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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 24, Number 10 October 2014 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Donovan's Bookshelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf Christian Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Fiction Shelf
Christmas Shelf Social Issues Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Activity Shelf Cookbook Shelf ABC Shelf
Books in Series    

Donovan's Bookshelf

Princess Lizzie and the Time Travelling Magic Cloak
Dr. Van
9780991335220, 26 Pages
Hardcover: $23.00, Paperback: $17.99, Ebook: $3.99

Princess Lizzie and the Time Travelling Magic Cloak is Book Three of a series, and familiarity with the prior books is recommended for any who would imbibe. This latest opens with an assumption of such prior awareness of Princess Lizzie and the makeup of her court: "King Harry, upon hearing of Hippopotamus's talent for fixing royal items, made him a knight..."

It also holds some larger words to encourage picture book readers to expand their vocabularies; so don't expect a picture book geared to the very young reader: "...Princess Lizzie and her smart assistant, Monkey, collaborated on a new project."

Whimsical color drawings accompany the fun story of a royal ball, a princess with a magic cloak and (forbidden) time-traveling capabilities, and her growing realization that resources not distributed fairly result in poverty and suffering.

Two friends accompany her on a journey to save her friend's life when her hippo friend falls ill. Princess Lizzie is given the gift of magic medicine that could save his life and help others.

But what about the kingdom's wider problems? It takes a savvy, spunky young princess and a gentle wife to change a king's legacy of an ancient, unfair law that banishes wrongdoers and their families from his kingdom forever.

The story is a simple one about justice and fairness. It's also about how one individual can move outside their world, return to it with gifts, and change even entrenched beliefs and status quo thinking.

All this is packaged in a picture book that combines vivid, wordless color images by Juniardi Satyanagara with passages of description, inviting readers who have some basic skills under their belts, but who are not yet ready for long passages or chapter books.

Its message is clear and the blend of fairy tale and fable with an encouraging conclusion teaches basic concepts of empowerment and choice to young children who ordinarily wouldn't receive such a lesson at the picture book level.

Porter Searches for Santa
Jonathan I. Gonzales, author/illustrator
N.B. 498 Press
P.O. Box 709, Lyford, Texas 78569
9780996061001, $16.95, 36 Pages,

Porter, an adventurous little penguin, lives with his family in Antarctica near the South Pole - about the farthest place on Earth you can get from Santa's workshop. Perhaps this is why he's never heard of Santa before, and why his days are occupied more with penguin play than thoughts of seasonal gifts.

A mis-delivered letter changes all that; and Porter finds himself searching through his penguin world for someone who knows who the mysterious Santa might be.

Fun penguin illustrations in full color depict a unique (but appealingly different) penguin and his fun world, which is filled with not just snow but multicolored swing sets, books and tables, and the specter of Old Rockhopper, the biggest penguin Porter's ever seen, and a wise but grouchy curmudgeon.

Good reading skills (or parental assistance) will be required: this isn't a collection of one-liners, but paragraphs of dialogue and information geared for young picture book readers who have some basic skills under their belts.

Pages consist of 2-3 paragraphs of description as they chronicle the search of a once-happy little penguin who seemingly fails in his mission to locate the elusive Santa.

And just when all seems lost, something magical happens...

The strengths of Porter Searches for Santa lie in an unpredictable, different story line and truly engaging, colorful claymation scenes by Jonathan I. Gonzales. The combination offers a refreshing difference for kids looking for seasonal reads that provide something other than the usual, predictable Santa tale. Parents, too, will be delighted to read aloud the story of a tenacious little penguin whose dreams and knowledge of the wider world are fueled by one mis-delivered letter...

Mother's Love Can Conquer Any Fear!
Subhash Kommuru
Kommuru Books
9780990317821, $7.99, 46 Pages,

Sujata Kommuru provides warm, fun crayoned backgrounds and drawings for the picture book Mother's Love Can Conquer Any Fear!, which requires good reading skills (or parental assistance) and revolves around Anand Nagar, a chicken farm sporting a wise old chicken who oversees a contented flock where everyone is happy.

But there's always a bad boy in every peaceable kingdom and here it takes the form of Kaalia, a vile crow who is always up to no good and who only seeks to bring dissention and strife into the peaceful world. His insistence on changing happiness introduces a darkness into the barnyard that requires innovative plans to put an end to the evil that infects Anand Nagar.

As repeated efforts are thwarted by the clever crow, which sees through every plan, the chickens are discouraged as the atmosphere of their home changes from one of freedom and happiness to one of watchful caution.

It may take a bit of magic to truly find the way to stop Kaalia from infecting the coop - and that magic is born from an unexpected place, right at home.

The overall theme celebrating motherhood and bravery is accompanied by insights on the threat of evil and how to handle it.

While the lovely crayon illustrations appear to be directed to an easier reader than the accompanying text, they do lend a bright personality to the overall effort that will delight budding young artists, while the story's gentle moral messages and celebration of mothers successfully evolves in an unexpected way.

The result is a picture book reader that is a fun, different standout from the fable-oriented stories typically available to young readers, and a special recommendation for any collection strong in multicultural settings, fables, and animal stories.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Cardinal & the Crow
Michael Moniz, author/illustrator
Simply Read Books
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, V6M 3W6, Canada
9781927018583 $16.95

"The Cardinal & the Crow" is a dramatic artistic children's fable of birds, inspired by Aesop's Fables. The black crow is old and scraggly feathered, with a harsh call, but he was not bothered by these details until other birds, especially a brilliant red young cardinal teased him and called him names, like "ugly old crow." Finally the crow squawked back at all the birds and began to spend nearly all of his time alone. Seasons changed to cold, and Cardinal and Crow stayed behind while other birds left. Crow decided to warn Cardinal about flying around bird feeders for food, since danger might lurk below. Cardinal scorned Crow's warning, until one day he was caught by a hungry gray cat, who planned to eat him after playing with him. Seeing this, Crow decided to tackle the problem of tricking Cat into releasing his old arch enemy Cardinal. Amazingly, Crow succeeds in this undertaking, tickling Cat's vanity and allowing Cardinal to fly free while Cat prepared a loud roar (meow). Flying away together, thanking Crow for his rescue, Cardinal asked Crow how he knew his trick would work to free him. "Because pride and foolishness often roost on the same branch," replied the wise old crow. After further contemplation, the birds became trusted companions, and next spring, all the other birds sang happily and never tormented Crow again. Dramatic, expressive paintings of the vain, red Cardinal contrast with the wise, old, ragged, black Crow in this reinterpretation of a pithy, traditional children's fable.

Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk
Rachael Mortimer, author
Liz Pichon, illustrator
Tiger Tales
P.O. Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251366 $16.99

"Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk" is a vivid new variety of a treasured traditional tale. Finding all the cupboards empty, Jack is entrusted by his mother to sell the family cow, Daisy, for gold to buy food to eat for Jack and his mother. He receives 20 gold pieces for Daisy, but decides to spend it all on an enormous bag of magic jelly beans at the candy store. Returning home with these, he finds his mother filled with anger and disappointment at his squandering of the gold on worthless jelly beans, which she throws out the window. Overnight a magical jellybean stalk grows and Jack climbs it in delight, eating amazing flavored jelly beans all the way. The rest of the trusted story unfolds with a few unexpected wrinkles, and in the end, jack and his mother feast happily on jelly beans with the goose, discovering only an occasional jelly bean that tastes like..... smelly old socks! YUCK! The humor and joy of this telling spills over in embroidered, fanciful paintings of Jack, the beans and beanstalk, the Giant and the magic goose. A twist or turn freshens and fluffs a beloved classic for a new generation of Jacks (and Jills).

The Pandas and Their Chopsticks and Other Animal Stories
Wisdom Tales Press
PO Box 2682, Bloomington, IN 47402
9781937786168, $16.95,

The Pandas and Their Chopsticks and Other Animal Stories considers what polite pandas, kitties, and other animals have in common: in short, it's Demi's art, that brings them all to life in Asian folktales retold for young readers. From how panda learns to share to how turtle discovers the dangers in pride, ages 5 and older receive short stories that require good picture book reading skills (or parental assistance) but which offer gentle fables and guidelines for better living. When Hedgehog loses his favorite shovel, for example, he suspects a neighboring hedgehog of thievery - and his suspicious mind builds a case based solely on his neighbor's annoying actions. When he finds his shovel and takes another look, it's to find that "nothing about him looked like a thief". Parents will find this the perfect approach to teaching young children about better ways of approaching the world.

