural sampler of different methods and styles of cooking around the world. Written for readers in elementary grades 1-3 and filled with vivid colored photographs, "Cooking Around the World" presents cooking methods including steaming in baskets of bamboo in China, and the preparation of tamales from Central and South America, the use of potjie pots in South Africa for cooking over hot coals, the use of iroris or square fire pits in Japanese homes or traditional restaurants, the use of schwenkers or swinging three-legged metal grills in Germany, and hot sand frying in China and India. Readers are invited to begin cooking foods of their own and learn more about cooking and eating food around the world. "Cooking Around the World" is completed with a glossary and suggestions for more information in books and websites. This series invites young readers to follow adventures in culture in many different areas. Additional titles in the Adventures in Culture series that are also highly recommended include: "Games Around the World (9781538218631)," by Mary Pat Ehmann, "Toys Around the World (9781538218754)," by Mary Pat Ehmann, "Jobs Around the World (9781538218716)," by Mary Pat Ehmann, and "Holidays Around the World (9781538218679)," by Jeff Sferazza.

Coping with Online Flaming and Trolling
Sherry Mabry Gordon, author
Rosen YA Publishing Group
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781508179054 $ tba list $38.47 library $28.85 hard bound 112 pages

"Coping With Online Flaming and Trolling" is a 7th grade reading level resource text that addresses problems of online negative commentary and hate mail, especially for young posters. The introduction features YouTube channeler Brianna Hill, who received many negative, hate-filled comments through online trolling and flaming when she posted her popular YouTube channel BriannaxBeautyx. She comments that although she found the comments hurtful, she learned to discover the difference between hate and criticism. The criticism was constructive and could help her improve her channel, but the hate was just hurtful, not useful at all. She eventually learned to ignore it. This practical textbook defines the difference between cyberbullying, trolling, and flaming behaviors online. The negative consequences of trolling and flaming in life are also defined and examined. A very useful highlighted section is called Myths & Facts, pages 19-22. An excellent question is the last one: "Myth: There is no way to fight back against trolls. Fact: it is usually not recommended that you engage with a troll or flamer online, but there are other actions you can take. For instance, blocking a troll and reporting her behavior are two very good first steps in dealing with the behavior." Additional chapters deal with the Effects of Flaming and Trolling, Inside the Minds of People who Flame or Troll Others, Are You At Risk?, and What Can You Do About Flaming and Trolling? Readers are cautioned against oversharing online, taking too many selfies, subtweeting and vaguebooking, sexting participation, exaggerating the truth online, taking part in heated discussions, and flirting with someone's significant other. The three C's of online behavior are defined and emphasized; Conduct.... Content.... and Caring.... Other good strategies to avoid being trolled or flamed online are outlined, including choosing strong privacy settings, turning off geotaggings, practicing good digital etiquette, and more. Many specific self defending strategies are outline. For example, In the Are You At Risk chapter, there are 10 Great Questions to Ask a Counselor suggested on page 83. In the final chapter 5, What Can You Do About Flaming and Trolling?, there are several suggestions to help end trolling by diverting attention away from the troller and hateful commentary and saying something complimentary or nice about the victim. Readers are encouraged to support victims of online trolling and flaming, to let them know they are not alone, that they are valuable and worthwhile, and they should never seek revenge. "Coping With Online Flaming and Trolling" offers many practical antidotes and protections against flaming and trolling behaviors for all online participants. It is completed by a glossary of terms, a list of references in For More Information, a list of books for further reading, and a bibliography. "Coping With Online Flaming and Trolling" is an excellent resource for tweens and teens and those who care about them. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the Coping Series: "Coping When a Parent is Incarcerated (9781508178996)," by Carolyn DeCarlo, "Coping with the Threat of Deportation (9781508179122)," by Jeanne Nagle, "Coping With Political Disagreements among Friends and Family (9781508179085)," by Elizabeth Hurt, and "Coping When a Parent Has a Disability (9781508178965)," by Mary P. Donahue, Ph.D.

