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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 26, Number 10 October 2016 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Science Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Christmas Shelf Board Book Shelf
Gardening Shelf Hobby Shelf Christian Shelf
Judaic Shelf Art Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Autism Shelf Self-Help Shelf
Crafts Shelf Social Issues Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Kindness Counts: A Story for Teaching Random Acts of Kindness
Bryan Smith, author
Brian Martin, illustrator
Boys' Town Press
14100 Crawford Street, Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882013, $10.95, 31pp,

"Kindness Counts" is an inspirational story about a boy learning how doing random acts of kindness works to help you grow. Cade and his sister Sarah begin learning about random acts of kindness when a stranger pays for their Super Duper ice cream cones at the drive up with their Dad and Mom. It cheers their Dad so much that he offers to pay for the next person's order in surprise and gratitude. Cade goes on to explore how he, a fourth grade boy, can learn to do random acts of kindness too. In the end, Cade learns four guiding principles to help him decide what random acts of kindness he could do. They are: 1. Do something nice that goes above and beyond, 2. Surprise someone when they least expect it, 3. Feel good about doing this nice thing, and 4. Don't expect anything in return. In the end, Cade learns much more about himself and feeling good than he ever expected to. "Kindness Counts" ends with a page of Tips for Parents and Educators which offers a list of suggestions for random act of kindness projects and activities for kids to complete. Realistic full color illustrations bring the story's acts of kindness to life, including the offer of a doughnut and hot chocolate to a cold, hardworking charity donation truck driver on pages 22 and 23. "Kindness Counts" is an excellent interpersonal relations enhancement manual for kids, a corollary of the Golden Rule.

Another Me
Eva Wiseman
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770497160, $16.99,

Teen Natan has a happy life in 14th century France: his family is close, he's becoming attracted to a girl, and his world is safe and supportive - until tensions begin rising between the Jewish community and the rest of the people of Strasbourg. A plague is sweeping through the area and rumor has it that the town's Jewish residents are poisoning the town's well water so the plague will arrive sooner. Who is really poisoning the water? Nathan embarks on a search for the truth and faces a wave of violence that could change everything in this powerful saga.

Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts
Stephanie Shaw, author
Kevin M. Barry, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369577, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Apprenticed to a famous wizard, young Schnitzel is not known for his hard work. In fact, it's just the opposite. He's lazy and lacks motivation. So late one night, when a door-to-door salesman selling vacuum cleaners offers to help, Schnitzel sees an answer to his housecleaning woes. Little does he know, however, that this is no ordinary salesman and the vacuum is no ordinary dust-buster. In this retelling of the classic fairy tale "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", "Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts" is about to find out why it's never a good idea to invite a cape-wearing, fang-toothed stranger in after dark. Fortunately for him, there's magical help ready to lend a hand. Kevin Barry's striking artistic style is a perfect complement to Stephanie Shaw's imaginatively entertaining story that will hold a special and enduring appeal for young readers ages 5 to 8. While highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, it should be noted that "Schnitzel: A Cautionary Tale for Lazy Louts" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.21).

Pass The Pandowdy, Please
Abigail Ewing Zelz, author
Eric Zelz, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884484684, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

What do Napoleon, Cleopatra, George Washington, Gandhi, Queen Victoria, Columbus, Neil Armstrong, Montezuma, Paul Revere, Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln, Sacagawea, and Katsushika Hokusai have in common? They are all among the historical figures portrayed in the pages of "Pass The Pandowdy, Please: Chewing on History with Famous Folks and Their Fabulous Foods", a thoroughly entertaining, informative, and down right delightful book by writer Abby Ewing Zelz and featuring the charming illustrations of cartoonist Eric Zelz. Just like us, the great movers and shakers of history had to eat, and their favorite foods turn out to be a highly entertaining thread to follow through the history of our small planet. History and biography have never been this tasty! Of special note is that "Pass The Pandowdy, Please" also includes a do-it-yourself historic Pandowdy recipe and brief biographies of featured historic figures. Especially appropriate for young readers ages 8 to 11, "Pass The Pandowdy, Please" is enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school and community library collections. "Pass The Pandowdy, Please" is also available in a Kindle format ($17.05).

The Science Shelf

Astronomy Lab for Kids
Michelle Nichols, M.Ed.
Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631591341 $24.99

Intended for young people ages 6 and up (although younger children may need assistance from a parent, sibling, or teacher), Astronomy Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Activities lives up to its title with hands-on, astronomy-themed educational activities. Activities include creating a pinhole projector (a simple means to safely observe an image of the Sun without looking directly at the Sun), to an experiment with milk and a flashlight that demonstrates the principle behind why the sky appears blue, to using inexpensive baking ingredients and marbles to simulate the creation of craters, and much more. Each activity is described with a list of inexpensive materials, safety tips/setup hints, step-by-step instructions, information about the science behind the fun, creative enrichment suggestions, and full-color photographs. Astronomy Lab for Kids is highly recommended for school and public library children's collections, as well as for everyday fun and science learning!

'Dinosaurs' of the Deep
Larry Verstraete, author
Julius Csotoni, illustrator
Turnstone Press
206-100 Arthur Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3B 1H3
9780888015730, $25.00, HC, 96pp,

Driving across the North American Heartland, surrounded by prairie, it is almost impossible to imagine that once this was once a huge and relatively shallow inland sea called the Western Interior Seaway, an ancient body of water which split the entire continent of North America in half, and once teemed with predatory creatures ranging from fanged fish and turtles the size of small cars; to prowling sharks and giant squid; to hungry plesiosaurs and immense crocodiles. At the top of this prehistoric food chain, stretching up to nearly 15 metres (50 feet) and weighing a hefty 50,000 kilograms (50 tonnes), ruled the mighty mosasaur, the T-Rex of the sea. Through a cooperative partnership with the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC), home to 'Bruce', the world's largest mosasaur skeleton, author Larry Verstraete and paleoart illustrator Julius Csotonyi combine fascinating facts, astonishing discoveries, and the latest paleontological information to bring the ancient marine creatures of the Seaway to vivid life. An inherently fascinating, factually informed and informative, consistently compelling, beautifully and profusely illustrated read for children, 'Dinosaurs' of the Deep: Discover Prehistoric Marine Life is enthusiastically recommended for family, school, and community library collections.

