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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 25, Number 10 October 2015 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Economics Shelf Biography Shelf
Science Shelf Parenting Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Fiction Shelf Picturebook Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Travel Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Self-Help Shelf Psychology Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Geography Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf American History Shelf Poetry Shelf
Social Issues Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Fabulous Me, Piper Lee and the Peanut Butter Itch
Tolya L. Thompson, author
Terence Gaylor, illustrator
Savor Publishing House Inc.
P.O. Box 701, Citrus Heights, CA 95621
9780970829672, $16.95,

"Fabulous Me, Piper Lee and the Peanut Butter Itch" presents a classic dilemma faced by a child who is tempted to taste a forbidden food (because of food allergies). Written in hypnotic verse, "Fabulous Me, Piper Lee and the Peanut Butter Itch" fails to listen to her internal angel's warning admonitions, and tries just one blissful taste of forbidden peanut butter bliss. What happens next? First it tastes yummy, but then Piper Lee begins to wiggle, scratch and twist because she has an itch ...everywhere! Then her lip swells, her nose itches, and she begins to wheeze, while her better self comment "This is definitely not good!" A rash begins to show on Piper Lee's face and it is time to call her Mom, who diagnoses the cause and begins the treatment with a special shot and a trip to the ER. There the medical staff help and observe her while her symptoms go down and she begins to breathe normally. What lessons did she learn? "Peanuts are not good for me. (I wear this bracelet so all can see)." "If bad reactions come my way, epinephrine can save the day. I must get the shot right away. This is what the doctors say." Ebullient, joyous, colorful illustrations help underline the message, and Piper Lee carries the day, with the help of MeMe and Mom. An African-American heroine projects unstoppable energy and courage in dealing with the tricky task of living with a food allergy.

Remarkable Minds
Pendred E. Noyce
Tumblehome Learning Inc.
PO Box 171386, Boston, MA 02117
9780990782902, $18.95, 192pp,

For centuries, women have risen above their traditional roles to pursue a new understanding of the natural world. "Remarkable Minds: 16 More Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine" introduces young readers ages 12 and older to the lives, sayings, and dreams of sixteen women spanning over four centuries and chronicles their contributions to mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. Some of the notable women portrayed in the book include French mathematician Marie-Sophie Germain, known for her work in Elasticity theory, differential geometry, and number theory; Scottish chemist Elizabeth Fulhame, best known for her 1794 work 'An Essay on Combustion'; and Rita Levi-Montalcini, who, with colleague Stanley Cohen, received the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of nerve growth factor. "Remarkable Minds" offers inspiration to all girls and young women considering a career in the sciences. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Remarkable Minds: 16 More Pioneering Women in Science and Medicine" is specifically designed for young readers ages 12 and older, and for use with students in grades 7 to 12. "Remarkable Minds" is very highly recommended, especially for school and community library biography and science history collections.

Spirit Training
Dr. William L. Conwell
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781480813250 $11.99,

Spirit Training: A Book of Ethics for Black Teens is a guide designed to help black teens tackle common challenges whether at school or in their communities, and creates a powerful training program in a book that is based on traditional African values and principles of living and resisting negative influences in the world. One could deem this a philosophical piece, a psychological self-help guide, or a set of insights into African cultural values; but it also uses brain science in combination with ancient traditions to encourage teens to examine their foundations of their beliefs and pair them with experiences. Chapters tackle such topics as developing fearlessness, understanding the wider ramifications of sharing, and preparing to be a hero in the world, with suggested activities encouraging teens to think about themselves and their worlds in a different light. The result is a special kind of guide that skirts the line between spiritual, philosophical and psychological details to provide teens with solid information that juxtaposes questions about belief systems to insights on values.

Lucy in the City
Julie Dillemuth, author
Laura Wood, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433819278 $14.95 hc / $9.95 pbk

Lucy in the City: A Story About Developing Spatial Thinking Skills is a children's picturebook with an underlying lesson about problem solving and learning "spatial thinking" skills - the ability to analyze spatial relationships and navigate or react to one's environment. When Lucy the raccoon follows her family into the city for nighttime scavenging, she doesn't pay much attention to where they are traveling and accidentally gets behind. How can Lucy find her way home? With the help of a friendly owl, she uses her mind to carefully reason how to retrace her steps. "She sniffed again. Popcorn. Lucy knew that scent. She had smelled it along the way. If she could find it again, she would be one step closer to home." At the end of Lucy in the City are four pages of notes to parents/caregivers/professionals and five pages of activities for young readers (including encouragement to draw things around Lucy, or solve a maze). Highly recommended.

The Economics Shelf

M is for Money
Debbie and Michael Shoulders, authors
Illustrated by Marty Kelley
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585368174 $16.99

M is for Money: An Economics Alphabet is an ABC book designed to teach young readers about the basics of economics. Each letter entry features a brief rhyming verse, and an extensive, fact- filled sidebar. For example, complementing "W is for World Trade // People all around the world trade / for products that others make: / Japanese electronics, German cars, / and tasty Swiss chocolate cake." is three sidebar paragraphs expanding on concept of world trade. Cheerful color illustrations enhance this educational book crafted to appeal to both beginning readers learning the alphabet and older children who are curious about how money and trade work. Highly recommended.

The Biography Shelf

Stay Strong: A Musician's Journey from Congo
Natalie Hyde
Clockwise Press
9780993935121 $12.95 pbk
9780993935138 $8.95 ebook

The first book of the "Arrivals" nonfiction series for about the lives of immigrants and refugees (intended for young adult readers ages 12 and up), Stay Strong: A Musician's Journey from Congo tells the true-life story of Gentil Misigaro, who grew up in Congo amid violence, suffering, fear, and death. For fifteen years he and his family moved from country to country seeking to escape war and horror, traveling from their village in Congo to Rwanda and the Uganda. In the process, Gentil found strength and meaning in music; when his family was accepted to a new home in Canada, Gentil envisioned music as bringing transformative change for the better to his adopted homeland. A handful of black-and-white photographs, a list of resources (including websites offering ways that kids can help), and an index round out this unforgettable story of survival and hope.

The Science Shelf

Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet
Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson
National Geographic Press
145 - 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC, 20036-4688
9781426322068, $18.99, 96pp,

Space is still the final frontier and Mars continues to make news and attract generations of young people. A fascinating and informational book, "Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet" by hero-astronaut Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson challenges curious kids ages 8 to 12 to think about Mars as not just a faraway red planet but as a possible future home for Earthlings! What will your new home be like? How will you get there? What will you eat for breakfast? Find out what life might be like far, far from Earth as you navigate your way through this fun and fascinating book. What kid wouldn't want to blast off with him on this (literary) journey! Of special note is the inclusion of hands-on 'kid friendly' science experiments. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, "Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet" is profusely illustrated and enthusiastically recommended for students in 3 to 7, and should be a part of every school and community library collection for young readers.

Junk Drawer Chemistry
Bobby Mercer
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613731796, $14.95,

Bobby Mercer has been sharing the fun of science for more than two decades as a high school physics teacher. He now presented "Junk Drawer Chemistry: 50 Awesome Experiments That Don't Cost a Thing", a 224 page compendium of fun and educational science projects that can be done with ordinary materials often found laying around the house. Kids ages 9 and older will learn how to turn an old LED flashlight into an Energy Drink Tester using aluminum foil and electrical tape; mix cornstarch and water to make Non-Newtonian Goo; use a 9-volt battery and thumbtacks to break water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen; create edible Sweet Crystals from a saturated sugar solution; construct your own Three-Penny Battery from galvanized washers, pennies, vinegar, and scrap cardboard; and so much more! "Junk Drawer Chemistry" showcases 50 great hands-on experiments that can be performed for just pennies or even free! Each project has a materials list, detailed step-by-step instructions with illustrations, and a brief explanation of the scientific principle being demonstrated including atoms, compounds, solutions, mixtures, reactions, thermodynamics, acids and bases, and more. Very highly recommended for family, school, and community library instructional reference collections, it should be noted that "Junk Drawer Chemistry" is also available in a Kindle edition ($12.39).

The Parenting Shelf

Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children
Azmaira H. Maker, Ph.D., author
Polona Lovsin, illustrator
Aspiring Families Press
12625 High Bluff Drive, Ste. 104, San Diego, CA 92130
9780996194105, $14.95,

"Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" is an excellent resource to help children ages 4-8 to understand and process the experience of divorce and separation of their parents. "Family Changes" uses the empathetic story characters of Zoey Bunny and Mama Bunny and Daddy Bunny to tell a story of a young bunny adjusting to separation and divorce of her parents. These characters and the story framework make it comfortable for a child to think about different emotional responses, feelings, and questions they have about the divorce/separation. Written by an experienced clinical psychologist, "Family Changes" addresses many of the issues commonly raised by children of divorce, such as guilt, fear, responsibility, uncertainty, doubt, abandonment, and more. The bunny characters, tender, expressive illustrations, and gentle dialogues in the story are framed to encourage a child's participation and exploration of their feelings and fears relating to divorce. Some helpful responses and techniques for quieting anxieties are suggested in the wise and touching narrative, and there is a list of further therapeutic Process Questions for Adults to Discuss With Children suggested at the end. "Family Changes: Explaining Divorce to Children" is a valuable, sensitively written story for families and children experiencing divorce and separation.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Great and Mighty Nikko! A Bilingual Counting Book
Xavier Garza, author/illustrator
Cinco Puntos Press
701 Texas, El Paso, Texas 79901
9781935955832, $7.95,

From southern Texas bursts the bilingual counting adventure, "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" By an award winning author, artist and storyteller, "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" is a fabulous big screen comic book counting escapade, with Nikko wrestling with his many masked wrestlers (toy) on his bed (instead of going to sleep). Hispanic boys who are learning to count, read, and draw will adore "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" It's masked luchadores who make up the mighty Luche Libre Ring prove no match for the great and Mighty Nikko. Fortunately, Nikko's mother observes in the end that even the great and might Nikko, king of Lucha Libre, needs to sleep once in a while. Brilliant graphic images of masked luchadores alternate with bilingual large speech balloons, as the reader is completely drawn into the bedcover world of Lucha Libre, home base of the Great and Mighty Nikko. Could counting or reading in two languages be any more fun?

The Three Billy Goats Gruff/Ttizi Chqqh Chq'i Taa'ii
Rebecca Hu-Van Wright, storyteller
Ying-Hwa Hu, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
9781595727299, $6.99,

This new bilingual version of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" is beautifully presented in Navajo and English, with warmly expressive, humorous illustrations of the main story characters: Three different sized goats, a rickety wooden bridge, and the mean Troll. The story proceeds with a reassuring pace and repetition, with the smallest goat crossing the bridge first to try to reach the visible better grazing on the other side. When the goat trip-traps across the rickety wooden bridge, The mean Troll roars "WHO'S THAT CROSSING MY BRIDGE?" And later, he threatens, "I'M GOING TO GOBBLE YOU UP!" Fortunately the little goat is able to persuade the Troll (who is evidently not very bright) that he should not bother eating him because he is so little, but he should wait for his brother, a bigger goat. The story proceeds according to an ancient inevitable formula to the happy ending (for the goats). This new Navajo/English version of an old fairy tale is refreshing and enticing, presenting the Navajo narrative at the top of each page, followed by the English version. Of course the fantastic illustrations help declare and emphasize the story line, and an audience of small readers everywhere will embrace the familiarity of this delightful, timeless chestnut, so lovingly re-told, with a new Navajo flavor.

The Fiction Shelf

Jake's Balloon Blast
Ken Spillman, author
Chris Nixon, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
9781595726827, $4.99,

"Jake's Balloon Blast" is an early chapter story about a boy who dreams of flying. From the "Jake" series for elementary readers, "Jake's Balloon Blast" is the exciting tale of an imaginative boy who works to bring his dream to life, even though there are some snags along the way. Involve a friend, draw up some diagrams, develop a plan, try some experiments, what could go wrong? Kids will be thrilled by Jake's can do attitude, even if they can predict problems with his flying balloon plan and design. Jake's Dad does not realize the significance or reality of the balloon blast plan until Jake is seen drifting aloft by his Nana, who sees both sides of the fun escapade. Zany, action packed black and white drawings add to the appeal of "Jake's Balloon Blast," and young readers will have no problem with keeping pages turning. The character of Jake evokes admiration for durability and determination, while seeking his dream of flying.