The Southern Ocean
Juniata Rogers, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503825000 $27.07 list $18.95 school/library, HC, 24pp

Written for children in preschool through grade 1, "The Southern Ocean" is all about the Antarctic Ocean, which is earth's second smallest ocean, surrounding Antarctica. Covering about 8 million square miles, the Southern Ocean is about twice the size of the United States. The Southern Ocean is icy and cold even in the summer. It has the fastest winds of any ocean and very big waves. The Southern Ocean is one of five oceans on Earth, renamed the Southern ocean in 2000. The Southern Ocean has a unique feature called the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), a current of fast water that circles Antarctica and keeps the Southern Ocean apart from other water. although the Southern Ocean is very cold, many animals and fish live there, and plankton as well. Penguins of many kinds are well known dwellers of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean is the coldest ocean on Earth, but it is very important, and helps bring life to the rest of the world. "The Southern Ocean" is enhanced with many black and white photographs and is completed with a glossary and list of books and web sites about related sources. "The Southern Ocean" is an excellent marine resource for early readers, part of the series, Oceans of the World. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the Oceans of the World series: "The Pacific Ocean (9781503825048, $18.95)," "The Indian Ocean (9781503825031, $18.95)," "The Atlantic Ocean (9781503825024, $18.95)," and "The Arctic Ocean (9781503825017, $18.95)," all by Juniata Rogers.

Women in E-Sports
Meg Marquardt, author
Norwood House Press
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599539669, $29.27, Library Binding, 48pp, Ages 10-13,

"Women in E-Sports" is a nonfiction series title investigating the profile participation of women of all races in E-Sports. Written to appeal to students and e-gamers age 10-11 and up, "Women in E-Sports" presents current data on the increasing participation of women in E-Sports of all types. The use of color photographs of women of different ethnicities participating in E-Sports guarantees high female attention. Excellent nonjudgmental expositionary writing presents the data in a rational style. "Women in E-Sports" suggests reasons and ways to increase diversity in E-Sports, such as all-women tournaments, and utilizing special groups such as AnyKey and Misscliks to continue working to make gaming more inclusive. Surprisingly, about 47 percent of the world's gamers are women. However, only 5 percent of professional gamers are women, as of 2016. This is beginning to change, due to different factors and interventions. "Women in E-Sports" uses color shaded sidebars to highlight special or surprising facts and histories about women in e-Sports, both as gamers, programmers, and designers, even game characters. The issues of sexism in E-Sports is also discussed, with a highlighted brief description of "Scarlett" Sasha Hostyn, a celebrated Starcraft II gamer as of 2017. chapter 2, Gamers, highlights a number of top female gamers of E-Sports games, including "Eloise," and "Mystik." although women gamers' winnings are not generally as high as those of men, this is also changing. further game participation by women is explored in Behind the Scenes, chapter 3. Women can be game developers, coaches and managers, indie gaming, voice actors, and more. The subject of gender separation for games is discussed, including analysis of the 2014 hearthstone tournament in Finland that only allowed men to participate. Chapter 4, In the Media and Beyond, presents data on other outlooks on women in E-sports. A definition of Gamergate is highlighted in a sidebar which covers a huge online battle/debate about women vs. men in sports e-games in 2014, with Zoe Quinn created a nontraditional game and was threatened and harassed online by men. Her defender was Leigh Alexander, a female journalist who coined the term "angry young men" to describe male gamers who threatened female gamers online, or participated in general sexist practices in the gaming industry that threaten female gamers. In conclusion, women involved in E-sports are still working against sexism and other obstacles, but many others, including all women teams, female gaming executives and others are working to encourage women participation in E-Sports. "Women in E-Sports" is completed by a glossary and bibliography to encourage further research in the area. Additional titles from the E-Sports Game On! series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Cheating in E-Sports (9781599539638)," by Marcia Amidon Lusted, "Pioneers in E-Sports (9781599539645)," by Meg Marquardt, and "Gaming and Professional Sports Teams (9781599539652)," by Douglas Hustad.

Crabtree Publishing

Crabtree's elementary-grade readers and series titles are recommended acquisitions for discriminating libraries who seek books tied to curriculum objectives and who look for bright, contemporary reads promising lasting lending value. The 'Facts Matter' series expands with Information Literacy and Fake News by Diane Dakers (9780778745426), which offers almost fifty pages of detail including an index, glossary, and bibliography for further research. From news approaches to truth and lies to promoting different viewpoints and alternative versions of news, this offers much thought-provoking study on media's objectives and approaches to journalism and reporting. Sarah Ridley's Beans to Chocolate (9780778751182, $23.60) adds to the 'Where Foods Come From' series for young children reading at Grade 3, supports C3 Framework for Social Studies ands CSS for Reading Information text, and includes an activity to support the information. From where chocolate comes from to its manufacturing and promotion, facts receive bright embellishments to attract leisure audiences, as well. Why Do I Bleed? by Kristy Holmes (9780778751335, $23.60) adds to the 'Why Do I' primers for grades 3-4 on physiology, and discusses overall systems as well as the specifics of bleeding. From white and red blood cells to blood types, this provides kids with the basics in a colorful, accessible manner. Recreate Discoveries About Forces (9780778750512, $27.60) by Anna Claybourne will reach grade 4 readers, adding to a series of 'Recreate Discoveries' that supports STEAM programs and provides projects to support the key science and engineering concepts within. Each project summarizes the science behind the discovery and leads youngsters to recreate them. Animals of the World by Toby Reynolds (9780778750383, $27.60) joins other 'Quick-Reference Atlas' series titles and provides detailed maps for young geography readers in grade 4. Here animals are the focus, with maps detailing where they live in the world. All are excellent references for elementary-level libraries.