Destination: Space
Christoph Englert, author
Tom Clohosy Cole, illustrator
Wide Eyed Editions
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781847808400, $19.99, HC, 64pp,

Young readers ages 8 to 11 can hop on board the space shuttle and get ready for the ride of their life as they explore deep space with their five fellow space cadets in the pages of "Destination: Space". This is journey of discovery takes them through our local solar system and beyond, to galaxies far and wide. With every encounter, children learn more about the science behind the stars, planets, meteors and comets in our sky, and the history of our universe. Dr. Christoph Englert is a lecturer in physics at the University of Glasgow. Together they have produced an inherently fascinating, impressively informative, thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book style introduction to astronomy and astrophysics that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Fox and the Crow
Manasi Subramanian & Culpeo S. Fox
Karadi Tales Company Pvt. Ltd.
9788181903037, $17.95,

The Fox and the Crow adapts a fable from Aesop into an oversized picture book presentation that will delight youngsters who enjoy dark woods atmospheres and a haunting encounter between a fox and a crow, who struggle for a piece of bread. Dark animal faces and encounters come to life in full-page colorful renditions by Culpeo S. Fox, creating a story accessible to those with rudimentary reading skills and an attraction to Aesop's legends and mysterious animal characters.

Eric A. Kimmel, author
Erin Camarca, illustrator
WestWinds Press
c/o Graphic Arts Books
PO Box 56118, Portland, OR 97238-6118
9781943328383, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Rosalia is in debt to the strange little snake man Rattlestiltskin after he teaches her how to make tortillas so light they float in the air! Can she outsmart the trickster and keep her freedom? From renowned children's book author Eric A. Kimmel comes this delightful re-imagining of the classic Rumplestiltskin folktale with a Southwestern setting and Spanish vocabulary. Of special note are the delightful illustrations of Erin Camarca that perfectly support this original adaptation to a vintage fairy tale. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Rattlestiltskin" is an especially recommended picture book for children ages 4 to 8 and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "Rattlestiltskin" is also available in a Kindle format ($8.79).

Storm of Joy
Sherri Sengsouvanna
Christine F. Anderson Publishing & Media
9780692737026, $13.62, PB, 50pp,

Based on author Sherri Sengsouvanna's true story, "Storm of Joy" is a fairy tale that offers a message of hope for audiences of all ages, but especially children ages 8 to 12. Set in the magical kingdom of Danshan, "Storm of Joy" is a children's picture book filled from cover to cover with beautiful illustrations that chronicle the journey of the Queen as she experiences the death of her beloved son, the Prince. The Queen's sadness over the death of the Prince is overwhelming at first and plunges the Queen into a state of deep sadness and depression. But one day, she suspends her disbelief long enough to trust her feelings and there she rediscovers the Prince in a new and amazing way! Young readers will join a their magical journey as the Queen and the Prince reunite in the ultimate love story where everyone lives happily ever after -- and learn how the Queen triumphs over the illusion of death and calls forth miracles in her own life now, anyway, anyhow, and anywhere. "Storm of Joy" is especially appropriate for children who are dealing with grief or have any adversity in their life. While strongly recommended for family, school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Storm of Joy" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

The Picturebook Shelf

Six Dots
Jen Bryant, author
Boris Kulikov, illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780449813379 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille is a children's picturebook about Louis Braille (1809-1852), who invented a tactile alphabet that blind people use today. The story is told from the perspective of Louis, who lost his sight as a young boy. He hated being pitied for his blindness, and longed to enjoy reading books. While attending a school for the blind, Braille learned about a tactile military code, and was inspired to adapt it for use among blind people. "'Even a short message [in this military code] takes so many dots, and I can't fit a single symbol under my finger!' I complained to Gabriel. 'Plus... the captain's code stands for sounds, not for letters. Why shouldn't we spell words and write sentences like sighted people do?'" Although the story is told in a slightly fictionalized manner from Braille's perspective, Six Dots is grounded in Braille's real-life biography, and highly recommended for public and school children's libraries. A brief "More About Braille" question-and-answer section rounds out this excellent picturebook.

Doing Her Bit
Erin Hagar, author
Jen Hill, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580896467 $16.95

Although the main characters of Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman's Land Army of America are fictional, its story is an accurate depiction of the 1917 Woman's Land Army who contributed to the American effort in World War I. This was an era long before agriculture had been as thoroughly automated as it is today; while men were busy fighting in the war or working at higher-paid factory jobs, America desperately needed farm laborers to increase its food output, both for people at home and for war-devastated allies abroad. Patriotic women sought to serve their country by training to become farm laborers... a physically grueling task! An author's note at the end offers more information about the Woman's Land Army, and the 15,000 "farmerettes" who helped grow and harvest countless acres of crops, in the process showing America and the world what women were capable of. Doing Her Bit is highly recommended, especially for public and school library children's picturebook collections.

Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale
Josh Funk, author
Rodolfo Montalvo, illustrator
Viking Children's Books
c/o Penguin Putnam Inc.
345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
9780451472304, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There's just one thing that the two friends don't know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face? Charmingly written by Josh Funk and wonderfully illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo, "Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale" is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book story that is especially recommended for children ages 4 to 8. While enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections, it should be noted that "Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

Lion Lessons
Jon Agee
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803739086, $17.99,

Lion Lessons is a pick for ages 4-8 and offers a fun series of lessons by a narrator who is taking lessons from the best of the beasts: a lion, who teaches him how to roar, pounce, and more. How do you earn a Lion Diploma, and what skills are taught? A young student discovers that perhaps the lion isn't all-powerful or wise, and that the biggest lesson of all may be something surprising even to the lion. Fun illustrations lend to a zany story of education and enlightenment.

