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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 10 October 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Halloween Shelf Science Shelf
Board Book Shelf Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Fiction Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Islamic Shelf Buddhist Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Environmental Shelf Railroading Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Metaphysical Shelf Theatre/Cinema Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Poetry Shelf Reference Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Activity Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

Erin Frankel, author
Paula Heaphy, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575426600, $15.99,

"Weird!" is the first book in the Weird! three book series on bullying behavior for elementary school age girls. Based on actual events, the "Weird!" series presents three girls who act as the target, the passive bystander, and the bully in three separate titles. "Weird!" (Book 1) presents Luisa, who is ridiculed for being herself, for speaking Spanish, for having unusual taste (wearing polka dot boots), for laughing, for volunteering in math class, etc. The effect of this ridicule and verbal abuse on Luisa at first is to shut down her personality, as she seeks to maintain a lower profile to escape her bully. However, Luisa makes an astounding discovery: "The more I act like I don't care what she says, the more I really don't care. And the more she thinks I don't care, the more she leaves me alone!" This realization impels Luisa to take back her life and her vibrant personality, as she decides "I guess I'll just be me from now on!" "Weird!" is attractively illustrated and colorfully presented, with helpful notes at the end for each of the three main characters to remember in their struggles. There are also Confidence Club ideas and activities that will help children turn problems into opportunities for growth. An additional note to teachers, parents, and caring adults stresses important reflections and suggestions for ways to support children dealing with bullying. One note about cyber bullying especially warns adults of this added real though often hidden threatening behavior. "Weird!" (Book 1) is an excellent tool for teaching school age children good mental health techniques to survive and grow beyond bullying. Other title in this highly recommended series by the same creative team includes "Dare!" (9781575423999, $15.99) and "Tough!" (9781575424002, $15.99).

Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon
Eileen Wacker, author
Alan M. Low, illustrator
Once Kids, LLC
119 Maono Place, Honolulu, Hawaii 96821
9781467517416, $10.99,

"Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon" is the fifth book in the Fujimini Adventure series for elementary age children. Illustrated with colorful cartoons of a complete cast of animal characters including Pink Bunny, Blue Bunny, Green Hamster, and of course, Black Tortoise, "Black Tortoise and the Dynasty Dragon" presents an unusually imaginative combination of Asian cultural associations (witness the Glossary of "Chic" Asian Associations at the end), an island mystery adventure, and fun ways to learn about cooperative team interactions in exotic or fantastic settings. Children age 7 and up will devour this popular adventure series, and all their cultural learning will be both enriched and painless.

The Secret of the Village Fool
Rebecca Upjohn, author
Renne Benoit, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781926920757 $18.95

The Secret of the Village Fool is a children's picturebook that retells a true story from the Holocaust, about a Polish man honored both by his own government and by the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, which named him one of the Righteous Among the Nations for his bravery. Anton was poor man in a Polish village, so kind and gentle that he refused to eat meat. A Jewish family shows kindness to the "village fool", often sending their sons with soup and clothing to help him. Then the Nazis come, and they start rounding up and taking away Jewish people. Anton worries about the family that befriended him, and hatches a plan to hide the two boys, their parents, and two other Jewish girls within his root cellar. For months on end, the Jews huddle in the fear for their lives. Anton's life is also at risk, as greedy neighbors eager to claim Nazi reward money threaten to find the Jews and turn Anton over to be killed. A true story of great courage from the humblest of people, The Secret of the Village Fool also features a postscript of what happened to the Anton and the survivors he hid after the war. The realistic style of the color illustrations complement this uplifting picturebook set in the darkest of times. Highly recommended.

The Halloween Shelf

Horace Helfin's Horrifying Halloween
John Philip McCarthy, author
Paulette Bensignor, illustrator
Boathouse Entertainment
1930 Village Center Cir. #3, Box #212
Las Vegas, NV 89134
9780961482916, $13.99,

Halloween is time for harmless fun, for Horace Helfin, it's another battle. "Horace Helfin's Horrifying Halloween" is a young adult novel following the magical elf as he has to fight against the Goblin King for Somertown. With a plot to turn the people of Somertown into zombies, Horace finds his own allies to fight back and free Somertown from his wrath for good. "Horace Helfin's Horrifying Halloween" is supported by illustrations from Paulette Bensignor to enhance the story, a grade A choice.

Whatcha Wanna Be?
Amy Rogell
Palm Publishing
50 Washington St, 12 Floor
Norwalk, CT 06854
9781607277262, $7.95,

The Halloween holiday lets children strike out and be whatever they want to be in their lives. "Whatcha Wanna Be?" is a children's picture boardbook that can be sung along to, exploring the many possibilities that can come with the day of frights and everything else. A board book for extra durability, "Whatcha Wanna Be?" is a fine pick for youth readers, recommended.

The Science Shelf

What's So Mysterious About Meteorites?
O. Richard Norton and Dorothy Sigler Norton
Mountain Press Publishing Company
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425914, $17.00,

What's So Mysterious About Meteorites explains where meteorites come from and what happens when asteroids strike Earth, exploring how fireballs are related to impact craters and providing keys to meteorite hunting. It's written for a wide range of readers from Grades 5 and up and provides the third book in the 'What's So Cool About Geology' series that consider meteorites and how they explain facts and mysteries about the solar system. With its color photos and illustrations and blend of geology and general science, this is a winning pick for elementary, middle school and many a general adult lending library.

Simon and the Solar System
Derek the Ghost
Scary School
c/o Amazon Digital Services
9781453898925, $0.99,

Simon and the Solar System is illustrated by Mary Gutfleisch and provides a whimsical and fun survey of basic solar system science following the exploits of Simon, whose problem lies in understanding science: "The stars were his passion, but names weren't enough. The science behind them - now that part was tough." In much the manner of The Magic School Bus, Simon finds himself transported from sleep by a beam from a starlight and a spaceship piloted by alien Neil Newton, whose Zooter ship promises to take Simon on the journey of his life. Kids with good reading skills and an interest in picturebook stories will find this a fun and enlightening blend of science fiction and science fact.

The Great Grand Canyon Time Train
Susan Lowell, author
John W. Shorades, illustrator
Rio Chico
PO Box 5250, Tucson, AZ 85703-0250
9781933855639, $15.95,

Trains are fun, and going through time on one can prove a very educational experience. "The Great Grand Canyon Time Train" is a children's picturebook adventure through time as Sam and Rosie go back in time billions of years to see a very different world than the one they're used to. With excellent full color artwork from John W. Shroades, "The Great Grand Canyon Time Train" is an excellent pick for young readers intrigued with the history of the planet and for read-alongs as well, enthusiastically recommended.

The Board Book Shelf

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin
Tad Hills, author/illustrator
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780307981554, $10.99,

"Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin" is a delightful pasteboard pre-schoolers' story book about the search of Duck and Goose for a pumpkin. The two young web-footed friends are pictured seeking under a log, up a tree, under a leaf pile, and in a pond for the elusive pumpkin. A friend suggests they look in the pumpkin patch, and success is theirs! Beautiful, softly colored fall backgrounds add to the comical characters of Duck and Goose, and the sturdy pasteboard pages will be durable for young hands to read over and over. This is a lovely fall reading book for youngsters age 2 and up.

The Easy Reader Shelf

I Want a Pet!
Cathy Morrison
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70
Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251137 $12.95

I Want a Pet! is an easy reader picturebook for young children, following a little boy who goes to the zoo in search of the perfect pet. But after he sees a tall giraffe, a scary crocodile, a hairy gorilla, and much more, he discovers that his faithful brown-and-white dog is the best pet after all! The simple, exuberant color illustrations add their own charm to this delightful read-aloud story. Also highly recommended is Tiger Tales' picturebooks for toddlers with baby siblings, "I Have a Brother" (9781589251243, $9.95) and "I Have a Sister" (9781589251250, $9.95), both by Smiljana Coh. Both picturebooks feature iconic artwork and simple narration about the joys of bonding with one's infant brother or sister.

Who Took the Cookbook?
Paul Orshoski, author
Kelly Light, illustrator
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601153470, $9.95,

"Who Took the Cookbook?" is a level 7 reading book that teaches reading through simple phonics games, and complements the school reading program. Designed for readers in grade levels 1-2, "Who Took the Cookbook?" uses amusing phonics games, funny rhymes and easy engaging story lines to bring out the fun in learning to read. The school cook is generally the best at food prep, but her cuisine quality dips when her cookbook turns up missing after a messy, sticky, taffy-making session. Fortunately the students are good at solving such mysteries and everyone is relieved when the missing cookbook is found in a very funny place! "Who Took the Cookbook?" is part of a series which includes "I Want to Be a Cowboy (9781601153517)" and "A Day at the Zoo (978160115349)," both also highly recommended for continued phonics competence and practice.

Dear Dragon's Fun with Shapes: A Beginning-to-Read Book
Margaret Hillert, author
David Schimmell, illustrator
Norwood House Press
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
97881599535449, $15.95,

"Dear Dragon's Fun With Shapes" is a Beginning-to-Read series book for readers level K-1 (interest level K-2). Using repeated vocabulary words with colorful illustrations of a simple narrative, this series aims to increase fluency and reading, comprehension and language skills at a pre-reading and early reading level. A boy and his dragon have fun discovering many common underlying shapes in their every day environment. A vocabulary list of 76 words is given at the end of the book, for further games or study or use of vocabulary cards. Also recommended from this series are the following titles, by the same author and illustrator, for the same price: "Where is Dear Dragon (9781599535463)," and "Up, Up, Up, Dear Dragon (9781599535456)."