The Self-Help Shelf

Dear Diana... Diana's Guide to Independent Living
Diana Bilezikian, author
Ian Sullivan, illustrator
Autism Asperger Publishing Company
PO Box 23173, Shawnee Mission, KS 66283
9781937473921 $27.95

Dear Diana... Diana's Guide to Independent Living is a practical guide about the challenges of living independently, written especially for young adults and teenagers with special needs or learning differences, including but not limited to autism and Asperger's. Practical advice is dispensed mostly through question-and-answer format - brief letters written to Diana, followed by her thoughtful and useful answers. Dear Diana... is not entirely question-and-answer; each chapter offers straightforward discussion of the basics of social interaction, individual responsibilities, and other issues. Chapters cover language idioms, interpersonal skills, hygiene, nutrition, public transportation, stress management, fires, 911 emergencies, non-911 emergencies, and much more. "When you pick up the phone and call 911, you will be connected to the fire department, police, and ambulance service. If you call on your landline, they will automatically know where you are. If you call from your mobile phone, you will have to tell them where you are. Once you have made the call, they will respond immediately. So this must never be done as a practical joke." Dear Diana... is an absolute "must-read" for its core audience, worthy of the highest recommendation especially for public and school library collections.

Must-Have Marvin!
Christy Ziglar, author
Luanne Marten, illustrator
Ideals Children's Books
2630 Elm Hill Pike, Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37214
9780824956578 $14.99

From the Shine Bright Kids educational series by Ideals publications comes "Must-Have Marvin!" a delightfully told story about a boy named Marvin who loved to have new things. Using a star search illustration mood indicator, young readers can discover clues to whether Marvin's choices are good ones that will make him happy or not so good ones that will make him feel sad. Ebullient text and bright, exuberant illustrations express Marvin's feelings of always loving and wanting new things, like his amazing new dinosaur T-shirt. However, the drawback is, another friend has the same shirt and also matching glow-in- the- dark shoes. Many choices are offered and made by Marvin, and his yellow star expresses his state of mind, or contentment level after making different decisions. Young readers are asked to determine the star's mood as expressed by its colors and positioning. The star looks dull and defeated when Marvin is choosing something that will not give him lasting happiness, or inconsiderate of others. The star looks glowing and happy when Marvin makes more thoughtful choices, with more concern for others and more potential for his own lasting happiness. The little star reflects Marvin's attitudes and the dilemma of some of his choices. Finally Marvin begins to realize that when he chooses things over friends, in the end it is a lonely choice, not likely to make him happy. Marvin's star gets brighter and happier looking with each positive choice until the end, when Willow asked Marvin what new stuff he HAD to have for their team trip. Marvin smiles and answered "The only things I really HAVE to have are my FRIENDS!" Young readers and parents are encouraged to visit for games, apps, tools, and parenting resources to help each family to choose right and shine bright.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Cheesie Mack is Sort of Freaked Out
Steve Cotler
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385369886, $15.99,

Cheesie Mack is Sort of Freaked Out receives black and white drawings by Douglas Holgate and offers a host of child-appealing scenarios, from RAT sandwiches and Candy Collecting Contests to reptiles in the streets, and offers an appealing format that combines words with drawings, humor and wacky scenarios. The result, with its larger-size print and fun drawings, will especially appeal to any reluctant reader and to kids in grades 3-4.

Kate The Great Except When She's Not
Suzy Becker
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385387422, $12.99,

Kate The Great Except When She's Not offers a funny, quirky coverage of a sassy fifth grader whose older sister is too perfect, her younger sister too cute, and the adults in her life either contrary or boring. How can Kate struggle through school and home life with the best results? And how can she handle a questionable friendship? Chapters assume a diary format and pepper in drawings from the author in a fun survey middle school readers will find fun!

The Picturebook Shelf

Not Every Princess
Jeffrey Bone and Lisa Bone, authors
Valeria Docampo, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984
Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433816475 $14.95

Not Every Princess is a children's picturebook that encourages young people to think "outside the box", rather than be constrained by rigid social expectations, especially gender-based expectations. "Not all knights fight dragons. / Some seek friends instead, / Singing them lullabies / And tucking them in bed." An afterword to parents and caregivers describes how they can help children shape their own destinies, despite the overwhelming pressure of societal and gender roles. The suggestions to parents and caregivers include "Reveal endless possibilities", "Encourage imagination", "Open your mind", "Explore unconditionally", and "Monitor media consumption". Not Every Princess has a strong positive message about using one's imagination to awaken one's full potential, and is highly recommended.

What If....?
Anthony Browne, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
90 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763674199 $16.99

"What If...?" is a charming children's story that explores a child's trepidations about the unknown, in the form of a birthday party invitation. Joe is escorted by his mother down a dark street searching for an unknown house number where Joe is invited to attend a birthday party. Looking in the windows of many different houses on the dark street, Joe sees ordinary boring scenes and strange fearful visions of places and gatherings and people he would rather NOT visit or attend. His mother reassures him on every thought, and finally he comes to the last house, which is the brightly lit party destination house. After Joe's mother leaves him, she has second thoughts of worry about him, but two hours later when she returns, she finds a brightly smiling, happy Joe who agrees that maybe he would like to have a birthday party of his own. The illustrations contain references to Hieronymous Bosch and other nightmarish art experiences, but the slow transforming of Joe's anxiety and doubt is the central experience of "What If...?" which is recommended for children age 4-5 and up.

Christelle Vallat, author
Stephanie Augusseau, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10601
9781441315366 $16.99

"Celia" is a beautiful children's story translated from the French original for English speaking readers. Filled with poignant, expressive, magical illustrations that show a simple old woman transforming all who meet her into happier people by listening to their problems and accepting a seed from each for her service. One little boy named Julian did not have a seed to offer her, so he had to hold onto his sadness. The sad people and Celia are depicted in shades of black, white, and grays, but each seed is a tiny spot of color that blossoms magically into a huge rainbow of balloons of joy when Celia blows them from her wheelbarrow the next day. The magic seeds flung by Celia frost all the baker's cupcakes and cookies, fill the empty trees with apples, and cover the hill with flowers blooming. At night Celia climbs a ladder and hangs seeds to become stars twinkling in the sky. On her journey with the seeds, Celia finds a lost seed, which she later returns to Julian, the child who could not let go of his sadness because he had lost his seed. Celia encourages Julian to plant the seed in a pot, and he cares for it, visiting Celia and sharing cookies and confidences with her. One day the miracle happens. Julian discovers the tiny seed he had planted blossomed into a tiny flower no bigger than his nose. Julian's heart lightens and he feels happiness, thanks to his kind friend Celia. All the enchantment of fairy tales, fairy godmothers, and French joie de vivre are evanescent in "Celia."

The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream
Joseph Anthony, author
Cris Arbo, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City CA 95959
9781584694960 $16.95

"The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream" is a sequel to the children's picture book, "The Dandelion Seed." It follows the drifting journey of a feathered dandelion seed through the air, past countryside scenes of green to an urban setting, through cement buildings and sidewalks and littered alleys, coming to rest at last among discarded wrappings and trash in a forgotten spot of urban earth. But the dandelion seed had a big dream and refused to give up, even through a long winter. Spring came, and hands took away refuse and trash and prepared the vacant earth for urban gardens of growing things. The dandelion seed knew just how to cooperate with helping hands, sun, rain and earth, it grew and blossomed! Many more seeds also grew and blossomed from their dreams in their own time, and every one made the world more beautiful. Incredibly detailed natural illustrations express the hope and joy of "The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream," along with the darker obstacles and messy delays to be overcome with patience and persistence. Connecting children with nature is a respectful valued theme of "The Dandelion Seed's Big Dream," along with its prequel, "The Dandelion Seed." Both volumes are created by a well-matched husband and wife author/illustrator team with a far-reaching vision of harmony with man and nature.