When I Am With Dad
Kimball Crossley
Two Little Birds Books
c/o Ammo Books
PO Box 412402, Los Angeles, CA, 90041
9780991293575, $17.95,

When I Am With Dad tells of Elizabeth, who likes a perfectly well-ordered world. The problem is, her father's life isn't always predictable, and she and her little sister Lulu's exploration of a day with him receives warm drawings by Katie Gamb as Elizabeth learns to adjust to a unique father who has his own original ways of doing things and viewing life. Pizza for breakfast, unmade beds, and a father who is clumsy about tea parties are only a few of the things that challenge Elizabeth in this fun picture book story of changes and adjustments.

The Cheer-Up Bird
Edward Van de Vendel and Ingrid Dieter Schubert
9781935954453, $17.95,

The Cheer-Up Bird isn't a typical bird: it's an important bird, as frustrated wombats find, bored koalas come to realize, and a gloomy, bossy kangaroo learns. But what, exactly, is the real power of the Cheer-Up Bird? A host of Australian animals encounter the bird of happiness, who holds the ability to help everyone but herself. What can be done? Lovely color drawings bring this evocative tale to life in a top recommendation for any discriminating picture book collection.

Ben Says Goodbye
Sarah Ellis
Pajama Press
181 Carlaw Ave. Suite 207, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4M 2S1
9781927485798, $16.95

Ben Says Goodbye receives simple drawings by Kim LaFave as it tells of a boy whose friend and neighbor is moving away. While this subject has been done many a time for young audiences, Sarah Ellis's haunting language ("Ben and Peter watched two strong movers put Peter's world into their big truck.") brings the story to life. Ben doesn't want to say goodbye to Peter and he decides to hide and draw out his emotions. How can his family bring him back into their fold? A gentle story of change is provided in a moving picture book that will be enjoyed by youngsters with basic reading skills or read-aloud parental assistance.

My Pancakes Taste Different Today!
Bruce Galpert & Heather Wood Galpert, authors
Barbara Cate, illustrator
Wagon Wheel Productions
9780997484106, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Could a Pancake have the power to shape a child's view of their world? It was a surprise to Ethan that his favorite breakfast, a stack of steaming hot pancakes, would reveal many ways that nature and people work together. He discovered that everyone has a hand in taking care of nature. Ethan would have never guessed that his simple, innocent act of tossing an oil can into the lake, just to make a big splash for fun, could change his whole wide world. The slippery journey of the oily OOZE leaking from the can, across the lake, down the river to the beaver ponds, and into the fields of grain brought all of Ethan's friends together. Everyone pitched in to clean up the OOZE from the lake, the fish, and the fields, to get rid of the mess around the lake they all loved. They celebrated with a party and plenty of pancakes. "My Pancakes Taste Different Today!" is an original and delightful picture book story that is ideal for children ages 3 to 8. Wonderfully 'kid friendly', "My Pancakes Taste Different Today!" is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted for students and their families, Preschool through 3rd Grade, that "My Pancakes Taste Different Today!" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Periwinkle's Journey
Judy Petersen-Fleming, author
Suzy Spafford, author/illustrator
Blue Sneaker Press
c/o Southwestern Publishing Group, Inc.
2451 Atrium Way, Nashville, TN 37214
9781943198030, $16.99, HC, 48pp,

It's spring in Australia when Periwinkle, a little blue penguin, begins her journey to Antarctica where she'll meet all of her penguin cousins. Along the way she learns a lot about her world and herself. The smallest penguin of all, Periwinkle is not only shorter than her cousins, but she is also blue and most importantly-different from the rest. Hesitant at first, Periwinkle learns during her journey to be brave and realizes that it's not how you look on the outside, but it's what's inside that matters. "Periwinkle's Journey" is the first book in an entirely new series of endearing characters from Suzy's World. Featuring the work of beloved illustrator Suzy Spafford, creator of "Suzy's Zoo", and author Judy Petersen-Fleming, "Periwinkle's Journey" and the rest of the books and characters in this new series are specifically dedicated to educating kids in a fun and whimsical way about animals in the wild, inspiring all of us to care more about the animal kingdom and the natural world we share. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library picture book collections for young readers, "Periwinkle's Journey" is enthusiastically recommended.

Sled Dog Dachshund
Laura Atkins, author
An Phan, illustrator
Minted Prose, LLC
Traitor Dachshund Children's Book
Church Street Station, P.O. Box 1324, New York, NY 10008
9780996545433, $14.99,

"Sled Dog Dachshund" is an exciting, brilliantly illustrated story about a heroic little dachshund named Jasper. Jasper, who lived up in Willow, Alaska, decided he wanted to be part of a sled dog team to help win a dog sled race. Despite his father's and his brother's doubts and discouraging comments that he was not big enough or strong enough to be a sled dog, he persisted with his dream. Every page of "Sled Dog Dachshund" comes alive with action packed, snow-filled excitement and drama. Jasper met a team of huskies at the race and tried to sign up. Then Jasper found he had to be part of a sled dog team to compete. Some helpful huskies introduced him to the roles of lead dog, team dog, and wheel dog, but Jasper was not big enough or strong enough to fill these demanding sled dog roles. The huskies laughed good-naturedly at Jasper trying to fit into their harnesses and pull the heavy sled. However, Jasper was determined to be in the race, so at the start of the race he jumped on the sled and rode along with his favored sled team through the cold, fast paced hours of the race at its beginning. The rest of the story is filled with excitement, innovation, courage, and effort, as Jasper worked again and again to find ways to help encourage his powerful sled dog team. In fact, Jasper became the team's best fan and cheerleader, barking them through the tough times, the tired times, and the times when the team was close to giving up. "Sled Dog Dachshund" is a magnificent, inspiring read for children ages 3-8. identification with the underdog can lead to unforeseen outcomes, for a dog or for a person. Children and adults will love the story and messages of "Sled Dog Dachshund."