Wandering Woolly
Andrea Gabriel, author/illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
97816285555855, $17.95,

"Wandering Woolly" is the Ice Age story of a baby mammoth named Woolly, who got separated from her mother and aunties' herd when she went exploring near the ice-filled river during spring thawing time. Little Woolly fell through the edge of glacier ice into the raging river and got carried downriver on the current. Soon she found a log to rest and hold on to, but she could not leave the river yet. As she sped by on her wild ride, she glimpsed a huge ground sloth, grazing in the trees, a hunting American lion, a giant beaver, a short-faced bear mother and cub, and a Clovis human village with hunting dogs, a saber-toothed cat family, and more. Woolly was tired and hungry and missed her mother's milk. Finally Woolly was able to get to the river shore safely, but she was a long way away from her mother and herd. Listening to her mother's and aunties' rumbling voices with her feet, Woolly was able to work her way back to her mother and herd safely. They were overjoyed to see her and Woolly was glad to be underneath her mother's warm furry legs and safe again. Stunning paintings depict Woolly and her adventures in Ice Age North America over 4,000 years ago. A For Creative Minds Section at the end of "Wandering Woolly" shows a sequencing puzzle demonstrating the expanding and shrinking of the glacier covering North America between 42,000 years ago and 6,000 years ago. Another game shows pictures and descriptions to help compare mammoths with elephants. Additional information is provided about the Clovis people and other extinct Ice Age animals depicted in the story. An interesting question to resolve is when, approximately, did Woolly live? The answer can be determined (in thousands of years ago) by the other extinct species examples she encountered on her river journey (since the giant ground sloth went extinct 13,000 years ago, little Woolly must have lived more than 13,000 years ago, although mammoths did not become extinct until 4,000 years ago.) "Wandering Wooly" is a fascinating fictional account of a woolly mammoth's experience in Ice Age North America over 13,000 year ago. Written simply, enriched with stunning imaginative artistic scenes, this beautiful book will appeal to young readers ages 4-8.

The Dragonfly Club: A Friend In Need
Mari Ringness, author
North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
P.O. Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878397785, $12.95,

"The Dragonfly Club" is a short, inspirational chapter story about an unlikely friendship between two fourth-grade girls, Grace and Tillie, that blossoms into the Dragonfly Club, whose rhyming motto is: "The Dragonfly Club will help those in need, always succeed, and be forever friends with no need to bleed." Overcoming shyness and timidity, Grace becomes close to Tillie, a three foster home placement survivor who is determined to tackle new challenges positively. Other friends become part of the group and all are united in an unselfish project to raise funds for a bicycle for Tillie. Bonds are formed, vows exchanged, and friendship flourishes among four girls until the inevitable day for Tillie's departure to a new home looms. Simultaneously, a new candidate for admission to the Dragonfly Club, Sammy J., is introduced by Tillie. Although it is difficult, all four members vote acceptance and Sammy completes her admission requirement by capturing and freeing a dragonfly, while promising to help others, according to the Dragonfly Club Code. Secret tree house meetings, special codes of conduct, and supportive friendships all figure in the plot and action of "The Dragonfly Club," an imaginative and appealing story in a series that promises to ensnare the interests of middle grade girls and others who face the enormous challenge of growing up and becoming humane.

Dropping In
Geoff Havel
Fremantle Press
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781925162219, $9.95, 120pp,

An ideal and certain to be popular addition to school and community library General Fiction collections "Dropping In" is an action-packed middle-grade story that explores friendship, bullying, and living with a disability. Ian and Warren, better known as Sticks and Ranga, are best friends. They live on the same street, go to the same school and love the same things, like skateboarding and PlayStation. When new kid James arrives in class in his wheelchair, Sticks isn't sure they can be friends. But Sticks quickly discovers they have a lot in common. Cerebral palsy stops James from doing some things but it hasn't dulled his sense of humor -- and he's pretty brainy, too. Soon James becomes an inseparable part of the Sticks, Ranga, and James show. Exceptionally well written and a thoroughly absorbing from beginning to end, "Dropping In" is very highly recommended for young readers ages 9 to 12 and students in grades 4 to 7.

Head of the River
Pip Harry
University of Queensland Press
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780702253263, $17.95, 204pp,

Tall, naturally talented, and the offspring of Olympians, superstar siblings Leni and Cristian Popescu are set to row Harley Grammar to victory in the annual Head of the River race. With six months until the big race, the twins can't lose. Or can they? When Cristian is seduced by the easy route of performance-enhancing drugs, and Leni is suffocated with self-doubt, their bright futures start to fade. Juggling family, high expectations, study, break-ups, new relationships, and wild parties, the pressure starts to build. As the final moments tick down to the big race, will they make it to the start line or will they plummet from grace? "Head of the River" is a terrifically entertaining read and especially recommended for teens ages 12 to 18 and in grades 7 to 12. Very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Head of the River" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.59).

The Farmerettes
Gisela Tobien Sherman
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781927583647, $12.95, 348pp,

In "The Farmerettes', six girls just out of high school live together during the summer of 1943 on a farm as part of the Canadian Farm Service Force, doing the work of the men who are off fighting the war in Europe. We follow the stories of Helene, who sends her wages home to support her single mother; Peggy, a flirt who spends her time writing to her soldier beaux; Binxie, whose rich family doesn't approve of her; Isabel, who pines over her fiance, who is off fighting; Jean, whose family farm has been taken over by the "farmerettes," as they became known; and the mysterious X, who of all the girls feels the most out of place. Friendship, romance, hardship and heartbreak shape their summer, all against the backdrop of the World War II. "The Farmerettes" by Gisela Tobien Sherman is the stuff of which award-winning BBC television series are made! Impressively well written from beginning to end, "The Farmerettes" is a thoroughly absorbing read and very highly recommended for both school and community YA fiction collections for young readers ages 13 to 18.

The Anthropologist's Daughter
Vanessa Furse Jackson
Barking Rain Press
c/o BRP Publishing Group
PO Box 822674, Vancouver, WA 98682
9781941295137, $19.95, 210pp,

After the death of her mother, ten-year-old Imogen Hearne moves from London with her older sister, Rosalind, and her father to Farleigh, a rural village in North Devon where her father's family has deep roots. Her father hides his grief by burying himself in his work at the university, while Rosalind vents her anguish by acting up and running off with friends leaving Immy to fend for herself. To pass the time, Immy decides to take after her father and become an anthropologist, studying the different ways that people manage grief. As she wanders through the village and the countryside to study the locals, she watches, listens, and makes notes, looking for clues she can use to bring her fractured family back together again. "The Anthropologist's Daughter" by Vanessa Furse Jackson is an impressively well written and genuinely moving prequel to "The Revolving Year" (9781935460824, $13.95 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 232pp) making it a very welcome reunion with familiar and much-loved characters and places. "The Anthropologist's Daughter" is enthusiastically recommended for school and community YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Anthropologist's Daughter" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

Meli's Way
Meredith Sue Willis
Montemayor Press
PO Box 546, Monpelier, VT 05675
9781932727159, $15.95, 196pp,

Tired of her upscale private academy in New York City, fourteen-year-old Meli Rossi transfers to Ciudad City School of the Future, which provides an individualized curriculum, an opportunity to make real friends, and insights into her mother's unconventional background in the 1960s. Meli is a self-identified weird teenager who prefers exploring a museum to attending classes at school wanted the transfer so that she could study ancient Chinese ceramics and make friends even weirder than she is. But home life with her mother gets ever so much more complicated, as does her social life with her peers. Ultimately Meli must face one of the darkest aspects of the wider world she now finds herself living in. "Meli's Way" is a deftly crafted and inherently absorbing read from beginning to end, making it very highly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as school and community library YA Fiction collections.

Betsy Cornwell
Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547927718, $17.99,

Mechanica tells of a girl's terrible stepsisters, who call her 'Mechanica' to demean her because she has a knack for inventing things, learned from her mother. Now that her mother is gone, these stepsisters run amok and Nicolette is helpless against them - until she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and uses it to build new possibilities fueled by her mechanical talents. This retelling of the classic Cinderella tale with a twist holds many expansions on the theme and embeds its characters with a contemporary flavor that young adult teen leisure readers will love. The juxtaposition of fantasy and social commentary is delightful, as is the unexpected twist that leads Nicolette to desire more from life than either escape or romance can bring.

Ingrid Law
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803738621, $16.99,

Switch provides a companion story to the Newbery Honor winner Savvy and is especially recommended for fans of the prior book. Here Gypsy Beaumont holds special plans for her 'savvy' - a talent that strikes every Beaumont on their thirteenth birthday - but when she actually receives her talent, it's not what she expects. To make matters even more complicated, the savvy knacks are changing suddenly, and it's up to Gypsy to use her strange new talent to make things right in her family. This engrossing fantasy is a delightful pick for middle to high school readers looking for a different flavor in their stories; especially tales of the unexpected.

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

Kevin Sands' The Blackthorn Key (9781481446518, $17.99) tells of Christopher Rowe, a happy boy who loves to solve codes and puzzles and who is an herbal apprentice working with Master Benedict Blackthorn, a notable apothecary. When a murderer of London's chemists arrives too close to home, Christopher must use all his abilities to not only stop them, but work with a terrible secret he uncovers in the process. The result is an engrossing story filled with twists and turns, recommended for teen leisure readers who like fantasy and mystery alike. Alison McGhee's Firefly Hollow (9781442423367, $16.99) receives a peppering of lovely color drawings by Christopher Denise throughout as it follows a young Firefly who isn't content with flying around Earth, but wants to touch the moon. Cricket also dreams about using his voice for something more. And soon the two leave their beloved Hollow to pursue their impossible dreams in a saga for ages 8-12 which is reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows. Dreams, friendships, and extraordinary adventure compels the animal and insect protagonists of Firefly Hollow to high goals in this compelling saga.

The Picturebook Shelf

Laura Jensen-Kimball, author
Peter Mahr, illustrator
9780996364607 $19.99 hc / $3.99 Kindle

Intended for children ages 4-10, MOMSTER is a rhyming picturebook with a strong message about the importance of respecting other people enough to apologize for and work to redress one's wrongdoings. When a lazy young boy ignores his mom's request for help, choosing to watch a television cartoon rather than aid her with groceries or clean up his own mess of dropped potato chips, she turns into a frightening MOMSTER, with squid-like tentacles and a hideously terrifying face! Only an apology for being so thoughtless, combined with action of doing needed household chores, can bring Mom back. "Her loving eyes were calm, the claws were now retracted- / I realized her transformation was caused by my rude actions." Exuberant color illustrations bring this silly-scary moral lesson to life! Highly recommended.

Kyle Goes Alone
Jan Thornhill, author
Ashley Barron, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771470759 $17.95

Kyle Goes Alone is a children's picturebook about learning independence, from the perspective of a young three-toed sloth in its natural habitat. Like all sloths, little Kyle moves very slowly. He eats leaves slowly, and his body digests so slowly that he only has to "go" once a week! Kyle has now grown big enough to make the weekly trip to the forest floor and back on his own, but traveling down there and back by himself is a frightening prospect. Fortunately, the other creatures of the rainforest are happy to encourage him! Colorful, stylized illustrations enrich this simple and heartwarming storybook, and the final two pages teach inquisitive young minds a few more facts about sloths and rainforest camouflage. Highly recommended.

The Deer with the Purple Nose
Wayne L. Brillhart
Wan Lee Publishing
9780985804206 $19.95

The Deer with the Purple Nose is a children's picturebook illustrated with breathtakingly beautiful nature photography. Author and photographer Wayne L. Brillhart's personal surprise at photographing a deer with a purple nose is retold as a mystery from the point of view of two English Settlers, Rusty and Purdy, who talk to backyard birds to solve the conundrum. A photo- glossary identifies the different bird species that make an appearance, in this storybook with such striking images of wildlife that adults will enjoy browsing it just as much as little ones! Also highly recommended is Brillhart's previous nature photography picturebook for children, "The Mystery at the Birdfeeder".

A Lucky Author Has A Dog
Mary Lyn Ray, author
Steven Henry, illustrator
Arthur A. Levine Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545518765 $16.99

A Lucky Author Has A Dog is a children's picturebook about the bond between and a female author and her dog (neither of which are named in the story). The dog wakes the author up in the morning with his kiss, and encourages the author to exercise regularly by going out for a vigorous walk. But then one day the author gets up early on her own for a special occasion: "'s Author Day at Fred C. Underhill School!" The author fields questions from curious grade school students, but at the end of the day, she is always happy to come home to her beloved dog. Charming color illustrations add the perfect touch to this quintessential dog-lover's storybook.

Stunno's Surf Adventure
Mark Reside, author
Tina Jacobson, illustrator
Mark Reside, publisher
P.O. Box 1465, Sale Victoria Australia 3850
9780992547608, $ 14.95,

"Stunno's Surf Adventure" is a unique, exciting, fantastic tale of a surfing echidna, or Australian spiny anteater. Told in bold down-under surfer slang, with action verse and authentically decorated Australian animal characters, "Stunno's Surf Adventure" is bound to strike a welcome chord of recognition among young readers age 6 and up. The exciting narrative verse is intoxicating and inviting, as are the original elaborate illustrations. An action example of the surfer term laden tale follows: "Holding his breath, he takes off in the pocket, ...a solid six-footer moving like a rocket. A clean bottom turn and then up the face. Smacks the lip hard and slows down the pace. Stunno keeps busy watching the curl. The barrel is coming, water starts to swirl. He stalls the board and gets in position. In the tube now, a clean exit his vision. Woohoo! the green room! Locked deep in the barrel ... Boom! The wave buckles and spits from the inside. Blasting the surfer along on his ride. Well, Stunno was so stoked he just had to share it. He had made the barrel... and didn't wear it!" These exotic surf term- laden wave action descriptions are equally brilliantly illustrated with peculiar Aussie verve and spirit. Fortunately at the end of "Stunno's Surf Adventure" there is a helpful defining Glossary, explaining much of the Australian surfer's terminology, adding even more enjoyment to a young reader's exciting dip into the life of a fabulous spiny surfer of Australian waves. To further inspire and support the growing crop of young "gromms" or Australian surfers, a portion of the sales will be donated to the Australian Surfrider Foundation. In addition, for every 1000 books sold online, the author promises to donate a further, $1000 to a local board rider's project in Australia. So the invitation to enjoy the exotic experience of an exciting Australian surf ride comes laced with a promise of continued support for young surfers in this fabulous area. "Stunno's Surf Adventure" has its own web site, complete with Stunno books, greeting and post cards, an ideal gift pack combination for young surfers and others who enjoy exotic ocean adventures.