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What If Dinosaurs Were Pink?
Jarrett Whitlow, author
Daniela Dogliani, Illustrator
Warren Publishing
9781943258840, $16.95 HC; 9780990813644, $8.99 PB, 20pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Many great discoveries may have started with those small, but powerful words, "What if?" They are words that provoke thought, stir imagination, and often push us to greatness. Or, maybe just provide us with moments to giggle and wonder. What If Dinosaurs Were Pink? opens possibilities, and encourages us to go beyond the common and wonder. (Ages 2-8)

Made For Me
Zack Bush, author
Gregorio De Lauretis, illustrator
1254 Commerce Way, Sanger, CA 93657
9781945547690, $16.99, HC, 32pp
9781641702003, $10.99 Board Book, 20pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This tremendously sweet book will fill every empty space it finds. Love and a sense of belonging flow on every rhythmic word like a cool brook satisfies on a warm summer day. Illustrations by De Lauretis bring this loving father's heart into full vivid view. It's simply delightful. The stamp on the inside cover is a very special touch. (Ages 3-5)

The Best Mother
C. M. Surrisi, author
Diane Goode, illustrator
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419725340. $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp,

Julianne Black

Maxine is convinced that the problem is with her mother. The answer is, of course, to find a new mom - one who doesn't bother her with hair brushing and would let her wear her slippers in the snow. But as she interviews other moms for the position, a funny thing starts to happen... she realizes that her mom just might be the best one after all. Loveable read for all ages. (Ages 3-7)

Nanna's Button Tin
Dianne Wolfer, author
Heather Potter, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763680961, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Life is captured in moments and held in stories. And who better than Grandma to rehearse them through time? Nanna's special button tin holds treasures from that past that just may hold the answer to today's problem. The illustrations of Heather Potter are as heartwarming as the tale of this child and her grandma, sorting through memories and tokens past to refresh childhood treasures of the present. Bonding at its best! (Ages 4-6)

Hello, Monster!
Clementine Beauvais, author
Maisie Paradise Shearring, illustrator
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500651704, $14.95, HC, 28pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a great exercise of imagination! Its creativity and delightful rambling are sure to be a winner. It also carries a humorous and enlightening perspective of child vs. adult playground meetings. It's quite an entertaining tale. (Ages 4-7)

Thank You, Omu!
Oge Mora
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316431248, $18.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 40pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

A giving heart is never left lacking. Omu's stew smells so good! As it cooks, the wonderful aroma fills the air and brings many in search of a taste. Omu's preparation for her own dinner brings much pleasure to a parade of visitors, leaving her big pot empty at dinnertime. However, as she sits at her table, another knock comes, and all her guests return bearing ample treats to share. A heartwarming story of sharing and community. (Ages 4-7)

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant Of Surprise
David Ezra Stein
9780763688424 $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This story is sure to delight ALL its readers! Especially those who have held such wonderfully unforgettable conversations with a child. Chicken has misunderstood her teacher's comment, "Every good story has an element of surprise," and she searches for him with pure joy as Papa reads. The illustrations are fun and lively. Whatever stage of life we may occupy, this book is sure to delight! (Ages 4-8)

Lester, The Scared Little Leaf
Nina Gardner
Certa Publishing
P.O. Box 2839, Apopka, Fl 32704
9781946466174, $11.99 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 40pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Letting go and fear of the unknown can have crippling effects. Fall has arrived with all its beauty and changes. Chuckles of splendor can be heard in the air as leaves let go of their tree and soar in the breeze. But, Lester clings tighter to his branch with a fear of falling. What if he doesn't like it on the ground? His friends assure him of the joy that's ahead of him as he watches them sail with laughter filling the air. Can Lester let go of the life he knows so well? Can he find the excitement of change? This is a great confidence-builder as we follow this tender leaf into the exhilaration of newness. (Ages 4-8)