Hatch, Little Egg
Edouard Manceau, author/illustrator
Karen Li, translator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771470773 $16.95

"Hatch, Little Egg" is a charming story originally written in French and creatively enhanced with bright collage illustrations of multiple animals and insects who gather to encourage a little egg to hatch. All the different animals arrive on a variety of handy patch vehicles, excited to witness what they expect to be a little bird hatching. A clever mouse directs traffic while excited bees and ladybugs buzz about, waiting. But what a surprise when something very unusual emerges from the cracked egg shell! Can it be...... a pig? Who talks and wants to have his picture taken? The creative little pig is left alone by crowds of onlookers in disappointment, saying calmly, "Honestly, what's the big deal? You can't even hatch in peace these days! But least I did it my way!" The amazing visual surprise comes on the last page as a little yellow chick steps out of his improvised (but very convincing) pink pig suit! This tongue in cheek little tale is told with minimal text and expressive illustrations, inviting young readers ages 3-7 to examine each detail carefully, to draw conclusions, and to have fun reading, looking, and thinking.

Oliver & Hope's Adventure Under the Stars
Meg Cadts, author
Samantha Flitch, illustrator
United Health Care Children's Foundation
9700 Health Care Lane, MN017-W400, Minnetonka, MN 55343
9780989793728 $13.95

The second title in the Oliver & Hope series, "Oliver & Hope's Adventure Under the Stars" is an intriguing story about a first camping trip for Oliver the lovable bear and Hope the spirited butterfly. Following "Oliver & Hope's Amusing Adventure," the new title presents exciting adventures and fun games to pass the scary times of a first camping experience. The purpose of this new series is to help raise funds for a charitable child medical grant program administered by UHCCF. Oliver and Hope meet Chewie, an English bulldog, on their first overnight camping adventure. For fun, the three friends even imagined that the shadow of their friend Millie the owl was a hungry, fire-breathing dragon! The friends played campfire games like singing silly songs, counting stars, and making up stories. Hope discovered a firefly and pronounced it the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Oliver began to be tired and brushed his teeth to get ready to go to sleep in a tent. Chewie found his flashlight and imagined a night shadow circus tent when he saw Oliver and Millie making shadow puppets inside. As the moon and stars cast friendly new shadows in the night, the friends went to sleep in their tent, comforted by flashlights and s'mores and silly shadow stories. "Oliver & Hope's Adventure Under the Stars" is a magical story that encourages children to find creative, fun ways of coping with the unknown and fear of the dark, or other encounters. Comical, expressive illustrations and a blithe narrative pace and a brisk style promote eager participation and discovery in the adventure. Further fun activities and downloads, including a free audio recording of "Oliver & Hope's Adventure Under the Stars" are available by visiting Oliver & Hope's Clubhouse at

Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School
Ylleya Fields, author
Michael LaDuca, illustrator
Belle Publishing
5247 Wilson Mills Rd., #324, Cleveland, OH 44143
9780578113043 $15.95

"Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School" is the second title in a delightful, creative series featuring an African American girl (and friends) as the star. Princess Cupcake Jones is in a quandary. She is afraid of the new challenges of going to school. Her mother gently encourages her, overcoming each obstacle that Princess Cupcake presents. In the end, Cupcake manages to get to class, meet her teacher, and make a new friend, finally deciding that she will give school a try after all. The gentle verse narrative, and spunky rainbow colored illustrations make Princess Cupcake Jones a very human, appealing heroine for girls, especially African American girls, age 5 and up. Learning to tackle challenges and new situations is almost painless with books like "Princess Cupcake Jones Won't Go To School."

Johnny McGee and His Sweet Purple Pants
Nikki Cooper, author/illustrator
Little Creek Press
c/o Kristin Mitchell Design
5341 Sunny Ridge Road, Mineral Point, WI 53565
9780989978064 $18.95

"Johnny McGee and His Sweet Purple Pants" is a humorous verse story about a boy who loved sweets a little too much. Chock full of sprightly rainbow fantasy illustrations of sugary, messy, gummy treats and snacks and their effect on messy little Johnny McGee, with his purple pants. Johnny's parents warned him that all his sticky sweet goo on his pants and clothes would make him a target for ants, for they love sugar. One night the ants and all their cousins invaded Johnny's purple pants on the floor of his room by his bed. They came for the candy galore and stayed for more! In the morning, when Johnny put on his pants, surprise! Ants in his purple pants were tickling, twitching, and making him itch. Not only did they tire Johnny out with their sugar-crazed ant antics, they made him unable to sit still or concentrate at school. Taken to the Dr. for fear he was ill, Johnny McGee was diagnosed as attracting ants in his pants, because of sugar that was making him dance! The Dr. Told him: "You need to run, you need to play,/ Less sugar, young man will keep the ants away.../ Go for a swim.. Ride a bike!/ Stop giving those ants just what they like./ Eat broccoli, carrots or even beets./ They are so much healthier than those sugary treats." The happy ending of the story proves that a healthy boy who eats healthy foods and exercises daily will eventually lead an ant-free, happy life! The ant illustrations are quite adorable, with marching bands, tennis shoes, and so many ant cousins and relations. The message of "Johnny McGee and His Sweet Purple Pants" couldn't be clearer, or better presented to young readers age 5 and up.

Grandma, Aren't You Glad.... The World's Finally in Color Today!
Lori Stewart, author/illustrator
Palmar Press
c/o KSB promotions
55 Honey Creek NE, Ada MI 49301
9780983929314 $19.95

"Grandma, Aren't You Glad.... the World's Finally in Color Today!" tells an interested audience of grandchildren the story of a family history in witty, contemporary verse, with timelines, black and white and color photos to compare ways of dressing and living in the past and in the present. The photos and couplets of narrative verse compare children's experience of going to school, doing chores, leisure activities, special toys and games, favorite books and modern communication devices, physical activities for fun, and dances, past and present. Contrasting sets of actual photos show sepia and black and white photos on the "old" or left page, and bright colored photos on the modern, right page of similar activities and events for each era. Each set of pages shows a timeline page header that marks famous events by different years, showing a progression through time from as early as 1902 to 2011. "Grandma, Aren't You Glad... the World's Finally in Color Today!" is a creative bonding opportunity for the young and the old, to discuss and remember shared history. It is a beautiful blending of intergenerational cross communication and shared family love with history, keeping a fresh appeal for young audiences of children age 3 and up.

The Numberlys
William Joyce & Christina Ellis
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442473430, $17.99,

THE NUMBERLYS tells of five characters, a dull and orderly life led by a world where numbers rule and alphabets don't exist, and what happens when the gang of five begins to combine numbers to create not just revolutionary art, but twenty-six new letters. It's unusual to find a book created from an award-winning app: usually it's the other way around. But this book is a winning testimony to creativity and imaginative re-creation of the world, and in the process of bringing letters to the world, explores their relationship with numbers. The result is a powerful story that's unique and well-done: perfect for any picturebook reader just learning about numbers and letters.

Dragon's Extraordinary Egg
Debi Gliori
c/o Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9780802737595, $16.99,

Dragon's Extraordinary Egg tells of a dragon in need of an egg - so when he discovers one on an abandoned sheet of ice, it seems perfect. Then the egg hatches, and the baby doesn't look like any other dragon. Will Little One fit even, even though he's obvious not a dragon? A lovely tale of love, affection, and transformation evolves in a very simple picture book tale that pairs lovely color drawings with a warm, gentle story kids will love.

The Scarecrows' Wedding
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545726061, $17.99,

THE SCARECROWS' WEDDING tells of two scarecrows planning the best wedding the barnyard has ever seen. But when Harry leaves to get flowers for his special occasion, wicked scarecrow Reginald Rake tries to take his place. A fun story of love and redemption follows, perfect for young picturebook readers looking for different protagonists and a story line that features an unusual kind of villain and demands a resourceful response.