Monster Needs Your Vote
Paul Czajak, author
Wendy Grieb, illustrator
Mighty Media Kids
c/o Mighty Media Press
9781938063633 $16.95

Part of the delightful "Monster Needs" rhyming picturebook series about a young boy and his friendly, blue-furred monster pal, Monster Needs Your Vote touches on the complex world of politics! Monster is too young to vote; he dreams of running for president but his campaign garners little attention. He is almost ready to quit, until he spots a "Closing" sign that changes his mind."''The library is closing. / That's a crime that can't take place! / To fail on education is a national disgrace!'" Monster is still too young to run for president, but he learns about the importance of getting out one's message and making a difference in the community. As with the entire series, the distinctive color artwork Monster Needs Your Vote come alive. Highly recommended!

The Little Kids' Table
Mary Ann McCabe Riehle, author
Mary Reaves Uhles, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200, 315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369133 $16.99 / $11.98 Kindle

Also available as an ebook, The Little Kids' Table is a rhyming picturebook about a group of children who attend a family gathering and dinner at their grandmother's house. Their table is lively, and things only get more chaotic when grandma's dog Daisy comes crashing through! "I bet if grown-ups were granted three wishes, / one would be to give up those fancy dishes. // And go back to the days when they were able / to sit again at the little kids' table." Colorful, cartoony illustrations bring this exuberant story to life.

Once Upon a Rainy Day
Edouard Manceau, author/illustrator
Owlkids Books, Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771471510, $17.95,

"Once Upon a Rainy Day" is the story of a story, that starts over every time the same way, except when it rains. The whole story never happens on a rainy day because all the characters who make up the story action stay comfortably inside their storybook homes when it is rainy. The narration of "Once Upon a Rainy Day" is perhaps an alternative story, leaving the reader to imagine how the story would be shown if it were not a rainy day. Actually it is quite an intriguing story, and the illustrations showing a setting, the forest, with raindrops, the props, such as a bicycle, and the various homes of the main characters, Mr. Warbler, the Big Bad Wolf, Oscar the pig, Amadeus the hare, Niles the flying squirrel, and Popof, the big mouthed bear. Without giving anything away, it is safe to say the sunshine story always begins as a chase between the Big Bad Wolf and all the other animals, and it always ends.....with the the cabbage patch. Then all the friends sing together: "First he tried to catch us, Then he swore he'd gut us, Next he vowed to gobble us up. But he couldn't pull it off! Now he's in the cabbage patch... The wolf has met his match!" Then the Rainy Day story ends with a note... "Actually, the rain has stopped now. The sun is out.. Mr. Warbler has left to wake up the Big Bad Wolf. This time, the story can start for real...." At this point, there is an infinitely tempting opportunity for the reader to ....tell the story his way! "Once Upon a Rainy Day" is a tricky, sly little tale that teases its readers to try out their own creative muscles and make their own story. All the rainy day illustrations are in on the total effect, which is scrumptious fun for all, allowing the readers to make up their own images of each fantastic character, a very satisfying pursuit.

The Menino, A Story Based On Real Events
Isol, author/illustrator
Elisa Amado, translator
Groundwood Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554987788, $19.95,

"The Menino" is an English translation of "El Menino," written originally in Spanish by the multiple award-winning author, Isol, also an accomplished advertising illustrator, professional singer, and a comic book writer. It is a book about the experience of welcoming a new human being to a family. The Menino arrives naked and squalling, small and wondrous, needing to sleep so much because he has been on a long voyage. Where did he come from? Is he still dreaming? He seems unfamiliar with his small new body. The Menino comes equipped with a noisy siren that goes off unpredictably, reminding someone to feed the Menino, clean the Menino, lull the Menino to sleep, play with the Menino, or just love the Menino. You get to guess which thing works each time. The Menino comes equipped with eyes, a nose, ears, and a mouth, all of which have amazing uses. The Menino has a sophisticated waste disposal system that is quite efficient. Gradually the Menino learns many things about all his equipment and functions. The Menino is mysterious, and different from any other Menino, though meeting other Meninos is fun. The Menino is a mirror, in front of which it is useless to pretend. The Menino plays peek-a-boo, grows teeth, gnaws everything, and begins to communicate in the language of his house. The Menino has strong hypnotic powers, making people forget what life was like before he came. One day the Menino learns something that changes him and makes him happy to be here. He learns that everyone was once a Menino, and still has a Menino inside. This makes life on this planet so much more comfortable. Amazing, amusing, intriguing, entrancing delicately expressive layered ink drawing illustrations in a limited pallet of sepia, gold, orange, and white complete "The Menino," a story that could be for children or it could be for adults, or it could be for everyone.

That Squeak
Francois Thisdale, illustrator
Carolyn Beck, author
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario L3R 4T8
9781554552931, $17.95,

"That Squeak" is a story of treasured boyhood memories of summer bike rides to a special, secret place with a special friend. But the squeak of the seat, which had reminded Joe of everything that was good about their shared bike rides, may come to share a different symbolism, for his friend Jay does not return to ride his bike in the spring weather. The two boys had worked hard together to oil the squeak but it never went away. It was just his squeak, said his smiling friend, now gone. It is all too heartbreaking for Joe, come back to visit the unclaimed bicycle of his friend. However, this time, another boy, Carlos, joins Joe and offers to help fix up Jay's bike with him. Feeling deep suspicion, anger, resentment, and pain, Joe does not gracefully accept Carlos' help and interest. He is convinced Carlos wants to steal Jay's bike, because he is poor. Also, it is too painful to share his memories of his friend Jay with a new friend. The story unfolds gradually, an unlikely flowering, and ends in beauty that is both healing and uncertain. Sensitive water color paintings convey the nuances of feeling in the relationships of Joe with Jay and Carlos. Eventually Carlos and Joe become unlikely close friends, and even though this may not last, because Carlos may have to move away, the friendship and the shared, stolen bike rides are like a soul's treasure, stored up to last a lifetime. "That Squeak" is a moving experience on many levels, some beyond speaking. It is a transformational story that gently stimulates inner growth of the heart. Boys and girls of different ages may deeply appreciate "That Squeak," as will the adults who are privileged to read it.

The Specific Ocean
Kyo Maclear,author
Katty Maurey, illustrator
Kids Can Press Ltd.
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781894786355, $17.95,

"The Specific Ocean" is a transparent child's vacation story that is sheer poetry in motion from start to finish. Illuminated by delicate, pastel mixed media illustrations, "The Specific Ocean" communicates feeling states, from the viewpoint of young girl, in stages of surrender to the mighty experience of the Pacific (or "specific") Ocean. A girl and her brother are taken to an ocean vacation cottage from their city home by their parents. The girl does not want to go. She has to go, so she mopes and tries very hard not to have a good time. Finally she dips and plays in the ocean with her brother, finding it to be a moving and refreshing experience. Gradually she becomes entranced, enchanted by the daily experience of the presence of the specific ocean, her private name for the Pacific Ocean. Although she longs to take the ocean home with her in a bowl, to claim it as hers, her brother tells her this is not possible because it would diminish the ocean, and she considers that and agrees. She decides to leave the ocean whole as it is, for next time. Then, after an amazing trip back to her life in the city, she realizes she has carried her awareness of the specific ocean deep inside herself, where it is uniquely hers...."Calm. Blue. Ruffled Gray. Playful. Green. Mysterious. Black. Foggy. Silver. Roaring. White. No matter where I am this specific ocean will be with me." In "The Specific Ocean," the translucent narrative and the ocean-colored fantasy illustrations team together seamlessly to produce a haunting, immersing experience that conveys the deep, rejuvenating sense of submerging in an interior ocean. "The Specific Ocean" can be read by middle grade or younger children and their parents as an encouragement to embrace new experiences, or it can be entered, like a magical alternate reality, soothing, pulsing, and embracing like the ocean. Adults will fall under the hypnotic spell cast by words and images just as readily as children if not more so.

The Nesting Quilt
Cathryn Falwell, author/illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, Maine 04861
9780884484189, $16.95,

"The Nesting Quilt" is a beautiful book for children in a family due to welcome another new sibling. Maya is busy helping her mother and her Nana prepare for the birth of a new baby. Nana tells Maya it is like nesting, when the birds prepare for their families to hatch. Nana and Maya love watching the birds nesting. Maya thinks of the different nests she has seen them build, from a huge eagle's nest to a tiny, silken hummingbird nest, each one adapted perfectly to the baby bird or birds who will be sheltered there. Nana and Maya are intrigued by a little finch making a nest, when Maya decides she would like to make a nest for her new baby brother or sister. To make it soft for the baby, it will not have sticks and leaves. Instead, Nana helps Maya plan to make a very special fabric quilt nest for the new baby. First Maya creates a special drawing of her quilt nest for the baby. Then they look at quilt patterns, collect and cut out different colored fabrics, and arrange pieces of fabric to look like Maya's drawing. Nana teaches Maya how to sew the tiny pieces in the quilt patches together. This is hard, but Nana and Mama help, and Maya sews and sews. One day finally, the new baby, a brother, is born. He is soft and hungry, like a baby bird. Maya shows the family her beautiful nesting quilt gift for the baby, and Mama lays him down on it. Her baby brother smiles up at Maya to show how much he likes his first gift from her. Maya is excited to hear baby bird chirps from the little finch nest too. What a soft, comfortable nest she has made to welcome her new baby brother. At the end of "The Nesting Quilt," there are simple illustrated instructions for making a small quilt for a special friend or toy, suitable for a child with basic hand sewing skills, using adult help. A younger child could help pick out colors and help lay out patterns for the quilt. All of the warm, tender illustrations for "The Nesting Quilt" were made from cut pieces of fabric and paper, glued in place to create images, and illustrated with colored pencils, watercolors, thread and felt-tip pens for additional detail. "The Nesting Quilt" is both a sibling preparation story and a craft inspiration for children. It is very sensitively expressed and presented, with family members and friends of different skin colors represented for love of diversity.

Funky Little Monkey
Debbie Buttar, author
Christopher Davis, illustrator
GMEC Publishing
PO Box 4470, Lake Tahoe, NV 89449
9780979430251, $14.99,

"Funky Little Monkey" is a jazzy, dancing, entrancing song story in verse with dazzling bright illustrations of the swiftly moving funky little monkey. He skates, hops, shakes, moves, and dances through the forest and the streets, amazing all the other animals with his endless energy and moves. The rollicking lines of verse are perfectly complemented by the action animal paintings in funky pinks, greens, yellows, and other bright colors. Finally the funky little monkey dances into the flamingo's dance studio where he performs his best dance yet for the entire town; the Funky Little Monkey Disco Dance! Children will adore the fast moving pages covered with dancing images and jazzy words. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of "Funky Little Monkey" will be donated for the medical treatment of children suffering from cancer or autism.

Stanley At School
Linda Bailey, author
Bill Slavin, illustrator
Kids Can Press Ltd.
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781771380966, $17.95,

"Stanley At School" is another title in the popular Stanley series which appeals to so many young fans with its exuberance and doggy-centered outlook and life experience. Stanley is a loyal dog who is curious about school, where he knows children, not dogs, go every day. What do they do there all day? Stanley discusses the issue with his canine friends at the dog park, Alice, Nutsy, and Gassy Jack. The consensus is the dog friends will stage an exploration of school together, sneaking out of their yards the next day. A hilarious adventure ensues, with funny, fabulous illustrations of all four dogs bravely tackling the school exploration. They discover there are two wonderful things about school: Kids, and lunch! However, the dogs make a terrible mess, and are chased by a man with a broom, and taken to the Principal's office. She is the top dog! They are terrified of her! What will she do? The very smart top dog principal has a perfect solution to the chaos of four dogs invading her school, and the dogs leave, obeying her command, covered with paint spots and food scraps and scuffle marks, having had a wonderful time. That was the last school visit for Stanley and friends, but is it over for all the other doge? Now that the word is out that school equals kids, food, and running, a few other dogs may want to try it out...... This remarkable canine series will star with kids, dogs, and grownups too.