Poppy Pickle: A Little Girl with a Big Imagination
Emma Yarlett, author/illustrator
Templar Books
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Dover, Massachusetts 02144
9780763689117, $16.99, hardcover,

"Poppy Pickle" is a very big, imaginative book about a girl whose very active imagination runs away with her! Poppy has an ordinary mom, dad and three cats. This does not deter her from being far from ordinary, because Poppy Pickle was "full to the brim with imagination." Unfortunately, sometimes Poppy's imagination got her into a pickle, like the time she tossed her ordinary cat to make her a flying cat! The true excitement starts when Poppy's mom ordered her upstairs to clean her room. Instead of working on cleaning her room, Poppy imagined bigger and more fantastic creatures until she had a room full of weird and wonderful creatures. All was fine until things began to go wrong, and once again Poppy was in a pickle. When Poppy's huge creatures began to chase her as food, she tried un-imagining them, but that didn't work at all! To make things worse, her mother knocked at the door and demanded that she open it at once! Fortunately Poppy was able to imagine a tough solution to her monstrosities stampeding, pushing them all through an imaginary door just in time! Oh, but what a mess monsters make, even though Poppy tried to tell her parents she could explain. It was all no use. She really did have to clean up her room this time, and it took her until dinner! Poppy's parents may have hoped she had learned her lesson, but the ending suggests otherwise! "Poppy Pickle" uses zany, wildly wacky color illustrations, individualized dramatic typesetting, and ever evolving narrative delights to spin a tale of a girl's imagination growing (almost) out of control. Children will love "Poppy Pickle" and its heartening message of adorable, irrepressible nonconformity.

Don't Wake Up the Tiger
Britta Teckentrup, author /illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
9780763689964, $15.99,

"Don't Wake Up the Tiger" is a charming, vibrantly illustrated children's wide awake book for young readers age 2 to 4. Filled with shiny, brilliant primary colored balloons, stylized, tiptoeing animals and repeating portraits of a terrifying sleeping tiger, "Don't Wake Up the Tiger" has a wonderful impetus towards action that leads to a totally surprising conclusion. All the animals are cautioned to be very careful not to wake up the tiger, while they are clinging to or transporting balloons across the tiger's sleeping form. What do you imagine happens? Pop! A bright blue balloon finally bursts on stork's sharp beak. "Oh dear, Tiger is wide awake! that means it is time for... [turn the page] ...her surprise birthday party!" All the animals are there to help Tiger celebrate, and they invite you, the reader, to join them! "Don't Wake Up the Tiger" is a lovely eye-opening experience for young readers that is greatly enhanced by its dramatic narrative and exuberant illustrations.

Stardust Child
Joann Rose Leonard, author
William Schroder, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781632331212, $9.99 pb,
9781632331228, $14.99 hc,

"Stardust Child" is a quietly revolutionary children's book based upon the words of Neil deGrasse Tyson: "We are biologically connected to everything in the world. We are all, not figuratively, but literally, made of stardust." Modeling interconnectedness, the narrative of "Stardust Child" follows the poetic form of "The House That Jack Built," substituting such narrative clues as follows: "This is the stardust that made the atoms of the farmer who milks the cow that makes the milk that Stardust Child drinks." The story expands exponentially in the stardusted middle: "These are the stars that shine in the night sky over the sea where the clouds form to water the grass the cow eats to make the milk that Stardust Child drinks." Stunning, galactic scenes of starburst colors show the interconnectedness of all life in the universe against a background of oceans, stars, moon, and sun, lighting up all the skies. Gradually the bright images of rainbow colored stardust become integrated into the black outlined forms of the cow, the farmer, and the Stardust Child. "Stardust Child" is a beautiful interpretation of the idea that "we are biologically connected to everything in the world," in the words of legendary astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Children of elementary school age and up will enjoy "Stardust Child" along with their parents.

Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey
Johanna Skibsrud and Sarah Blacker, authors
Julie Morstad, illustrator
Penguin Random House
320 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B6
97800670067121, $17.99,

Imagine the most charming tribute to the wonder and miracle of a tiny new human being, and place that tribute in a context that includes a list of other beautiful baby animals: This is "Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey." Page after page of tender, pastel portraits of puppies, kittens, turtles, butterflies, and even an owl and a baby seal all share similarities with the mysterious new baby creature. The sensitive illustrations have texture, expressiveness, and beautiful composition. One almost wishes that the baby could be a seal, or owl, or butterfly, or whatever the animal is. But every page's narrative ends with the refrain, "But you are not a (kitten, puppy, etc. etc.). Of course any parent and perhaps any child will know that the story is about a real human baby, but the gently suspenseful comparative portrait is hypnotic and reassuring in a lullaby fashion. The final page reveals an adorable pajama clad baby with gold and green rays streaming out like an earthly halo: "You are a perfect new baby more beautiful than we ever could have imagined, more wonderful than all of the animals in the kingdom." "Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey" is an exquisite bedtime lullaby story for young children age infant to 4.