The Picturebook Shelf

Nora the Mind Reader
Orit Gidali, author
Aya Gordon-Noy, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
20 Jay Street, Studio M-18
Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592701209 $15.95

Nora the Mind Reader is a captivating children's book about a young girl in a pink dress, who learns that people are more complicated than they may appear at first glance. When a boy calls Nora "flamingo legs", she feels deeply hurt; then, her mother gives her a magic wand that allows her to see what other people are thinking. Nora is surprised to learn that what people think isn't necessarily what they say! The boy who insulted her says, "Hi there, flamingo legs," and thinks, (When you're around, everything looks pink. I know what a flamingo is! I'm so smart.) A nearby girl tells her friend "I'm telling everyone not to play with you," and thinks (I get blue when it's not just us two.) A nearby boy tells his friend "I don't feel like playing," and thinks (I don't feel like losing.) Invigorated by her new wisdom, Nora befriends the boy who called her "flamingo legs" - after making him promise never to call her names again! As insightful as it is enjoyable, Nora the Mind Reader is an excellent picturebook to help teach young people about the nuances of human social interactions, and highly recommended.

The Sandal Artist
Kathleen T. Pelley, author
Lois Rosio Sprague, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street
Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589809109 $16.99

The Sandal Artist is a striking children's picturebook about learning to recognize the timeless beauty in people from all walks of life. A budding artist yearns to create masterpieces, but turns down offers to paint children playing in the street, a man on a donkey cart, and an old beggar woman. But when his sandals break, the cobbler loans him a mysterious new pair of sandals, with the caveat that wearing them might lead him to see the world through the eyes of another man. As he wanders, the artist beholds all the people he declined to paint before in an astonishing new light; he can clearly perceive the grace within them, and yearns to commit their highest qualities to canvas. "In the morning, Roberto hurried into the city and burst into the cobbler's shop. 'Tell me, I beg you, whose shoes were these? What manner of man ever walked the earth and loved like this?' The cobbler shook his head. 'No one knows for certain, my boy. Long ago, a hermit gave these sandals to my grandfather. He found them in a cave, where they'd been swept up by the sea. Some say that they were the shoes of a fisherman. Others say that he was a carpenter. And still others say that he was a storyteller.'" The bold, sweeping, stylized artwork distinguishes this dramatic story of learning to see everyday people in a new way. Highly recommended.

Good People Everywhere
Lynea Gillen, author
Kristina Swarner, illustrator
Three Pebble Press LLC
10040 SW 25th Ave.
Portland, OR 97219-6325
9780979928987 $15.95

Good People Everywhere is a positive-minded picturebook emphasizing how many different caring, creative, and hard working people there are in the world. "Teachers are teaching math, spelling and reading skills, musicians are opening their hearts and playing beautiful music, and dancers are leaping across dance floors, practicing performances that will bring joy to their friends, their families and communities." A strong message of optimism permeates the tangible joy of the narrative and the calming color illustrations, in this gentle storybook that works well for storytime, bedtime, or simple inspiration.

Return of the Library Dragon
Carmen Agra Deedy, author
Michael P. White, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561456215 $16.95

Illustrated in an exuberant, exaggerated, wildly colorful style, Return of the Library Dragon is a children's picturebook about an elementary school librarian who is incensed when the Central Office tries to move all children's books into storage, in favor of a digital-only "cybrary"! Smoking mad, she transforms into a dragon out of outrage! Is a compromise between the high-tech books of tomorrow and the print books of today even possible, and can anyone calm down a dragon librarian on the rampage? Return of the Library is a most enjoyable story, with an underlying message about the positive value of both ebooks and print books! Also highly recommended is the previous picturebook in this fantastic series, "The Library Dragon" (9781561456390, $19.95).

Two True Blue Dragons
David Boyce, author
Janice Phelps Williams, illustrator
Tru-Blu Productions
9780983311508 $16.95

Two True Blue Dragons is a delightful children's picturebook about a peaceful village surprised by the sudden appearance of eggs. Two beautiful and intelligent dragons hatch from the eggs; as they grow up, they befriend the local children. When Warlords from Juno come to menace King's Point, will the dragons be able to protect their home and their friends? A simple, playful fantasy brought to life with lighthearted artwork, Two True Blue Dragons is an excellent choice for parents to read aloud to their children, especially young dragon fans.

Alberto Herrera
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781432788070 $25.95

Musika: A Delightfully Harmonic Tale of the Origin of Music is a children's picturebook presenting an original fable about the invention of a worldwide beloved art form. A young man named Matisse loves birds, and goes out of his way to provide them with fresh water - only to make a magical and incredible discovery! The stylized, vibrant color illustrations pulse with life and joy in this exuberant, read-aloud storybook.

Fly Danny, Fly
Chip Gilbertson & Gina Restivo, authors
Michelle Kondrich, illustrator
Pig Up Station, LLC
613 Michigan Ave., Suite 3000
Evanston, IL 60202
9780983368908 $15.99

Fly Danny, Fly is an exuberant, rhyming children's picturebook about a young boy who is friends with a flying, multitalented pig that only he can see... or so he thinks. It turns out that a very few other special people can see his porcine friend as well! An old lady at the bust stop tells him, "'Each of us has special eyes, / Your flying pig is there! // Not everyone will see your pig, / That's perfectly okay. / Some may notice things you don't / Or in a different way." A wonderful story that captures the magic of childhood, Fly Danny, Fly is pure fun to read aloud.

Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas
Richard Garrett Dews, author
Toby Mikle, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781477497906, $12.95,

Moderation and rationing are concepts that are very valuable. "Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas" is a children's picturebook following Mike Monkey as he deals with having only five bananas, and having to wait for the next batch of bananas to ripen for him to take more. Designed as a sing along for parents and their kids, "Mike Monkey Has 5 Bananas" is worth considering for those who want a charming and to the point read with a lesson of patience and moderation.

Charles T. Cup
Dalen Keys
Winepress Publishing Group
1730 Railroad Street
Enumclaw, WA 98022
9781606151747, $16.99,

There is more to life than the most fabulous riches. "Charles T. Cup" is a children's picturebook following the titular tea cup as a chip takes him out of the china set for his wealthy family and lands him in a mission's thrift store. But he finds a new purpose there, one that's very much worthy. "Charles T. Cup" is charmingly illustrated by Ron Wheeler, and has a good positive message that shouldn't be overlooked.

Riggeldly Jiggeldy Joggeldy Jam
Esther Nelson & Davida Hirsch
Granny Press
101 Gedney St., Suite #5D
Nyack, NY 10960-2213
0945110162, $7.95,

Observation teaches us many things in youth. "Riggeldy Jiggeldy Joggeldy Jam: Can You Guess...: What I Am?" is a children's picturebook by Esther Nelson & Davida Hirsch with illustrations from Joyce Behr, as they present a rhyming children's picturebook that challenges young readers to guess the animal in question through a little jingle. Perfect for read along or read alone, "Riggeldy Jiggeldy Joggeldy Jam" is a strong addition to children's picturebook collections.

Song for Papa Crow
Marit Menzin
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
9780764341311, $16.99,

Our songs are to be shared with all, but especially the ones we hold dear. "Song for Papa Crow" is a children's picturebook following Little Crow as he tries to learn more songs to fit in with the other birds, but soon learns that the song most important to him and his father is his own. "Song for Papa Crow" is a story of being yourself, with charming and colorful illustrations throughout, making ti a choice pick for parents to read along books for their children.

Twelve Upon a Time...
Edward Galluzzi
CCB Publishing
9781926585697, $18.95,

Every month brings us a new story for our lives. "Twelve Upon a Time..." is a collection of twelve picturebook stories from Edward Galluzzi as he presents stories illustrated by children all throughout the story. A story for every month, "Twelve Upon a Time" is worth considering for readers who are seeking a storybook to bring them a good variety of tales, recommended.

Otter Lee Brave
Rena Cherry Brown, author
Mikaila Maidment, illustrator
Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
9780764341557, $16.99,

Even as we face the tragedy in our lives, we can find our own successes and flourish in our own way. "Otter Lee Brave" is a children's picture book as she tells the story of Lee, an otter who loses his mother and ends up in an aquarium. As other otters bully him, he has to learn to trust again and make decisions that will change the very course of his life. "Otter Lee Brave" is a colorful read with illustrations from Mikaila Maidment in a painted style, enthusiastically recommended for young readers.

The Labyrinth
Thomas Weck & Peter Weck, authors
Len DiSalvo, illustrator
Lima Bear Press, LLC
2305 MacDonough Rd, Suite 201
Wilmington, DE 19805-2620
9781933872049, $15.95,

To be in charge, some people will go to any means. "The Labyrinth" is an entry into the Lima Bear stories telling of the ascension of Queen Belina Bean and Mean Ol' Bean's plot to take control of the scheme himself. L. Joe Bean uncovers the plot and must rush to rescue his queen. With cute and charming illustrations from Len DiSalvo, "The Labyrinth" is a strong pick for younger readers and their parents seeking a fine children's picturebook.

A Walk in Pirate's Cove
Marisa Hockman, author
Bette Woodland, illustrator
36 Peonies
PO Box 36, RPO Tuxedo Park
Winnipeg, MB, R3P 1G9, Canada
9780986567902, $18.99,

When the world is completely new to us, everything is an adventure. "A Walk in Pirate's Cove" is a children's picturebook from Marisha Hockman and illustrator Bette Woodland as two boys and their sister enjoy a summer exploration of the beach and seeing everything the beach has to offer. With a lyrical nature and beautiful illustration, the pair capture the youthful sense of adventure. "A Walk in Pirate's Cove" is a strong pick for young readers and read-a-long parents.