Jimmy Handstand
Sylvia Karalis, author
Linda Cowen, illustrator
thewordverve, publisher
9781941251294, $10.00,

"Jimmy Handstand" is a quirky, zany little story about a boy who decided to improve his day by turning the world upside down and walking on his hands for a day. Hi first handstand began because he needed to cheer up his little sister Lily to stop her crying. When that worked, he became determined to keep working at staying in his unique handstand for the whole day, though it was difficult and he fell frequently at first. There were advantages to being upside down in a handstand position, Jimmy found. He discovered things around the house that were unseen or lost, like his toy car, or his mom's favorite earring. Except for his sister's discarded vegetables (eeuuuu), it was like a treasure hunt. Still there were many things that were awkward or impossible to do while standing on his hands, like getting the mail, petting his dog, catching a baseball, eating dinner, brushing his teeth, etc. Very funny pictures of Jimmy attempting to do many things in his handstand fill the pages of "Jimmy Handstand." Finally at the end of the day, his dad helped him to brush his teeth by picking him up and spinning him right side up. Since Jimmy was getting tired anyway, that was fine. Who knows what new adventures await Jimmy Handstand after this fun and challenging upside down day of experiences? A surprise twist ending involves the introduction of....Lily Handstand! "Jimmy Handstand" is an exciting, fun, imaginative story with stimulating ideas and colorful illustrations that challenges young readers and their families to think outside the box.

Where is Rusty?
Sieb Posthuma, author/illustrator
Bill Nagelkerke, translator
Gecko Press
c/o Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781927271452, $16.95,

"Where is Rusty?" is a charming story about a an amazing shopping expedition to a mall by a mother and three assorted young ones. The only difference is, this is a world of many different kinds of dogs. Rusty, cautioned by his mother to stay together with Toby and Henrietta, is very easily distracted from the group because he follows his nose. However, when he looks around to find his mother, she is not there. Fearing pickup and lockup by the sinister appearing watchdogs, Rusty flees through the ventilation pipes! Where is he? His sobbing mother dog puts out a Lost Dog announcement on the loud speaker of the mall. However, Rusty has hidden in a box and can't hear the call for a small white fox terrier with a red collar to report to Lost Dogs on the third floor. Picture after ornate picture requests the reader, "Where is Rusty?" Young readers will love rising to the challenge of locating Rusty on each page among mannequins, lamps, stuffed animals, furniture, and more. Finally an amazing announcement is heard: "A small dog has been found in the lighting department, sales desk 23." Mother, Toby, and Henrietta dash to the display to reclaim Rusty. Home safe and resting on his mother's lap, Rusty doesn't hear her reminding him to stay with her next time, for he is too busy dreaming of the dog biscuit machine. Originally written in Dutch, "Where is Rusty?" is a creative adventure in an imaginary shopping world of civilized dogs who resemble humans very much in their diversity and in their capacity for expression. Creative artistic expression best defines the features of the dog's world in "Where is Rusty?"

Totally Tardy Marty
Erica S. Perl, author
Jarrett J. Krosoczka, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419716614, $16.95,

Ready for a back-to-school audience with punctuality and time management challenges built in, "Totally Tardy Marty" entertains school age readers with a fascinating series of dazzling distractions that plague Totally Tardy Marty. Marty is routinely met by Never-Late Kate at school with his tardy slip no matter what the excuses or delays might be. An interesting twist occurs one day when Marty is rescued from a tree (by replacing a fallen ladder) by Kate. The two become friends, even though it was Kate's first tardy slip. Discovering this amazing new friendship encourages Marty to be early the next day! Thereafter, Marty is helped by Kate to be more punctual, even if it means pulling him along in a wagon. At the end of "Totally Tardy Marty" is a handy list of Kate's and Marty's Top 5 Points For perpetual Punctuality. These include selecting and setting out the next day's clothing the night before, packing your backpack the night before and leaving it by the front door, setting an alarm or two, no hitting snooze, and not skipping breakfast, or making it mobile, like Toast -on-a-rope! Hilarious, colorful, quirky illustrations provide amusing commentary on the morning's events that occur to delay and detract "Totally Tardy Marty." Children age 5 and up will love this helpful story about a lovable, creative boy who makes a friend.

i love you more than moldy ham
Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis, author/illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419716461, $14.95,

"i love you more than moldy ham" is a squeaky, slimy, yucky version of the "I love you more than" rhyming stories often read to young children. Some truly great, disgusting images arise in verse, illuminated by deeply disturbing drawings of yucky, squishy substances and creations in bilious yellow, green, and purple. All things lead to a heartfelt expression of child (monster?) mother love in the final lines: "'I made you dinner, Mother dear!' Mummy gives a happy cheer. We squeeze each other, oozing love (also secretions unheard of). Happily we sit to eat. Dinner smells like sweaty feet! Green fog rises as we dine... We dig in and life is fine. You are mine and yours I am - I love you more than moldy ham!" This mildly alarming love story has unlimited appeal for little boys and also some little girls.

Julie Bayless, author/illustrator
Running Press Kids
2300 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
9780762457502, $16.95,

"Roar!" is a superbly imaginative midnight moonlight adventure story for preschool audiences or children ages 3-7. Against a deep midnight blue/purple background, a small yellow lion cub asleep in an unlikely tree wakes up with a tiny "Roar!" Trying to waken first mother, then father lion, the cub's tiny roar only elicits a "Snore!" response. A series of funny encounters with first some hippos, then some giraffes, and finally some underground rabbits leads to a bigger and bigger "Roar!" which delights the lion cub's newfound friend, the brown rabbit, who responds, "More!" The two friends pursue multiple midnight romps and adventures with their two word conversations, finally returning home to the lion family asleep in the tree as the orange sun is rising. An adorable portrait of the two unlikely friends asleep ("snore") on top of daddy lion ends this moonlight adventure that will become a bedtime bonanza of entertainment for preschool children. The sparse, expressive, rhyming call and response is perfect for pre-reading skills practice and fun.

Uh-Oh Octopus!
Ellie Van Lieshout & Erik van Os, authors
Mies van Hout, illustrator
Lemniscaat Publishers
P.O. Box 4066, 3006 AB Rotterdam, The Netherlands
9781935954392, $17.95, 32pp,

"Uh-Oh Octopus" is a charming underwater tale about a small octopus faced with a home invasion dilemma: Apparently a fish with a very large tail had taken over his cozy undersea apartment! Fearful of confrontation, Octopus swims to all his different undersea friends to ask their advice, which is conflicting, scary, and confusing. It all makes Octopus feel seasick. Finally the sea whispers to Octopus, "How about you? What would you do?" Octopus admits, "I would go to the tail and ask him politely to leave." The exciting twist in the story comes when Octopus follows his heart, for he discovers a beautiful surprise that challenges his former assumptions. The delicate underwater illustrations of Octopus and all his sea creature friends and associates is exquisite. "Uh-Oh Octopus!"is translated from the original Dutch to English in this stunning children's publication.

The Boy Who Stopped Time
Michael A. Massa, author
Pritali Joharapurkar, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
6434 W Dixon Street, Milwaukee, WI 53214
9781612252803, $12.99,

"The Boy Who Stopped Time" is a deeply sensitive fable about time, and a boy's love-motivated effort to stop the rapid passage of it. Anthony, the boy, lived in an Italian village high in the mountains, where everyone knew everyone else. Anthony became fearful of the passage of time when he learned that his grandfather was ill and did not have long to live. Discovering many concerns of different characters with the running out of time, Anthony decided to ask Brother Martin's help to stop the hands of the village steeple clock at 12 midnight so that no one would die or have to worry about running out of time. What happens after that is an immensely enlightening experience for Anthony. The morning after the steeple clock was stopped at midnight, morning still came, the sun still rose. As the day began, Anthony learned from his father and his mother that time could not be stopped, but that there would always be love, more love than the stars in the sky. So, although the acceptance of mortality is painful, Anthony went to sleep last night with the vision of the stars and moon in the night sky, sure that although time could not be stopped, love was always present and would endure. Touching color illustrations show Anthony in his battle with time, finally accepting the love of his family. This is a very touching story for young readers.

King Red and the White Snow: And Other Tales for Children
Reg Down
Lightly Press
6187 Greenhaven Drive, Sacramento, CA 95831
9781515042303, $11.95, 44pp,

King Red is a red king, everything is red, his cape, his crown, even his little finger. One winter's day it snows. The snow is the whitest King Red has ever seen and he just has to go a-walking. So begins the first of six tales centered on the wonderful world of color, a world children experience as vivid and full of life. Inside you'll find The Rosy Princess and the yellow Elf, The orange Gnome from Spain, the melancholic Boo-hoo Blue and more, all. Come visit! Beautifully illustrated in watercolor, "King Red and the White Snow: And Other Tales for Children" by author/illustrator Reg Down is eminently suitable and highly recommended for children in kindergarten through grade 3. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to both school and community library children's Picture Book collections, it should be noted that "King Red and the White Snow: And Other Tales for Children" is an ideal bedtime picture book acquisition for families as well. Also very highly recommended are Reg Down's earlier children's books: The Tales of Tiptoes Lightly (9781453806340, $14.95 PB, $9.95 Kindle, 104pp); Eggs for the Hunting (9781470030018, $14.95 PB, $9.95 Kindle, 108pp); and The Treasured Cave (9781492832409, $16.75 PB, $9.95 Kindle, 172pp).

How the Trees Got Their Voices
Susan Andra Lion
PO Box 1397, Palmer Lake, CO 80133
9780983268758, $16.95,

How the Trees Got Their Voices has received eleven national book awards and as soon as young readers and their parents pick up this picture book, it's easy to see why it's a standout. On the surface it provides a gentle visual story of how Mother Earth gave the trees their names and voices - but on another level, it encourages realization of the interconnected ecology of all living things and emphasizes these relationships in a book packed with unique full-page color drawings, fun facts, and descriptions of nature's processes which make for evocative, fun visual reading: "Grasses chattered on and on, pushing the news farther and even farther, bending and bowing in waves." The result is a lovely read recommended for kids with basic reading skills and for parental read-aloud for those still in the early learning stages.

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville - Teaching Morals and Manners
Gene Del Vecchio
BetterNot! Enterprises, LLC
200 E. Del Mar Boulevard, Suite 304, Pasadena, Ca. 91105
9780692471050, $15.99 HC, $9.99 PB, $5.99 Kindle,

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville opens unexpectedly, in a "small town with deep swamps all around...a strange, eerie place..." : the perfect introduction to invite kids ages 4-8 to embark on a journey that pairs a rollicking rhyme with the tale of a town where the kids are just out of control. Roderick Fong's drawings add a realistic but fun touch to accompany the story of a town gone wild ... as indicated by its name, Bratsville. Neither threats nor punishment works with these kids: what will? Perhaps a touch of magic is needed! Teaching basic morals and manners in a picture book is quite a trick if the end result is to be entertaining and thought-provoking to truly reach kids. The tendency in many picture books which attempt this goal is a preachy tone: but not here. Under Del Vecchio's hand the town comes to life, the dilemmas of frustrated parents are neatly charted, and the solution lies in an unexpected route involving one BetterNot. It's a challenge to take this message in a new direction; but BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville succeeds by using a powerful blend of color illustration and written word that deftly hones in on unacceptable behaviors and extraordinary solutions. Parents using this for read-aloud will be equally delighted by the story's fresh, vivid approach which features many unexpected moments that makes it a top, highly recommended read!

What Pet Should I Get?
Dr. Seuss
Random House
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780553524260, $17.99,

What Pet Should I Get? presents another engaging Seuss title just when one thinks they've all been done: a manuscript discovered in 2013 in a box in his office now sees the light of day for old and young Seuss fans and newcomers as well. The whole process of a kid choosing a pet lends well to the classic Seuss rhyme and approach, making for an engaging story of children who considers birds, dogs, cats, fish, and more, and find it difficult to pick just one from all the many different options. A fun classic Seuss dilemma evolves with fine results.

We Forgot Brock!
Carter Goodrich
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442480902, $17.99,

We Forgot Brock! presents the dilemma posed by Phillip's parents, who say that Brock is 'imaginary'. But Phillip and Brock are best friends who do everything together - until Brock is left behind at the fair, one day. Can an imaginary friend rescue himself - and can a real friend solve the problems of his imagination? A winning story with lovely full-page illustrations makes this a vivid winner with a different focus than the usual story of an imaginary pal receives.

This is Sadie
Sara O'Leary and Julie Morstad
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770495326, $17.99,

This is Sadie tells of a little girl with big dreams and ideas, and follows a precocious child who on one level seems to employ common devices to play with, but who in actually hones a very active imagination. As readers follow Sadie through these dreams, they receive a fun story of a girl who is not only fearless but not afraid to apply her imagination in ways that enrich her life and play. Parents choosing this for a read-aloud will also find This is Sadie a different, fun production!