Super Manny Stands Up!
Kelly DiPucchio, author
Stephanie Graegin, illustrator
Atheneum Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481459600, $17.99 HC; $10.99 Kindle, 40pp,

Sherry L. Hoffman

Author Kelly DiPucchio and illustrator Stephanie Graegin unveil their brilliant picture book with a super-sized lesson, showing a raccoon that remembers he is strong, brave, and powerful at just the right moment. Super Manny Stands Up! is written to let all readers know that they have their own superpower within themselves. Rather than being a bystander when seeing injustice, they can don their invisible cape like Manny the raccoon and remind themselves that their voice can make a huge difference in a difficult situation. This story is a reminder that one person can make a world of difference in the lives of others. (Ages 4-8)

I Love Kisses
Sheryl McFarlane, author
Brenna Vaughan, illustrator
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
c/o Sourcebooks Inc.
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
9781492657125, $9.99, PB, 40pp,

Sherry L. Hoffman

Sheryl McFarlane and Brenna Vaughan shower readers with affection with their story I Love Kisses. This adorable picture book is a sweet story to read with a little one. Kisses from our pets included, youngsters will hear about lots of different kinds of kisses from the ones who love them. Children can gift this book to a parent or grandparent as a reminder that they appreciate having them in their lives. (Ages 4-8)

My Grandfather's War
Glyn Harper, author
Jenny Cooper, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781775592990, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This story bridges the chasm that separates young and old, and reminds us of the precious sacrifices that secure our freedom, and the aftermath of war. As a young girl innocently seeks answers to her grandfather's grief, she unknowingly opens old wounds and discovers his sadness is a legacy of the Vietnam War and his experiences there. This is a sensitive exploration of the lingering cost of war and of the PTSD so many returned servicemen experience. (Ages 4-8)

A Tuba Christmas
Helen L. Wilbur, author
Mary Reaves Uhles, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363841, $16.99 HC, $11.53 Kindle, 32pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

There is so much goodness packed in these pages. My delight doesn't know which one to address. The empowerment of Ava's self-declaration, the hardships she must overcome to achieve it, the pure joy of success, or the history of a tuba concert and the fun and amazing facts about the tuba itself? There is just so much to enjoy in the story. And the illustrations are just as fun and lively as the content they express. (Ages 5-7)

Hannah's Tall Order: An A to Z Sandwich
Linda Vander Heyden, author
Kayla Harren, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363827, $16.99 HC, $11.59 Kindle, 32pp,

Julianne Black

Hannah's Tall Order is delicious fun for parents and children alike! Adorable illustrations pull you through the sing-song storytelling at a comfortable pace while your audience is entranced by its goofy details. The mess, the wear and tear on poor Mr. McDougal, and the craziness of the food combinations are wonderfully amusing. This is among my top picks for read-aloud books this school year! (Ages 5-7)

The Things That I Love about Trees
Chris Butterworth, author
Charlotte Voake, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763695699, $15.99, HC, 32pp,

Julianne Black

Teachers rejoice! Here is a beautiful, fun, and factual book about trees that will be a treasured addition to an art or science room. From spring to winter, The Things I Love about Trees places quiet little tree factoids along the storyline for an information double dose, cleverly wrapped in soft illustration. This showcase of buds to bark makes a wonderful gift for nature lovers of any age. (Ages 5-8)

The Lying King
Alex Beard
Greenleaf Book Group Press
PO Box 91869, Austin, TX 78709
9781626345287, $17.95 HC, $8.99 Kindle, 54pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a quality book all the way around. Its large size, bright color, and solid binding gives an assurance it will be around for a while. And its timeless tale we'll never outgrow. Foundation blocks that build successful lives are often found in childhood stories. This simple, well-rounded story gives full view to the multilayered effects and outcomes of liars, bullies, and those who would misuse privilege and authority, while enforcing the strength of unity sufficient to overthrow it. (Ages 6-9)

The Boy Who Sprouted Antlers
John Yeoman, author
Quentin Blake, illustrator
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500651605, $14.95, HC, 48pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This extravagantly fanciful tale brings two conflicting thoughts to mind with great hilarity. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it, but at the same time, be careful what you wish for! Great story for an encouraging good laugh! (Ages 6-9)