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

Bethanie Deeney Murguia's ZOE GETS READY (9780545342155, $16.99) offers a fine survey of Zoe, who sees fun possibilities and adventures in every day, from cartwheels with toes that "tickle the clouds" to a touch-the-sky day. A host of potentials keeps Zoe - and her young readers - engaged in this simple picture book. Steve Metzger's PLUTO VISITS EARTH (9780545249348, $16.99) tells of a disappointed Pluto who faces troubles when astronomers downgrade him from planet to dwarf planet. He embarks on a journey across the solar system to visit Earth and reclaim his status, bumping into moons and others along the way until he encounters a boy who points out just why he's special. Jared Lee provides fun drawings for this zany tale. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's A GOLD STAR FOR ZOG (9780545417242, $16.99) tells of dragons who study at Madam Dragon's school. Zog is the most eager student of them all - but he's also accident-prone, and his dreams of breathing fire and flying at times seem impossible. When a mysterious girl helps out, Zog faces a hard test in this whimsical, fun fantasy filled with unpredictable twists. Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees' THE JUNGLE RUN (9780545392563, $16.99) provides a fun rhyme to accompany a simple story of an animal race and a too-small cub who wants to participate. Cute cubs, different jungle challenges, and an elephant always at the edge of control makes for a whimsical, fun story. Margaret McNamara's APPLES A TO Z (9780439728089, $17.99) creates a fun 'apple alphabet' where Fox, Bear and friends lead young readers through an apple alphabet. Twenty-six apple varieties and subjects are introduced - even ones for the notoriously difficult X, Y and Z - in a fun, whimsical apple abc primer. Patricia Reilly Giff's THE BIG SOMETHING (9780545433693, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Diane Palmisciano as it follows a dog always in trouble. This time Jilli's dog Fiercely has dug a hole into the neighbors' yard and is encountering a scary Big Something. It's up to Jilli and Jim to save the dog in this very easy reader. David Catrow's MONSTER MASH (9780545214797, $16.99) arrives just in time for Halloween and provides a horribly engaging story based on the Monster Mash song. Here experimentation doesn't end with Frankenstein's dance: ghouls emerge to join in the horrible fun and create a musical m‚lange of exotic sounds, even including vocals ("The coffin-bangers were about to arrive with their vocal group, the Crypt-Kicker Five.") All offer twists and are prime picks for picturebook collections.

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

Kate Duke's READY FOR PUMPKINS (9780375870682, $16.99) tells of the class guinea pig Hercules, who watches fist graders grow plants from seeds and wants to grow things also. When he goes to the country during a summer vacation, he enlists the aid of a rabbit then waits for his seeds to bear fruit. A fun and easy reader teaches about gardening and patience all in one. Louise Yates' DOG LOVES DRAWING (9780375870675, $16.99) tells of a dog who loves books, until he gets a blank book in the mail. What to do with it? Dog learns that such books are meant for drawing - and he draws his way into an adventure that includes a fun ending and some surprises. Kids who loved the prior DOG LOVES BOOKS will appreciate this sequel which takes the book loving theme in a whole new direction! Matthea Harvey and Giselle Potter's CECIL THE PET GLACIER (9780375867736, $17.99) tells of one Ruby Small, a normal little girl who has some extraordinary parents, and who is adopted by a tiny glacier. Ruby doesn't want her new ice pet, but it wants her; and he's determined to prove himself to her. A fun story about fitting in requires good reading skills and an appreciation for a unique theme. Mary Ann Hoberman's I LIKE OLD CLOTHES (9780375869518, $16.99) provides fine drawings by Patrice Barton as it offers a rollicking read-along rhyming story line to the theme of appreciating old clothing. All kinds of old clothes are described in a fun tale that celebrates old clothing for many purposes. Susan Gal's DAY BY DAY (9780375869594, $16.99) tells of a family of pigs who work to make a good life, from building a home to making new friends. It's a community where neighbors interact and help one another, making for a fun story with a very simple, easy message: individuals CAN make a change in their lives and in the lives of others. Ariel S. Winter's ONE OF A KIND (9781442420168, $15.99) receives illustrations by David Hitch to accompany a story for ages 4-7 revolving around an only child in a school of twins. He wants to belong and tries to fit in, but nothing works. How can he single-handedly compete in a world of twins? Magic evolves in this fun account, filled with unexpected twists and turns. Tad Hills' ROCKET WRITES A STORY (9780375870866, $17.99) provides a fine sequel to the popular best-seller HOW ROCKET LEARNED TO READ, and returns the dog Rocket and his teacher yellow bird back to new adventures. Rocket now wants to write a story: young readers follow him as he collects new words for his word tree, searches for inspiration, and writes and rewrites. Good reading skills will lend appreciation to this gentle story. All are strong picks for any picturebook collection!

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

Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm's OCEAN SUNLIGHT; HOW TINY PLANTS FEED THE SEAS (9780545273220, $18.99) offers a very basic guide to ocean life and plants and is a recommendation for elementary-grade readers in grades 3-5. Molly Bang provides lovely color drawings to accompany a very basic exploration of ocean food chains, ocean plants, and how ocean life evolves, making this a specific and colorful pick for any library strong in ocean biology. Clive Gifford's DISCOVER MORE: TECHNOLOGY (9780545383738, $15.99) will appeal to grades 5-7 with its colorful focus on how modern technology works. Photos, cross sections and more offer keys to understanding daily technologies and special technology alike, from the mechanics of theme park rides to using a digital camera, understanding engines, motors and cars, and even understanding how robots work. Giles Sparrow writes DISCOVER MORE: NIGHT SKY (9780545383745, $15.99), which offers a colorful survey for the same age group. From special star charts and the latest space images to graphics designed to make science simple and exciting, this is packed with lovely illustrations perfect for any elementary reader.

The Fiction Shelf

About Average
Andrew Clements
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416997245, $16.99,

ABOUT AVERAGE tells of Jordan Johnston, who is very average. She's ordinary in every physical and mental way - but everyone else in her class is remarkable: talented, beautiful. Jordan feels she has no talents - and makes it her purpose to discover her great talent in life by year's end. A lovely story of a girl's social and personal evolution makes for a fine account suitable for readers in grades 3-5.

Stella Batts: Pardon Me, Book 3
Courtney Sheinmel, author
Jennifer A. Bell, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585361946, $5.99,

"Stella Batts: Pardon Me" is book 3 of a fantastically popular series for new chapter book readers in elementary grades. Filled with spunky, cheerful, wacky black and white illustrations of Stella and crew, "Stella Batts: Pardon Me" deals with the familiar issue of finding a new best friend when your bff moves away, along with other related subjects including communication, making and keeping new friends, adjusting to change, family responsibility and much more. The casual, bantering tone of dialogue and narrative style is very warm and kid-friendly, encouraging identification with the trials and tribulations of Stella. "Pardon Me" is a perfect reading experience to encourage gradual maturation in all relationships for children, and it is also perfectly fun and entertaining to read.

Rhoda Belleza, editor
Running Press
2300 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-4371
9780762444281, $9.95,

No one likes being belittled and made to feel inferior. "Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance" is a collection of short stories of people facing the pressures of bullies and tormentors. Fourteen young adult writers come together and recount their own experiences, and draw on how to answer our own fears and answer our exterior pressures. "Cornered" is an excellent collection for younger readers who may be facing down bullies themselves.

Keep Jumping/No Hating
Stephanie Perry Moore & Derrick Moore
Saddleback Publishing Inc.
3120 Pullman Street
Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
9781616518851, $14.95,

There is more than one side to every story. "Keep Jumping/No Hating" is a dual perspective take on the same series of events, as Stephanie Perr Moore presents another drama surrounding the Lockwood High students, as cheerleaders and the players they cheer for face the problems that come with love and growing up. "Keep Jumping/No Hating" may be a fine choice for youth readers seeking something that talks to their problems.

Believing In Horses
Valerie Ormond
J.B. Max Publishing
2598 Hoskins Road
North Vancouver, BC Canada
9780973633023, $11.95,

The chance for something better out of our lives presents itself in may strange ways. "Believing in Horses" is a novel following preteen Sadie as she deals with her family's troubles and the recent move to Maryland. A horse in her life helps her keep her head straight, but her newest thing may bring her grief in those driven by greed. "Believing in Horses" is a strong addition to young adult fiction collections, not to be missed.

Kendall's Storm
Janet Muirhead Hill
Raven's Publishing
PO Box 2866, Norris, MT 59745
9780982089309, $12.00,

It's hard to make any sort of life when you have to start anew every few months. "Kendall's Storm" is a young adult novel from Janet Muirhead Hill as she tells of Kendall, a ten year old boy whose life gets uprooted every few months. Lonely, an encounter with a lost puppy may change Kendall's life forever. "Kendall's Storm" is a fine pick for young adult fiction collections, recommended. Also recommended is "Kendall and Kyleah" (9781937849054, $14.00), continuing Kendall's journeys and meeting with Kyleah.

The Yawning Rabbit River Chronicle
J. L. Kimmel & David Ceccarelli
Spring Tree Press
PO Box 461, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
9780978500719, $17.99,

Heroism isn't unique to mankind alone. "The Yawning Rabbit River Chronicle" tells of the heroes of the forest, both human and animal, who seek to defend their home there against the encroaching paranormal threat that looms over the forest. An overlying story is pieced together over the course of the book, making for an enrapturing and recommended read, not to be missed. "The Yawning Rabbit River Chronicle" is aimed at young adults, but will prove enjoyable to readers of all ages.

Crissa-Jean Chappell
2143 Woodale Drive
Woodbury, MN 55125-2989
9780738732473, $9.95,

For family, we take on burdens we often shouldn't. "Narc" follows Aaron Foster, a high school student who takes a metaphorical bullet for a family member's drug rap, and goes undercover for the police in his high school. But being the Narc isn't easy, as he builds lies on top of lies when he's not sure on how far he should go on the matter. "Narc" is an enticing read for youths, touching on a very important message about the pressure lies and the liberation of honesty.

Eliza's Journal
Caelyn AB Williams, author
Kati Green, illustrator
Craigmore Creations
2900 SE Stark St., Suite 1A
Portland, OR 97214
9780984442256, $14.99,

When we can embrace a talent and earn a living in the process, it's a good way to have peace of mind, although some seek more. "Eliza's Journal" follows young Eliza Wolcott, as she seeks to further her talent as an artist, gaining a job as a natural history illustrator for one Orville Tanner. But she grows suspicious and begins to become curious about her employer, and the facts she learns will change much. "Eliza's Journal" is a fine pick for young adult readers, very much recommended reading.