Felix Stands Tall
Rosemary Wells
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763661113, $14.99,

Felix Stands Tall tells of Felix, who has a new best friend in brave Fiona, who leads him to dream of winning the first prize at the Guinea Pig Jubilee talent show. There's only one thing in their way: bullies. Can Fiona and Felix find the key to winning the competition and facing their fears? The signature Rosemary Wells illustrations brings Felix and his concerns to life in another engaging, fun story of courage and vision.

...and Nick
Emily Gore, author
Leonid Gore, illustrator
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781416955061, $17.99, 40pp,

...and Nick receives delightful drawings by Leonid Gore as it tells of four brothers - Rick, Mick, Vick and Nick, and how little Nick differs from his siblings. His brothers are confident and have life planned out, but Nick the mouse has no idea about many things in life, and is called a 'late bloomer'. He can't ride his bike as quickly, holds fears his brothers don't harbor, and chooses gifts for his mother that may not be entirely appropriate. A sweet surprise lies in store for the young reader who also suspects they may not have their siblings' prowess in life.

The Green Musician
Mahvash Shahegh
Wisdom Tales Press
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786427, $16.95,

The Green Musician receives fine color drawings by Claire Ewart and will reach ages 6 and up with a picture book story retelling a classic 1,000-year-old Persian story found in the Persian "Book of Kings". Barbad the musician lives in long-ago Persia and his goal is to play before the king: something that may be impossible due to a jealous rival. His solution is unique and fosters the idea of innovation and determination for young audiences. Picture book collections strong in folk stories from around the world will find this a fine addition.

Toys Meet Snow
Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky
Schwartz and Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385373302, $17.99,

Toys Meet Snow comes from the creators of the Toys trilogy and presents the fun story of curious toys who decide to go outdoors to play in snow. Lumphy, StingRay and others are back - but in a new picture book format that provides their adventures to a younger audience. Kids will delight in an easy reader that romps them through the world of toys that not only come to life, but can't contain their curiosity about the world.

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

Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers' The Day the Crayons Came Home (9780399172755, $18.99) provides a fine new Crayons story that contains a special 'glow in the dark' drawing as it tells of a colorful group who asks Duncan to rescue them from sofas, seated parents, a washing machine snafu, and more. It's evident the crayons have more than their fair share of problems as they encounter the human world - and it falls to Duncan to help them out in yet another winning, fun story of crayons on the move. Karma Wilson's Duddle Puck the Puddle Duck (9781462449275, $17.99) receives lovely color illustrations by Marcellus Hall as it tells of one Duddle Puck, who clucks, honks, and even imitates other animal sounds uncommon to a duck's beak! It may be up to other barnyard animals to teach him the right language - with the wrong results. Ages 4-8 will find this a fun picture book read filled with zany moments and whimsical adventure. Judy Schachner's Dewey Bob (9780803741201, $17.99) tells of Dewey Bob Crockett, a cute raccoon who loves to collect things. One would think he'd have everything he needed with so many beautiful objects; but the one thing he lacks is a friend. It should be easy to apply the same collecting skills - but, apparently they don't fit this particular goal. A bonus CD read by the author compliments a lovely title with its engaging, fun art.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Part 2
Created by Hajime Isayama
Ryo Kawakami, author
Range Murata, illustrator
Vertical, Inc.
451 Park Avenue South, 7th floor, New York, NY 10016
9781942993292 $10.95

The second in a two-part, stand-alone series intended for readers ages 12 and up, Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Part 2 is a novel set in the science fiction universe of the "Attack on Titan" franchise of books, manga, anime, and video games. Monsters besiege humanity from all sides, isolating the Quinta District. Their murderous attacks have left the inexperienced young garrison soldier Rita Iglehaut in charge by default. Desperate to keep her people alive and her city self-sufficient, she feels that the only way to avoid catastrophic anarchy is to rule with a merciless iron fist. As her methods become more and more ruthless, no one is more shocked than her former childhood friend Mathias Kramer. A handful of black-and-white illustrations intersperse this story of dire peril, struggle for survival, and the terrible toll of war. Highly recommended, along with its predecessor, "Attack on Titan: The Harsh Mistress of the City Part 1" (9781941220627, $10.95).

Freddy and Mrs. Goodwich
Adena Trevor, author
Chelsea Trevor, illustrations
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781499057126, $15.99,

"Freddy and Mrs. Goodwich" is the latest title in the Freddy series about a boy who makes excellent pancakes. The Freddy books are appealing for their innovative plots and their funny characters. Created by an intergenerational team of grandmother and granddaughter, "Freddy and Mrs. Goodwich" is a fantastic pancake adventure, in which Freddy gets to fly with a witch on her broom to her home to help teach her to make wonderful pancakes. Mrs. Goodwich loves Freddy's pancakes, which she pronounces "delishomposhus," a great improvement on her pancakes which taste like rotten eggs. But flying to the charming, eccentric house of Mrs. Goodwich is just the beginning of the adventure. Freddy finds that Mrs. Goodwich has some very eccentric ideas of pancake ingredients and utensils. However, he perseveres with her help, and they eventually originate some passable pancakes which Mrs. G. finds very acceptable. Then it is time to catch the broomstick before it flies out the chimney and return home for tea. Waving to the geese, the two fly home and look forward to many more happy meals of eating delishomposhus pancakes and Mrs. Goodwich's maple syrup. Delightful, childlike crayon portraits present important scenes on the pages of the latest Freddy pancake adventure story, adding fun to the family story that interweaves fantasy and reality.

Autumn of Elves
Joanne Vruno, author
North Star Press
PO Box 451, St. Cloud, Minnesota 56302
9780878397976, $12.95,

"Autumn of Elves" is book two in the Seasons of Elves series for middle grade chapter book readers. Sourced in nature and seasonal activities and observations, "Autumn of Elves" continues a relationship exploration between sisters Aly and Emily and a magical, alternate world known as the kingdom of Ijus, full of fantastic creatures including elves, gnomes, trolls, fairies, tree sprites and more. Aly is both thrilled and alarmed to discover her 10 year old sister, Emily, also has magical powers and is to become another guardian of the creatures of Ijus. The two sisters have an ally in their grandmother, who shares their bond with the magical world. Many dangers and adventures challenge the sisters in their guardianship-in -training activities and roles. They also discover a network of new friends, and some unseen enemies. Being a protective guardian is a big job, as is learning to train and use your special magical powers, while keeping secret the existence of both the magic and the fragile realm to which the guardian sisters have been granted access. The sisters learn much about responsibility and the duty to place the needs of the elf colony above private aims. "Autumn of Elves" is a fast- moving, exciting, fantasy sequel with lots of parallel opportunities for young readers to experience challenges, definition of core values, and growth. Just the right balance of unpredictability and security interlace the complex plot, both challenging and enticing young readers to chase the story to its mostly happy ending. Young heroines will enjoy identifying with the protector roles of the sister guardians in "Autumn of Elves," and will be eager for the third volume of the Seasons of Elves series, which is hopefully forthcoming.

Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Autumn Tales
C. F. Crawford, author
L. H. Crawford, illustrator
Lauco Press
9780692324929, $11.00, 166pp,

When Hallie and Cory cross a magic branch that shrinks them to mouse size, they make the acquaintance of Mr. Snuggywhiskers -- the friendly, well-spoken mouse who lives in the tallest tree in their backyard. From the day that Hallie discovers his tiny red door to the moment that Hallie and Cory realize their mysterious connection with Mr. Snuggywhiskers, they find out how enchanting the world of Mr. Snuggywhiskers can be. Impressively well written and illustrated, "Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Autumn Tales" is an extraordinarily entertaining read from beginning to end and very highly recommended for personal, school, and community library collections for children. Also very highly recommended is the second in what will prove to be an enduringly popular series by the Crawfords, "Tales of Mr. Snuggywhiskers: The Winter Tales" (9780692484326, $11.00, 160pp).

Escape from the Past: The Duke's Wrath
Annette Oppenlander
Lodestone Books
c/o John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
Laurel House, Station Approach, Alresford, Hants, SO24 9JH, UK
9781846949739, $12.99, 299pp,

When fifteen-year-old nerd and gamer Max Anderson thinks he's sneaking a preview of an unpublished video game, he doesn't realize that ee's been chosen as a beta, an experimental test player; that ee's playing the ultimate history game, transporting him into the actual past: anywhere and anytime; and that survival is optional: to return home he must decipher the game's rules and complete its missions -- if he lives long enough. To fail means to stay in the past forever. Now Max is trapped in medieval Germany, unprepared and clueless. It is 1471 and he quickly learns that being an outcast may cost him his head. Especially after rescuing a beautiful peasant girl from a deadly infection and thus provoking sinister wannabe Duke Ott. Overnight he is dragged into a hornets' nest of feuding lords who will stop at nothing to bring down the conjuring stranger in their midst. "Escape from the Past: The Duke's Wrath" is a science fiction time travel action/adventure novel that will grip the reader's total attention from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for school and community library YA fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Escape from the Past: The Duke's Wrath" is also available in a Kindle edition ($0.99).

The Audiobook Shelf

Treasure Hunters: Secret of the Forbidden City
James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, authors
Read by Bryan Kennedy
Hachette Audio
237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9781478959663 $23.00

Treasure Hunters: Secret of the Forbidden City is the unabridged audiobook rendition of an exciting children's adventure novel in the "Treasure Hunters" series. The treasure-seeking Kidd family earns a living by searching for long-lost precious artifacts, but when the mother is kidnapped by pirates, a race against time begins to save her! Action, adventure, and intrigue combine is this choice pick for public and school library children's audiobook collections. 4 CDs, 5 hours. Also highly recommended are previous audiobook in the "Treasure Hunters" series: "Treasure Hunters" and "Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile".

The Music CD Shelf

Renee & Friends
One Melody Records
$13.98 CD / $9.99 digital

Titled after an English word meaning "congenial" or "likeable", Simpatico is a family-friendly album created by singer-songwriter Renee Stahl and a crossover assortment of musical friends, including Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Lisa Loeb, Colin Hay, Glen Phhillips, Chris Ballew, Jeremy Toback and more, a.k.a. "Renee & Friends". The original songs embody love, reassurance, and the joy of sharing of personal friendships. Varied and delightful, Simpatico will please listeners of all ages with its heartfelt melodies. The tracks are "Gather Round", "Precious One", "You Were Meant To Be", "Are We There Yet?", "Starfish and Coffee", "You & Me", "I Am Not Afraid", "Happiness", "Wherever You Go", "This Bright Dream", "Dream About the Moonlight", and "Right Here Now."

Come Bien! Eat Right!
Jose-Luis Orozco
Smithsonian Folkways
c/o Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press
PO Box 37012, MRC 957
Aerospace Building 704-A, Washington, DC 20013-7012
$16.00 CD / $9.99 download

Created by multiple award-winning educator and musician Jose Luis Orozco (whose honors include a Notable Award form the American Library Association) and produced by Grammy winner Quetzal Flores, Come Bien! Eat Right! is a bilingual Spanish/English children's album designed to teach young children about good nutrition and healthy diets. The first nineteen tracks are original, educational songs with Spanish lyrics; the second nineteen tracks are the same songs with English lyrics. A 40-page booklet with bilingual notes rounds out this engaging, educational, and high-spirited music album, enthusiastically recommended for public and school library children's music collections. The songs are "Thanksgiving", "Clean Hands", "The Food On My Plate", "Eat Right", "Tasty Colors", "The Fruit Conga", "Veggies", "Fresh Salad", "Juanito's Chicken", "Let's Go to the Sea", "Compadre, Buy Me a Coconut", "The Legumes Dance", "Milk", "Chocolate", "Oatmeal", "Whole Grain Bread", "Tortilla", "Snack", and "Water".

Get on Board!
Alex & The Kaleidoscope
Privately Published

Emmy Award-winning performers Alex & The Kaleidoscope (featuring Alex Mitnick) present Get on Board!, an original children's music album filled with storytelling songs that invite the listener to observe and learn from the surrounding world. Filled with positive social messages about everything from learning about insects to responsible recycling, Get on Board! is highly recommended. The tracks are "Alex & The Kaleidoscope Theme Song", "Get On Board", "Insect Tourists", "Vegetable Garden Town", "Outside", "Manners In The Kitchen", "Dino Rangers", "Shark Tank", "Tell Me A Story", "Peach Tree", "Marshmallow", "Recycle", "Oh, Won't You Sit Down", "Leading the Way", and "Choo Choo!". 44 min.

The DVD Shelf

The New Stone Soup in American Sign Language
Featuring CJ Jones, Michelle Banks, and David Rivera
DawnSign Press
6130 Nancy Ridge Dr., San Diego, CA 92121
9781581212600 $15.95

Part of the "Once Upon a Sign" DVD series created especially for deaf children, The New Stone Soup in American Sign Language is a playful story about traveling magicians who hope to earn their daily bread entertaining people in a local village. The villagers enjoy the show but won't share their food - so the trio of performers concocts a plan to encourage the community to share and contribute! The New Stone Soup in American Sign Language is performed entirely in American Sign Langue, but also has a voice-over and English subtitles. A "fun signs" recap of key signs from the stories is also included, the better to help kids learn ASL! 25 min., region-free DVD.