Never Follow a Dinosaur
Alex Latimer, author/illustrator
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia 30318
9781561457045, $16.95,

One day Joe and his sister Sally spotted a strange set of footprints. Could they have been made by a dinosaur? They follow the strange footprints to their pet cat Willoughby's food dish and find it empty! Do you suppose it is a hungry dinosaur? Piquant, precise portrait illustrations trace the footprints of an imaginary dinosaur followed by the children through the pages. Ultimately they conclude they are looking for a hungry, heavy, swimming, dancing dinosaur with a headache and a sore foot, but there is no such dinosaur to be found! The children hatch a plot to trap a dinosaur, even though their father tells them dinosaurs are extinct. The amazing thing is, you might almost conclude the plan works, except backwards. The dinosaur caught the children instead of the reverse. However, a reassuring surprise ending is waiting just around the bend. "Never Follow a Dinosaur" is a totally appealing illustrated story that children will love, especially the delicious surprise ending.

Monkey: Not Ready for the Baby
Marc Brown
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781101933275, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Monkey is very nervous about the new baby. He likes being a little brother! Before the big arrival, Monkey must learn about what it means to be a big brother. Mommy, Daddy, and Brother show Monkey how to prepare for the baby: Monkey can share his old baby things with his new little sibling. He can go to the hospital with Mommy to feel the baby kicking! Monkey can even help Mommy pick out all of the things that the baby will need, and get her packed and ready for the hospital. Finally, Monkey is ready to be a big brother! Especially appropriate and highly recommended for children ages 3 to 7, "Monkey: Not Ready for the Baby" is ideal for helping children prepare for the arrival of a little brother or sister. Exceptionally well written and charmingly illustrated by Marc Brown, "Monkey: Not Ready for the Baby" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for families that "Monkey: Not Ready for the Baby" is also available in a Kindle format ($10.99).

There's An Alligator In Audubon Park!
Gina Minor Allen
Impossibility Press
9780692666975, $17.95, HC, 26pp,

What would you do if you saw an alligator on your afternoon stroll. Would you run? Would you warn everyone? Or would you fire up the gumbo pot! That's we'll find out in the children's picture book "There's An Alligator in Audubon Park!" Author Gina Minor Allen has a genuine flair for creating an original and thoroughly 'kid friendly' entertainment for young children ages 3 to 8 and would prove to be an enduringly popular and unique addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Before Morning
Joyce Sidman, author
Beth Krommes, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547979175, $17.99, HC, 48pp,

There are planes to fly and buses to catch, but a child uses the power of words, in the form of an invocation, to persuade fate to bring her family a snow day -- a day slow and unhurried enough to spend at home together. In a spare text that reads as pure song and illustrations of astonishingly beautiful scratchboard art, author Joyce Sidman and illustrator Beth Krommes collaborate to present "Before Morning" and remind children ages 4 to 7 that sometimes, if spoken from the heart, wishes really can come true. A truly beautiful picture book for young readers, "Before Morning" is unreservedly recommended for preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for families that "Before Morning" is also available in a Kindle format ($12.99).

The Worst Breakfast
China Mieville, author
Zak Smith, illustrator
Black Sheep
c/o Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
9781617754869, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Two sisters sit down at their kitchen table one morning and begin to talk about all of the really gross things that were a part of the worst breakfast they ever had -- all the strangest, weirdest, yuckiest, slimiest, slickest, stinkiest things ever part of a morning breakfast. Deftly written by the exceptionally talented China Mieville and shockingly but gifted illustrated by Zak Smith, "The Worst Breakfast" is a unique picture book that will be enduringly popular with children ages 3 to 7. While very highly recommended for preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for families that this unique picture book for children is also available in a Kindle format ($9.51).

Gabby: Wonder Girl
Joyce Grant, author
Jan Dolby, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554553846, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Gabby returns as Wonder Girl in this third book of the very popular Gabby series. When Gabby finds a mysterious photograph in her backyard, she teams up with her best friend, Super Roy, to figure out who the strange girl in the picture is. Using her magic book and the power of punctuation, Gabby and Roy must ask the right questions to solve the mystery and save the day. Joyce Grant is a freelance journalist actively involved in literacy. She is the editor of Getting Kids Reading, a non-profit website that works to stimulate a love of reading in children. Jan Dolby studied Fine Art at the University of Guelph. Together they have once again created a wonderfully entertaining picture book story that will prove to be enormously popular with children ages 6 to 7. While strongly recommended for family, elementary school and community library picture book collections.

Nelly Stephane, author
Andre Francois, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
351 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
9781592702046, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

The collaborative work of author Nelly Stephane and artist/illustrator Andrew Francois, "Roland" is an impressively presented picture book story about a little boy with a huge imagination. The marvel and enchantment of "Roland" is its revelation of the mind as it belongs only to the world of children. Existing without the prejudices of their parents and without the firm belief that the world must be a certain way, children live in a fluid zone between "reality" and imagination, where everything is possible. A unique and superbly produced story for young children ages 4 to 8 and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

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

Three fine titles provide excellent stories for any young picturebook reader and are recommended picks for discriminating picture book collections. Richard Collingridge's Lionheart (9780545833219, $17.99) tells of Richard, who hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? Can he escape by running into a magic jungle, escaping a toy which has turned into something threatening? Lionheart is a lovely story about monsters and fears, and will delight kids and parents who choose it for a read-cloud, offering vividly colored, large-sized drawings throughout. Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass: Two Friends by Dean Roberts (9780545399968, $17.99) receives illustrations by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko as it dramatizes the story of two civil rights activists who became friends. From Susan's growing determination to apply the tenets of freedom to women to Frederick Douglass's similar process in applying rights to blacks, this is a powerful story of evolving interests and struggles for freedom. Jane Yolen and Mark Teague's How Do Dinosaurs Stay Friends? (9780545829342, $16.99) discusses friendship and how all ages stay friends - and even how different species can get along. In this case, naughty dinosaur antics are followed by affection in escapades kids will readily recognize as similar to their own lives. Do dinosaurs throw friends' lunch boxes into the lake, or lie about schoolyard aggression? And if they do, how can they make up to their peers and encourage friendships? The dino lessons translate well to a young child's experiences with others, and they're hilarious and fun to read about.