EZ and the Intangibles
Bob Katz
Fitzroy Books
c/o Regal House Publishing
9781947548183, $12.95, PB, 150pp,

Diana Perry

Ethan "EZ" Zanay loves the sport of basketball and it's really unfortunate he's so darn bad at it. When he makes an embarrassing mistake in front of his teammates, EZ finally decides to call it quits. But he still clings to the fantasy that somehow, he might yet turn into that unheralded player who surprises everyone by coming through in the clutch. His best shot at a comeback is to specialize in those subtle moves and unseen maneuvers that don't show up in the standard stat sheets. This story will inspire kids like Ethan, who don't excel at sports and yet want to make their parents proud. I really love how Ethan found a great solution to make himself an important part of the team. (Ages 7-12)

Through the Barbed Wire (A Wild at Heart Mystery)
Isabella Allen, author
Cynthia Meadows, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
c/o Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail, Suite 205, Dallas, Texas 75248
9781612549835, $12.95, PB, 224pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This new mystery series will be rubbing elbows with some pretty elite writers in this genre. The author's fresh approach to the story's wild child heroine brings a fascinating appeal. We are welcomed in to explore the vastness of a sprawling land, and the heart of a young girl who loves it. She knows every inch of it, and every critter and creature she shares it with. It's there where she feels most alive. And someone wants to take it from her. Can she find out whom? Can she save her land and preserve the beauty of her wildness? It's worth the read to find out! (Ages 8-12)

The House with Chicken Legs
Sophie Anderson
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338209969, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 272pp,

Macaulay Smith, age 7

The House with Chicken Legs is one of the most creative books I have ever read! I can relate to the main character Marinka, even though she is 12 and I am only 7. Like me, Marinka is an only child so she does not have other kids at home to play with. Unlike me, her house has chicken legs that take her all over the world at a moment's notice, which makes it pretty tough to make friends. In my family, we move every three years; Marinka sometimes moves three times a year! But when Marinka does finally get the chance to make a real-life friend, that is when the book really gets interesting! She must go on a mysterious journey into the afterlife to try and save her grandma, and she will need all the friends she has if she is going to succeed. If you like to use your imagination, then this is the book for you. (Ages 8-12)

The Third Mushroom
Jennifer L. Holm
Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781524719807, $16.99 HC; $9.99 Kindle, 240pp,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

The Third Mushroom is a playful book that also teaches important life lessons. Ellie has a passion for science and convinces her grandpa Melvin (a famous scientist in a 14-year-old boy's body) to do science experiments with her at the county fair. I really liked that the book includes Mellie's Gallery of Scientists that gives you facts about notable scientists, what they achieved, invented, a little about their childhood as well as a quote. (Ages 8-12)

Baking Class: 50 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love to Bake!
Deanna F. Cook
Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612128559, $18.95, Spiral Bound, 144pp,

Sherry and Jocelyn Hoffman

Baking Class is a complete compilation of over 50 child-friendly recipes equipped with stickers, stencils, and gift tags to encourage creativity. Step-by-step instruction with pictures and descriptions make this recipe book user-friendly, especially for beginners and visual learners. The setup is so welcoming, and the helpful advice incorporated throughout seems to elicit a feeling as if a good friend is right there walking the reader through each recipe. Deanna F. Cook has stirred up another delicious recipe of fun with this book. (Ages 8-12)

The Lotterys More or Less
Emma Donoghue, author
Caroline Hadilaksono, illustrator
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338207538, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 304pp,

Diana Perry

Sumac Lottery is the keeper of her family's traditions - from Pow Wow to Holi, Carnival to Hogmanay, Sumac's on guard to make sure that no Lottery celebration gets forgotten. But this winter all Sumac's seasonal plans go awry when a Brazilian visitor overstays his welcome. A terrible ice storm grounds all flights, so one of her dads and her favorite brother can't make it home from India. Can Sumac hang on to the spirit of the season, even if nothing is going like a Lottery holiday should? This is a great lesson that shows sometimes you must try many ideas before you finally find the one that solves your problem. Kids will love this story. (Ages 8-12)

Short & Skinny
Mark Tatulli
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
9780316440493, $24.99 HC; 9780316440516, $12.99 PB; 256pp,