Viking Penguin
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014

Robert Byrd retells a classic story with BRAVE CHICKEN LITTLE (9780670786169, $17.99), which tells of a bird and his friends convinced that a chunk of the sky has fallen. Nothing will keep them from running to tell the king ... except for a sly fox who offers them lunch and neglects to tell them they are on the menu. Good picture book reading skills are recommended for this interesting twist on a classic story, which young readers will find interesting and fun. Jill Esbaum and Gus Gordon's I AM COW, HEAR ME MOO! (9780803735248, $16.99) tells of Nadine, a cow who isn't afraid of anything...much. When she has an adventure that challenges her self-esteem, Nadine finds that her inner bravery doesn't necessarily match events, but her curiosity leads her to look in corners, crannies, and nooks in her tour of the world. What unexpected things she finds will change her perceptions of not just the world, but herself. A winning, fun story evolves, perfect for picture book readers seeking something different.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Cybele Young's NAN KNOWS (9781770494824, $19.99) tells of an elephant who remembers all kinds of things, from places to visit and relax to colors, shapes, and more. But she's forgotten something - something important. How can it be: an elephant never forgets? This whimsical tale is told with paper sculptures, line art, and a fun look at memory that will intrigue not only youngsters, but any interested in paper art and picture book artistry. Genevieve Cote's BOB'S HUNGRY GHOST (9781770497139, $19.99) tells of young Bob, who wanted a dog for his birthday but got a ghost instead. Is a ghost really better than a dog? It won't sit, won't fetch, and won't play... so what can a ghost actually do? For one thing, ghosts are hungry when bored - and will eat anything, even books and flowers. For another, ghosts that are hungry tend to get bigger. Now Bob really has a problem in this hilarious, fun story. Eric Walters's HOPE SPRINGS (9781770495302, $17.99) tells of a drought that affects the orphanage where Boniface lives. When there's a lineup for water, the orphans are pushed away from the villager's line. It's Boniface's houseparent, Henry, who tells him the people are mean because they are afraid - and armed with this knowledge and his own personal familiarity with fear, Boniface vows to help not only his fellow orphans, but the town itself. Good reading skills are required to make this a winning survey.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Kathryn Gibbs Davis' MR. FERRIS AND HIS WHEEL (9780547959221, $17.99) receives fine drawings by Gilbert Ford, whose works enhance the lovely story of George Ferris and his fantastic invention that would become the centerpiece of amusement rides the world over. Good reading skills are recommended (or parental assistance) to absorb the numerous historical facts that read with the drama of fiction and the involvement of a good novel, but which contain plenty of facts about Mr. Ferris and his creation. Loretta Holland's FALL LEAVES (9780544106642, $16.99) blends a poem with light-box illustrations to capture, in word and picture, the meaning of autumn and the changes of Fall colors and leaves. Lovely, luminous color drawings accompany descriptions of what happens when flowers leave and Fall stays, making for an explanation that feels like an Impressionist painting but works well for young picture book readers just learning about the seasons.

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

Dr. Seuss's HORTON AND THE KWUGGERBUG AND MORE LOST STORIES (9780385283984, $15.00) is a rare presentation of new Dr. Seuss stories unseen for almost sixty years, and follows up this publisher's other lost stories The Bippolo Seed. Any Seuss fan will love these four new stories featuring Horton the Elephant, a Grinch, and Mulberry Street. The stories with old, familiar characters reinforce their predecessors' morals and world views, while new tales introduce fun new twists and stories. The book's color has been enhanced beyond the original magazine presentations, making this new volume of special interest not just to new generations, but to any Dr. Seuss fan. Emily Winfield Martin's DAY DREAMERS: A JOURNEY OF IMAGINATION (9780385376709, $17.99) tells of magical creatures that live in day dreams, offers a companion volume that both pairs well with Dream Animals and stands alone, and provides a gentle saga of children who find themselves in fantasy worlds inhabited by dragons, unicorns, and more. A fun rhyme accompanies lovely large-size color drawings and an imaginative verse that consists of one- and two-line stanzas even the very young can appreciate. The result is a lovely recommendation for read-aloud and individual child pursuit alike.

The Christian Shelf

The Legend of Saint Nicholas
Anselm Grun, author
Giuliano Ferri, illustrator
Laura Watkinson, translator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
2140 Oak Industrial Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802854346 $16.00

"The Legend of Saint Nicholas" is a beautiful illustrated children's biography of this beloved, familiar Christian saint, also known as the Bishop of Myra. Born in the early 5th century, Nicholas loved helping others even as a child. Born of wealthy parents and orphaned, the grown -up Nicholas chose to become a Christian priest to help others less fortunate than himself. He later became the popular Bishop of Myra, to whom many miracles of helpful intervention were attributed. The patron saint of sailors, Nicholas also alleviated a famine for his people and helped many others in need, always attributing his help to his faith in God and Jesus Christ. Because Saint Nicholas helped so many children in need, young people still receive gifts on his feast day, December 6, if they leave their shoes or a plate by the door the evening of December 5. German children still sing a song celebrating St. Nicholas' Eve and the joy of the love of God. "The Legend of Saint Nicholas" celebrates many particularly inspiring miraculous events from the life of the saint, both in its reverent retelling of stirring deeds and events and in the tender, warm, rich colors of its full page illustrations. Compassion for others is breathed and shared at the beautiful core of "The Legend of Saint Nicholas."

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Gentleman Bat
Abraham Schroeder, author
Piotr Parda, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
P.O. Box 491, Hubbardston, MA 01452
9780991386604 $16.99

"The Gentleman Bat" is a fantastically illustrated foray into a nighttime stroll with an impeccable gentleman bat. Gently cadenced couplets of narrative verse describe the Victorian autumn evening setting of a London-like gentleman bat on a stroll to meet a lady bat who is a good friend. Touches of sly humor abound in both verse and picture, all in shades of gray with little glimmers of light. For example, a bespectacled vendor bat offers ear plugs for sale where the band will begin to play. The bat band play their instruments hanging upside down, while the gentleman bat and his lady friend dance in spats, suit, and hoopskirts, complete with batwings. When the evening drizzle progresses to a sinister, thundering downpour, the gentleman bat flourishes a clever, exotic, carved, teak cane that converts to an umbrella, protecting her fancy feathered hat and his silk top hat. Kissing the lady bat's cheek goodnight after their evening stroll in the rain, he returns to his cozy gentleman's home, closes the drapes to keep out the dawn, and goes to sleep upside down in bat pajamas. Children will be entranced with the lavish detail and vision of "The Gentleman Bat," a period fantasy children's book with a few funny twists cleverly integrated in both picture and verse. "The Gentleman Bat" is a treat to read for children ages 3-7.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

5 Elephants
Rob Laidlaw, author
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, L3R 4T8, Canada
9781554553167 $19.95

"5 Elephants" is an exciting nonfiction title about 5 elephant (true) stories by the President of Zoocheck Canada, Rob Laidlaw. Here are the stories of 5 famous elephants, Echo, Lucy, Tarra, Tusko and Thandora. Each elephant's story contains unique challenges and serious real challenges that wild and domesticated elephants face. In the narrating of the stories, illustrated with colored photographs of elephants in natural or zoo settings, children learn the differences between zoos and sanctuaries, problems of elephant life in captivity or in the wild, and more about what elephants need to be happy and healthy. Children are also taught what they can do to help protect elephants, to become Elephant Guardians. Featured are maps of areas inhabited by Asian elephants, descriptions of wild elephant daily life, the danger to elephants of the illegal ivory trade, and plans to build new elephant sanctuaries for elephants in need of good homes. A list of elephant welfare organizations is provided with web sites and a glossary and bibliography complete the amazing stories of "5 Elephants." This authoritative text is suitable for mid-grade students age 8 and up.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Katherine Applegate, author
G. Brian Karas, illustrator
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544252301 $17.99

Katherine Applegate, famous Newberry medalist author, has created the children's biography of Ivan, the Shopping Mall Gorilla, a national symbol of animal welfare. Born in central Africa to a family of western lowland gorillas, Ivan was caught by poachers along with another baby gorilla, then transported out of the jungles of Africa all the way to Tacoma, Washington, where a shopping mall owner bought them for publicity. The baby gorillas were clothed in human baby clothes and fed human food, named Burma and Ivan by shopping mall customers. Burma died, but Ivan was taken to live in a human home for three years. Soon Ivan outgrew his human home and was taken to a cage. For twenty seven years Ivan lived alone in his observation cage, with fingerpainting and TV for distractions in a steel room with windows that was 14 feet square. Finally, people became outraged by the conditions of his confinement. Then Ivan was transferred to the Zoo Atlanta, a place where he could live out his life comfortably, in a habitat that mimicked his natural environment, with other gorillas. Ivan was allowed needed time to transition into his new living environment, and spent the remainder of his life at Zoo Atlanta, dying at age 50 in 2012. "Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla" is a sparely narrated, sensitively illustrated true story of a captive gorilla who has come to represent issues of animal welfare and animal rights in North America. Young readers are referred to added web sites for more information about Ivan, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, and more. In honor of Ivan, the author and illustrator of "Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla" have donated a portion of their proceeds from the sale of this book to the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation ( and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (

Rags, Hero Dog of WWI
Margot Theis Raven, author
Petra Brown, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585362585 $16.99

"Rags, Hero Dog of WWI" is a biography of a small white dog who became attached to WWI U. S. Army soldier Private James Donovan in Paris, France. A scruffy street dog, Rags became the boon companion and trusted friend and aide of Private Donovan on the battlefront. Although Rags had no formal canine battle training, he found many supportive, constructive roles in the trenches with his master. He chased mice and rats, carried messages, and followed Private Donovan to the battlefront even when they tried to prevent him by locking him in a building. He helped his master, a signal man, find breaks in the lines on the battlefront and also took messages as a runner, a very dangerous job. He even wore a gas mask and learned to salute, becoming a legend of courage in that most dangerous wartime. Following Donovan into the thick of danger, Rags was injured along with his master in the course of duty. Finally Rags followed Donovan to a Chicago base hospital, where he tried to encourage his master to recover. When Donovan died, Rags eventually accepted adoption by the Hardenbergh family, a military family, with whom he lived and traveled faithfully until his death at the age of 20 years. Amplified by an epilogue and "tail end," the true story of Rags, hero dog of WWI is an inspiration to all, brought fully to life for young readers ages 6-10 by the poetic narrative and moving illustrations of the tough, "loyal little dog who made the Great War human."

What's New? The Zoo!
Kathleen Krull
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545135719, $17.99,

What's New? The Zoo! is illustrated by Marcellus Hall and takes readers on a vibrant global tour of zoos and zoo history around the world, pairing appealing drawings and fun animal reflections with a survey of modern facilities and the latest zoo science. With its blend of animals, history, and insights, it's the next best thing to a visit to the zoo itself, and is as fun and entertaining as it is educational, lending it to leisure browsing and study as well.

The Fiction Shelf

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance
Birgitta Sif, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763673062 $15.99

This is the charming story of a girl named Frances Dean, who loved to dance and dance. Lovely, forest-toned full page illustrations depict Frances Dean dancing with the wind, hearing the many singing birds. But when people were near, watching, Frances Dean forgot how to dance, until one day when her bird friends showed her a little girl singing a beautiful song. This was to inspire Frances Dean to learn to share her dance, and her hearing of the wind and birdsongs. First she practiced all her dance moves alone in the forest with her bird and tree friends for an audience, perfecting her steps and leaps. Then, when she was ready, she let the wind move her, asking the birds, shyly, "Can I show you my dance?" This experience led to more shared dancing experiments, with partners such as her cat, her dog, and an old lady in the square, who showed her how to do the twist. Finally the little girl who sang the beautiful song asked Frances Dean to show her how to dance, and she did. "Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance" is magically enhanced pages of lovely images of children and old people, dancing in a quiet, bird filled park setting, expressing the joy of dance, shared.

The Shade of the Moon
Susan Beth Pfeffer
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544336155, $8.99,

This concludes the series begun in LIFE AS WE KNEW IT, in which a meteor knocks the moon off its orbit and changes life on Earth forever; but it provides new character perspectives in the form of Jon Evans and his family, who left Pennsylvania two years ago in search of a better life. Jon's home is in a protected enclave as the rest of the world falls apart, but they live on edge and Jon is aware that one wrong move can destroy his family. As the series moves through different perspectives and time winds away from the original event, each book becomes more riveting in a series that will delight young adults looking for solid stories of disaster and survival in changed worlds.

The League of Seven
Alan Gratz
TOR Starscape
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780765338228, $16.99,

The League of Seven is first in a middle grade fantasy trilogy set in an alternate 1875 America, where electricity is forbidden, Native Americans have joined with Yankees, and there are monsters loose in the world. Archie's parents are members of a group tasked with protecting humanity from giant monsters who have been trapped in underground prisons. But the defeated are about to rise again when steam-driven America rediscovers electricity, and it becomes the task of a team of seven young heroes to save the world against this rising threat from below. A gripping saga evolves.

Nearly Gone
Elle Cosimano
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803739260, $17.99,

NEARLY GONE provides the debut novel of Ellle Cosimano, daughter of a prison warden who writes a hard-hitting story for ages 14 and up in a genre hard to pin down. Part mystery and part coming of age story, this tells of a young math/science genius who comes from the wrong side of the tracks. Nearly's mother is an exotic dancer and she's obsessed with personal ads and escaping her background, until a serial killer begins attacking students and leaving cryptic newspaper ads only Nearly can understand. Mature teen to adult readers will find this a gripping narrative packed with unexpected twists and turns and powered by a fresh, new voice.

Georgia Clark
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823429493, $17.95,

Tessendra lives in a world where natural resources have nearly been depleted. What's left is funneled into Eden, a powerful city under a protective dome where residents feast on fresh foods and enjoy a life of luxury while citizens of the Badlands struggle and live hand-to-mouth. Tess herself was born an Edinite, but when her mother dies she rebels against this inequality, joins a rebel group, and uncovers a government plot that tests her resolve and perceptions. From robots to romance and social issues, PARCHED holds all the trappings of a thoroughly engrossing futuristic novel.

Where I Belong
Mary Downing Hahn
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544230200, $16.99,

WHERE I BELONG tells of Brendan, a smart and talented artist living with a cold, critical foster mother. Bullied at school and struggling at home, he retreats to a woods refuge; but when he's brutally attacked he discovers both new friends and a new purpose in life in this gripping story of a talented but alienated young boy's search for a place in the world.

Servants of the Storm
Delilah S. Dawson
Simon & Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781482483781, $17.99,

SERVANTS OF THE STORM tells of how Hurricane Josephine nearly destroyed Savannah, Georgia and took the life of Dovey's best friend Carly. Since that night Dovey has been sedated and lives life in a fog of unreality - so when she sees things that can't be real - including her lost best friend - she blames it on the pills and stops taking them. It's then that things really get exciting as she discovers Savannah harbors some deep, dark secrets that include why the storm that destroyed her city is actually a force unlike any she's ever reckoned with. A saga of intrigue and mystery evolves, immersing her - and readers - in other worlds.

Thrones & Bones: Frostborn
Lou Anders
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385387781, $16.99,

THRONES & BONES: FROSTBORN embraces all the elements of fantasy replete in vampires, trolls, and dragons; but none of these is a match for Karn and Thianna, two heroes who become immersed in the board game Thrones and Bones, only to find it opens worlds and friendships. The two flee into the wilderness, there to be chased by a dragon, an undead warrior, and trolls and giants. Humor and fantasy blend in an epic adventure centered around the mysterious powers of the Thrones and Bones board game: perfect for those who enjoy fantasy.