The Christmas Shelf

Ornaments of Love
Sharlin Craig
Harmony Hearts Publishing
9780997106008, $9.99, PB, 32pp,

"Ornaments of Love" by Sharlin Craig is a touching Christmas story enhanced with glowing illustrations. It is the story of Ayana, an endearing ten-year-old, who excitedly anticipates that special time of year when the entire family joins together to decorate and admire the Christmas tree. But sadly this year is different. Ayana realizes that her mom and dad are far too busy with everything else to enjoy the tree with Ayana. Then, something unexpected happens and the family is brought together with tenderness and joy. Filled to the brim and overflowing with charming moments, gentle humor, and timeless illustrations, this beautiful story is a wonderful reminder of what's important not only during the Christmas season, but every day of our lives. Critique: A simply wonderful and charmingly entertaining contribution to the growing library of Christmas picture book literature for children, Sharlin Craig's "Ornaments of Love" is an especially recommended addition to family and community library collections. For personal Christmas holiday reading lists it should be noted that "Ornaments of Love" is also available in a Kindle format ($3.99).

Rufus and the Very Special Baby
Carla Barnhill, author
Natasha Rimmington, illustrated
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Avenue, 7th floor, Minneapolis, MN 55418
9781506417769, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

A very special baby has arrived and the Frolic friends are gathering their gifts to welcome the baby. Rufus wonders what he could possibly offer such a special child. Preschoolers (ages 3-5) will enjoy this sweet twist on the familiar Christmas story as they follow along with Rufus to discover that he had a present for the baby all along. Colorfully charming illustrations perfectly complement and support and engagingly entertaining and original Christmas Nativity themed story that is enthusiastically recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book stories for children. It should be noted that "Rufus and the Very Special Baby" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

Ada & Leo's Inspired Christmas Adventures: Volume 2
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402

Ada & Leo's Inspired Christmas Adventures: Volume 2 is a DVD of cartoons featuring colorful characters that teach young viewers about the biblical values underlying the celebration of Christmas. In these brief cartoon episodes, Ada, Leo, and their friends practice for their annual church Christmas pageant, and apply Christian principles to help figure out real-life problems. Ada & Leo's Inspired Christmas Adventures: Volume 2 is a choice pick for church library children's collections; also highly recommended is the first Ada & Leo's Inspired Christmas Adventures DVD ($14.99). The cartoon episodes in Volume 2 are "Magnificat: The Musical!", "Nativity 2.0", "Christmas: A Disaster Story", "Active Acres", "Minivan Fever", "A Very Jamila Christmas", and "Robot New Years". 37 min.

The Board Book Shelf

Help! The Wolf is Coming!
Ramadier & Bourgeau, author/illustrator
Gecko Press
P.O. Box 9335 Madison Square, Wellington 6141 New Zealand
9781927271841, $12.99,

"Help! The Wolf is Coming!" is a delicious, tongue in cheek, illustrated child's board book with touches of interactive play in the game of flee from the wolf. Minimal illustrations show an approaching black wolf against a background of flat yellow sky and green ground. The child is encouraged to stop the wolf or escape the wolf by turning the page or tilting the book, or shaking it or turning it upside down, all to little avail! The wolf desperately hangs on and approaches ever closer, clinging to a branch on the mountainside! Excitement mounts as the child is encouraged to "Quick! Shut the book!" On the back cover reads a message, "Phew! The wolf has gone. Are you sure? Quick! Flip the book and check..." Children age 4-5 and even younger will be marvelously entertained by this creative story that begs for a child's playful touch to come to life.

Beach Baby
Laurie Elmquist, author
Elly MacKay, illustrator
Orca Book Publishers
PO Box 468, Custer, WA 98240-0468
9781459809543, $9.95,

"Beach Baby" is a gentle ocean side poetic lullaby that quietly reassures a tired baby boy that all his beach treasures, sights, sounds, and experiences will endure through a night of rest and still be there in the morning for a fresh day of discovery. This haunting board book presents page after page of mesmerizing beach scenes, all represented in subtle, misted hues of tawny, aqua, rosy, and deepening twilight shades. Pictures of pelicans, sandpipers, seals, dolphins and snails complement the lulling narrative of ocean music. A mother gently carries her tired, happy boy away to bed as the beach twilight falls. "Beach Baby" is a beautiful first bedtime story for very young readers. Looking at its pages conjures the quiet sound of the waves coming in.

The Gardening Shelf

Saving Kate's Flowers
Cindy Sommer, author
Laurie Allen Klein, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9781628558708, $17.95,

Following STEAM learning models, "Saving Kate's Flowers" presents the ever fresh tale of a child's wish to save some flowers during the coming winter. With bunny gardener characters Mom and Kate (reminiscent of Beatrix Potter), children read the story of digging and potting annual flowers who bloom only once, to winter inside the house. In all Mom and Kate decided to save some impatiens, some geraniums, some snapdragons, and one goldenrod. However, while Mom was distracted by a phone call, Kate decided to keep on saving plants. To her Mom's surprise, she filled up the house with potted plants and flowers to keep them from dying. But when Dad bunny came home, Ah-choo! His allergies reacted to too many saved flowers in pots in the house. Gradually Mom and Kate came up with a solution for all the excess saved plants. They would share the excess flowers with their friends in the neighborhood. Charming illustrations of Kate and Mom bunny delivering flowers to a frog, a cat, birds, a pug, a bat, a turtle, a mole and a squirrel inspire thoughts of winter blooms shared with friends. At the end, pages For Creative Minds list plant parts, and information about the life cycle of plants, potting flowers, and flower identification. "Saving Kate's Flowers" is a gentle, touching story about the gift of blooms and ongoing life in the garden in the eyes of a child.