The Beginner's Bible, Volume 4
StarVista Entertainment
c/o Time Life
PO Box 11016, Des Moines, Iowa 50336-1016

The Beginner's Bible, Volume 4 continues an animated children's DVD depicting famous stories from the Bible. In Volume 4, cartoon portrayals retell four classic tales. "The Story of Joseph & His Brothers" is about a young man, sold into slavery by his own siblings, whose God-given talent for interpreting dreams helps him save all of Egypt; "The Story of Daniel & the Lion's Den" follows Daniel's steadfast adherence to his faith, even when confronted with the prospect of martyrdom to hungry lions; "The Story of the Battle of Jericho" is the saga of how the tribes of Israel conquered Jericho and claimed the promised land; and a bonus tale "The Story of Jonah & The Whale" is about Jonah, commanded by God to spread the faith to the sinful Ninevites; Jonah seeks to escape his calling aboard a ship, but when a storm destroys the vessel God sends a friendly whale to rescue Jonah. The Beginner's Bible is an excellent way to introduce young Christian children to timeless Biblical tales. 120 min.

The Multimedia Shelf

Autumn: Leaves Fall From the Trees!
Lisa Bell, author
Emily Brooks, illustrator
Cantata Learning
1710 Roe Crest Drive
North Mankato, MN 56003
9781632902603 $33.99 hc / $7.95 pbk

Ideal for young people ages 3-8, Autumn: Leaves Fall From the Trees! is a children's picturebook celebrating the fall season with simple, delightful illustrations and a sing-along song. The song is on an accompanying CD, but readers can also visit to listen to and sing along with the song. "We pick pumpkins from the vine. / Soon we will have pumpkin pie. // And above it all are flying geese, / migrating south in a V." The last few pages offer a recap of the song's lyrics, written musical notation for the song, a brief glossary of the more difficult words (such as "migrating"), and a few guided reading activities. Autumn: Leaves Fall From the Trees! is an excellent seasonal giftbook for little ones.

Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Robbie Robertson, author/songwriter/musician
David Shannon, illustrator
Abrams Books for Young Readers
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419712203, $19.95,

"Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" is a stunning musical and narrative retelling of a treasured Mohawk tale of the origin of the Six Nations, the Iroquois Confederacy, or the Haudenosaunee, people of the Long House. The two main characters in the tale, Hiawatha and the Peacemaker, are thought to be real persons who lived in pre-Columbian North America in the fourteenth century. The tale is told in haunting cadences, mysteriously illuminated by the fabulous artwork of Caldecott award -winning artist David Shannon. The tale of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker emerges as a series of dangerous quest journeys, to teach different members of the Five Nations of the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Seneca the message of peace, forgiveness, and love between persons of all nations, an ending of fighting, hatred, and war. Hiawatha began his strange quest with the Peacemaker after he lost his wife and three daughters to the evil actions of Tadodaho, Chief of the Onondaga. Each journey to each different nation presents danger and obstacles, but Hiawatha assists the Peacemaker, who speaks with an impediment, by being his spokesperson and delivering his powerful message. Finally the Four Nations begin to paddle as one nation, and Hiawatha comes to the dwelling of Tadodaho. In an unforgettable encounter inspired by the holy man Peacemaker's vision, Hiawatha understands the horrible illness of Tadodaho and in compassion creates for him a healing potion for medicine. Miraculous transformations occur through the magical healing powers of forgiveness, and eventually the Five Nations join together as one Nation, and Tadodaho is transformed into a protective eagle who would be the keeper of peace and protector of all the people. "Hiawatha and the Peacemaker" is also performed as an incredible song by Robbie Robertson and associated artists, included in a CD with the book. The background Historical Note, Acknowledgements, and Author's Note all add to the beauty, clarity, and complexity of this tale of "Hiawatha and the Peacemaker." Richly textured and flawlessly presented, it's important message is as powerful today as when it was first created, long ago.

Jennie Jenkins
John M. Feierabend, author/adaptor of song lyrics
Ashley, Maurer, illustrator
GIA Publications
7404 S. Mason Ave., Chicago, IL 60638
Independent Publishers Group (distributor)
814 N. Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781622771394, $16.95,

"Jennie Jenkins" is a stunning new adaptation of an old traditional children's song with British/Scottish origins. Filled with brilliant colored portraits of many birds of different colors who come to visit, "Jennie Jenkins" recounts the traditional song lyrics with a rainbow theme, as Jennie, the nesting mother bird, receives visits and offers of different colored ribbons from five different birds of white, red, black, blue, green, and purple ribbons. Each offer is politely countered and finally accepted by Jennie with a different refrain, until the final page, when her five baby birds appear, wearing five different ribbon bow gifts from the friendly birds. At the end of the song story, a page of music animates the verse, with a reference for a free mp3 version of the song at Further background about the song "Jennie Jenkins" gives different versions, games, and uses that have been used with versions of "Jennie Jenkins." "Jennie Jenkins" is a lovely illuminated traditional song book that is meant to be sung, shared and played with children. The elements of refrain, variation, repetition, and surprise developments are all taught and experienced in a fun, interactive, natural way.

Zar and the Broken Spaceship
Dinosaur O'Dell, author
Santiago Germano, illustrator
Dino O'Dell, publisher
9781495142697, $15.99,,

"Zar and the Broken Spaceship" is a provoking illustrated story about making contact with a visiting space alien in a repairable downed spaceship. Zar is the three-eyed, two-mouthed green alien and three adventurous boys are his discoverers and alien intermediaries. The verse, rhyming narrative of "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" is singsong because it is in fact the lyrics of a fun song of the same title which can be listened to on iTunes or watched on Youtube. Author Dinosaur O'Dell is a children's musician and storyteller, and former preschool teacher. Exciting illustrations in slightly retro shades of deep sea aqua, lime green, brown and coral portray the mysterious Zar's encounter with his three young friends, whom he enlists to help him fix his broken spaceship. Here is the song lyric that describes what the boys need to do to help Zar fix his spaceship: "Push these buttons with you're your finger, your foot, your elbow, your knee, your nose, your bottom, and your tongue. Push the buttons even faster. Even faster. Even faster." Clearly the song has actions children will love to imitate in a growing frenzy of joy. "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" is the first in projected series which is planned to encourage values of teamwork, cooperation, and celebration of diversity for young children. For a fun, educational experience, enjoy reading "Zar and the Broken Spaceship" with your favorite Earth child.

The Travel Shelf

Nate & Shea's Adventures in South Africa
Carrie Whitten-Simmons, author
Equator Creative Media
87 W. State, Phoenix, AZ 85021
9781496024527, $9.99,

"Nate & Shea's Adventures in South Africa" is a jam-packed, 42 page, profusely illustrated Junior Explorer Guide from the well known successful TV series, Travel with Kids. This multiple award winning series "immerses dis in history, culture, and nature" of the exotic places they explore and visit. Nate and Shea are real live boys who host the TV series, Travel With Kids, seeing many exciting countries in exotic locations. In South Africa, Nate and Shea learn about history of the country from the arrival of Dutch explorers in the 1600s to the recent history of apartheid and the work and legacy of Nelson Mandela and others. They also learn about tribal customs and traditions of two tribes of native South Africans, Zulu and Xhosa. They even tackle mini language lessons in three separate languages: Afrikaans, Zulu, and Xhosa, and they also ate typical South African foods, such as braai, and pap. Wonderful photos of many South African animals, birds, and even sharks are exciting reminders of the many wild animals living in this country. Throughout the pages of sights and history and experiences, there are small excerpts from the travel journals of Nate & Shea, plus QR codes that allow kids to watch video clips for action animation of the narrative text. "Nate & Shea's Adventures in South Africa" is stimulating, exciting, educational, and fun, the perfect way to become a junior explorer and a global citizen. Additional titles in this highly recommended travel series include: "Nate & Shea's Adventures in Hawaii (9780615918808)," "Nate & Shea's Adventures in Italy (9781495211935)," and "Nate & Shea's Adventures in Peru (9781515023128)."

The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book
Lonely Planet Kids
c/o Lonely Planet Publications
150 Linden Street, Oakland CA 94607
9781743607749, $19.99,

Children ages 8 to 12 can take a world tour through 200 countries with this newly updated and expanded edition of "The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book: Mind-Blowing Stuff on Every Country in the World", which is loaded with thousands of amazing facts on wildlife, how people live, sports, hideous and mouth-watering food, festivals and a wide range of other quirky insights on every page. Every single country gets its own dedicated page, and a mix of photography and beautiful illustrations brings each land to life. Perfect for keeping young explorers entertained at home or on the road, "The Lonely Planet Kids Travel Book" is an extraordinary, informative, and entertaining recommendation for family, school, and community library collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Mighty Mole and Super Soil
Mary Quattlebaum, author
Chad Wallace, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way, Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584695387 $16.95

Mighty Mole and Super Soil is an educational children's picturebook about moles, commonplace mammals known for their burrowing skill. Alternating between a simple story about a day in the natural life of an ordinary mole, and fascinating facts about moles in general, Mighty Mole and Super Soils is brought to life with lavish, striking color illustrations, and further enhanced with a handful of pages packed with scientific facts about moles and soil, as well as suggested learning activities. "Is Soil Dirt? Soil scientists say that dirt is soil that is out of place, similar to the definition of a weed as a plant out of place (even a rose in a cornfield is a weed)." Highly recommended, especially for public and elementary school library children's collections.

A Friend for Lakota
Jim and Jamie Dutcher
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, DC, 20036-4688
Media Masters Publicity
9781426320828 $16.99

A Friend for Lakota: The Incredible True Story of a Wolf Who Braved Bullying is a children's picturebook presenting the incredible true story of a wild wolf names Lakota, picked on by others of the pack, who makes a protective friend in the wolf Matsi. Matsi blocks the other wolves' nips and tugs when things get too rough, enabling Lakota to grow and thrive as one of the family. Captivating, full-color photography illustrates this inspirational story of animal friendship, highly recommended for wolf aficionados of all ages.

Winnie and the Red Winniebago
Lisa Domeny, author
Quick Guide Publishing Services
9781508895688, $12.95,

"Winnie and the Red Winniebago" is a heartwarming story, first of a Team Golden Oldies series about adopting and loving a senior pet like Winston, a senior rescue golden retriever. Winnie loved going forth every day to have adventures, but one day he had to be taken to the vet because of a sore foot. At first he had to wear a special sock to protect the sore foot, but finally, the vet said Winnie could not walk on the foot if it was to get better. This made Winnie very sad. How could he have adventures if he could not walk? His owner hugged him and reassured him they would think of something. Soon a mysterious box arrived which excited Winnie. Could this really be for him? It was a special little red wagon, to carry Winnie anywhere he wanted to go. It was his own special WINNIEbago. Once more he could set off to visit people in nursing homes, make sick people smile, even go out for walks and canoe rides with his family. Winnie's special red WINNIEbago proved that even an old rescue dog with a sore foot can still have happiness and great new adventures every day. "Winnie and the Red Winniebago" is a true story with real color photos of Winnie and his family. It is a wonderful story for young children ages 3-5 because it demonstrates that a caring family and society does not discard an elderly or handicapped pet, or person, but continues to value them and their quality of life. The author has founded Team Golden Oldies in Australia, a group dedicated to adopting senior dogs and providing them with a safe, loving home at the end of their good lives.

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

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent's The Call of the Osprey (9780544232686, $18.99) features lovely, full-page color photos by William Munoz as it documents three scientists and their research efforts in and around Missoula, Montana as they study ospreys. While this is presented as an 80-page color 'diary' of writings and photos documenting their progress and is recommended for picture book readers in grades 3-6 with good reading skills, many an adult with an affection for ospreys will find the photos and documentation equally compelling, making it a recommendation for young reader and adult holdings alike (the compelling jacket cover is suitable for general collection display, so the audience isn't limited to the children's section only!). Sy Montgomery's The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk (9780544232709, $18.99) follows the work of renowned octopus scientist Jennifer Mather, whose work is directed towards exploring the mental capabilities of the octopus, an intuitive animal that may hold the capability for remarkable thought processes. This book follows her investigation and delves into the natural history of the octopus, blending lovely color photos with fine science throughout.

Mad About Monkeys
Owen Davey
Flying Eye Books/Nobrow, Ltd.
9781909263574, $19.95,

Mad About Monkeys is simply delightful: with gorgeous monkey-laden end pages and color drawings throughout, it explores the nature and species of monkeys from around the world and provides clear contrast between different kinds of monkeys. From fierce to friendly, these monkeys have different habits, habitats, and reputations, and Mad About Monkeys is the perfect introduction for young picture book readers with basic reading skills seeking a natural history about all monkeys.

