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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 10 October 2006 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Poetry Shelf Folktale/Mythology Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Preschool Shelf
Music Shelf Art Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Paperback Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf
Biography Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

The Golden Children's Bible
Golden Books/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0307165205 $17.99

The Golden Children's Bible reissues a classic first published in 1964, presenting new generations with a new cover with gold foil but retaining the foundations which made it so popular to prior generations. Six parts are drawn from the Old and New Testaments and cover all the major biblical stories in plain and easy language kids can appreciate. Add bright color drawings and you have a winner.

Random House

Four books by Kama Einhorn pair Sesame Street figures and themes with reads which require only basic reading skills from kids. MY FIRST BOOK ABOUT DOGS (0375835148) tells of how dogs use their senses, juxtaposing photos of different dogs with cartoons and call-outs of information and chatty details; THINGS THAT GO (0375835156) reveals wheels and vehicles and how life is simplified by them; FISH (038583513X) tells all about fish, from different sizes and colors and shapes to natural history, and THE FIVE SENSES (9375835164) surveys basic physiology. All are fine basic introductions for grades 2-4.

Oh, Rats!
Albert Marrin
345 Hudson, New York NY 0014
0525477624 $16.99

C.B. Mordan's dark woodcuts are perfect to accompany OH RATS! THE STORY OF RATS AND PEOPLE. Here science, history and natural history blend to provide a spirited, lovely account of rats and their interactions with humans. Kids in grades 3-5 will find this fascinating reading.

The Poetry Shelf

Poetry Speaks to Children
Elise Paschen, Editor
Sourcebooks MediaFusion
1935 Brookdale Road, #139, Naperville, IL 60563
1402203292 $19.95 1-800-432-7444

This isn't just a written survey of key poems: over ninety poems are also presented on a cd of 52 performances by the poets and close friends, pairing written word with an imaginative spoken survey. Poems covered include Casey at the Bat, Robert Frost's Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and more: narrators range from Carl Sandburg and James Berry to J.R.R. Tolkien. An exceptional presentation results.

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme
Jack Prelutsky, Presentor
0375822860 $16.95

How do you encourage young poets to get started? One way is through the method advocated in Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme: by creating a 'poemstart' which offers a beginning structure and tells the young poet to follow along. The purpose is to provide enough encouragement and direction to allow kids to continue the effort: pictures by Meilo So add excitement and energy to the beginner's 'poemstarts' featured here.

Girl Truths
Andrea Carey
Cumberland House
431 Harding Industrial Dr., Nashville, TN 37211
1581824637 $10.95

GIRL TRUTHS gathers thoughts for girls of all ages and comes from women who remember their childhood. Daily affirmations and admonishments impart wisdom and ideas that women wish they'd have learned younger, making for a reader perfect for browsing and ideas.

So You Think You Know Narnia?
Clive Gifford
Hodder Children's Bks/Trafalgar Square
N. Pomfret, VT 05053
0340893923 $8.95

Lewis' Narnia books are popular and the new movie has earned them an even larger readership than in the past. Kids who loved the movie and books will appreciate over a thousand quiz questions which are perfect for either trivia games or testing Narnia concepts and knowledge. From basic plots down to specific meals, SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW NARNIA invites kids to read with the idea of retaining concepts.

Judy Allen
c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0753459507 $19.95 1-800-225-3362

Expertly written for young readers ages 9 to 14 and students in grades 4 to 9, "Unexplained: An Encyclopedia of Curious Phenomena, Strange Superstitions, And Ancient Mysteries" is a 144 page, profusely illustrated compendium of strange phenomena that has puzzled and intrigued people from our earliest recorded records down to the present day. Ranging from 'hauntings', to the extra sensory power of the mind, to superstitions and symbols, to unnatural phenomena (human combustion, weeping statues), to strange creatures, and more, "Unexplained" will prove to be a fascinating, educational, and popular addition to school and community library collections for children curious about the weird and the wonderful that seemingly defy logic and scientific explanation.

Crazy Cars: For Crazy Kids
Mark David
Kane/Miller Books Publishers
7946 Ivanhoe Avenue, Suite 203, La Jolla, CA 92037
1933605057 $7.95 1-800-968-1930

Written and illustrated by Mark David for the delight and entertainment of children ages 3 to 8, "Crazy Cars For Crazy Kids" offers a series of Rube Goldberg style conveyances ranging from vehicles that allow you to ride a rollercoaster while stuck in traffic, fish while you drive, fuel your car with cows milk, go whitewater rafting without leaving your car, and so much more wacky, weird, and wonderful things to do when driving the highways and byways of city and country roads. Original, clever, detailed, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Crazy Cars For Crazy Kids" is a wonderfully entertaining, cartoon-style picturebook.

Uno's Garden
Graeme Base
Abrams Books For Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
0810954737 $19.95 1-212-206-7715

Uno decides to live in the forest surrounded by lush plants and unique animals. But first a village, then a town, and finally a city supplant his garden, make the animals disappear, and crowd out the plants with buildings. Uno and the city residents finally realize the damage people can do to a natural environment simply by living in it -- and how important it is to the environment that people live in harmony with the plants and animals around them. Imaginatively written and superbly illustrated by Graeme Base, "Uno's Garden" presents to young readers the critically important story of what damage we can do to the land we live on, the animals we live with, and how nature can repair that damage if we help it and allow it through community-based approaches to conservation and environmental restoration. "Uno's Garden" is a welcome and important addition to family, school, and community library picturebook collections and Environmental Studies reference shelves for young readers.

The World Almanac For Kids 2007
World Almanac Library
330 West Olive Street, Suite 100, Milwaukee, WI 53212
0886879833 $12.99 1-800-848-2928

Enhanced with the inclusion of free Cut-Out Mini Posters, "The World Almanac For Kids 2007" is a compendium of jokes, puzzles, 'infobits', and in this new edition there are chapters devoted to Magic and to Volunteering. Replete with stories and photos about celebrities of special interest to kids, stories about kids from cultures and countries around the world, and the kinds of almanac information that is useful to kids when doing their school work and writing papers for their classes. Profusely illustrated, reliably informative, and a whole lot of fun just to browse through, "The World Almanac For Kids 2007" is strongly recommended for family, community, and school library collections.