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

Ann M. Martin's BEST KEPT SECRET (9780545359443, $16.99) is Book 3 in the Family Tree series, and revolves around Francie, who thinks of herself as a normal girl with happily-married parents, a nice home, and a best friend. It's a good life, but family secrets and personal challenges lie under the veneer of a calm, smooth journey and when something terrible nearly happens to Francie, she becomes privy to the biggest secret of them all - one she might not keep. This third in the series stands alone but deserves to be read in conjunction with others in the series for real impact: each book centers around a family secret and a protagonist who struggles with it, and the sum proves greater than the parts, in this case. Chris D'Lacey's A DARK INHERITANCE (9780545608763, $16.99) tells of what happens when Michael unexpectedly saves a dog's life, only to discover she can alter reality. He's recruited by a secret group dedicated to investigating the paranormal and agrees to help provided they help him find a father who vanished years ago. Tasked with learning more about his powers, Michael will uncover a mystery that leads him deeper into a strange world that simultaneously challenges him to uncover truths about his abilities and his father's disappearance. A gripping drama unfolds. Garth Nix and Sean Williams' TROUBLETWISTERS: THE MISSING (9780545259002, $17.99) tells of a storm coming: a storm against The Evil, which Jack and Jaide Shield have faced down successfully before. But it's not just their world or even Portland that is now endangered: it's the world and even dimensions beyond what they know. The Wardens have a plan to get rid of The Evil - but destroying it may also mean abandoning the good, including one of the twins. A powerful saga evolves. Victoria Scott's FIRE & BLOOD (9780545537469, $17.99) tells of Tella, whose brother is sick and whose family has decided to move for his sake, for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her brother is dying, and she has no control over her life, until she receives mysterious directions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed, a race across jungles, deserts and oceans that could win a cure for her brother's illness. Add danger, a quest, and a terrifying and questionable set of allies and you have a mystery and adventure that will change or destroy lives. Matt De La Pena's INFINITY RING BOOK EIGHT: ETERNITY (9780545665353, $12.99) is a recommended pick for any who have enjoyed the prior books in the series and tells of two heroes who set the world in its proper place - or did they? Strange events in the present could bring trouble to the past; but they don't seem to hold obvious connections between a Chinese alchemist, a Russian dog, and more. Time travel centers around history gone wrong, how it can be fixed, and why it keeps falling apart. Young middle-school readers receive a guide, clues, and a log-on game to play, all connected with the story. Vicky Alvear Shecter's CURSES AND SMOKE: A NOVEL OF POMPEII (978054509930, $17.99) tells of Tag, who wants to fight in the gladiatorial arena, and Lucia, who wants to explore the world's mysteries including why her city of Pompeii is shaking and why she must marry a much older man, and the romance that blossoms between them. Set against the backdrop of a shaking Pompeii threat, CURSES AND SMOKE brings the early world to life and injects it with believable characters and personal concerns that spring to life. Andy Marino's THE DOOR (9780545531373, $17.99) tells of a door that has stayed closed for years as Hannah leads her isolated life in a lighthouse - until a pair of strangers show up to change her world. When the door is opened, another world is revealed - one in which Hannah doesn't belong, but which threatens to capture her and keep her from her life. The events that transpire, and her choices in them, will affect not only her life but possibly the world in this intricate story of confrontation and change.

The Christmas Shelf

The Spirit of Christmas: A Giving Tradition
Nicky Benson, author
Jason Cockcroft, illustrator
Tiger Tales
P.O. Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781589251885 $16.99 (PB) 9781589255302 $24.99 (HC)

"The Spirit of Christmas" is a children's holiday theme book infused with the true spirit of giving, the best gift to teach children about the meaning of Christmas. Drew is a boy who loves gifts under the tree at Christmas, but his mother tells him that some families cannot afford to give each child the present they would want. She explains that the best thing about Christmas is spreading kindness and cheer. Drew decides to write to Santa to ask how he can share toys and clothes that he would like to give poor children, or those who have less. Santa wrote back to Drew praising him for his Christmas spirit and promised to pick up a special Giving Bag which Drew could fill up with his donated toys and gifts. Drew filled the Giving Bag to the tippy top with toys, games and gifts he wanted to donate to children, and left it under the tree. Santa and his elves gladly picked up the filled Giving Bag and prepared the presents for new children to receive. On Christmas morning, Drew had a stocking and presents as usual, but his favorite surprise was a shiny sliver bell in the bottom of his empty Giving Bag, Santa's way of saying "thank you!" Now every year Drew has a new Giving Bag tradition to share that expresses kindness to others and the joy of giving. Full page realistic color illustrations help express the joy and exuberance of "The Spirit of Christmas," a wonderful holiday book for children ages 3-7 years. In addition to encouraging a Giving Bag tradition in each family, the publisher of "The Spirit of Christmas," Tiger Tales, will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the special gift set (includes, book, bell and bag for $24.99) to the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.

Jingle All The Way
Rachel Sumner
Rachel's Records

Jingle All The Way is a holiday-themed music CD especially for children, but listeners of all ages will enjoy Rachel Sumner's vibrant performance of classic Christmas songs (plus her high-spirited original composition "I Can't Wait For Christmas"). The upbeat music, featuring the support of multiple band members, is perfect for getting into a festive holiday mood! Jingle All The Way is enhanced with three instrumental tracks ideal for sing-alongs, as well song credits, lyrics, and a coloring sheet that can be accessed if the CD is placed in a computer. The tracks are "I Can't Wait For Christmas" (3:20), "Jingle Bells" (3:02), "Here Comes Santa Claus" (1:57), "My Favorite Things" (2:50), "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" (3:13), "Sleigh Ride" (3:08), "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (2:25), "Must Be Santa" (2:47), "Feliz Navidad" (2:51), "Up On The Housetop" (2:01), "Jingle Bell Rock" (2:13), "Deck The Halls" (2:26), "Jingle Bells (instrumental)" (3:02), "Up On The Housetop (instrumental)" (2:01), and "Deck the Halls (instrumental)" (2:26).

The Social Issues Shelf

Bumblebee Bike
Sandra Levins, author
Claire Keay, illustrator
Magination Press
Educational Foundation Publishing Book
American Psychological Association
750 First St. NE, Washington DC 20002
9781433816451 $14.95

"Bumblebee Bike" is described as a story about borrowing something which does not belong to you. David has a secret collection of treasured objects that he has borrowed from others without asking. He took each item covertly from a friend or close acquaintance because he wanted it for himself. He kept his secret stash of stolen items in a box in his closet under a favorite toy. David loved his bumblebee bike best of all his possessions. One day he forgot to leave his bike in the garage as his parents instructed, and it was gone. This made David feel very sad and sick. He also realized that he had made others feel sad or sick because he had taken things from them. He couldn't play with his friends or visit the people he had borrowed things from because they made him feel bad about what he had done. Finally David decided to return all the objects he had borrowed to each person they belonged to, explaining what he had done and apologizing. He still felt bad about his stolen bike, but that changed when a police officer returned it, in slightly used and muddy condition. To help David and others know the bumblebee bike was his, his parents gave him a miniature license plate that said DAVID. Gentle pastel illustrations and a calm narrative style and tone help deliver the full impact of "Bumblebee Bike" in a nonthreatening way. "Bumblebee Bike" is aimed especially at encouraging honesty in children ages 4-8. "Bumblebee Bike" has a special note by Mary Lamia, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, to parents and caregivers to help find ways to use the book to encourage the development of ethical behavior in children.

The Audiobook Shelf

Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile
James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, authors
Bryan Kennedy, narrator
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478955528 $23.00

Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile is the unabridged audiobook rendition of the second adventure of the Kidds. This time, they're searching for the fabled Mines of King Solomon, and their journey will take them from the populous city of Cairo to the hazardous depths of the jungle. Worse, their parents have gone missing! The resourceful Kidds must use their heads and their survival skills, in this exciting adventure, highly recommended especially for public library children's audio collections. 5 CDs, 6 hours.

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Squeaking Skull
Bill Harley
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561458097 $16.95

Read aloud by award-winning author Bill Harley, Charlie Bumpers vs. The Squeaking Skull is the unabridged audiobook rendition of the third book in the popular Charlie Bumpers series for young adults. Set during the Halloween season, Charlie Bumpers vs. The Squeaking Skull begins with Charlie's and Tommy's plans to evade their respective little sisters and go trick-or-treating with friends. But then Charlie learns that the post-trick-or-treat sleepover party will feature one of the scariest movies of all time! Charlie loves sleepovers with his friends, but he can't stand horror movies - what's precocious young boy to do? Charlie Bumpers vs. The Squeaking Skull is spooky good fun, enthusiastically recommended especially for public library children's audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 2 hour 19 min.