How to Tend a Grave
Jocelyn Shipley
Great Plains Teen Fiction
345-955 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3G 0P9
9781926531199, $14.95,

A sudden change of scenery can make the adjustments to adulthood all the more difficult. "How to Tend a Grave" is a coming of age novel from Jocelyn Shipley, as she tells of Liam, forced to live with an unknown grandparent after her mother is killed in a hit and run. Tempted by the local gangs, he finds a kindred spirit in Harmony, a girl with her own unique pile of problems. The two fifteen year olds form a friendship and learn much about life and grief. "How to Tend a Grave" is an enticing and recommended pick for young adult fiction collections.

Night of the Purple Moon
Scott Cramer
Train Renoir Publishing
9780615637082, $9.95,

A plague may wipe out life as we know it. "Night of the Purple Moon" is a novel following Abby Leigh as the moon turns purple and wipes out anyone who has hit puberty. As youths struggle to get by and find out the cause from the disaster, Abby finds that keeping her family going may be just enough on her plate. "Night of the Purple Moon" is a fine read for youths, highly recommended.

Julie Rayzor
Richard Howes
LRCK Publishing
9780984996902, $9.99,

When times are tough, everyone must fight in their own way. "Julie Rayzor: Romance, Adventure, Zombies" is a thriller of a dangerous future world where Julie Rayzor, a seventeen year old trying to survive in this conflict, and embarks on a rescue mission that falls part and leaves her in more danger than ever. A riveting tale of adventure with plenty of coming of age elements, "Julie Rayzor" is a fine pick for teenaged readers and above, recommended.

Cloud People
Victoria Varley
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781468177923, $21.00,

Everyone remembers looking into the skies and seeing things and stories in their mind. "Cloud People And Other Scary Stories for Children" is a unique collection of stories from Victoria Varley as she crafts stories of the clouds, drawing from images of clouds in the sky and creating stories that will intrigue and possibly frighten children of any age, eight to eighty. "Cloud People" is a truly original spin on fiction, much recommended reading.

Pipper's Secret Ingredient
Jane Murphy & Allison Fingerhuth
Mutt Media
225 East 74th Street, Suite #3H
New York, NY 10021
9780615388083, $16.95,

Culinary perfection is well worth the journey in life. "Pipper's Secret Ingredient" is a Snoutz adventure from Jane Murphy & Allison Fingerhuth, as Pipper embarks on a worldwide adventure to find that missing spice of his world to perfect the perfect dog treat. But his journey won't come easily, as Bull Bogus is out to take the ingredient from him at any cost. "Pipper's Secret Ingredient" is a riveting adventure for intermediate readers, with colorful illustrations from Neal Sharp spread throughout, highly recommended.

Rosie and Scamper
Vicki Watson
Christian Cowgirl
c/o Morris Publishing
3212 East Highway 30, Kearney, NE 68847
9780984724208, $7.95,

Friendship is always a gift worth giving. "Rosie and Scamper" is a young adult novel from Vicki Watson who tells the story of Rosie and what she learns at the Sonrise Stable. Learning to bond with a new pony, she tries to realize to another girl in friendship and starts something special. With a powerful Christian message throughout, "Rosie and Scamper" is a must for youth Christian fiction collections, highly recommended.

Camp Wacko
Faith Wilkins
Arundel Publishing
36 Crystal Farm Rd., Warwick, NY 10990
9781933608839, $10.95,

One doctor's cruel practices could spell trouble for the world. "Camp Wacko: The Drones of Summer" is an engaging work of young adult fiction. Young Lily Mason is recruited to infiltrate Camp Wackerson and bring down the mad scientist who is out to control the minds of the teenagers at his summer camp. Running against time and unsure of who to trust, Lily finds potential pitfalls everywhere she turns. "Camp Wacko" is fun for teen and preteen readers, highly recommended.

The Loser List: Revenge of the Loser
H.N. Kowitt
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545399265, $9.99,

The Loser List: Revenge of the Loser tells of Danny Shine, who is officially OFF the Loser List in the girls' backroom - and facing a new problem in the form of Ty Randall, who is ruining Danny's school reputation as the best artist. A notebook-and-cartoon-drawing journal format captures some zany ideas and encounters in a story that keeps readers guess to the end. Kids in grades 3-6 will find this a winning, fun presentation.

Random House
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019

Patricia Reilly Giff's SUPER SURPRISE (9780385738903, $12.99) is Book 6 in the 'Zigzag Kids' series and receives black and white drawings by Alasdair Bright as it explores the world of Destiny Washington, who is helpful at school and who evolves a plan when she learns that her favorite teacher, Ms. Katz, might have to lave the school. She hatches a plan with her friend Yolanda and creates an adventure that might resolve more than one issue in this fun read. Jennifer L. Holm's EIGHTH GRADE IS MAKING ME SICK (9780375868511, $15.99) tells of Ginny Davis, who has big plans for eighth grade. She's going to try out for cheerleading and maybe fall in love; but her plans go awry when she discovers her family is moving, there's a new baby on the way, and her stable home world seems shaken. This story is part scrapbook, part graphic novel, and filled with journal entries and notes - all in vivid full color, making it a special recommendation for Grades 4-6 who are in the 'almost beyond picturebook reading' class. Barbara Park's JUNIE B., FIRST GRADER: TURKEYS WE HAVE LOVED AND EATEN (AND OTHER THANKFUL STUFF) (9780375870637, $11.99) provides the first original book in the June B. series in more than five years, and combines the talents of Barbara Park and illustrator Denise Brunkus who celebrate Thanksgiving in a feast of fun. School and home Thanksgiving plans are recounted in a zany, fun read offering appeal to Junie B. prior fans and newcomers alike. Rose Cooper's SECRETS FROM THE SLEEPING BAG (9780385742467, $12.99) takes the form of a blog/notebook complete with lined paper pages and printing that reflects the experiences of one Sofia, who is spending the summer at Camp Krakatow. Crafts, campfires and fun are recorded in a 'blog novel' perfect for grades 3-5. Mary Pope Osborne's latest addition to her 'Magic Tree House' series, A PERFECT TIME FOR PANDAS (9780375868269, $12.99) presents the time-traveling duo of Jack and Annie, sibling who have to find a certain kind of food to save Merlin's penguin Penny. The magic tree house brings them to a village in China close to a panda reserve so theoretically their journey should be easy - but they've arrived on the day of a historic earthquake, and they quickly find their plans are shaken and their quest turns to a struggle to survive. Black and white drawings throughout lend to this addition to the Magic Tree House series, suitable for newcomers and old fans alike.

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

Natalie Standiford's THE SECRET TREE (9780545334792, $16.99) provides a fine story of summertime friends and centers around a neighborhood full of spooky mysteries. From Man-Bat, half man, half bat who is rumored to fly through the woods, to the Mean Boys who torment Minty for no reason, this offers a fine blend of humor and spooky fun along with the mystery surrounding a Secret Tree, with a hollow trunk that holds the secrets of everyone in the neighborhood. A fine mix of genres and themes lends to an exciting plot! Sarah Mlynowski's WHATEVER AFTER: FAIREST OF ALL (9780545403306, $14.99) tells of a basement mirror which moves two siblings into the world of Snow White's fairy tale. They immediately assume hero status when they stop her from eating the poisoned apple: but if she doesn't die, she'll never meet her price and live happily ever after! Their efforts to change a good deed to achieve the classic outcome makes for a fine spin on the fable. Jenny Nimmo's CHRONICLES OF THE RED KING; THE STONES OF RAVENGLASS (9780439846745, $16.99) provides the second book in a new adventure fantasy and tells of Timoken, a lost king from a secret kingdom who has found a new home in a British castle. But he becomes imprisoned in the castle and it takes a talking camel, a wizard, a friendly dragon and much magic to help him escape and lead him on a journey. Kathryn Lasky's WOLVES OF THE BEYOND: SPIRIT WOLF (9780545279611, $16.99) returns to the world of the popular GUARDIANS OF GA'HOOLE fantasy to tell of a world facing apocalypse from an earthquake. Most of the wolf clans have been lost in the tremor, and the survivors need a leader to show them to a better place. It's up to young Faolan to step up - but there's something about him that just isn't right... fast action and a strong fantasy story line keep this a riveting pick for middle grades on up. Ross MacKenzie's ZAC AND THE DREAMSTEALERS (9780545401067, $16.99) tells of Zac, who can't sleep - along with others. Bad dreams keep robbing the wide-awake world of rest until one night Zac is torn from his restless dreams to find himself in another realm: the land of Nocturne. Can he find out who is ruining the world of sleep? Suzanne Weyn's INVISIBLE WORLD (9780545334860, $17.99) provides a moving novel of the Salem witch trials and tells of Elisabeth James, who has powers she doesn't really understand. She can read minds and has supernatural gifts - not evil ones. But when Elisabeth sails with her family to America, she doesn't foresee their ship will be wrecked in a storm - and finds herself alone on a South Carolina plantation where she falls in love, learns more about her powers, and is sent as a servant to Salem, Massachusetts, where she accidentally allows an evil spirit to enter the village. A riveting novel packed with twists and turns throughout, and very highly recommended! Chris D'Lacey's THE FIRE ASCENDING (9780545402163, $18.99) provides the final adventure in the story of David Rain and the Pennykettle dragons, and tells of a mysterious force which is rewriting timelines, turning legend into reality. The evil Ix have taken over and infected all life-forms with their dark army, and a dangerous quest evolves in a fantasy recommended for grades 6-8. Wendy Mass' TWICE UPON A TIME: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (9780545310185, $16.99) provides a fine novel based on the experiences of Beauty, who has none of the beauty and courage expected with such a name, a perfect older sister who fits the name perfectly, and Prince Riley, who is neither tall nor brave. Beauty and price Riley receive separate challenges that require them to face their greatest fears and challenges in this fine story.