The Folktale/Mythology Shelf

Go To Sleep Gecko: A Balinese Folktale
Margaret Read Macdonald & Geraldo Valerio
August House Publishers
PO Box 3223, Little Rock, AR 72203
0874837804 $16.95 1-501-372-5450

Entertainingly retold young readers by Margaret Read Macdonald and nicely illustrated by Geraldo Valerio, Go To Sleep Gecko : A Balinese Folk tale is the story of a gecko who is kept awake by the fireflies outside his window. When the little gecko doesn't get his sleep he is quite grumpy with his friends the next day. Children will learn that, like the gecko, that their well-being during the day depends on their getting enough sleep during the night. Got To Sleep Gecko is a highly entertaining picturebook that will prove to be a popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Stone Arch Books
PO Box 669, Mankato, MN 56002-0669
18730 SE 45th Place, Issaquah, WA 98027 (author)

Stone Arch Books features an outstanding series of graphic novel adaptations for classic stories that have entertaining young readers for generations. Author Lisa L. Owens in particular has two new and simply outstanding additions to this wonderfully entertaining and beautifully illustrated series. "Black Beauty" (1598890468, $22.60 list, $16.95 school/library) is originally written by Anna Sewell, and in this graphic novel edition is adapted by Lisa Owens in perfect coordination with the full color illustrations by Jennifer Tanner. This warmly engaging story of a beautiful horse and her adventures has entertaining young readers ever since it first appeared. "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo is a true classic that has been translated into every entertainment media there is. Lisa Owens' excellent graphic novel adaptation is superbly illustrated by Greg Rebis. Both "Black Beauty" and "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" will introduce a whole new generation of children ages 10 to 14 (grades 5 to 9) who could benefit from fiction with a second to third grade reading level proficiency to the joy of reading for pleasure. No school or community library should be without a complete set of these Stone Arch Books "classic fiction" graphic novels, which also include "The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer"; "King Arthur And The Knights Of The Round Table"; "Robin Hood"; and "Treasure Island".

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Those Excellent Eagles
Jan Lee Wicker, Steve Weaver, & H.G. Moore III
Pineapple Press Inc.
PO Box 3889, Sarasota, FL 34230
1561643602 $14.95

Collaboratively written by Jan Lee Wicker and illustrated by Steve Weaver, as well as enhanced with full-color photographs by H.G. Moore III, "Those Excellent Eagles" is a superbly presented introduction for children ages 5 to 8 on the life of eagles. Young readers will learn what this bird is called a 'Bald Eagle', what eagles eat, just how strong eagles are, how well eagles can see, how fast they can fly, and where they prefer to live. Kids chill even learn how to make an eagle and an eagle's nest they can eat! "Those Excellent Eagles" is an informed and informative, "kid friendly" addition to school and community library Pets & Wildlife collections.

Small Wonders: Baby Animals In The Wild
Marilyn Baillie & Romi Caron
Maple Tree Press
51 Front Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1B3
Raincoast Books (distributor)
9050 Shaughnessy Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6P 6E5
Publishers Group West (distributor)
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
1897066724 $17.95 1-604-323-7120

Written in a manner as to have the animals announce themselves to the young reader, Marilyn Baillie informative and entertaining text is very nicely illustrated by the artistic talents of Romi Caron in "Small Wonders: Baby Animals In The Wild". Children's ages 3 to 7 are provided an ideal introduction to a series of baby animals that include Moose, Canadian Geese, Polar Bears, Wolves, Loons, Bison, Raccons, Cougars, Beavers, Mountain Sheep, Snowy Owls, Harp Seals, Caribou, and the Orca. Enhanced with the addition of a 'Have You Ever Wondered...' page answering a series of basic questions about the individual animals showcased in this outstanding picturebook, "Small Wonders: Baby Animals In The Wild" is a welcome and recommended addition to school and community library Pets & Wildlife collections.

The Preschool Shelf

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591
$14.99 Each

Stephanie Greene's MOOSE AND HILDY: PIG PICKIN' (0761453245, $14.99) receives black and white drawings throughout by Joe Mathieu as it provides ages 6-9 with the fun story of pig who is picked for a town beauty contest. Her friend Moose is eager to go with her – but once at the fair, the farmer's attention to fattening Hildy leads Moose to obvious worries. The friendship and the contest are on the line in this warm pig tale of loyalties. Dorian Cirrone's LINDY BLUES: THE BIG SCOOP (0761453237, $14.99) provides ages 7-10 with the story of a missing ice cream shop. Reporter Lindy Blues finds the whole disappearance – and reapparance – puzzling. In fact, the scoop she hopes for in solving the puzzle seems long in coming. Liza Woodruff provides fun black and white drawings to pair with this story of intrigue and just desserts. While color might have made these more compelling, kids seeking easy reads above the picture book level will find the plots involving.

Please Do Not Open This Book!
Jon Stone
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
0375836837 $8.99

While the interactive pulls, zips and wheels may not be appropriate for library lending collections, parents and any with kids in the home will want to consider the 35th anniversary edition of Sesame Street's best-selling book MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, which has been adapted here into a 'Bright and Early Playtime' title blending text from the original with tab slides, flaps and more. Mike Smollin's bright Sesame Street illustrations come to life in a fun presentation kids will enjoy.

Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140

Megan McDonald's JUDY MOODY: AROUND THE WORLD IN 8 1/2 DAYS (0763628328, $15.99) tells of Judy, proud of her rhyming name's uniqueness – until Amy Namey enters the scene with not only a rhyming name, but an attitude much like Judy's. Will Amy prove a best friend or an enemy? Add in jealousies over a team project and numerous social interactions which bring new challenges to Judy's circle and you have another Judy Moody book packed with adventure and Peter H. Reynolds' simple, fun drawings. Kate DiCamillo's MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME (0763625906, $12.99) provides the third pig tale in the series. Here Mercy hears a noise and discovers a thief is robbing the Watsons – a cowboy thief whose 'yippie-I-oh' can both lull a sleep to pig and wake up a sleeping household. Color drawings by Chis Van Dusen add fun and hilarious adventure to the tale.

Key Lardo
Bruce Hale
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
0152050744 $14.00

Ages 8-12 receive another Chet Gecko mystery in KEY LARDO; this telling of a new detective, James Bland, who is a portly penguin capable of cracking cases which have Chet and Natalie stumped. When Bland vanishes, Chet becomes a suspect and finds himself on a mission to rescue the competition in this hilarious story.

Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow
James Howe
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416914587 $15.95

Peter has just won a contest: the prize is a school visit from his idol and the author of the FleshCrawlers series. While Peter's excited, Chester the cat is suspicious: Graves dresses in black, has a silent black crow about him at all times, and Chester knows that in each of Graves' popular books, something bad always happens to the pet… humor again blends with the supernatural in a Bunnicula story both newcomers and old fans of the series will appreciate.

Handbag Friends
Sally Lloyd-Jones & Sue Heap
David Fickling/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
038575096X $11.95

Here's another winner that isn't appropriate for library lending, but is perfect for parents with kids. The 'handbag friends' live in a handbag, and this handbag-shaped book explores their lives and how they came to live inside a handbag. Enter Plant Pink Handbag, where baby handbags are kidnapped and the world is very different. Reluctant young readers will find in this an encouraging, different kind (and shape) of storybook, complete with pink plastic tote handle.

Good Night America
Adam Gamble & Suwin Chan
Our World of Books
c/o Cate Cummings Publicity
7601 East 93rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64138-4206
0977797902 $7.95

Beautifully designed by author/publisher Adam Gamble and illustrator/toy designer Suwin Chan, "Good Night America" is charmingly entertaining board book which is highly recommended for preschoolers and depicts some of America's most icon settings with respect to the nation's vast natural and cultural wonders. A multicultural group of children visit various attractions ranging from Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Everglades, the Grand Canyon, and more. The rhythmic language of the simple but engaging text provides young children with the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while representing the beauty of each selected site. The debut title of the new "Good Night" series from Our World of Books, "Good Night America" will make a thoroughly entertaining addition to family, preschool, day care center, and community library board book collections.