The Music CD Shelf

Beauty Land
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127
$12.00 CD / $9.99 digital download

Winner of Parents' Choice and NAPPA Awards, Beauty Land is a music CD by children's performer Dani, in which each song is part of an overall saga involving knights, giants, kings, magical forests, and princesses. The electrifying music draws inspiration from styles ranging from pop and rock to country and jazz, resulting in a fantastic, song-and-storytelling experience that will appeal to adults as well as little ones. Highly recommended! The tracks are "Intro" (1:12), "Skippin Through the Woods" (3:57), "Strange Little Witch" (2:40), "Beauty Land" (4:01), "Magic Wish" (1:13), "Jimmy and the Giant" (3:30), "Mrs. Blue" (2:31), "Mountain King" (2:51), "Run and Fly" (4:41), "Tree Creatures" (3:01), "Kangaroo Kids" (2:46), "Ocean" (2:58), "Beauty Land Reprise" (1:58) and "Outro" (1:02).

The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection
Laurie Berkner
TwoTomatoes Records LLC
c/o Razor & Tie Direct, LLC
PO Box 543, Village Station, New York, NY 10014
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection is a children's music CD featuring kids' top-requested songs at the Laurie Berkner Band's many live performances. Three bonus tracks that have never been on CDs before, and a never-before-released recording of "Magic Box" are also included. A wonderfully upbeat and delightful album, The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection is enthusiastically recommended especially for car trips or other activities with little ones. The tracks are "Walk Along The River" (3:23), "Telephone" (1:45), "Where Is The Cake?" (2:47), "Choc-o-lot In My Pock-o-lot" (2:26), "Bottle Caps" (3:37), "The Cat Came Back" (2:49), "Party Day" (2:45), "My Energy" (1:54), "The Airplane Song" (3:01), "I'm A Mess" (1:01), "Mahalo" (2:27), "Mouse In My Toolbox" (2:19), "These Are My Glasses" (1:43), "Running Down The Hill" (3:14), "The Cookie Bakers Of The Night" (3:55), "Googleheads" (2:55), "Shake Your Body Down" (3:05), "Drive My Car" (1:44), "Goodnight" (3:09), "My Family (extended full band version)" (3:17), "Magic Box (full band version)" (2:57), and "One Seed" (2:55).

Move and Learn
Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477, Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477
KIM 9325CD $15.95

Move and Learn is a Kimbo Educational music CD designed to help young children (especially toddlers through the early grades) enjoy exercising their bodies and their inquisitive minds. The songs not only encourage the development of motor control, but also learning how to count, basic nutrition, days of the week, body part identification, and more. With cheerful music and easy-to-follow movements, Move and Learn is a wonderful, educational resource for classrooms or babysitting! The tracks are "Alphabet Search", "Movin' Every Day", "Make a Circle in the Air", "Five Little Crabs", "I Can Do More", "Color Squares", "Alphabet March & Match", "Numeral Dance", "Reader's Hokey Pokey", "Count With Me", "Veggie Power", "Mariachi Mind Moves", "How Many Ways?", "The Alphabet Months", "Roll It!", and "Freeze!". Also highly recommended is Kimbo Educational's "Baby Gym" (KIM 9324 CD, $15.95, 60 min.) a lighthearted, movement-based CD created especially to help parents and caregivers encourage babies to develop their muscles.

Demi Mays and friends
Growing Sound
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Avenue
Spring Hill, FL 34608

Ideal for toddlers and preschoolers ages two and up, Dandelion is a delightfully playful music CD. The cheerful vocals balance a variety of lively musical styles, and the entertaining lyrics help teach little ones about the world around them! The tracks are "Dandelion", "'Cause I Love it", "I Clap, I Shout", "Wipe It Away", "Make a Face", "Only Food in My Mouth", "Baby Animal Song", "Hello Sky, Hello Earth", "The Sun Always Shines", "We Are Walking", "Let's Pick a Picture", "Way, Way Deep", and "Way, Way Deep (Extended Instrumental for Quiet Time)".

The DVD Shelf

John Deere Farm Days 1
James Coffey, songs
TM Books & Video
PO Box 9228
Michigan City, IN 46361
9781936890880 $9.99

John Deere Farm Days 1 is an informative DVD for children, featuring John Deere farming equipment and amazing facts about life on a farm. From the hard work that bees do to help plants grow, to the daily care of an apple orchard, to kids learning how to ride horses at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, to the construction of a John Deere Gator riding vehicle at the Peg Perego factory, John Deere Farm Days 1 is a whirlwind tour, peppered with catchy songs by James Coffey. A delightful, fun-to-share short film! 35 min.

The Multimedia Shelf

Gustafer Yellowgold's Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom
Morgan Taylor
Apple-Eye Productions
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Sixth in the delightful Gustafer Yellowgold multimedia series for children ages 4 and up, Gustafer Yellowgold's Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom is a DVD and CD set following the bright yellow Sun-resident Gustafer Yellowgold's adventures. The DVD features hand-drawn, lively pop music videos about Gustafer's quest to discover the owner of an unusually large molar tooth; his travels take him to a grizzly bear dentist, and culminates in a meeting with "Wisdom Tooth". A joy to view, and a wonderful way to ease little ones into preparing for a trip to the dentist, Gustafer Yellowgold's Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom is highly recommended. The songs are "Telephone Called", "It Suits You", "Toothloser", "Secret Fox", "Smilefield", "I Can't Feel My Face", "Thought Balloon", "Yawn", "The Wisdom Tooth", and "We Got The Bite". 100 min.

The Activity Shelf

Tori & the Jackstones, Book 1: The Great Note Caper
Rod P. Stoner, author
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781500108748 $12.95

An interactive story, adventure puzzle book for all ages, "Tori and the Jackstones: The Great Note Caper" is a combination musical mystery, adventure, and multiple aspect puzzle for action-loving young audiences age 10 and up. "Tori & the Jackstones" is the name of a great detective band; readers are invited to join the band and participate in the adventure, solving puzzles, word games, musical memory challenges, mazes, and more as they tackle overcoming their nemesis the Trouble Clefs and other competitor bands in their search for musical success. In the process of following the adventure through solving puzzles, a musical mystery evolves that must be resolved or a sinister device will be activated to steal all music, inflame crowds and mobs, and destroy the concert venue. "Tori & the Jackstones: The Great Note Caper" enables middle school age readers to learn and grow into a fuller appreciation of music and logic skills while they enjoy the excitement of the great adventure of reading. The black and white illustrations and musical symbols enhance each page, text line, and puzzle.

The Search for Catbug
Created by Pendleton Ward
Viz Media LLC
1355 Market Street, Suite 200
San Francisco CA 94103
9781421571775 $14.99

The Search for Catbug is a simple activity book featuring characters from the animated children's cartoon "Bravest Warriors". The premise is that Catbug has eaten a strange foodstuff and can't control his own teleportation - so the reader has to find Catbug in each full-color, two-page artwork spread. Every action-packed illustration has been created by a different artist, in this excellent rainy-day fun activity! (There's a visual answer key in the back, too). Also highly recommended for young fans of Catbug and "Bravest Warriors" is "Catbug's Treasure Book" (9781421563923, $12.99), a mishmash "scrapbook" of short stories, witty insights, color illustrations, and just plain silly fun.

Ticktock Books
c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017,

Readers in grades 3-6 will find compelling Sasha Marton's guide to a girls' sleepover night, SUPER SLEEPOVER SECRETS (9781783251209, $10.99), which focuses on hair, nails and fashion secrets and is geared to young girls seeking activities and games for sleepovers. A free app can be downloaded along with this book that allows access to 'how-to' videos supporting this book's step-by-step photo guides to beauty treatments kids can do together. From decorating and planning for a sleepover/makeover event to checking that none of the foods contain allergens, this is a fun sleepover beauty-based activity planning guide girls will love. ZOOM IN! VISUAL ILLUSIONS AND GUESSING GAMES (9781783251629, $9.99) is a fine reader for grades 2-4, and packs in alternate views of ordinary objects. From super-magnified images to strange perspectives, its pages offer close-ups of tree rings, spaghetti, leaves, walnuts, and all kinds of everyday items that look other-worldly under the microscope. The result is an intriguing, fun guide that will appeal to any budding young scientist.