The Self-Help Shelf

What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake
Claire A.B. Freeland, PhD and Jaqueline B. Toner, PhD, authors
Janet McDonnell, illustrator
Magination Press
PO Box 92984, Washington, DC 20090-2984
9781433819308 $15.95

Clinical psychologists Claire A.B. Freeland, PhD and Jaqueline B. Toner, PhD present What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake: A Kid's Guide to Accepting Imperfection, a consumable self-help book for children ages 6-12 (and parents) about learning how to cope with the prospect of making and recovering from mistakes - so that one is free to try and discover new things. Pages have black spaces encouraging children to write down their feelings or other exercises. "Kids who don't like to make mistakes have an especially hard time when things don't work out the way they'd hoped. But failure is a lot like an itch you don't scratch. It bugs you, maybe for quite a while, but slowly and surely, the itch begins to go away. Once you feel better (the itch goes away), shift your focus from the failure to how hard you tried and what you might do in the future. That's an example of getting perspective." Highly recommended as an invaluable resource, especially for children whose strong perfectionist tendencies hold them back.

Speak Up!
Halley Bondy
Zest Books
35 Stillman Street, Suite 121, San Francisco, CA, 94107
9781936976768 $15.99

Colorful illustrations and photographs intersperse Speak Up! A Guide to Having Your Say and Speaking Your Mind, a self-help book created especially for young girls navigating middle school and junior high. Girls often feel voiceless and powerless; Speak Up! is about learning to share one's important thoughts and considerations. More than just a self-esteem book, Speak Up! also addresses the cultural factors that hold girls back and overtly or subconsciously pressure them to be quiet. "Any abuse, inappropriate behavior, or bullying by teachers or administrators should be reported immediately. Tell your parents or another trusted adult, and they should report the behavior to the principal or superintendent of the school. An adult should know whether or not something illegal has taken place, and if so, he or she should also contact the police." A wealth of website resources peppers this modern guide to learning how to be respectfully assertive, highly recommended especially for parents to share and discuss with their middle- school daughters as well as for children's public and school library collections.

1-2-3 A Calmer Me
Colleen A. Patterson, M.A. and Brenda S. Miles, Ph.D., authors
Claire Keay, illustrator
Magination Press
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
9781433819315, $14.95, www.apa/prg/pubs/

"1-2-3 A Calmer Me: Helping Children Cope When Emotions Get Out of Control" is an appealing children's book that teaches a simple relaxation exercise to help a child calm down when angry feelings seem overwhelming. In soothing verse, with simple instructions the mantra is taught: "1-2-3 a calmer me/ 1-2-3 I hug me/ (Give yourself a BIG hug, nice and tight!) 1-2-3 relax and b-r-e-a-t-h-e/ (Take a BIG breath and let it out s-l-o-w-l-y...) 1-2-3 a calmer me (Pretend your arms are jelly and let your hug s-l-i-d-e away.)." Repeating this simple calming exercise helps a child slow down her body and allow her angry feelings to evaporate into the air. Gentle, expressive illustrations of a child going through the calming exercise steps use a series of rainbow colors in pastel hues to underline the calming progression. Even the numbers, 1-2-3 are colored yellow, green, blue. The calming exercise is shown in a variety of situations for the same little girl, playing alone, playing with others, when frustrated at school, upset at sports games outcomes, all are opportunities for the successful use of this self-calming exercise when overcome by mad or angry feelings. An additional Note to Parents, Teachers, and Other Grown-Ups explains further the philosophy behind teaching and using this mantra, and what to do before and after teaching and using it with a child struggling to control his/her angry feelings. "1-2-3 A Calmer Me" is a most helpful book to give children a tool that will help them release and control their uncomfortable emotions or angry feelings, helping them prevent meltdowns and upsets.

The Psychology Shelf

Peter & Lisa: A Mental Illness Children's Story
Charles Katz & Linda Baron Katz, authors
Mitchi Suico, illustrator
Page Publishing, Inc.
101 Tyrellan Avenue Suite 100 New York, NY 10309
9781634171434, $15.95,

"Peter & Lisa" is the story of two people who suffered different mental illnesses: bipolar disorder and depression, and how they were able to recover with therapy, medication, and love and support. The crippling effects of both kinds of mood disorders are described accurately, and the process of getting help through hospitalization, evaluation, proper medication, therapy and treatment is explained. During both peter's and Lisa's rehabilitating and recovery from their mood disorders, the need for substitute care for Lisa's daughter, Nancy, and Peter's dog, Pit is met by a close, concerned friend. Peter and Lisa became good friends who understood each other's disabilities. Eventually they both recovered, were able to work part time, marry and become a family. "Peter & Lisa" is a story based on truth with a happy ending. Reading it will help children understand more about mental illness and how it can be treated.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Voices Across the Lakes
Anita Pinson
Pine Lake Press
6559 Windmill Lane, West Bloomfield, MI 48324
9780615728438 $17.95

Winner of a Moonbeam Children's Book Award, Voices Across the Lakes: Great Lakes Stories and Songs is a picturebook anthology of brief historical fiction stories connected to beloved folk songs of the Great Lakes region in America. Each story-song combo stands by itself, and the classic songs are presented with full musical notation. Charming illustrations and a wealth of historical asides provide context to this wonderful anthology, ideal for sharing with little ones during storytime or music class. The included story-songs are "Canoe Song", "Barges", "Erie Canal", "Follow the Drinking Gourd", "Weevily Wheat", Roll Loggers, Roll", "Shenandoah", "There's a Ford V-8", "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", and "Down the River". Highly recommended!

The Hunter's Promise: An Abenaki Tale
Joseph Bruchac, author
Bill Farnsworth, illustrator
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682, Bloomington, Indiana 47402
9781937786434, $16.95,

"The Hunter's Promise" is a reverent retelling of an Abenaki (or Wabanaki) traditional tale that also is found in wisdom traditions of several other indigenous nations in Northeastern North America, including the Iroquois and the Algonquin, as well as perhaps the Penobscot Passamaquoddy, and Micmac people. "The Hunter's Promise" is not just a story of trust and betrayal, the clouding of commitment by enchantment. It is also a reminder of the sacred obligation of hunters and all beings to honor the gifts of animals and plants to sustain life. If this balance and sacred trust between hunter and natural creation is forgotten, or dishonored, the whole world is disordered and broken. In "The Hunter's Promise," a fine strong young hunter goes deep into the northern forests to make a winter camp and find good hunting. The meat and skins he will bring back to his family and people in the spring will sustain them a long time. However, although the hunter is skilled and fortunate in his hunting, he is lonely in his winter camp home. He longs for a partner. Returning to his lodge one day, he discovers the fire burning, the lodge cleaned, and food prepared for him in a wooden bowl. No one can be seen. Again in the morning he finds food prepared, and work done to prepare for his day of hunting. This continues for seven nights and days, when a silent young woman appears and serves his food to him. She stays with him all winter, saying in the spring when he prepares to leave, "Mikwalme," or, "Promise to remember me." The hunter promises and she leaves, walking into the forest. The story continues with the young hunter returning to his village with great celebration, where he is asked to marry a wife. Remembering his promise, the hunter declines. When he returns to the north to hunt another season, his woods wife appears with a boy he recognizes as his son. Another successful winter of hunting follows. This time when the hunter returns to his village in the spring, the chief asks him to marry his daughter, who is a young woman accustomed to getting what she wants. Her powerful spirit helper, the poohegan, or Canada jay confuses the hunter so he forgets his commitment to his other wife and son. When he prepares to return to the north for a winter hunt, his new wife insists on accompanying him. Reaching the campground, the hunter sees his first winter wife and two sons, names Wadzo and Sibo. Remembering at last his promise, the hunter accuses his second wife of tricking him, while his winter wife and son walk away into the forest, disappointed that he did not keep his promise. Leaving his snowshoes and axe keep in a spruce tree trunk, the hunter walks into the snowy forest. When the chief's daughter attempted to follow him, she found no man's tracks, but only the tracks of four moose, iawak mozak. "The Hunter's Promise" is stunningly illustrated with warm autumn colors of northern forests and Wabanaki and the moose and animals, by a famous, multiple award- winning illustrator, Bill Farnsworth. "The Hunter's Promise" is a beautifully told Wisdom Tale appropriate for children age 6 and up.

The Seedless Trees: A Fairy Tale
Christina Waymreen, author
John Nikolouzos, illustrator
Seaway Press
9780996013208, $12.99,

"The Seedless Trees" is a chapter fairy tale fantasy quest with magic transformations, nature protective spells, trials, puzzles, and obstacles to the attainment of an enlightenment that is part of a return to normal reality. Prince Lester begins his quest with his horse, Windell, to rescue his beloved Princess Anna, who is enchanted within a tree because of her request that it be transplanted for her. Finding his way filled with traps and tricks and hidden retributions, Prince Lester is determined to discover a way to free Princess Anna from the enchantment of the tree. Miraculous transformations, unwritten rules of passage, trials of hunger and thirst, and fear of death all must be experienced, accepted, and overcome in Prince Lester's quest. "The Seedless Trees" works recurring elements from many traditional tales of myth and fantasy from different sources. Striking color illustrations reveal some of the complex imagery explored in the 44 pages of "The Seedless Trees," and help to decorate the complicated development of the difficult quest. Finally, Prince Lester succeeds in the most difficult trial of his quest - discovering what the cruel Mistress of Trees fears most - lightning. His sacrifice of hunger and thirst and bravery and determination allow him to restore the past and find his beloved Princess Anna once more. "The Seedless Trees" is intriguing chapter fantasy, appealing to middle grade readers age 10 and up.

The Christian Shelf

My Kiss Won't Miss!
Lesley Dahlseng, author
Mirela Tufan, illustrator
Whetword Press LLC
PO Box 492, Alexandria, MN 56308
9780615987040, $17.99, 32pp,

A wonderfully entertaining bedtime or anytime story, the beautifully illustrated picture book "My Kiss Won't Miss" demonstrates the constant and pursuing love of a mother when her son sneaks out of bed and hides. Her commitment is this: "If I can't catch you for a kiss, I'll blow a kiss and it won't miss." There is no hiding place to which her kiss cannot be blown. Yet in the end, a love even greater than a mother's is revealed! This original story by Lesley Dahlseng is inspired by Romans 8:38-39 which states that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The illustrations by Mirela Tufan impressively capture the universal quality of God's love with their diverse character depictions. Very highly recommended for family, preschool, and community library picture book collections, "My Kiss Won't Miss!" will offer both adventure and comfort appropriate for children ages two to five.

A Gift for Matthew
Nick Muzekari, author
Masha Lobastov, illustrator
Ancient Faith Publishing
PO Box 748, Chesterton, IN 46304-0748
9781936270927 $18.95

A Gift for Matthew is a children's picturebook about the Orthodox Christian tradition of iconography - praying to God in a manner that involves an icon (a symbolic image of Jesus, Mary, or a saint). A young boy named Matthew visits a monastery, where he learns from a monk who draws and paints icons. And when he comes home, he discovers a special gift in his backpack: a lovingly crafted icon of Saint Matthew. A sample "Iconographer's Prayer" on the final page rounds out this thoughtful introduction to the Orthodox Christian style of prayer.

The Judaic Shelf

The Passover Surprise
Janet Ruth Heller, author
Ronald Kauffman, illustrator
Fictive Press
9781927663172, $11.50,

The Passover Surprise" is a middle grade chapter story that deals sensitively with complex issues like fairness, sexist thinking, working hard to sort out complex problems and issues within a family setting, relying on strong religious and cultural values within the framework of Judaism. Lisa is the heroine who is hurt by her father's decision to award a coveted stamp book to her younger brother Jon, perhaps because he is the younger son while she is the older daughter. Some wonderful pages describe first how Lisa felt, and then how she evaluates her options and strategies to attempt to explain her reaction to her father, whom she loves. "The Passover Surprise" tackles many difficult issues of prejudice, racism, misogyny, and fairness, even including bullying. All development is influenced by the strong Jewish faith and values of Lisa and her family. The story takes place in the 60's, and has a definite period flavor to it, which is underlined by the quietly charming black and white illustrations. "The Passover Surprise" is filled with wonder and hope, even in times of dreadful hardship and disappointment.