The Music Shelf

We Wanna Rock
Thaddeus Rex
Thaddeus Rex Inc.
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
CD $16.98

Drawing from childhood memories and experiences of growing up in rural Indiana, We Wanna Rock showcases fifteen original songs created and entertainingly performed by Thaddeus Rex as acoustic rock productions for young listeners. With the talented assistance of Zak Morgan who provides an assortment of character voices on "You Can Tell a Boy by the Smell", Thaddeus does a superb job which also includes "Dinosaurumpus", "I Don't Want to Go", "Oh Fiddlesticks", "Kazoey Decimal", "Your Song", "Grandma's Pond", "A Song for Girls", "I Stepped in Dog Doo", "Slimy Green & Kind of Funny", "The Moon is Rising", "Country Roads", "We Dance", as well as the title piece, "We Wanna Rock". This is a flawlessly recorded and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library CD Music collections for children.

The Art Shelf

1-2-3 Draw Baby Animals: A Step-By-Step Guide
Freddie Levin
Peel Productions
PO Box 31387, Spokane, WA 99223
0939217457 $8.99 1-800-304-3269

The latest addition to an outstanding series of instructional drawing books for children ages 5 and older, Freddie Levin's 1-2-3 Draw Baby Animals: A Step-By-Step Guide focuses upon drawing cute baby animals including elephants, piglets, chicks, kittens, ducks, sheep, mice, guinea pigs, and so many more. The instructions are methodical, easily followed, and thoroughly "kid friendly". Also very highly recommended, especially for homeschooling curriculums and rainy day activities, are the other titles comprising Freddie Levin's inexpensive and highly effective "1-2-3 Draw" books for Pets and Farm Animals; Wild Animals; Knights, Castles and Dragons; Cars, Trucks and Other Vehicles; Dinosaurs; Ocean Animals; Mythical Creatures; and Horses.

The Picturebook Shelf

Henry Holt
175 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10010

Vera Rosenberry's VERA'S NEW SCHOOL (0805076131, $16.95) tells of spunky Vera, whose family moves, leading to her first day in a new school. Vera's afraid she'll never fit in – but when Jungle Larry and his wild animals visit the school, Vera's adventure leads to a new friendship right off the bat. Other Vera tales have been written but this requires no familiarity to be a winner for new readers. Jill Esbaum's ESTELLE TAKES A BATH (0805077413, $16.95) tells of Estelle, cozy in her bath while a poor mouse outside in the blizzard envies her and seeks entrance to some place warm. But Estelle hats mice, and when she spots the mouse, a fast house race ensures with Mary Newell DePalma's whimsical drawings fueling the fire. Lynn Downey's THE TATTLETALE (0805071520, $16.95) receives Pam Paparone's color drawings as it tells of pig siblings and problems which arise over tattling. Sibling rivalry and evolving closeness despite it all are at the heart of a funny, warm title with Pam Paparone's drawings adding zest and simple pleasures. Peter McCarty's MOON PLANE (0805079432, $16.95) narrates the results when a small boy sees an airplane and imagines the fun of flying to the moon. The simple monotone drawings aren't striking, but are excellent, gentle accompaniments to an easy read story. Won-LdyPaye and Margaret H. Lippert retell THE TALKING VEGETABLES (0805077421, $16.95), a Liberian folk story of villagers who are planting a farm despite the lack of help from lazy Spider, who enjoys rice too much to bother planting vegetables. Akin to a Western folk tale is the story of what happens when he tires of plain rice and tries to get in on the vegetable action – with a difference. Bruce Goldstone's GREAT ESTIMATIONS (0805074465, $16.95) holds such a vivid jelly bean cover that kids will want to look inside to enjoy a fun pairing of large color photos and color accents to questions such as what 1,000 looks like, and how to estimate cherries, hares and more. It's a lively and unique perspective on how to estimate numbers that kids will receive with as much enthusiasm as a game.

1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10019-4703

Scott Santoro's FARM-FRESH CATS (0060781785, $15.99) tells of an ordinary farm day – or so farmer Ray thinks. But instead of nice cabbage heads poking up from the ground, there are nice cat heads… and instead of picking cabbages weeks later, cats are picked. A comet causes chaos – and what will Farmer Ray do with all these cats? It's refreshing to see an unpredictable fantasy for picture book readers. David Gordon's HANSEL AND DIESEL (0060581220, $15.99) offers a different kind of Grimm tale: here two machines set out to search for fuel in their junkyard – and face the Wicked Winch alone in the forest. How can two little lost trucks survive? Both are remarkable, innovative presentations.

Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020

Peter Brown's CHOWDER (0316011800, $15.99) tells of a different kind of dog: one who enjoys music, rebuilding archaeological relics with bones, horseback riding and more. He just doesn't fit in with the neighborhood dogs and their more mundane interests in life… a new petting zoo seems a better bet for friends, though – or is it? It's unusual to see Greek myths in picturebook format, but Jean Marzollo's retelling of PANDORA'S BOX (0316741337, $12.99) works surprisingly well – perhaps because it has more of a moral message and less scary figures than say Medusa would have. What's inside the box? Wouldn't anyone want to know? Parental assistance for the picturebook beginner is required; grades 2-3 will find it involving on their own.

It's a Bad Day
Mary Ellen Friday
Rising Moon Books
Box 1389, Flagstaff, AZ 86002-1389
0873589041 $15.95

It's a bad day when a dog eats a boy's paintings, due tomorrow – and when the tree eats your best paper airplane. In fact, some days are bad days all around. But a good message still resides in having a bad day, and that's the pleasure of IT'S A BAD DAY, illustrated by Glin Dibley with oversized, different drawings.

Holiday House Books
425 Madison Ave., New York NY 10017

Karen M. Stegman-Bourgeois' TROLLERELLA (0823419185, $14.95) receives Ethan Long's zany drawings and a take-off on an unusual story revolving around Trollerella, a hideous troll invited to a royal ball. But she's green and horrible – how can she gain entry to the castle? The story line proves even a Green and Gruesome one can be a winner. Jane Cabrera's TEN IN THE BED (0823420272, $16.95) tells of ten who share a bed – and every time a new one comes in, one by one they all move over – and fall out of bed into a different adventure. A simple story line and simple drawings make for a hilarious, fun story for the young picturebook beginner.

Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374356408 $16.00

Mr. and Mrs. O'Grady dirt poor and have to share all their raggedy belongings – one potato a day, one blanket, etc. Yet all they want in life is one friend apiece, so when a magic pot unearthed in the garden produces double of everything, their wishes seem to come true – or do they? Andrea U'Ren's drawings are a fun accompaniment to an unexpected largess and dilemma. Kate Banks' MAX'S WORDS (0374399492, $16.00) tells of a family where everyone collections something: so when youngest Max decides to collect words, a complex story evolves. Boris Kulikov's unusual drawings accompany a zesty story done in different type to accent words and their appearance.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Rd., Tarrytown, NY 10591

Patricia Hubbell's CARS RUSHING! HONKING! ZOOMING! (0761452966, $14.99) pairs collages with puns and zany word puzzles throughout to describe cars racing, turning, wheeling and more. From different types of cars to car culture, CARS is a very easy read and whimsical book kids will love. Sally Derby's WHOOSH WENT THE WIND! (0761453091, $16.99) receives Vincent Nguyen's fun drawings as it tells of a little boy who tells his teacher about the tricks of a mischievous wind that made him late. The first person story takes a twist when the wind visits not only the disbelieving teacher, but a host of others affected by the swooping whoosh! Steven Kroll's JUNGLE BULLIES (0761452974, $16.99) also enjoys Vincent Nguyen's drawings – these more conventional in appearance – as it tells kids ages 3-7 of animals which bully, starting from the top down. When Monkey complains he's the last in line to be bullied, his wise mother comes up with a fine idea. Louise Bonnett-Rampersaud's BUBBLE & SQUEAK (0761453105, $14.99) tells of sisters: baby Squeak and Bubble, who talks to her mother about how to keep Squeak from being afraid at bedtime. In fact, she seems to know so much about Squeak's fears that one begins to wonder who is afraid. Susan Banta's warm drawings are endearing.

Harcourt Inc.
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101

Mem Fox's A PARTICULAR COW (0152002502, $16.00) will reach kids ages 3-7 with its pairing of Terry Denton on drawings and Mem Fox's story of a cow whose morning walks are usually boring – until one Saturday when the unexpected happens. Suddenly a quiet walk turns into a ride on a mail truck and a wild wedding breakup – among other events. Gill Lobel and Sebastien Braun's TOO SMALL FOR HONEY CAKE (0152060970, $16.00) will reach ages 3-7 with a story of an only fox in the family whose life changes when Baby Fox is born. Nothing is the same – and nothing has improved. How can Little Fox adjust to his new brother? A fun story of sibling rivalry evolves. Karen Beaumont's MOVE OVER, ROVER! (0152019790, $16.00) receives Jane Dyer's warm drawings as it tells of a dog satisfied to face a rainy day in the comfort of his warm, dry doghouse – until Squirrel, Raccoon and other friends want to share, too. Suddenly there's no room. Adam Rex's FRANKENSTEIN MAKES A SANDWICH AND OTHER STORIES YOU'RE SURE TO LIKE (0152057668, $16.00) tells of monster-sized problems faced by Dracula and others as they struggle with monstrous neighbors, Invisible Man haircuts, and more. These are wonderful leisure read choices indeed!

Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003

Niki Daly has won numerous awards for her prior children's books, and WELCOME TO ZANZIBAR ROAD (0618649263, $16.00) is another winner in our book: it describes a hot day in Africa when Zanzibar Road is busy – and where kind-hearted Mama Jumbo has found the perfect place to build a house, with a host of zany neighbors. An African animal community comes to life under different personalities and interests. Ann Redisch Stampler's SHLEMAZEL AND THE REMARKABLE SPOON OF PHOST (0618369597, $16.00) tells of lazy Shlemazel, convinced he's got no luck until Moshke the tinker says he must make an amazing spoon to overcome his run of bad luck. When Shlemazel tries this, surprises result in this traditional Jewish tale about self-made fortunes, complete with Jacqueline M. Cohen's drawings. Eve Bunting's ONE GREEN APPLE (0618434771, $16.00) goes a step beyond the 'new kid in school' syndrome: Farah is not only new, but is from another country and doesn't know the language. It's not until a field trip that she reaches a new understanding about her new world. Ted Lewin's realistic drawings are lovely accompaniments to this story of cross-cultural meetings. Margaret Mahy and Polly Dunbar's DOWN THE BACK OF THE CHAIR (0618693955, $16.00) tells of what happens when a search for lost car keys leads to an investigation of just what's in the back of the chair. From a bumblebee to a lion and more, it seems everything and anything is to be found down the back of this magic chair! A different, fun story evolves.

Albert Whitman & Company
6340 Oakton St., Morton Grove, IL 60053

Hazel Lincoln's LITTLE ELEPHANT'S TRUNK (0807545910, $15.95) tells of a new little elephant whose trunk keeps tripping him up. He doesn't know how to use it for anything practical, like other animals – so what is an elephant's trunk good for? Gradually he finds out in this winning tale. John Nez's ONE SMART COOKIE (0807560995) tells of a smart dog who loves to read and uses his knowledge to help his owners. But when his young master takes him to the school show and tell, the entire class disbelieves. How can he display his prowess? Julie Hannah and Joan Holub's THE MAN WHO NAMED THE CLOUDS (0807549746) tells of one Luke and the evolution of a boy whose fascination with clouds leads to a special weather journal and a set of insights which will change the world. All are excellent stories.

Bringing Asha Home
Uma Krishnaswami & Jamel Akib
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
1584302593 $16.95 1-212-779-4400

Wonderfully written by Uma Krishnaswami and deftly illustrated by Jamel Akib, Bringing Asha Home is a story for young readers ages 5 to 9 and set at the time of Rakhi, a Hindu holiday which is quite special for brothers and sisters. An only children, Arun greatly desires to have a sister to share Rakhi with and his parents are hoping to adopt a little girl. But first they must all struggle with getting governmental approval to have a little girl named Asha join their family from halfway around the world. Bringing Asha Home is a warm and joyous story that would grace any school or community library picturebook collection.

A Place Called Kindergarten
Jessica Harper & G. Brian Karas
G. P. Putnam's Sons
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
SoCal Public Relations (Publicity)
8130 La Mesa Boulevard, Suite 137, San Diego, CA 91941
0399242260 $15.99

Written by Jessica Harper and illustrated by Brian Karas, A Place Called Kindergarten is about all the barn animals wondering why Timmy doesn't come see them at the usual time (when the sun rises over the oak tree). What they don't realize until Timmy comes running into the barn in the afternoon is that he has starting going to kindergarten! When Timmy shows what he has been learning that first day in school by giving alphabetized treats to the animals (A is for apple; B is for biscuit; C is for corn, D is for dandelions) they are happy for Timmy – and themselves! A Place Called Kindergarten is especially recommended and fun reading for children having to deal with the anxiety of going to school for the first time.

The Dog Child
Simon Black & Honorio Robledo
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas Avenue, El Paso, TX 79901
0938317423 $17.95 1-915-838-1625

Written by Simon Black and illustrated by Honorio Robledo, The Dog Child is a very special picturebook that will prove to be of particular interest to young readers with canine companions of their own. Judy is a dog whose family dresses her up in clothes, takes her to school, even gives her a birthday party. When Judy blows out the candles on her birthday cake she makes just one wish – that the McVittie family will soon have a human baby so that Judy can go back to being the family dog and enjoying the usual doggie benefits. This highly entertaining picturebook story for young readers is a welcome addition to the library picturebook shelves

On One Flower
Anthony D. Fredericks & Jennifer Dirubbio
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Road, Nevada City, CA 95959
1584690879 $7.95 1-800-545-7475

On One Flower Flower: Butterflies, Ticks, and a Few More Icks memorably presents the variety of insect life and activities that are an indispensable part of a flower's ecosystem of interrelationships and interdependencies with animal life. Also available in a hardcover edition (1584690860), Anthony D. Fredericks' uniquely informative, science-based, rhyming text is beautifully illustrated by Jennifer Dirubbio making On One an entertaining, informative, and highly desirable addition to school and community library picturebook collections for young readers ranging from ages four to ten.