Diana Perry

As a middle schooler, Mark finds himself on the smaller side of the physical spectrum and it has really wreaked havoc on his confidence. So to end his bullying woes and get the girl - or at least the confidence to talk to the girl - he starts to explore bulking up by way of the miracle cures in the backs of his comic books. But his obsession with beefing up is soon derailed by a new obsession: Star Wars, the hottest thing to hit the summer of 1977. As he explores his creative outlets as well as his cures to body image woes, Mark sets out to make his own stamp on the film that he loves. This is a wonderful book to inspire kids who feel left out and long to fit in and feel special. It teaches that the answer to this dilemma is closer than you think. (Ages 9-12)

Freedom for Me: A Chinese Yankee
Stacie Haas
Melody Press
9781947048072, $10.99 PB; $3.99 Kindle, 264pp,

Diana Perry

As the Civil War rages, 15-year-old Thomas Beck longs to fight for his country. He's underage, but his brother claims there's another reason he can't fight: There's no such thing as a Chinese Yankee. Assumed a slave because of his odd appearance - including his traditional Chinese queue (long braid), Thomas soon discovers that giving battle with his regiment isn't enough to shed the Chinese label from his Yankee status. It's not until Thomas befriends a runaway slave and the war moves toward a pivotal moment in Gettysburg that he begins to understand the true meaning of freedom in America. Young readers need to know this story and how our country, once divided, became the strong nation it is today. (Ages 10+)

The Reckless Club
Beth Vrabel
Running Kids Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762490400, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 256pp,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

The Reckless Club is a book about five middle schoolers who spend their last day of summer before school starts volunteering at Northbrook Retirement Village as a punishment from their principal. This very diverse group includes Jason (the nobody), Lilith (the drama queen), Wes (the flirt), Ally (the athlete), and Rex (the rebel), who come together and learn a lot about compassion, the meaning of friendship, the aging process and how to get along. I really loved the letter from the principal in the front of the book as well as the letter from the five kids at the end. The Reckless Club is filled with heart and humor. (Ages 10-14)

Curse of the Komodo
M. C. Berkhousen
Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
9781946329394, $10.95 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 148pp,

Diana Perry

Luke and Austin Brockway can't seem to stop arguing. Luke says he'd rather have a grizzly bear for a brother and Austin would prefer a Komodo dragon. While on a school trip to the zoo, a violent storm creates chaos in the atmosphere and their wishes are granted! Luke can't eat the frozen rats he gets for supper, and Austin is scared of his 700-pound roommates. A mean guard with a temper and a cattle prod adds to their misery. They soon learn that they are victims of an old family curse that can't be undone until the next violent storm. Until then, they must help each other survive. This is the ultimate field trip nightmare ... and young readers will be most entertained. (Ages 10-14)

Intrigue in Istanbul: An Agnes Kelly Mystery Adventure
Christine Keleny
CKBooks Publishing
P.O. Box 214, New Glarus, WI, 53574
9781949085051, $9.95 PB; $2.99 Kindle
9780980052954, $15.99 HC; 180pp,

Diana Perry

Set in 1961, during a time of the Cold War and space race. But that isn't on 12-year-old Agnes' radar. Her dad has died and during a trip with her grandmother to Istanbul, she accidentally finds out it was under "suspicious" circumstances, but that's just the beginning. I really enjoyed the letter from Agnes that teaches readers definitions of many of the words and phrases used in the book. True to its title, this book was very intriguing. A great bedtime read. (Ages 10-14)

Nate Expectations
Tim Federle
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481404129, $17.99 HC; $10.99 Kindle, $29.99 CD;

Diana Perry

When the news hits that E.T.: The Musical wasn't nominated for a single Tony Award, the show closes, leaving Nate both out of luck and out of a job. And while Nate's castmates are eager to move on, Nate knows it's back to square one, also known as Jankburg, Pennsylvania. Where horror - aka high school - awaits. Desperate to turn his life from flop to fabulous, Nate takes on a huge freshman English project: He's going to make a musical out of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. But he soon realizes the only thing harder than being on Broadway is being a freshman - especially when you've got a secret you're desperate to sing out about. This story teaches young readers how to be problem solvers and to utilize their talents. A very entertaining book. (Ages 10-14)

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend
Cheryl Carpinello
Beyond Today Educator
9781946229441, $8.99 PB; $2.99 Kindle; 150pp,

Diana Perry

Guinevere and Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle. Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle. Renegades - foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess - steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger. Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice? This story has everything a young reader wants: action, adventure, tests of bravery and friendship, magic, and so many twists and turns. It is quite an adventure! (Ages 10-14)

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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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