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

Jeannie Mobley's KATERINA'S WISH (9781442433434, $15.99) tells of a girl who has a dream: her family has come to America to buy a farm, but her father's still working in a dangerous coal mine, Mama and the girls do laundry for extra money, and each day the farm seems nothing but a dream. Then Katerina sees an opportunity for making a wish - and anything seems possible until tragedy strikes. KATERINA'S WISH is a fine story of immigrant experience and fortitude against all odds. Melissa Wiley's THE PRAIRIE THIEF (9781442440562, $15.99) tells of a girl whose life has been turned upside down: her father is locked away in jail, she's living with the awful neighbors who helped put him in prison, and she discovers a magic secret that could help save her father. Al this is set on the prairie and will involve ages 8-12 in a moving story packed with unexpected twists and turns.

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

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's EMILY AND JACKSON - HIDING OUT (9780385740975, $14.99) provides a fine companion to EMILY'S FORTUNE and tells of one Emily Wiggins, who along with her orphan friends have escaped the cruel Catchum Child-Catching Services as well as her mean uncle. It seems she and Jackson will be happy living with her loving Aunt - but somebody is snooping around looking for an orphan child on the run and is looking for a reward for snatching Jackson and returning him to labor at the mill. A fine story evolves for any fan of EMILY'S FORTUNE. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's POISON TREE (9780385737548, $15.99) tells of newly-renamed Sarik, who has become a mediator giving aid to those caught between worlds. Her life seems fairly defined until a stranger joins her group - and involves Alysia in a desperate struggle to keep her past from her new life. A human among vampires, witches and more, Alysia has always dreamed of proving herself something more than mortal: can she reach her dreams? A fine, complex supernatural fantasy will reach grades 6-8. Roxanne St. Claire's DON'T YOU WISH (9780385741569, $17.99) tells of plain, unpopular Annie who is zapped by one of her father's inventions and sent to a parallel universe where her life becomes perfect. Now she's daughter of a different father, the rich and lovely girl in high school, and lives in glitzy Miami instead of Pittsburgh. The only trouble is - Ayla is still Annie - and is offered a chance to return to her original world. Will she take it? A fine survey for grades 6-8 about dreams and reality. Lesley M.N. Blume's THE WONDROUS JOURNALS OF DR. WENDELL WELLINGTON WIGGINS (9780375866504, $16.99) provides a set of 'lost diaries' from the greatest paleozoologist of all time revealing strange secrets that have existed beyond imagination. From the deadly Amazonian Whispering Vine to a strange gaseous northern-lights creature, his journals and sketches recount many strange encounters in a hilarious spoof on scientific travels and discoveries illustrated in black and white by David Foote and satisfyingly zany! Shelley Pearsall's JUMP INTO THE SKY (9780375836992, $16.99) is set in 1945 and tells of teen Levi who heads to a U.S. Army post in search of his father. The war may be ending but Levi discovers his father's secret mission is just beginning - and he has the choice of joining him. A powerful saga of military action, courage and love will draw readers from grades 6-8.

The Christian Shelf

Live to Give
Austin Gutwein
Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000
Nashville, TN 37214
9781400319930, $14.99,

It is better to give than it is to receive. "Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles" is a guide for younger Christians on how to apply our varied talents in life to further his cause and glory. With plenty to ponder and inspiration to the next level, taking author Austin Gutwein's own success as a memoir to follow. "Live to Give" is something to consider for Christian youths who want to make a difference in the world but aren't sure how to.

Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book
The Beginners Bible
c/o Zondervan Publishing House
5300 Patterson Avenue, S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310724988, $5.99,

Coloring is a fun activity for young folks, and they can learn a good deal in the process. "The Beginner's Bible: Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book" is a coloring book filled with many Biblical scenes all throughout, to help children become more clear with the scenes in the Bible. With a charming art style that invites creative coloring and hundreds of pages of scenes, "The Beginner's Bible: Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book" is a choice pick for Christian parents.

The Judaic Shelf

Dollar$ and $ense
Tehilla Deutsch, author
Glenn Zimmer, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628650, $12.95,

"Dollar$ and $ense" is a wise, illustrated Jewish children's story about how to make wise investment choices. Young Eli Katz has earned, $5 from Mrs. Markowitz by feeding her fish and collecting her mail while she was gone. How can he spend his money on something that will last? His first choice is to give some for tzedaka, or religious charity. But things after that are not so easy to decide. A refreshing beverage is quickly consumed, and so are candy and gum, while a toy yo-yo does not fully live up to its promise of endless entertainment. Finally Eli spots a young friend who is sad because he has lost his dollar that he was supposed to spend on groceries. Eli decides the most important thing is to help his friend and make him smile, so he gives him his last dollar to replace the one he lost. The good feelings of seeing the smile on his friend's face is the most precious, lasting reward he has found in exchange for his money, which he decides was very well spent. "Dollar$ and, $ense" is written in jaunty rhyming verse, with cheerful pages of color illustration, and teaching text for special Hebrew words. "Dollar$ and, $ense" is a well packaged bundle of wisdom for young children about the true value of money.

It's A...It's A... It's a Mitzvah
Liz Suneby & Diane Heiman, authors
Laurel Molk, illustrator
Jewish Lights Publishing
PO Box 237
Woodstock, VT 05091
9781580235099, $18.99,

Good deeds make up the soul of the Jewish faith. "It's A...It's A... It's a Mitzvah" is a children's picturebook that shows the ideas of the Mitzvah, the act of doing good deeds, as Liz Suneby and Diane Heiman tells the story of Mitzvah Meerkat goes through the acts of good deeds and celebration through being a good friend, being a good citizen, and saving the earth in his own way. With charming illustrations from Laurel Molk, "It's A...It's A...It's a Mitzvah" is a fine pick for young Jewish children to read along with their parents.

The Islamic Shelf

Growing Up Muslim
Sumbul Ali-Karamali
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, 17th floor
New York, NY 10019
9780385740951, $16.99,

Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and practices of Islam is by an author who found herself answering questions from friends and schoolmates about her life and world as a Muslim. From what Muslims believe to their culture, dress, and more, Growing Up Muslim offers an in-depth survey of the Muslim tradition and discusses Islam, Muhammad and more. It's a pick for grades 4-7 who will find the approach and format perfect for easy understanding of what it means to be Muslim in America.

The Buddhist Shelf

Still There? A Little Zen for Little Ones
Sanjay Nambiar
Umiya Publishing
205 Oceano Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90049
9780983824329 $15.99

Still There? A Little Zen for Little Ones is a children's picturebook grounded in a timeless Zen fable. Two boys are playing, and a girl loses her earring. The girl is very upset, waving her hands and yelling, so one of the boys takes time to look for her earring. But when he finds it, she snatches it away without so much as a 'thank you'! The boy simply shrugs and continues to play. When his friend seems vexed about the girl's ungrateful attitude, he says, "Hey, buddy, are you still thinking about that earring? I gave it to that girl a while ago, and now she's gone. It's a beautiful day. We could be playing and having fun, right here and right now. Why are you 'still there'?" An afterword clarifies the story's positive message about not letting negative events of the past dampen one's happiness and joy in the present moment. Also highly recommended is author Sanjay Nambiar's Mom's Choice Award-winning picturebook "Maybe (A Little Zen for Little Ones)" (9780983824305, $15.99).

The Bilingual Shelf

Healthy Foods from A to Z
Stephanie Maze, executive editor
Renee Comet, photographer
Moonstone Press LLC
4816 Carrington Circle, Sarasota, FL 34243
KSB Promotions
55 Honey Creek, NE, Ada, MI 49301
9780983498315 $15.95

Healthy Foods from A to Z is a bilingual English/Spanish children's picturebook that celebrates nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables, but also grains, dairy, and soy products. Each page features a medley of foods beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet, and a colorful, friendly face-portrait made out of an arrangement of these foods! The last few pages are a "did you know?" section for parents, mentioning which vitamins and minerals the various featured foods are rich in. An excellent way to help introduce young ones to foods that can compose a varied and nutritious diet, Healthy Foods from A to Z is highly recommended.

My First Book of Korean Words
Henry J. Amen IV and Kyubyong Park
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804842730, $12.95,

My First Book of Korean Words provides a fine abc rhyming book introducing Korean language and culture to preschoolers, and is a pick for any who would introduce Korean to an early age group. It mixes everyday words, sound words, and words specific to Korean culture, explaining the alphabet, pronunciation unique to Korean, and providing a fine survey of Korean basics. Perfect for any multicultural collection!

Sofia and the Purple Dress
Diane Gonzles Bertrand, author
Lisa Fields, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
University of Houston
4902 Gulf Fwy, Bldg 19, Rm 100
Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558857018, $17.95,

Good health is a reward all its own, but for Sofia, it was second place to the purple dress. "Sofia and the Purple Dress" is a bilingual picturebook in both English and Spanish, following Sofia and her rapidly approaching quinceanera, and a purple dress gifted to her won't fit. She sets out to lose weight to fit into her dress, eating healthier and exercising to do so. With a message of good health and eating, "Sofia and the Purple Dress" comes with charming illustrations from Lisa Fields, and makes for an ideal picturebook for intermediate young readers who want to learn both Spanish and English.

The Environmental Shelf

Kids in the Wild Garden
Elizabeth McCorquodale, author
Black Dog Publishing
10a Acton St.
London WC1X 9NG United Kingdom
9781907317200, $15.95,

"Kids in the Wild Garden" is a color photo illustrated nature education book for kids age 7 and up. Complete with chapters on How to Be a Wildlife Gardener, How to Be an Amateur Naturalist, Habitats, and more, "Kids in the Wild Garden" offers a wide variety of wild gardening educational activities, observation, studies, and projects for children. Excellent topics such as what is good and what is bad for wildlife lead to better ideas for how to be a wildlife gardener. Additional topics such as life in the compost heap, long grass and mini-meadows, shrubs and trees, ponds and boggy growths, winter gardens, and more appeal to curious young naturalists. The natural environments, plants and animals, insects and birds studied are primarily in Great Britain, adding to the special appeal of "Kids in the Wild Garden." For a practical list of suggested projects, as well as lots of fun nature education information quizzes and activities, read "Kids in the Wild Garden." Taking ownership and responsibility for the natural environment is an important step in maturing conservation and environmental awareness.