Grady the Goose
Denise Brennan-Nelson & Michael Glenn Monroe
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
1585362824 $16.95

From the moment she hatches from her egg, a young goose named Grady simply has to do things her own way despite her parents' rule of 'stick together'. When Grady lags behind when the rest of her family leaves for warmer climes, the youngster learns the hard way what loneliness is. But a chance encounter with a helpful farmer ultimately results in a happy ending for Grady and her family. Deftly written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and expertly illustrated by award-winning wildlife artist Michael Glenn Monroe, "Grady The Goose" is a wonderfully entertaining picturebook Also highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections from Sleeping Bear Press are Denise Brennan-Nelson's early books for children including: "Someday Is Not A Day of The Week"; "Penny: The Forgotten Coin"; "My Momma Likes To Say"; and "My Teacher Likes To Say".

The Red Chalk
Iris Van Der Heide & Marije Tolman
Leminscaat/Boyds Mill Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431
1932425799 $15.95 1-828-236-5940

"The Red Chalk" is an enthusiastically recommended picturebook for children ages 2 to 5. Featuring a simple, engaging, and entertaining storyline by Iris Van Der Heide, which is wonderfully illustrated by Marije Tolman, "The Red Chalk" is the story of a young girl named Sara who is bored. None of the toys that she has seem to work right. While it is her imaginative trades lead her from one toy to the next, it's her friends that seem to be having all the fun! Finally Sarah comes to understand that it is a creative mind and not any particular toy that is the best way to have fun and to share in the fun with friends. "The Red Chalk" is Iris Van Der Heide's first picturebook for children -- we can only hope it is not her last!

Su Dongpu: Chinese Genius
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
1584302569 $24.00 1-212-779-4400

Written and illustrated by Demi, "Su Dongpu: Chinese Genius" is the picturebook story of a man named Su Shih in ancient China who as a boy began to write stories and versus expressing an admiration of the natural world. When Su Shih grew up to become an important scholar and influential statesman, he changed his name to Su Dongpo and risked his life by promoting justice and condemning corruption. The celebration story of a life of hardship and success lived with grace, ;humility and compassion that is designed to inspire young readers with a real-life example of dignity, ingenuity, courage, and resilience, "Su Dongpu: Chinese Genius" is a strongly recommended addition to both school and library picturebook collections.

The Birdman
Veronika Martenova Charles, Annouchka Gravel Galouchko & Stephan Daigle
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th Floor, Toronto, On, Canada, M5A 2 P9
0887767400 $17.95 1-416-598-4786

Engagingly written by Veronika Martenova Charles and enhanced with distinctive illustrations by the team of Annouchka Gravel Galouchko & Stephan Daigle, "The Birdman" is a picturebook story about the healing power of doing good deeds. Noor Nobi is a man who wanders the streets of Calcutta who has suffered the loss of this three children through a cruel accident and feels he has no reason to continue living. That's when he enters a crowded market and sees a caged, frightened and sick bird. Noor Nobi buys the bird and nurses it back to health. When the bird is finally able to fly, Noor Nobi takes it to a big Banyan tree and releases it to the freedom of the skies. Only then is he able to weep and grieve for his own lost children. Noor Nobi returns to work, takes his weekly earnings and returns to the market where he continues to buy, heal, and free as many birds as he can. This touching, compassionate, true story is strongly recommended reading for children ages 5 to 8 and a welcome contribution to family, school, and community library picturebook shelves.

A Tale Of Two Brothers
Eveline Hasler & Kathi Bhend
NorthSouth Books
PMB 248, 455 Sam Ridley Parkway West, Smyma, TN 37167
073582102X $16.95 1-615-306-0028

Beautifully written for children ages 4 and older by Eveline Hasler and superbly illustrated by Kathi Bhend with both color and black/white images, "A Tale Of Two Brothers" is the picturebook story of two brothers who lived in a valley and were burdened with having humps on their backs. While one brother was good, kind, helpful and friendly, the other was mean, selfish, and hostile -- until one truly magical night when the lives of the brothers would change forever! "A Tale Of Two Brothers" is in the mold of a classic fairytale with an underlying message about personal values, and would make an excellent and popular addition to both school and community library picturebook shelves.

Ruff N Rescue: Fifi's Burning Poodle Palace
Curt & Shannon Wasserman
Seven Locks Press
PO Box 25689, Santa Ana, CA 09799
1931643873 $16.95 1-800-354-5348

Co-authored by Curt & Shannon Wasserman Ruff And Rescue: Fifi's Burning Poodle Palace is enhanced with bright, cartoon-style illustrations by Lance Rose, Curt Wasserman, and Dawn Tate. The rhyming text follows the daily efforts of a team of firefighting, anthropomorphic dalmation dogs, as they do what real firefighters do when called on to extinguish blazes and save lives. A heartfelt tribute to brave emergency workers who risk their lives to serve and protect, Ruff N Rescue also embodies the author's wish for generosity - a portion of its proceeds will be donated by the author to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation located in Irvine, California and founded almost 25 years ago. "The roof needs to be vented, / to help put the fire out. / Daisy uses her ax, / "Over here", she shouts. / Digger moves in / with his hose in hand. / He will need more help, / So he'll call for another man."

School Specialty Publishing
8720 Orion Place, 2nd Floor, Columbus, OH 43240 614-880-6736

'Noodlebug' is a delightfully entertaining series of four 16-page, hardcover picturebooks specifically designed and imaginatively written for preschoolers ages 2 to 5. Co-authored by Pam Schiller and Richele Bartkowiak, and featuring lively, colorful illustrations by Michelle Ciappa, "Five Little Ladybugs" (0769642772, $12.95). The lyrical, simple and engaging text tells the story of five ladybugs who have fun together and then one by one fly home -- and then have a little reunion together. "The Iguana in Lavender Socks" (0769642756, $12.95) combines the storytelling talent of Pam Schiller with the energetically colored artistry of Emil Nestor in fanciful and rhyming story about a little girl, an iguana, and a distinctive pair of socks. "My Doggie Brought to Me" is deftly authored by Pam Schiller, whose story of a little girl's account of playing with her do is beautifully enhanced with the talented and distinctive artistry of Robert Sanford. Co-authored by Pam Schiller and Richele Bartkowiak with a simply but entertaining storyline that incorporates repetition, "This Little Train" (0769642780, $12.95) showcases the cartoon-style artwork of Joshua Janes and is an ideal picturebook entertainment. All four 'Noodlebug' titles are confidently recommended for preschoolers both as story-hour entertainment and parent/child shared reading and storytelling activities.