Foil It! series
Suzanne Schwalb
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
$14.99 each

Suitable for children ages 4 and up (but not for children 3 and under due to the potential choking hazard of small parts), the Foil It! series of sticker kits is an easy-to-use, hands-on activity kit for creating vibrant, multicolored foam stickers that can brighten up all sorts of everyday objects such as tote bags or back-to-school folders. Each kit comes with ten foam boards of 50+ punch-out sticker shapes, 30 sparkling foil sheets in six colors, and simple instructions that anyone can follow. Kids add the colors of their choice to the stickers one section at a time - simply by pulling away bits of adhesive paper, and rubbing foil on the sticky surface revealed, until the now-colorful sticker is ready to be used. A wonderful, hands-on activity for babysitting, parties, or rainy-day fun, the Foil It! series also makes a great birthday or holiday gift. Foil It! series installments each have a different theme for their foil stickers, currently including "Butterflies and Friends" (9781441313775), "Cute & Cuddly" (9781441313737), "Dinosaurs" (9781441313829), "Enchanted Forest" (9781441313799), "Fantastic" (9781441313720), "Fashion Show" (9781441313782), "Flower Garden" (9781441313751), "Merry Christmas" (1441313744), "Ocean Friends" (9781441313713), "Outer Space" (9781441313812), "Princess" (9781441313768), and "Super Safari" (9781441313805).

The Cookbook Shelf

c/o Octopus Publishing
236 Park Avenue, New York NY 10017

Two new books are recommended for parents and kids of age to learn about food and its preparation, and combine healthy recipes kids will love with instructions on easy preparations for busy parents or young beginning cooks. Amanda Cross's MY FIRST JUICES & SMOOTHIES (9780600629672, $9.99) is all about getting kids to heat healthy fruit and vegetables, and offers some 60 easy, step-by-step recipes for natural juices and smoothies. From berries to orange juices, these are approaches the whole family can enjoy and feature quick preparations, nutrition notes, and tips on juicing and flavors. Becky Johnson's MY FIRST BAKING BOOK (9780600629665, $9.99) is more for kids who want to cook, and covers the basics of making some 50 savory and sweet dishes that are child-friendly. Recipes include special icons for steps a child can do independently, and all are based on parental supervision and child-friendly preparation and results.

The ABC Shelf

Take Away the A
Michael Escoffier and Kris Di Giacomo
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592701568 $17.95

Take Away the A is a unique ABC picturebook that explores how words change when one subtracts a letter! "Without the L PLANTS wear PANTS. // Without the M the FARM is too FAR." Whimsical color illustrations, such as dapper pants-wearing plants or farm animals trying to hitchhike home, illustrate the silly propositions, in this delightful way to help young people better understand words, spelling, and the role of letters. Also highly recommended for young readers is "Fox's Garden" (9781592701674, $14.95) by Princesse Camcam, a hauntingly beautiful, wordless picturebook about a fox and the young boy who extends compassion to her when she needs it the most, during a cold, snowy winter night.

Books in Series

Investigate Alcohol
Marylou Ambrose and Veronica Deisler, authors
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road, Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766042537 $24.95

"Investigate Alcohol" is a leading title from the middle school educational series Investigate Drugs. Presented in 6 chapters, 102 pages, "Investigate Alcohol" tackles problems related to alcohol overconsumption from a historical aspect, an observation of how alcohol works, alcohol's dangerous or "uncool" aftereffects, dealing with alcohol in everyday life, and recent treatment trends in "What's Up Next." A glossary, chapter notes, and references for more information, including suggested books and web sites are provided, along with a list of organizations to aid in recovery from alcohol addiction. Further enhanced by informative sidebars, tables, graphs, and color photographs, "Investigate Alcohol" presents a careful miniature portrait of modern outlooks on alcohol usage and interventions for alcohol abuse for middle schoolers. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the Investigate Drugs series: "Investigate Club Drugs" (9780766042216, $24.95), by Alison and Stephen Eldridge, "Investigate Steroids and Performance Drugs" (9780766042407, $24.95), by Sara L. Latta, "Investigate Cocaine and Crack" (9780766042551, $24.95), by Marylou Ambrose and Veronica Deisler, and "Investigate Amphetamines" (9780766042544, $24.95), by Marylou Ambrose and Veronica Deisler.

Life In Freshwater Lakes
Mirella S. Miller, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781626872950 $27.07

"Life In Freshwater Lakes" is an intriguing educational book from the Life In Water Biomes series for elementary students. Beginning with chapters on the formation and definition of freshwater lakes, this colorfully illustrated text goes on to explore different lake levels, shorelines, open water, lake trout, the dark depths, and the lake food chain, which is described as "the way that plants and animals work together in a habitat." An example of a lake food chain shows a series of bubble pictures of a carp, leading to mayflies, connecting to plankton, linking to algae, which is linked to sunlight. A glossary and bibliography including web sites completes the text of "Life In Freshwater Lakes," an appealing survey of the biome media. Additional titles from the Life In Water Biomes series that are also highly recommended include: "Life In Rivers" (9781626872998, $27.07), by Mirella S. Miller, "Life In Ponds" (9781626872981, $27.07), by Lauren Coss, "Life In Oceans" (9781626872974, $27.07), by Lauren Coss, "Life In Freshwater Marshes" (9781626872967, $27.07), by Mirella S. Miller, and "Life In Estuaries" (9781626872943, $27.07), by Lauren Coss.

Life Cycles
Angela Royston, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433987113 $26.60

"Life Cycles" is an educational title from the Life Science Stories series for grade school students. Filled with color photography, question and answer titles and headliners, informative sidebars, and exciting presentations, "Life Cycles" explores the nature of full life cycles of many different kinds of living creatures from conception and birth to death. Special sidebars titled True Story, Survival Story, and Future Story provide pertinent information about such topics as a species' special adaptations or the danger of excessive usage of chemicals to the life expectancy of bees and the impact of that. "Life Cycles" covers not only the life stories of many animals and mammals, but also plants, flowers, fruits, insects, fish, amphibians, and more. Especially interesting is the amazing data on ways different animals and other creatures care for their young after birth. "Life Cycles" teaches young science students about amphibians, marsupials, insects, reptiles, and mammals as well as other living things. A glossary offers definitions of technical terms, and a section titled For More Information offers books, web sites and more suggestions for further study. "Life Cycles" is a vivid, collaborative text with many exciting tweaks to entice life sciences students to pursue further learning. Additional titles from the Life Science Stories series that are also highly recommended include: "Food Webs" (9781433987076, $26.60), by Leon Gray, "Animal Classification" (9781433987038, $26.60), by Angela Royston, "Life in Extreme Places" (9781433987151, $26.60), by Leon Gray, "Adaptation and Survival" (9781433986994, $26.60), by Louise and Richard Spilsbury, and "Plant Classification" (9781433987199, $26.60), by Leon Gray.

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

Books in the 'Engineering Close-Up' series is designed for readers ages 5-8 and provides picture books holding some 24 pages each of basic details on what engineers do. Reagan Miller's ENGINEERING IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES (9780778700920, $16.95) examines how engineering is apparent in everything from cars and video games to running shoes and roller coasters, Miller's ENGINEERS BUILD MODELS (9780778700937, $16.95) examines how engineers use models to test and improve designs, Miller works with Crystal Sikkens in ENGINEERS SOLVE PROBLEMS (9780778700944, $16.95), discussing the kinds of problems engineers help solve and the tools they use to solve design issues, and Robin Johnson's HOW ENGINEERS FIND SOLUTIONS (9780778700951, $16.95) considers how different kinds of solutions apply to different engineering challenges. The result is a fine collection of readers perfect for any youngster who wants to know what an engineer does.

Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9

Three new titles in the Karen Patkau's Ecosystem series from Tundra Books cover different ecosystems, with each book providing about 32 pages packed with contemporary color photos and details. WHO NEEDS A PRAIRIE? (9781770493889, $17.99) pairs lovely art with lyrical text to discuss the plants and animals that live in a prairie environment. From the food chain and cycles of life on the prairie to the Great Plains and its creatures, young readers receive a fine guide to the prairie's ecology. WHO NEEDS A DESERT? (9781770493869, $17.99) examines how deserts are formed and the kinds of plants and animals that live there, considering how the desert changes over time and why desert ecosystems are important. WHO NEEDS A REEF? (9781770493902, $19.99) covers coral reefs and presents illustrator author Karen Patkau's survey of different plants and animals that live there. All three pair fine illustrations with ecology, natural history notes, and a survey of threats to each ecosystem, and all are recommended for any young person studying natural history.

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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