Search for the Hidden Clover, Kangaroo Island
Julia Heckathorn, author/illustrator
Hidden Clover, LLC
P.O. Box 556, Gainesville, VA 20156
9780983701002, $19.95,

Join Jason and Julia in their search for a four leaf clover on Kangaroo Island, off the south coast of Australia. In this photo-illustrated nature series for children, encounters with animals and plants in a particular environment are the key to satisfying nature exploration. On Kangaroo Island, Jason and Julia meet a kangaroo, fur seals, small penguins, a koala, striped fish, a eucalyptus tree, and finally a field of clover! All their animal friends help guide them to their ultimate goal of finding the four leaf clover, while teaching them about the many other species of animals and plants on and around Kangaroo Island. They even discover that there is a species of bee, the Ligurian Bee, that exists only on Kangaroo Island. "Search for the Hidden Clover, Kangaroo Island" is the first book in a nature exploration and discovery series for children that is filled with educational activities and information about nature and conservation in locations around the world. Hidden Clover has established a partnership with the Tree Foundation to help preserve the pygmy sloth species and has pledged a portion of book revenues to this cause. Children will love this exciting new nature series and will want to join in the effort to save exotic, rare species. Also recommended from this series is "The Hidden Clover, Redwood Forest," by Julia Heckathorn (9780983701019, $19.95).

Nature's Patchwork Quilt
Mary Miche
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584691693, $16.95,

Nature and the environment are made up of many things, and appreciating them all is the charm of the world. "Nature's Patchwork Quilt: Understanding Habitats" is aimed at young readers to outline the many climates and settings of our world, with full color illustrations of each environment and the critters who call it home. From the oceans to the mountains, "Nature's Patchwork Quilt" is filled with plenty to consider for young people interested in nature in all its forms, highly recommended.

The Railroading Shelf

Kingfisher Readers
Kingfisher Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9780753467527, $12.99,

Trains are wondrous machines to young readers. "Trains" is a first level Kingfisher reader, aimed at earliest readers who may be being read along with. Describing trains and what they do with the help of full color photographs all throughout, "Trains" is a fine pick for youth readers curious about locomotives and for parents who read to them.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Samurai Awakening
Benjamin Martin
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9784805312285, $17.99,

Any chance to break from the normal is the pursuit of many a teenager. "Samurai Awakening" is a young adult novel from Benjamin Martin, following young David Matthews, who jumps on a chance to be an exchange student to Japan, even when he doesn't speak Japanese. His opportunity to fit in comes at a temple situation that radically changes everything, granting him supernatural power... and a serious task he must use it in. "Samurai Awakening" is a thrilling adventure for young adults, highly recommended.

K.D. McEntire
59 John Glenn Drive
Amherst, NY 14228-2197
9781616146320, $16.95,

Ages 12 and up will find this a moving saga telling of Wendy, who attempts to fill her mother's shoes only to find it a harder job than she'd thought. For one thing, after her mother's death, Wendy finds she's part of a powerful and ancient family of Reapers that her mother had forsaken - and also discovers that she must walk a fine line between the dead and the dark world of her living Reaper family. A powerful account draws Wendy closer to darkness and hard choices she'll have to make to save her life in this gripping saga.

Girl of Nightmares
Kendare Blake
Starscape/Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765328663, $17.99,

Girl of Nightmares tells of ghost hunter Cas, who can't move on after Anna sacrificed herself so Cas could live. Cas fell in love with Anna's ghost, who vanished into Hell in her basement to save him: now no moral girl can compete and he's seeing Anna everywhere. The only trouble is: he's actually seeing her ghost... GIRL OF NIGHTMARES is a riveting story of the supernatural, recommended for any young adult reader.

Root Bound
Tanya Karen Gough
Baba Yaga Press
PO Box 21146
Stratford, ON Canada N5A 7V4
9780987850607, $14.99,

Witchcraft seems frightening at first, and only becomes more so as you learn more. "Root Bound" follows young Emma as she discovers someone who is most definitely a witch in her new home with her father. Drawn into a world of mysticism and fae brownies, she finds the road home for her is a long and complicated one. "Root Bound" is a fine and much recommended addition for young adult fantasy collections.

The Legend of Koolura
Michael L. Thal
Solstice Publishing
PO Box 460455, Denver, CO 80246
9781470135331, $12.99,

Coolness has as much curse as it does blessing. "The Legend of Koolura" is a novel from Michael L. Thal following young Koolura, who enters middle school and discovers her own powers. At first she wants to use her newfound abilities to impress her friends, but can her powers help her avenge her mother? "The Legend of Koolura" is worth considering for young adult fiction collections, recommended.

The Metaphysical Shelf

The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide
Stacey Graham
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
PO Box 4410, Naperville, IL 60567-4410
9781402266126, $9.99,

For those who believe, ghosts may be lurking everywhere. "The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide" is a guide for young girls and teenagers to the world of the paranormal, filled with plenty of tales of the urban legends, popular culture guides, advice for those who want to create the ghosts in their own mind, games to play, and what you need to go on a ghost hunting adventure yourself. "The Girls' Ghost Hunting Guide" is a strong addition for kids' collections, especially those aimed at adolescent girls.

The Theatre/Cinema Shelf

Monologues for Teens
Sarah Bernstein & Gabriella Miyares
Playscripts, Inc.
450 Seventh Avenue, Suite 809
New York, NY 10123
9780981909998, $14.95,

A monologue puts one on the spot, and the pressure makes for great practice. "Actor Choice: Monologues for Teens, Vol.2" is a collection of practice monologues for readers and teens as Sarah Bernstein & Gabriella Miyares take original works, excerpts from popular fiction, and other theater productions to present challenging monologues for readers. For the theater teacher who wants to challenge their students, "Actor Choice" is a strong addition to drama education reference collections, highly recommended.

Glee Club
Anastasia Suen
Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448868773, $31.95,

"Glee Club: Developing and Designing Your Glee Club Performance" is a color photo illustrated how-to book written for teens interested in glee club vocal/dance performance. Part of four book series on glee pop vocal production and performance, "Developing and Designing Your Glee Club Performance" addresses the basics of glee club planning in five chapters covering putting on a show, starting with magic, making it a performance, fund-raising, and showtime. Additional resources include a glossary, two sections labeled for more information and for further reading, and a bibliography. Putting on a successful glee club performance requires many talents, skills, cooperation, organization, and practice, practice, practice. Show choir performance is a challenging young art form that appeals to young people today. This series can provide valuable expertise and guidance in the early stages of forming your own show choir group. Other titles in this series that are forthcoming include "Glee Club Style: Choosing Costumes, Makeup, Sets, and Props (9781448868766)," "Music Performance: Vocals and Band (9781448868759)," and "Staging and Choreography (9781448868742)."

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Bangle Bear, the Tale of a Tailless Cat
Martha Steward, author/photographer
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452006949, $15.47,

"Bangle Bear" is the true, heartwarming story of a gray striped Manx cat, adopted as an adult from an animal shelter by the author. Filled with real, practical details of the needs to be considered when providing a forever home to a shelter animal (such as the need for worming, vet checks, sterilization, treatment of existing health problems, etc.), "Bangle Bear" is surely an inspiration to all individuals or families who contemplate new selection of a feline companion. Each of the seven chapters describes different details of a stage of adjustment in the integration of Bangle Bear. In the fourth chapter, Presents for Me?, Bangle Bear presents her new owner with dead or partially alive creatures which she has hunted and brought through the pet door into the house. Fortunately the author found the ability to cope with Bangle Bear's gifts, though some of them presented a challenge. Many relaxing, realistic photos of Bangle Bear at home, in her yard and in her queendom adorn the chapters and pages. Many funny and charming incidents of daily life with Bangle Bear are described. At the end, an Author's Note encourages readers to consider adopting or giving foster care to shelter home cats. This very warm and encouraging book has received the Mom's Choice Award for Honoring Excellence, and is a great delight to read. Recommended for children ages 10 and up and all animal loving adults.

Boo, Little Dog in the Big City
J. H. Lee, author
Gretchen LeMaistre, photographer
Chronicle Books
680 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107
9781452109718, $12.95,

"Boo, Little Dog in the Big City" is a completely adorable photo-story book for children and animal lovers about an adorable miniature yellow dog who loves dressing up in costumes and exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco. Along with Boo's best friend forever, Buddy, these cute canines are presented in a variety of settings, including a boat, the beach, a trolley, a miniature car, a fancy canine hotel, a park, and shopping for fashionable doggy outfits. Boo and Buddy are absolutely adorable in their city explorations and other activities. The preparation and composition of the color photographs is superb, and the storyline is always exciting and matches the action. "Boo, Little Dog in the Big City" is a perfectly cheery story book that will appeal to both children and adults, canine lovers especially.

The Poetry Shelf

Vulture Verses
Diane Lang, author
Lauren Gallegos, illustrator
Prospect Park Media
969 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
9780983459453 $16.95

Ideal for young people ages 4-7, Vulture Verses: Love Poems for the Unloved is a picturebook of whimsical poems celebrating all-too-often scorned yet helpful animals; each brief poem is followed up with a fun fact of the critter in question! "Dear snake, some people run or yelp. / Instead, I thank you for your help. / You guard our food - from beans to rice - / by eating all those rats and mice. / So I'll not fuss; I'll let you be. / Please slither on, with love from me." ("They may be unfamiliar, or even scary, to us, but snakes are very important in keeping nature's balance. And only 10 to 15% of snake species worldwide are venomous.") Cheery color illustrations brighten Vulture Verses, a fun book for not only entertaining little ones, but also for teaching them about nature's fascinating creatures.