Kiki's Journey
Kristy Orona-Ramirez & Jonathan Warm Day
Children's Book Press
2211 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
0892392142 $16.95 415-821-3080

Written by Kristy Orona-Ramirez and illustrated by Jonathan Warm Day, Kiki's Journey is a picturebook about modern Native American life. A young Tiki girl living in Los Angeles knows little about her traditional culture and heritage, as her parents brought her from the pueblo to the city when she was a baby. During spring break from school, she has the opportunity to experience the pueblo with her parents for the first time. At first she feels like a tourist in a place that should be home, but the more she learns and sees, the better she understands the proud cultural history and traditions that precede her, and above all, the importance of family ties. The boldly simple and colorful artwork is the perfect complement to this heartwarming story of discovery.

Selvakumar Knew Better
Virginia Kroll & Xiaojun Li
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94538
SoCal Public Relations (publicity)
8130 La Mesa Boulevard, Suite 137, San Diego, CA 91941
1885008295 $17.95 1-800-456-6660 (Shen's) 619-460-2179 (SoCal)

Written by award-winning author Virginia Kroll and illustrated by Xiaojun Ji, Selvakumar Knew Better is the true story of a boy who survived a devastating tsunami with the aid of his faithful dog, Selvakumar. Seven-year-old Dinakaran didn't understand the tsunami alarm, and sought shelter too close to the shoreline - but Selvakumar would not let him hide, barking and insisting that he flee toward the hill where his mother and father fled. Selvakumar's insight saved the family's oldest son, in this miraculous tale brought powerfully to life with earth-toned art. A portion of the proceeds from Selvakumar Knew Better will be donated by the publisher to the Tsunami Recovery Fund.

Peace And Pancakes
Anne M. Picard
Beaver's Pond Press Inc.
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439
1592981496 $25.00 1-952-829-8818

Written and illustrated by Anne M. Picard, Peace And Pancakes is the story of a young dragon named Grendle whose forest home is threatened by a fierce giant. A wise teacher sets three challenges for Grendle; if the little dragon can overcome them, he will develop the skills to successfully confront the giant and become a great peacemaker. Peace And Pancakes features a gentle theme of determination, self-improvement, and the knowledge that violence is not the solution to all problems; the text is involved enough to make it ideal for young readers who are almost ready for chapter books. Highly recommended.

Maxwell's Mountain
Shari Becker & Nicole Wong
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
1580890474 $15.95 1-617-926-0329

Written by Shari Becker and illustrated by Nicole Wong, Maxwell's Mountain (a Junior Library Guild Selection) is the story of a young boy who prepares and trains himself to climb to the top of a rocky mountain near his home. Though the mountain doesn't have snow-capped peaks in the stratosphere, it nonetheless poses its share of dangers that Maxwell must study for. Buildinig up his physical endurance, and learning the strategy of an outdoorsman, Maxwell puts his preparations to good use, and must face challenges one step at a time as he climbs to the top. A rewarding storoy about dedication and perseverance, and the importance of balancing commitment to a goal with responsibility and keeping a cool head.

Who Is Melvin Bubble?
Nick Bruel
Roaring Book Press
c/o Holtzbrinck Publishing
143 West Street, New Millford, CT 06776
1596431164 $16.95 1-800-462-4703

Written and illustrated by Nick Bruel, Who Is Melvin Bubble? is a silly yet enjoyable picturebook about an ordinary six-year-old boy named Melvin Bubble - but who is Melvin Bubble, really? Well, it depends on who you ask! The reader gets a different answer for asking Melvin's dad, his mom, his dog, his best friend, the meanest man in the world, Santa Claus, a monster, a talking zebra and other mysterious creatures. But the only way to really find out about Melvin Bubble is to ask Melvin Bubble himself! A subtle moral about the importance of going straight to the source is woven into this whimsical read-aloud tale.

What Kinds Of Seeds Are These
Heidi Bess Roemer & Olena Kassian
Northword Books For Young Readers
11571 K-Tel Drive. Minnetonka, MN, 55343
155971896X $15.95 952-933-7537

Written by Heidi Bess Roemer (an advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and illustrated by Olena Kassian, What Kinds Of Seeds Are These is a rhyming picturebook that presents the stories of nine different types of seeds in question-and-answer format. The colorful and jubilant illustrations help convey a sense of appreciation for the world's natural wonders, and the final two pages encourage young readers to grow their own seeds for fun. A fine educational as well as entertaining picturebook. "Seeds are floaters and fliers and buried-alivers, / exploders and stickers and hitchhiking tricksters. / Seeds travel around in their clever disguises. / There are billions of seeds- / and they're full of surprises!"

Cheyenne Medicine Hat
Brian Heinz & Gregory Manchess
Creative Company
PO Box 227, Mankato, MN 56002
156846181X $18.95 1-507-388-6273

Written by Brian Heinz and illustrated by Gregory Manchess, Cheyenne Medicine Hat is the story of a mare leading a herd of wild horses amid the rocky lands and the prairie of the American West. Named Medicine Hat for her markings that Sioux warriors believed were sacred protective shields in battle, she must help her fellow mustangs survive the search for food and water, attacks from predators such as cougars, and perhaps most threatening of all, the advance of horse wranglers. The utterly stunning, full-color illustrations distinguish this powerful and emotional picturebook story, featuring text involved enough to be ideal for young readers who are almost ready to move on to chapter books.

The Fiction Shelf

Harcourt Brace
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495

Bonnie Shimko's KAT'S PROMISE (0152054731, $17.00) will reach ages 12 and older, telling of a pre-teen whose mother ides, forcing her to live with a wealthy aunt whom Kat believes caused her mother's death. And she may have: the aunt is even crueler than thought, her house holds many mysteries, and Kat's life seems filled with only darkness and no future, until she discovers a new friend, some sympathetic ears, and some new hopes for positive changes in her life. A sensitive story teens will find compellingly different from the usual parental death account. Ursula K. LeGuin's VOICES (0152056785, $17.00) will reach the same age group with a fantasy set in a world where a once-peaceful city of scholars has been captured by desert Alds, its residents forbidden to read or write. Teen Memer finds her life changed with poet Orrec and his wife arrive – and finds that as she explores her skills and talents, forbidden in the new world, she may prove her people's last hope. This is the second book of the Annals of the Western Shore - but it stands alone well and needs no prior introduction to prove compelling, with its strong characterization and fast-paced story line.

The Silver Crown
Robert C. O'Brien
Atheneum/Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
068984106X $17.99

Ellen awakens to a birthday like no other: her discovery of a silver crown on her pillow will lead to her house's burning, her family's disappearance, a journey to a distant Aunt, and encounters with a mysterious evil which Ellen seems to thwart merely by possession of her new crown. From the importance of art and creativity to how evil manifests itself in the world, THE SILVER CROWN tells a compelling story of a world quickly changed. The appearance of this reprint of a classic in hardcover is to be applauded: it promises excitement and relevance for a new generation.

The Wish House
Celia Rees
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
0763629510 $15.99

Richard has spent his summers at an abandoned house in the woods near his home since childhood, but this year a new family's moved in – and draws them into their strange circle. Soon Richard will do anything to be with their daughter Clio – even if it means abandoning the things he used to love in life. Elements of intrigue and the supernatural lend to a unusual love story and coming of age tale.