A Year in Our New Garden
Gerda Muller
Floris Books
9781782502593, $17.95,

A Year in Our New Garden tells of Anna and Benjamin's family, who have just moved into their new house in the center of a busy town. It has a lovely, big garden, and the kids and their neighbor spend the next year learning about what can be done in that plot. Kids who pursue this gardening delight will need good reading skills - there's a good amount of text - or adult assistance, but the bright pages of gardening specifics and kid-oriented details on planting a garden shouldn't be missed.

The Hobby Shelf

Brick Animals: 40 Clever and Creative ideas to Make from Classic Lego
Warren Elsmore, author
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppage, NY 11788
9781438008806, $13.99, paperback, 96pp,

"Brick Animals" presents specific, step by step, instructions for building 40 delightful brick animal projects from a brick selection found in LEGO'S CLASSIC series, often using less than 100 bricks per project. All project instructions are presented in keyed and numbered illustrations with no narrative, including a final project photo and an initial diagram of all required brick pieces with an accompanying amount number such as 1x or 2x. The project slowly evolves from step one through the last step on the opposing page. These brick animal building projects are fun, imaginative, and challenging for young block builders to complete. Sequence and visual spatial projection are skills enhanced by these creative, fun projects. Some of the animal projects include; butterfly, raccoon, lion, polar bear, fox, elephant, bumble bee, cow, lobster, giraffe, warthog, gorilla, rhinoceros, and mosquito, plus many more. Hours of creative indoor fun are represented in the pages of "Brick Animals," a sure draw for children of LEGO interest age and their parents. All pages are in full color. Also highly recommended is a companion series title, "Brick Cars and Trucks (9781438008813, $13.99)," also by Warren Elsmore.

The Christian Shelf

Bedtime Bible
Merce Segarra and Rosa M. Curto
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Ave. 7th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781506413266 $12.99

Bedtime Bible is a picturebook adapting parables from the Bible into brief, one-page stories suitable for reading to young children at bedtime. Gentle, colorful illustrations add the perfect touch to this heartwarming book, which includes adaptations of both Old Testament and New Testament stories. "David and Goliath: David was a brave young shepherd. One day he fought Goliath, a giant who everyone was afraid of. David defeated Goliath by throwing a rock from a slingshot. When he grew up, David became king, and ruled over Israel with God's help." Bedtime Bible is an excellent, read-aloud storybook for Christian families.

Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids
Jill C. Lafferty & Peter Grosshauser
Sparkhouse Family
510 Marquette Avenue, 7th floor, Minneapolis, MN 55418
9781506417660, $14.99, HC, 210pp,

Written specifically for young readers ages 8 to 12 by the team of Jill C. Lafferty and Peter Grosshauser, "Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids" takes children on a journey through 100 of the most beloved Bible stories with questions for reflection, memory verses, prayers, and family activity ideas. The devotions explore memorable stories from the Old Testament, such as the story of creation, Moses, David and Goliath, Queen Esther, Ruth and Naomi, and many more. The New Testament devotions include the story of Jesus' birth and stories from Jesus' ministry, including parables, miracles, and his death and resurrection. There are even devotions about the early church and Paul's letters. "Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids" makes family devotions easy and memorable. It should be noted that "Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids" pairs perfectly with the "Spark Story Bible". Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, "Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids" is very highly recommended to all young members of the Christian community. It should be noted that "Spark Story Bible Devotions for Kids" is also available in a Kindle format ($9.99).

God Made the Sun
Mary Manz Simon, author
Lizzie Walkley, illustrator
Worthy Kids / Ideals
c/o Worthy Publishing
One Franklin Park, 6100 Tower Circle, Suite 210, Franklin, TN 37067
9780824919801, $7.99,

"God Made the Sun" is a special board book morning prayer for young children age 2 and up. From the first page to the last, a series of concentric circles gradually decreasing in size frame a yellow sun which forms the focus for the child's good morning prayer of thanks. Written in gentle rhyme, and filled with bright, inspiring pictures of happy children greeting the morning sun, "God Made the Sun" traces the rising and setting of the full day of sun, reassuring the child at the end: "Then, when the sun starts sliding down and carries off the light, I'm sure that God, who made the sun, will stay with me tonight." The bright to muted progressions of background colors accompany each stage of the day's varied play activities to return to rest at the end. Children will love the circular shape of each page's frame of the sun, and the cyclical shape of the day's prayer which begins and ends with the sun, which God made. Another accompanying board book prayer that is also sweetly inspirational and reassuring for young children is "God Made the Moon (97800824919818, $7.99)," also by Mary Manz Simon and illustrated by Lizzie Walkley. This book features a graduated crescent moon cutout for each successive board page illustration, and celebrates God's gift of the moon, night, and rest.

The Judaic Shelf

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah
Richard Ungar
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770498129 $16.99

Yitzi and the Giant Menorah is a children's picturebook set during the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The story is set in the town of Chelm; on the eve of Hanukkah, the people of Chelm receive a giant menorah (a nine-branched candelabrum associated with the holiday) as astounding gift from the Mayor of Lublin. As the people meet during each day of Hanukkah to light the giant menorah, they ask themselves, "What is the most fitting way to thank the Mayor Lublin?" Out of all their ideas and attempts at gifts, it is young Yitzi who figures out the perfect thank-you on the last day of Hanukkah. Striking, vividly colorful illustrations distinguish this memorable holiday book.