Find Your Rainbow: Inspirations for Children
Patricia Overson, author
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439
9781592985036, $19.95,

"Find Your Rainbow" is an inspirational quotes collection that bridges generations with personal gifts and supportive thoughts. Meant to be a vehicle to create significant connections between adults and the children important to them, "Find Your Rainbow" is studded with evanescent, wise, poetic words and observations. As a gift, "Find Your Own Rainbow" can be personalized by checking boxes by chosen writings, or by hand written thoughts and photos, mementos added by the giver. Some of the notable quotations are: "The sun would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears (John Vance Cheney)" and "God put the rainbow in the clouds themselves so that in the worst of times, in the meanest of times, in the dreariest of times, so that at all times the viewer can see a possibility of hope (Maya Angelou)." Many poems and inspirational sayings by Patricia Overson also resonate. "Find Your Rainbow" is a beautiful inspirational legacy from one generation to the next.

The Reference Shelf

The World Almanac for Kids 2013
Laurie E. Likoff, Sarah Janssen, Edward A. Thomas, editors
World Almanac Books
c/o Infobase Learning
132 West 31st St., New York, NY 10001
9781600571664, $24.95,

"The World Almanac for Kids 2013" is a composite of up to date facts and information in over 40 categories, stunningly gathered, alphabetically organized and presented with photo-illustrations, highlighted information sidebars and color coded chapter titles. Topics to interest and educate young adults and teens are carefully chosen and presented. Examples of chapter categories include art, books, games, geography, homework help, energy/environment, money, nations, religion, space, sports, travel the United States, weather, and world history. Here, for example, is a step by step instruction sheet for how to write a research paper, doing research on the internet, library, and other resources. Under the topic of Nations, there are maps showing nations of the world, plus an alphabetical list of nations of the world with a thumbnail description listing pertinent facts, such as capitol, language, population, area, and additional notes, including a flag illustration for the country. Under the United States, among other items there is a Timeline of North American Indian history from 1492-2021, with reference to another earlier timeline under United States History, covering from before 11,000 B.C. to 1492. "The World Almanac for Kids 2013" is recommended as the single most valuable book purchase to make for grade school and older students of secondary education. This is a useful resource of resources, basic study aid and guide tool for mature students.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Manu's Ark
Emma V. Moore
Mandala Publishing
PO Box 3088
San Rafael, CA 94912
9781608870929 $16.99

Emma V. Moore, a scholar of Hindu art and philosophy and classical Indian dance instructor, presents Manu's Ark: India's Tale of the Great Flood, a children's picturebook retelling the Biblical parable of the flood from an East Indian perspective. When the world is in danger, the good King Manu prays for God Vishnu to protect the world. Vishnu appears as a small fish that grows larger and larger; the king struggles to find the fish bigger and better homes. At last the fish warns Manu of a terrible oncoming flood, charging him to fill an ark with plants and animals of every species to keep safe until the flood subsides. Gloriously colored and stylized artwork fills this captivating and timeless cultural story.

The Tiger, The Brahman, and The Jackal
retold by M. J. York
Jill Dubin, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781614732211, $27.07,

"The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal: An Indian Folktale" is a crafty teaching tale from India. Wise children will listen and watch and learn its teachings well. Once a tiger was locked in a bamboo cage. When he saw a Brahman, or holy man, walking by, he appealed to his sense of compassion and asked him to let him out, promising he would be grateful. Of course, when the Brahman is persuaded to let the tiger out (against his better judgment), the tiger immediately threatens to eat him, denying the truthful significance of his promise of gratitude. Nevertheless, perhaps the tiger's lingering guilt intervenes, for the Brahman is allowed to seek out three other beings to determine if he ( the tiger) is being unfair. The Brahman then encounters a pipal tree, a buffalo, and a road, telling each his story of releasing the tiger who then threatens to eat him. Due to similar bitter experiences, each of these three beings advises the Brahman to meet his fate stoically and accept it. Disappointed and fearful, the Brahman happens upon a jackal. The jackal pretends to be a bit "slow," asking to be taken to the tiger so he can understand the situation. Here comes the true trickster element of this morality tale, for when the jackal confronts the tiger, he actually confounds him and tricks him into getting back into the cage, all by pretending to be too slow to understand the story. Perhaps the moral is a warning against gullibility, but perhaps it also contains a seed of delight in the art and skills of the Trickster, who succeeds in achieving a desired outcome solely through skilled use of his wits. "The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal is an ancient Indian wisdom tale whose message is just as valuable today as it was hundreds of years ago. The story's imaginative, textured illustrations using fabric and color and collage enhance the exotic appeal of the fable. Other titles in this series that are highly recommended include: "How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? An African Folktale (9781614732174, $27.07)" retold by M. J. York, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon, "Momotaro, The Peach Boy: A Japanese Folktale (9781614732181, $27.07)," retold by M. J. York, illustrated by Betsy Thompson, and "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, a Japanese Folktale (9781614732228, $27.07)," retold by M. J. York, illustrated by JT Morrow.

The Knight, the Princess & the Magic Rock
Sara Azizi
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682, Bloomington, Indiana 47402-2682
9781937786014, $15.95,

The Knight, the Princess & the Magic Rock: A Classic Persian Tale provides a very easy reader that needs no advanced reading skills to prove accessible, and retells the classic Personal story of a brave young knight called Bijan who falls in love with the daughter of an enemy of Persia. Their romance will endanger their lives in this fine tale, illustrated by Alireza Sadgehian and packed with color. Kids who enjoy folktales from other countries will find a winner, here!

Maya and the Turtle
Soma Han and John C. Stickler
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive
North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804842778, $14.95,

Maya and the Turtle provides a fine Korean fairy tale illustrated by Soma Han and offering details that will appeal to picturebook readers with good reading skills. Maya is poor but very kind: when she rescues and raises a turtle, her kindness will ultimately pay off in unexpected ways. Love drawings throughout bring life and vigor to a warm story of kindness in an original fairy tale recommended for any collection strong in international folk stories for youngsters.

The Multimedia Shelf

Aden's Thought of Many Colors
Mary Dennis, author
Monarca Merrifield, illustrator
Prairie Winds Publications
c/o Farcountry Press
PO Box 5630
Helena, MT 59604
9781591520993 $17.95

Aden's Thought of Many Colors is a children's picturebook and audio CD combo about the virtue of tolerance. Although there are references to God's love for all human beings at the very end, Aden's Thought of Many Colors is deliberately accessible to young readers of all faiths and backgrounds. The story follows young Aden, who asks his aunt about people of other races. "A person's race depends on where their ancestors came from... There are many races of people, because there are so many countries in the world that ancestors could come from." Then his aunt takes him to meet a friend of the family (who happens to be black), and gives him the opportunity to play with a wide variety of puppies with differently-colored coats. "'Do you think that the color of the puppy or where the puppy came from would make any difference in how many tricks the puppy could learn, or what a good friend it could be to you?' 'No, Auntie! Those things wouldn't matter at all!'" His aunt explains that people are like puppies - that "the size, the shape or the color of a person does not matter either." The bright, colorful illustrations add an excellent touch to this simple story with a profound moral lesson. Highly recommended.

The Music CD Shelf

So This Is Opera series
Yvette Lewis
Privately Published
$12.98 each

Lyric soprano and elementary school music teacher Yvette Lewis presents So This Is Opera, a series of music CDs designed to introduce the concept of opera as a "singing story" to young people. Fairy tales are transformed into complete musical performances to captivate and delight. "The Gingerbread Man and The Three Bears Operas" features two complete operas, based on timeless storybook tales. "The Bully Goats Gruff and The Little Red Hen Operas" goes a step further, offering its two operas in both vocal and instrumental form for a total of four pieces (adults and little ones can sing the opera to the instrumental versions themselves, if they wish). A strong anti-bullying message enriches "The Bully Goats Gruff and The Little Red Hen Operas", making it an especially choice pick for school and public library children's music collections. Both albums are highly recommended for young people in kindergarten through second grade, as an excellent way to introduce them to a classic art form.

The Mighty Sky
Beth Nielsen Chapman
Produced by Beth Nielsen Chapman & Annie Roboff
BNC Records
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Ave.
Spring Hill, FL 34608

The Mighty Sky is a children's music CD designed to teach young people about the wonders of astronomy, and the mysteries of the galaxy beyond Earth's surface. A few cameo spoken word performances by Dr. C.R. O'Dell, founding scientist of the Hubble Space Telescope, and Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, discoverer of pulsars, intersperse the thoughtful songs covering not only heavenly bodies, but also how humankind studies them with the scientific method ("Test, Re-Test, & Verify"). The Mighty Sky is highly recommended for its inspirational as well as educational value, as it brims with encouragement to learn more and literally reach for the stars. The tracks are "The Mighty Sky", "Through Hubble's Eyes", "The Big Bang Boom", "The Moon", "Little Big Song", "Rockin' Little Neutron Star", "Zodiacal Zydeco", "Test, Re-Test & Verify", "The Way That We Learn", "You Can See The Blues", and "There Is No Darkness".

Doctor Noize and The Mayor
Verb Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$12.51 CD / $8.99 MP3

Grammaropolis is a children's music CD filled with catchy, educational songs that complement the popular, subscription-based website of (an associated iPad/iPhone app is coming this fall). Transforming parts of speech into personable animated characters, the website has won the 2012 Parents' Choice Approved Award and The National Parenting Center's 2012 Seal of Approval for its value in teaching young people about grammar in a fun and memorable way. The album continues this tradition with catchy, high-energy songs that reinforce understanding about how the English language works, performed with extra excitement by children's music artist Dr. Noize. Highly recommended, especially for grade school and public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Vacation", "Welcome to Grammaropolis", "Nouns", "Noun Town", "Verbs", "Lights! Camera!! Action Verb!!!", "Adjectives", "Paint the Way", "Adverbs", "Do You Qualify?", "Slang", "Let's Get Groovy, Baby", "Pronouns", "I Got the Blues", "Interjections", "It's How You Feel", "Prepositions", "A Merit Badge is Just Like a Cat", "Conjunctions", "Let's Bring It All Together", and "Word Out".