Knopf/Delacorte/Dell/Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019

Two Catholic altar boys are used to being mischievous, so a friendship with a quiet new boy Stephen doesn't seem a likely assignment from Father O'Mahoney. When Davie discovers Stephen's unique talent to bring clay to life, Stephen asks for his help: he wants to bring a man-sized sculpture to life rather than the little figures he's been endowing with life's spark – and when he does, Clay and trouble are born in the compelling Frankenstein-like saga by David Almond CLAY (038573171X $15.95) – but with more depth of accompanying characters. Meg Rosoff wrote the gripping HOW I LIVE NOW and is back here with JUST IN CASE (0385746784, $16.95), a story of teen Justin, who changes his name, assumes a new identity and new life, and falls in love. Here's another teen facing total transformation – this time, within his own grasp rather than from outside forces – yet facing equal challenges in creating his new world. Matthew Skelton's ENDYMION SPRING (0385733801, $17.95) is set in both modern Oxford and in 15th century Germany as Gutenberg's first printing press is changing the world, and tells of young Blake, who discovers a blank book in the Oxford library which houses a powerful magic. Gutenberg's world comes to life in a vivid fantasy about dangerous myths and time-traversing magic. Steve Augarde's CELANDINE (038575048X, $16.95) is set in 1915 Britain, where Celandine's life at boarding school is one of facing bullies and accusations. Her refuge is a world of little people where she leads an equally dangerous life – with the Various, subject of a prior novel. No familiarity with THE VARIOUS is required to immediately delve into this winning sequel, however. Paul Stewart and Chris Tiddell's FAR FLUNG ADVENTURES: CORBY FLOOD (0385750900, $14.95) pairs black and white drawings with the zany and lively adventures of one Corby Flood, who sails the seven seas on board a cruise ship discovering dancing pigs, laughing goats and even a dose of romance. Kids in grades 4-6 will receive a fun story of an ordinary life made extraordinary by an unusual voyage.

Secret of the Dance
Susan Eileen Walker
Keene Publishing
Box 54, Warwick, NY 10990
0976680548 $15.00

Two small town brothers who love to dance take different directions after high school: one journeys to New York City, the other stays in their small town to run his own restaurant and dances only part-time. Nearly twenty years pass before Jeremy returns home unannounced discovering his grandmother has died and he's lost touch with his family. Add a closely-kept family secret to tensions between adult siblings and you have a fine story which sounds like it's tailored for adults, but which is very accessible to kids ages 12 and older.

After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, And Flew Away
Joyce Carol Oates
1350 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 01019
0060735252 $16.99

Jenna's life is divided into before and after the wreck: before she lives with her mother in New York; after she's alone and hiding her feelings – until she meets the mysterious Crow, who may be the only person who can understand her trauma and why she's hiding it. A powerful novel of grief and recovery emerges from the telling hand of a long-time novelist who does as good a job for teens as she does for adults.

Neal Schusterman
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0689872372 $16.95

Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident, but their souls are caught between life in death in a limbo known as Everlost, a shadow of the living world, where other lost kids are trapped. While Nick becomes accustomed to his new world, Allie ventures into the world of haunting, trying to get back to the world she knows best – and finds a monster threatens their new life. EVERLOST is a compelling fantasy that again displays Shusterman's prowess at characterization and unpredictable twists of plot.

Kerry Cohen Hoffman
Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416914250 $15.95

It's easy for teen Jessica to get attention – not from her family, but from boys and men. With the right clothes and attitude she enjoys male attention – until things begin to get out of hand. How can she differentiate between wanted and unwanted attention? EASY examines many issues relating to sex and popularity.

Penny from Heaven
Jennifer L. Holm
Random House
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019
037583687X $15.95

Preteen Penny plans to spend the summer listening to baseball games on the radio and swimming – and is fascinated by her father's large Italian family even though her mother won't have anything to do with them since her father's death. Penny's lived with her all-American mother and her family for her whole life, but this summer seems time to recognize her Italian heritage – just when it's most dangerous to do so. An accident will make these roots even more precarious in this warm story of 1950s small town life.

The Softwire Virus on Orbis 1
P.J. Haarsma
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
0763427097 $15.99

Children orphaned in outer space are put to work on the Rings of Orbis when they're rescued – but Johnny discovers he's the first human Softwire, with a gift that allows him to enter any computer with his mind – and which makes him the focal point of a struggle between the Keepers who rule Orbis and the Council which wants him dead. His discovery of a hidden computer virus will change their world. Be forewarned: this is the first episode in The Softwire series – but its thrilling tension assures readers will come back for more.

The Unresolved
T.K. Welsh
345 Hudson St., New York NY 10014
0525477314 $16.99

Mallory Meer turns fifteen the week before she boards a steamship in 1904 on what will be her last voyage before the steamship burns and kills her and a thousand others. Yet she lingers, a ghost, unable to leave her love or family until the fire's setters are brought to justice. Turn-of-the-century Manhattan comes to life in a wonderfully different kind of ghost story.

I'll Sing You One-O
Nan Gregory
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618607080 $16.00

Preteen Gemm is being adopted by unknown relatives, the foster family she's lived all her life is breaking up, and Gemma wants her old life back. Her solution: to attract an angel to fix her world: her efforts to earn one result in a new probe into her past and the reasons behind her present dilemmas in a sparkling, engrossing story I'LL SING YOU ONE-O.

Thieves Like Us
Stephen Cole
175 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10010
1582346534 $16.95

Jonah is a teen computer hacker – and the latest addition to a growing group of teen outlaws hired by one Nathaniel Coldhardt. Each teen has a unique talent – and each is sent to an exotic location where they hunt for priceless ancient artifacts using their special skills – which will lead either to the secret of eternal life, or face to face with another, more deadly hunter. Tension, action and semi-science fiction blend in a satisfyingly gripping story that older teens will enjoy.

175 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10010

Melodie Bowsher's MY LOST AND FOUND LIFE (1582347360, $16.95) tells of Ashley, who leads the perfect life until her mother is accused of embezzling a fortune – and vanishes. Suddenly Ashley's forced into a move to an old camper, takes a job in a quirky San Francisco coffee shop, and explores a side of life she never knew existed in this warm coming of age story. Marie Desplechin's POOR LITTLE WITCH GIRL (1582348987, $15.95) tells of a preteen who hasn't shown a single sign of witchcraft in a family where spells and magic are everything. It seems her family knows just who and what she should be – but she just wants to be herself. A first novel is rarely as exciting and strongly written as this POOR LITTLE WITCH GIRL tale.

The Wright 3
Blue Balliett
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
0439693675 $16.99

Fans of Balliett's prior CHASING VERMEER will be delighted to see the sleuths Petra and Calder return in this sequel, THE WRIGHT 3, which covers another mystery involving a Frank Lloyd Wright architectural masterpiece. A class attempt to save a landmark from demolition results in supernatural influences as ghosts seem to be protecting hidden treasure. Add a coded message and you have a fast-paced thriller filled with twists and turns of plot.