The Geography Shelf

Australia to Zimbabwe: A Rhyming Romp Around the World
Ruth Fitts, author
Love the World Books
4424 Volta Place NW, Washington, DC 20007
Independent Publishers Group (distributor)
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780996249577, $24.95,

"Australia to Zimbabwe" is an alphabetical, rhyming romp around the world, with a different country for each letter of the alphabet. Packed with colorful onsite photos of scenic sights, ethnic recipes, informative sidebars, activity pages, and geographical/historical maps of association, "Australia to Zimbabwe" condenses lots of accurate information about each country into just over 300 pages of fascinating world data. Some of the world tour countries include: Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Vietnam, and nineteen more. With language charts and common expressions translated to English, country related crafts, games, and recipes, "Australia to Zimbabwe" is a fun, action and fact -packed virtual tour of 26 vital countries of the world that children in grades 3 and up, ages 8 and up, will enjoy and assimilate. Here is a sample verse from Japan: "Miso soup is a favorite for breakfast, Bento boxes make for a fun lunch, (They're so cute in their artful arrangement, they're almost too pretty to munch!) (P.126)." With key phrases and expressions, printed in varied appropriate eye-catching types, accompanied by cheery color mini-snaps of miso soup, bento box, cherry blossoms, and more, Japan is expressively described in imaginative couplets and type and pictures. "Australia to Zimbabwe" is a great contribution to students of global communities and global citizenship awareness.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

My Mommy, M.S. and Me
Stephanie Garcia, author
Lyle Jakosalem, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781499076356, $31.99,

"My Mommy, M.S. and Me" is a book that helps explain symptoms and characteristics of multiple sclerosis in an innovative way through use of a gaming system metaphor, offering nonthreatening information about the complex disease in a manner compatible with a child's viewpoint. The author is a parent and a life coach, who has attempted to share information about MS with her children. Using bright cartoon family illustrations with superhero characters in costume and ninjas, "My Mommy, M.S. and Me" makes a convincing use of the gaming system metaphor to explain some of the disabling symptoms of MS. The storyteller is a boy named Julian, who has a brother Jaylen, and a mother with MS. He describes her fight with the disease like this: The ninja fighters inside a person's body with MS can attack the CNS (Central Nervous System) by mistake, causing damage to the neurons and myelin. A person with MS can go to the Dr. for medication to help deal with these nasty little ninja fighters when they seem to be doing too much damage. A team of MS destroyers help in many ways to battle the many symptoms of MS. A powerful tool is the boy's understanding of why his mother feels so tired, because of the battles going on inside her body. He has the power of perception, detection, and protection, which help him to understand and remind her when she needs extra rest time. "My Mommy, M.S. and Me" ends on a positive note with suggestions for ways of coping with a parent's disabling symptoms, and a superhero's promise, "See you next time!" "My Mommy, M. S. And Me" seems accessible to children age 10 and up, or younger with extra explanations.

The American History Shelf

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation
Peggy Thomas, author
Stacy Innerst, illustrator
Calkins Creek
An imprint of Highlights
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781620916285 $16.95

Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation is a children's picturebook about how President Thomas Jefferson expanded the young nation of America. Jefferson is well-known for doubling the size of America in just one day. "To free up the port [of New Orleans] and prevent France from establishing a colony in the west, Thomas sought a peaceful solution by sending James Monroe to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans. To Thomas's surprise, France offered to sell the entire Louisiana Territory. Could a president purchase land on behalf of a nation? No one was sure. Some said it was not in his power. Others complained it was a waste of money. But Thomas's bold action reaped a country twice its original size." Details about Jefferson's personal life (he was an avid gardener) and his legacy remembered to this day enhance this educational and accessible glimpse into a turning point and a major figure in American history. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections.

The Poetry Shelf

Jumping Off Library Shelves
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Jane Manning
An imprint of Highlights
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590789247 $16.95

Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems is a children's picturebook of brief poems by a diversity of authors. Each poems celebrate the public library, and the joy of discovering the endless possibilities contained within books. Charming color illustrations enrich this wonderful read-aloud anthology. "For search engines, this key is your starter. / SS Library hums. It's a cinch! / By exploring the world, how much smarter / You are without moving an inch."

The Social Issues Shelf

The Prince Who Was Just Himself
Silke Schnee, author
Heike Sistig, illustrator
Plough Publishing House
c/o Handlebar Publishing
9780874866827 $16.00

The Prince Who Was Just Himself is a children's picturebook parable about Down syndrome. The titular Prince Noah is a child with Down syndrome; unlike his peers, he is small, has a distinctively different appearance, and can't quite do everything that his brothers can. But when the ferocious knight Scarface invades the kingdom, only Noah can disarm him, through compassion and simply being himself. A final page offers more information about Down syndrome to young readers and adults alike. The Prince Who Was Just Himself is a fairy tale that doubles as a helpful introduction to teach young people about Down syndrome, including that important fact that people with Down syndrome are quite capable of living long, happy, and helpful lives.

Books in Series

Native Nations of North America series
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive
Mankato, MN 56003
$32.79 list / $22.95 library

Featuring reinforced library binding and full-color photography throughout, Native Nations of North America is an anthology designed to teach young readers in grades 3-6 about native peoples who live on different regions of the continent. Each book touches upon multiple major native nations in a given region, describing their history, culture, and life in the modern day. A brief glossary and index round out each volume. Accessible and reader-friendly, Native Nations of North America is enthusiastically recommended for middle school and public library children's collections. The individual titles are "Native Nations of the Northwest Coast" (9781634070331) and "Native Nations of the Plains" (9781634070348) by Anita Yasuda; "Native Nations of California" (9781634070294) and "Native Nations of the Southeast" (9781634070355) by Therese Naber; "Native Nations of the Great Basin and Plateau" (9781634070317), "Native Nations of the Northeast" (9781634070324), and "Native Nations of the Southwest" (9781634070362) by Barbara Krasner; and "Native Nations of the Arctic and Subarctic" (9781634070300) by Marie Powell.

What Does It Mean To Be Kind?
Rana DiOrio, author
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator
Little Pickle Press
3701 Sacramento Street #494, San Francisco, CA 94118
9781939775092 $17.95

Fifth in the award-winning "What Does It Mean To Be...?" series, What Does It Mean To Be Kind? is a picturebook created to help teach children basic values of empathy, consideration, politeness, and the Golden Rule - the importance of treating others as one would like to be treated. Examples of kind deeds include "...picking up trash that isn't yours. // ...allowing yourself to make and learn from mistakes. // ...noticing when someone is sad and taking the time to understand why. // ...caring for those less fortunate than you are." Gentle color illustrations of children learning to be polite and helpful round out this excellent, read-aloud character building book. Also highly recommended are the previous books in the series, "What Does It Mean To Be Global?" (9780984080601), "What Does It Mean To Be Green?" (9780984080618), "What Does It Mean To Be Present?" (9780984080687), "What Does It Mean To Be Safe?" (9780982993866). The sixth book in the series, "What Does It Mean To Be An Entrepreneur?" (9781939775122) is fortcoming in January 2016.

Your Money - How Money Works
Gerry Bailey and Felicia Law, authors
Mark Beech, illustrator
Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599537184, $29.27,

"Your Money: How You Spend Your Money and Why" is a succinct, informative and cheerful book about financial literacy for middle grade students, with clear explanations of such basic concepts as a definition of currency or money, and various ways of saving, earning, and spending money. Topics of allowances for kids, other income, choices for use of money (spend, save, or give away), and finally borrowing and budgeting are presented and expanded, with helpful tables, sidebars, graphs and illustrations. Debt and credit are also topics of discussion, with added information on the development of electronic money and the possible future end of physical money. Final helpful quote: "So the more you know about money, the better you'll be able to deal with it. And the more you understand it, the more control over your money you'll have (p.59)." A discussion page, additional resources including websites, and glossary are also included. This is a great basic financial text for kids age 10 and up. Other titles from the How Money Works series that are also highly recommended include: "Country Money: How Countries Spend Their Money - And Why" (9781599537191, $29.27) by William Whitehead, Felicia Law and Gerry Bailey, "World Money: How the World Spends Its Money - And Why" (9781599537207, $29.27) by Gerry Bailey and Felicia Law, and "Family Money: How Families Spend Their Money - And Why" (9781599537177, $29.27) by William Whitehead, all titles of the series illustrated by Mark Beech.

Let's Play!
Nancy B. Hertzog, Ph.D., Ellen Honeck, Ph.D., & Barbara Dullaghan, M. Ed., authors
Prufrock Press, Inc.
5926 Balcones Drive, Suite 220, Austin, Texas 78731
9781618214508, $10.95,

"Let's Play!" is a brightly photo-illustrated early education exploration title from the Smart Start Series, for children ages 3-5. Encouraging parents and child caregivers to "discover and explore the everyday world with your child," "Let's Play!" suggests using three types of open ended questions for children: creative, critical, and mathematical. Examples of each type of question are suggested throughout the book. Each page has a page of titled narrative facing a page of color photo illustration. Some of the everyday play topics include playing in the rain, playing in the backyard, playing in the snow, playing in a box, playing at the playground, and playing on the sidewalk. Each topic has three questions suggested in the areas of creative, critical and mathematical thinking. At the end of the book are more Extension Questions for all topics, and a further reference for ideas at the website. "Let's Play" is a fantastic, fun teaching resource for parents and caretakers of young children that helps kids learn easily from fun play activities. Engaging color photos of children from different racial/ethnic backgrounds are incorporated throughout the book, helping to teach inclusion. Additional titles from the Smart Start Series that are also highly recommended include: "Around My House!" (9781618214492, $10.95), and Let's Go to the Market!" (9781618214515, $10.95), both titles also by Dullaghan, Hertzog, and Honeck, authors.

Top Secret Files: The Cold War
Stephanie Bearce
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813, Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781618214195, $8.95, 128pp,

The Cold War was a state of political and military tension after World War II between powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others) and powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its allies in the Warsaw Pact). Poison dart umbrellas and cyanide guns were all a part of the arsenal of tools used by spies of the Soviet KGB, American CIA, and British MI6, but kids won't learn that in their classroom history books! With "Top Secret Files: The Cold War" by Stephanie Bearce, students in grades 4 to 7 will learn about the true stories of the Cold War and how spies used listening devices planted in live cats and wristwatch cameras. Young readers ages 9 to 12 will discover how East Germans tried to ride zip lines to freedom, while the Soviet spies known as the Cambridge Four infiltrated Britain, and how U.S. and Soviet rockets raced to the moon. "Top Secret Files: The Cold War" readers can make their own submarines and practice writing secret codes. It s all part of the true stories from the "Top Secret Files: The Cold War". Very highly recommended for school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Top Secret Files: The Cold War" is also available in a Kindle edition ($6.92). It should also be noted that outstanding "Top Secret Files" series from Prufrock Press also entails four other enthusiastically recommended titles: "Top Secret Files: The American Revolution" (9781618212474, $8.95 PB, $7.15 Kindle); "Top Secret Files: The Civil War" (9781618212504, $8.95 PB, $6.32 Kindle); "Top Secret Files: World War I" (9781618212412", $8.95 PB, $7.57 Kindle); "Top Secret Files: World War II" (9781618212443, $8.95 PB, $6.47 Kindle).

Examining Shipwrecks, from Examining Disaster Series
Hayden Wedge, author
The Oliver Press, Inc.
c/o Clara House Books
Charlotte Square, 5707 W. 36th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416
9781934545676, $24.95,

"Examining Shipwrecks" is one of eight titles in the new Examining Disasters series for students in grades 4-8, packed with dramatic full color photos, illustrations, diagrams, charts, sidebars, and information about historical shipwrecks around the globe. What causes shipwrecks, and why do we want to study them? "Examining Shipwrecks" covers core information in an exciting, high interest presentation, with five chapters, a list of the top ten worst shipwrecks, a glossary and further information section in 48 pages. Chapter 1 covers the Sewol Ferry Disaster which happened off the coast of South Korea on April 16, 2014. The following chapters are how Ships Float, How Ships Sink, Studying Shipwrecks, and Making Ships Safer. The role of national and international Coast Guards is highlighted, and some history of sailing technology is incorporated. "Examining Shipwrecks" is an exciting summary of ocean ship disasters that will engage the interest and increase scientific inquiry abilities of middle grade students. Other titles from the Examining Disasters Series that are also highly recommended include: "Examining Bridge Collapses" (9781934545621, $24.95) by Myles Barry, "Examining Airplane Crashes" (9781934545614, $24.95), by Andrew Hatch, "Examining Volcanic Eruptions" (9781934545683, $24.95) by Jen Melin, "Examining Pandemics" (9781934545669, $24.95) by Nina Rolfes, "Examining Oil Spills" (9781934545652, $24.95) by Anna Dalton, "Examining Hurricanes" (9781934545645, $24.95) by Sabrina Kidd, and "Examining Earthquakes" (9781934545638, $24.95) by Jacob Yang. All volumes are hard bound for library and reference use.

Creative Publishing International
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722,

Three 'Creative Kids' series titles begin with 'Complete Photo Guide' and provide powerful visual references for any who want to involve the entire family in artistic projects, and adopts an unusual 'whole family' approach to support this objective. Janith Bergeron and Christine Ecker's Sewing (9781589238237, $22.99) provides fifteen projects designed with boys and girls in mind in a range of difficulty levels from beginners with no familiarity with sewing to more advanced users. Tips on basic hand sewing advocate making simple but easy products such as a tooth fairy pillow or a 'scrappy card', using these projects to explore the basics of using a sewing machine. Kids then advance to more complicated projects, from a kimono to boys' shorts. Amy Kopperude's Bead Crafts (9781589238220, $22.99) surveys beading basics for the same range: beginner to kids who already hold some beading skills. The focus here, too, is on building new skills with each project, inviting adults and kids to work together on such productions as seashell wind chimes, friendship charm pins, and more. Crochet by Deborah Burger (9781589238558, $24.99) also begins with the basics and moves into family-oriented projects such as producing a colorful drawstring bag or a useful water bottle net. The result is a fine gathering of projects especially recommended for any who want to encourage and build family connections and new skill sets.

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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