Produced by Ozomatli and Robert Carranza
Hornblow Recordings/Megaforce Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$9.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Ozokidz is a children's music CD packed with educational information and positive values. Songs teach young people how a tree grows, about the fun of exercise through dancing, what germs are and the importance of hygiene, and much more. Lively, catchy music drawing on a wide variety of styles and genres will appeal to the listening sensibilities of parents as well as to the playfulness of children. Ozokidz is highly recommended not only for kids' personal music shelves, but also for public library children's music CD collections. The tracks are "Trees", "Moose on the Loose", "We are the Ozokidz", "Germs", "Like It's Your Birthday", "Exercise", "Balloon Fest", "Sun and Moon", "Pirana", "Let's Go to the Movies", "Skateboard", "Spelling", and "Changito".

Blue Clouds
Elizabeth Mitchell
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221

Blue Clouds is a wonderful, family-friendly music CD by talented performer Elizabeth Mitchell. Set in a magical land where the clouds are blue and fantasy comes alive, Blue Clouds draws upon folk singing tradition, enhanced by a medley of acoustic guitar, harmonium, banjo, piano, fiddle, glockenspiel, and subtle drums. An accompanying booklist features artist's notes about each song, insights on creativity and seeing the world through a child's eyes, and more. A thoroughly enjoyable album for parents as well as children, Blue Clouds is highly recommended. The tracks are "Hop Up, My Ladies" (1:46), "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" (3:46), "Arm in Arm" (2:26), "San Toki (Mountain Bunny)" (1:38), "Kooks" (3:32), "I Wish You Well" (3:22), "Summer Is Icumen In" (2:09), "Rollin' Baby" (1:41), "The Little Bird" (1:22), "Circle of the Sun" (2:30), "Moon Don't Go" (0:46), "Everyone" (2:47), "May This Be Love" (2:23), "Yuki (Snow)" (1:56), "Blue Sky (Little Martha Intro)" (3:03), and "Blue Clouds" (3:13).

Vered's Good Morning My Love
Produced by Jon Samson
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Winner of the Parent's Choice Gold Award, Vered's Good Morning My Love: Songs to Bond You and Your Baby is a wonderful album especially for parents and infant children to enjoy. Songs touch upon the delights of playtime, bathtime, sleep, and discovering the wonderful and ineffable connection between oneself and one's children. Vered's Good Morning My Love is highly recommended especially as a gift for baby showers or to brand new parents. The tracks are "Good Morning My Love", "Hands In My Mouth", "Faces", "Jump", "Bikeride", "One Day", "Sunday", "Flying Hands", "When You Smile", "Ah Ah", "Don't Leave Me", "New Words", "Sunshine", "At 63", "Swinging", "Bathtime", "Dolly", and "Sleep".

I Am Sleepy! with Sukey Molloy
Produced by Sukey Molloy & Larry Alexander
PlayMove&Sing Inc.
PO Box 50, Nyack, NY 10960
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

I Am Sleepy! with Sukey Molloy is a music CD of songs, very short stories, and lullabies designed to soothe young people prior to bedtime. The widely beloved "kid-friendly" performer Sukey Molloy takes center stage in this heartwarming musical production that adults will also find restful and relaxing to listen to as well. Highly recommended, especially for helping one's children wind down after a big day. The tracks are "The Moon Shines Down" (0:32), "Hush My Little One" (2:22), "Evening's Coming" (2:30), "Quiet Night Poem" (1:20), "Twilight Song" (2:06), "The Story of Twinkle Little Star" (3:01), "Night is Falling" (2:15), "Early in the Evening" (1:19), "Sleep So Gently" (3:04), "Shadows Dance Upon My Wall" (2:10), "Scottish Folk Song" (2:25), "The Story of Little Lamb" (4:40), "Little Lamb's Song" (2:46), "Wind Through My Window" (2:48), "Sleep Now and Rest" (3:04), "Russian Lullaby" (1:53), and "All the World is Sleeping" (2:40). 41 min., 36 sec.

Go Green! Caring For Our Earth
Dr. Pam Schiller
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Go Green! Caring For Our Earth is a family-friendly album of songs about pollution, recycling, and the importance of making a difference to be good stewards of the planet Earth. An included resource booklet offers lyrics, activities to go along with each song, and suggested literature. A wonderful music album to help young people start thinking about the incredible responsibilities human beings have to the natural world, Go Green! Caring For Our Earth is highly recommended. The tracks are "Go Green", "Play Outside", "Get Yourself Movin' Around", "The Wind", "My Kite", "I'm Gonna Plant a Garden!", "My Chance to Dance", "Cultivate, Germinate, Irrigate, Relocate", "I Can Care", "Reduce It! Or Reuse It! Or Recycle It!", "What Can I Do About Pollution?", "My Brother the Whale", and "It's Everyone's World".

The DVD Shelf

Thomas & Friends Blue Mountain Mystery: The Movie
Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$19.98 DVD / $24.98 Blu-ray & DVD combo pack

Thomas & Friends Blue Mountain Mystery: The Movie is an all-new, computer-animated movie featuring the anthropomorphic engine Thomas and his hard-working friends. When Thomas comes to help the Blue Mountain Quarry, he discovers a little green engine in hiding - but why? Will the little engine be deported from Sodor? Mystery, adventure, and introduction to some brand new friends (Owen, Merrick, Luke & Winston) pepper this delightful full-length feature that young people will enjoy. Bonus features include a "Mountain Hide & Peep" game, educational facts about standard versus narrow gauge engines, and karaoke music videos. 61 min., widescreen. Two more choice Hit Entertainment picks for children's gifts or parties include "Awesome Adventures Volume Three" (52 min., $14.98), a Halloween-themed anthology of short cartoons featuring Thomas & Friends, Fireman Sam, and Bob the Builder; and "Most Loveable Moments" (198 min., $14.98), a 2-disc DVD of the most widely beloved Barney shows, jammed full of bonus features.

The Samuel Morris Story
Christian History Institute and The Voice of the Martyrs
c/o Vision Video (distribution)
PO Box 540
Worcester, PA 19490-0540

Part of The Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith children's DVD series, The Samuel Morris Story is an animated cartoon chronicling the true story of an African prince destined to become a Christian missionary. When young Prince Kaboo was captured, the tribe who seized him demanded ever-increasing ransom; eventually the prince's tribe could no longer pay, dooming him to death by torture. But then a miracle happened - the ropes binding Kaboo fell away, strength flooded his body, and a voice from the heavens urged him to run for his life! His steps would guide him down God's path, in this striking and inspirational adventure highly recommended especially for Christian children ages 8-12 and for Sunday School DVD libraries. 30 min. plus extras.

The Multicultural Shelf

The Lucky Cake
Anna Prokos
A-to-Z Publishing
PO Box 7124
North Arlington, NJ 07031
9780983856009 $17.95 hc
9780983856030 $8.95 sc

The Lucky Cake is a children's picturebook about the Greek cultural tradition of serving a "lucky cake" called Vasilopita to celebrate the new year. A Vasilopita has a golden coin baked into it, and whoever finds the coin is sure to have good luck in the coming year! Billy is a young boy who has never quite been fortunate enough to discover the coin, but could this year be different? "'Oh, Billy,' laughed his grandfather. 'Do you think you need a coin for luck? Just look around you.' Billy looked over at the dining room table. All the people he loved were happily gathered together, sharing stories and eating their delicious lucky cake." In addition to its heartwarming message of family togetherness, The Lucky Cake also includes a retelling of the Greek folktale behind the Vasilopita tradition, with friendly and colorful cartoon-style illustrations. The Lucky Cake is a fun way to introduce young people to the celebrations of other cultures, and a recipe on the final page shows how any family can bake a Vasilopita of their very own!

The Activity Shelf

Wonder Woman: Power Outage
Michael Teitelbaum
Tom Doherty Associates
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9780765364791 $5.99

Wonder Woman: Power Outage is an easy-reader "choose-your-fate" adventure, written for children who are just starting to enjoy chapter books. The story places the reader directly in the role of the classic DC comic book heroine Wonder Woman. One day Wonder Woman is battling the feral villainess Cheetah, when suddenly her super-powers desert her at the worst possible moment. Although they come back quickly, the close call is an ominous foreshadowing of dangers to come. Attempting to learn why her powers have become unreliable leads Wonder Woman into a mysterious time loop, repeating the deadly events from her past; no one else, not even her own mother seems to have any memory of previous time cycles. Simple activities such as word searches, mazes, and letter-substitution codes offer clues to the correct choices to solve the mystery, which culminates in an epic battle atop the peak of Olympus! Black-and-white artwork in the style of the Wonder Woman animated cartoons illustrate this excellent choice to encourage a love of reading in young people, especially girls.

Books in Series

Frankie the Bunny: The Fall Scramble Begins
Dorothy Jasnoch, author/illustrator
Owl About Books Publisher, Inc.
P.O. Box 897, 1632 Royalwood Circle
Joshua, TX 76058
9781937752040, $12.99,

Frankie the Bunny: the Fall Scramble Begins" is a series book for children ages 3-7 about cooperative interactions between different animal friends in the rush to gather winter supplies. Frankie the Bunny offers to lend his wagon to his friend Red Tail the Squirrel to help gather winter supplies. The colorful humorous illustrations clarify that Frankie the Bunny uses a wheelchair to get around, but this does not in any way impair his ability to enjoy life and interact with his friends. Due to Frankie the Bunny's thoughtful suggestions, other friends decide to help Red Tail gather nuts, vegetables, and winter food supplies. The forest friends make up a song about their gathering activities, and Frankie decides to make some party refreshments to add to the fall scramble celebration. So the story ends with homemade vegetable soup and delicious carrot cake made by Frankie the Bunny to celebrate "Friends to the end, even on the mend!" "Frankie the Bunny" is part of a series that includes the following recommended titles: "Frankie the Bunny: Helping the Birds (9781937752057)," "Frankie the Bunny: Mystery in the Forest (9781937752019)," and another highly recommended selection titled "The Adventure of Little Mouse Maggie (9781937752064)" $14.99.

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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