Escape from the Castle Cant
K.P. Bath
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 120020
031610857X $16.99

The adored daughter of and heir to the fortune of the late Lord Cant has been kidnapped by her half-sister Lucy Wickwright, deemed a rebel, in this sequel to the Chewing Gum Rebellion story SECRET OF CASTLE CANT – at least, that's what the bulletin proclaims. In truth Pauline is a fugitive, rescued from the castle by her half-sister, and the two are fleeing through a country at war over chewing gum. No prior familiarity with SECRET is required to appreciate and relish ESCAPE FROM CASTLE CANT.

The Paperback Shelf

Laguna Cove
Alyson Noel
St. Martin's Press
175 – 5th Ave., New York NY 10010
031234869X $8.95

Anne's new life in Laguna Beach, California is anything but appealing to her: the area's quite different from her former Connecticut prep school and teens in California are concerned about beaches and surfing: two things she knows little about. Newfound friends help her adjust, but she still faces a lovely competitive girl who seems determined not to let her fit in. A compelling story of a new girl's adjustments emerges against a vivid, realistic California beach backdrop.

Swans in the Mist
D.E. Athkins
Simon Pulse
1230 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
1416900470 $5.99

Lyda is happy when her older sister gets married and she hopes to fit in with the couple's blended family. In fact, she's so delighted she overlooks many strange facts about the household – until her sister dies suddenly and mysteriously and she realizes her new relative has ulterior motives. A fine gothic thriller evolves, recommended for older teens.

Alan Garner books
Harcourt Brace
525 'B' St. #1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495
$6.95 Each

Two more of fantasy master Alan Garner's beloved classics appear in paperback, with bright new covers promising attraction and interest from new generations. THE MOON OF GOMRATH (0152056300) TELLS OF A NIGHT WHEN Old Magic drives two children to light a fire on a landmark, inadvertently calling up an ancient band of horsemen and many dangers. Colin is captured, Susan falls into danger, and the forces of evil prepare for the ultimate battle. THE WEIRDSTONE OF BRISINGAMEN (015205636X) is also a tale of Alderley, and again Colin and Susan are at the heart of the story. A slumbering band of knights may be the only hope against a rising evil – but the Weirdstone that can call them forth has vanished. It's up to Susan and Colin, who are vacationing in the area, to find the stone before the evil becomes unstoppable. This is the fist tale of Alderley: together the two provide a powerful story young fantasy enthusiasts will love.

Delacorte Press

Lissy moves from California to Oklahoma and finds herself in a social nightmare, facing two competing factions at school who vie for popularity in Jennifer Lynn Barnes's GOLDEN (0385733119 $7.95). But Lissy has something even more troublesome: Aura Vision, which is getting harder to hide as she sees beyond the average to get a sense of evil underlying the conflicts. Social and psychic tension are wonderfully done in this story of adjustments and changes. Mary Wilcox's THE HOLLYWOOD SISTERS: BACKSTAGE PASS (0385733542, $7.95) tells of a sister who's become a popular TV teen figure – and of a plot to tell lies about her to ruin her career. Its up to her sister to take on the case and foil the plot: only trouble is, there are too many possible suspects. Humor abounds in this story of smooth detective work.

Death of a Ghost Birth of a Nightmare
Charles Butler
Collins UK/Trafalgar Square, Dist.
N. Pomfret, VT 05053
0007128584 $9.99

Teens who love supernatural thrillers will find Death of a Ghost Birth of a Nightmare most pleasing: Ossian returns to an old house with his artist father and finds his childhood fears returning, along with memories of hauntings and strange events. Tension is well done and builds delicately through a spiderweb of plots and subplots in this fine haunting, chilling tale.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Obesity Modern-Day Epidemic
Ellyn Sanna
Mason Crest
370 Reed Rd. Suite 302, Broomall, PA 19008
1590849426 $23.95

A little over a hundred pages in Obesity Modern-Day Epidemic: America's Unhealthy Lifestyle Supersize It! tells not only the changing history of American diet, but how everything from evolution to advertising have been working to encourage weight gain and unhealthy lifestyles. Chapters survey social and health issues alike and provide many basic insights into nutrition and proper eating habits.

The Biography Shelf

The Hero Schliemann
Laura Amy Schlitz
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140
0763622834 $17.99

THE HERO SCHLIEMANN: THE DREAMER WHO DUG FOR TROY provides grades 5-7 with an excellent survey of an archaeologist whose life was packed with amazing finds and exotic travel as he searched for the lost city of Troy. This biography displays the realities of his life, going beyond his image to tell of a somewhat different personality and kind of hero than many books portray.

John Audubon: Young Naturalist
Miriam E. Mason & Cathy Morrison
Patria Press Inc.
PO Box 752 Carmel. IN 46082
1882859529 $15.95 1-317-577-1321

Written by Miriam E. Mason especially for young readers ages 8-12, and illustrated by Cathy Morrison, John Audubon: Young Naturalist is a biography of the adolescence and young adulthood of famous naturalist John Audubon, whose talent for exquisitely and accurately painting birds and learning about wildlife amassed a great legacy that endures proudly to this day. Chronicling him from his early youth to when he met and grew close to the woman he would later marry, John Audubon: Young Naturalist features an easy, flowing narrative style steeped heavily in painstaking research but also woven together with storytelling flair. Now in a new edition, John Audubon: Young Naturalist is twelfth in the Young Patriots series of biographies and especially recommended for grade school libraries.

What's So Great About...?
Mitchell Lane Publishers
1104 Kelly Drive, Newark, DE 19711 1-866-834-4164

A new "Robbie Reader" series from Mitchell Lane Publishers, 'What's So Great About...?" is comprised of ten 32-page biographies especially designed, written and illustrated for young readers in grades one through four. Enhanced for school and community libraries collections with full-color laminated covers, reinforced library bindings, color photography, a chronology, a bibliography for further reading, thematically appropriate web addresses, a glossary, and an index, the individual titles showcase the lives of Annie Oakley (1584154772), Daniel Boone (1584154756), Davy Crockett (1584154764), Ferdinand Magellan (1584154802), Francis Scott Key (1584154748), Henry Hudson (1584154799), Jacques Cartier (1584154810), Johnny Appleseed (1584154837), Robert Fulton (1584154780), and Sam Houston (1584154829). Although the superbly crafted introductory biographies highlight the life and accomplishment of outstanding figures in history are available individually for $16.95 each, school and community libraries would be very well advised to acquire the complete ten volume set (1584152974, $169.50) for their young students and patrons.

Refugee Child
Bobbie Kalman
Crabtree Publishing
350 5th Ave. #3308, New York NY 10118
0778727602 $24.95

Kids ages 10 and older will find the pairing of black and white and color photos with Bobbie Kalman's own story to be engrossing in REFUGEE CHILD: MY MEMORIES OF THE 1956 HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION. It blends the elements of autobiography with history in recounting the Hungarian Revolution experience through a child's eyes, filling in the social and political context tat so many kids will find new information. The inclusion of color illustration throughout assures kids will find this memoir anything but dry.

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

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