My Very Own Letter
Zalmy Hecht, author
Chani Judowitz
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628896 $10.95

Featuring laminated pages that little hands can easily turn, My Very Own Letter is a colorful picturebook especially for Jewish children, about the Torah Campaign initiated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the spring of 1981. The idea behind the Torah Campaign was that boys and girls under the ages of bar and bas mitzvah would each sponsor one letter in a Sefer Torah; the cost of a letter is the symbolic sum of one dollar. As of this writing, close to two million Jewish children have participated in the writing of five Children's Sifrei Torah, with a sixth underway, and those who wish to take part in this global mitzvah initiative may visit to register their child. My Very Own Letter shows a young Jewish boy and girl who experience and celebrate the Torah Campaign. "And even today, it makes me excited / To think how all Jews are truly united. / Just as each letter, so crisp, black and neat, / Is needed to make the Torah complete." A detailed "Note to Parents and Teachers" explains the history and practice of Torah Campaign, in this charming picturebook, ideal for Jewish families to read aloud and share.

The Art Shelf

Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories
Michael Bird, author
Kate Evans, illustrator
Laurence King Publishing
c/o Chronicle Books
680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
9781780676159, $29.95, HC, 336pp,

"Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children's History of Art" by writer and art historian Michael Bird provides children ages 9 to 13 with an enthralling and informative journey through the story of world art, from early cave paintings right up to the present day. Students in grades 4 to 8 will discover artists from around the world with images and a text that showcases their art in 70 exciting and imaginative tales about those artists and the way they created their art work. Very nicely illustrated throughout by Kate Evans, "Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories" also features a wealth of reproductions of the famous artworks discussed, as well as a comprehensive timeline of events and extra feature spreads on places connected with art. "Vincent's Starry Night and Other Stories" is a beautiful and engaging introduction to art that is unreservedly recommended for family, school, and community library Art History collections for young readers.

You Can Draw Military Aircraft
Mike Artell
MJA Creative
9780991089468, $19.95 (HC) / $9.95 (PB), 82pp,

With "You Can Draw Military Aircraft: Learn to Draw Jets, Helicopters and Other Military Aircraft Step-by-Step", children ages 7 to 12 can easily learn to draw the coolest jets, the most amazing helicopters, and military prop planes. Even an American Airforce drone! And while kids are learning to draw each of these military aircraft they can also read about the various specs of each aircraft including their speed, length, and mission. Kids can check out the photo and three-axis drawing of each aircraft as well. And when they are done with all of that, click on the QR code to see awesome video of each aircraft in action. Mike Artell's "You Can Draw Military Aircraft" is a combination drawing book and informational resource with video links! Offering hours of fund, "You Can Draw Military Aircraft" is especially recommended for young boys (and their fathers!) with an interest in aviation.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Johnny Boo Goes Like This!
James Kochalka
IDW Publishing
c/o Top Shelf Productions
PO Box 1282, Marietta GA 30061-1282
9781603093842 $9.99

The seventh book in the Johnny Boo graphic novel series, Johnny Boo Goes Like This! is a playfully wacky, colorful graphic novel especially for young readers ages 4-8. When doodle- ghost Johnny Boo and his little friend Squiggle stumble across a giant pencil, they discover that it has unlimited potential for creative drawings. But what if the drawings come to life? What if they're carnivorous (or Johnny Boo-vorous?) And what if they steal Johnny Boo's hair? Johnny Boo Goes Like This! never takes itself too seriously, and might even encourage young readers to try to drawing their own adventures! Highly recommended, especially for public library children's graphic novel collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

Hardy Boys Adventures: The Madman of Black Bear Mountain
Franklin W. Dixon, author
Read by Tim Gregory
Oasis Audio
289 Main Place, Carol Stream, IL 60188
9781613757789 $9.99

Hardy Boys Adventures: The Madman of Black Bear Mountain is the twelfth book in a new series of adventures for young adults featuring the classic, adventure-loving, mystery-solving Hardy Boys in a modern-day setting. When Bayport High's Green Environment Conservation Club goes camping on Black Bear Mountain, rumors of danger escalate into a frightening situation; their teacher goes missing, and blood is streaked across his tent! Did a bear kill him? Or a psychotic human? When Frank and Joe search for their teacher, they cross paths with an ax- wielding man in face paint and bearskins! A deadly bear-and-mouse game ensues, in this dramatic and exciting adventure, especially recommended for public and school library children's audiobook collections. 3 CDs.

The Music CD Shelf

Dream Too Much
Amy Lee
Amazon Music
$11.99 CD / $7.99 MP3

Dream Too Much is an album of 12 original songs for all ages by Grammy award winner Amy Lee. Created especially to encourage children and family members to sing along together, Dream Too Much is an unfettered delight. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Stand by Me", "Dream Too Much" "Bee and Duck", "I'm Not Tired", "Little Bird", "Alice", "Rubber Duckie", "Hello Goodbye", "Donkey and Chicken", "The End of the Book", "If You're a Star", and "Goodnight My Love".

I Will Find You No Matter What
The L (Luc and Bob Schneider)
Amazon Music
$9.99 CD / $9.99 MP3

I Will Find You No Matter What is the first family album by multi-award winning singer-songwriter Bob Schneider and his now eleven-year-old son Luc (together, they are known as "The L"). A carefree sense of delight spins through each original composition, from larger-than-life dreams and fables, to the joy of throwing oneself into everyday passions. Highly recommended! The tracks are "All the Time", "Space Escape", "Denied", "Running For Our Lives", "Popsicle", "Robots", "Island in the Ocean", "Happy Face", "Superman", "I Love You", "Monstertruck", "Tae Kwon Do", "Vacuum Cleaner", and "Christmas Pony".

Justin Roberts
Carpet Square Records
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Two-time Grammy nominee Justin Roberts presents Lemonade, his thirteenth family-friendly music album, showcasing twelve all-new, original songs. The stringed medley showcases instruments ranging from acoustic guitar to banjo, ukulele, piano, cello, fiddle, and harpsichord; some homemade instruments such as cardboard boxes, paint cans, and saltshakers round out the rousing percussion. The songs capture the trials, tribulations, and everyday little things about childhood and growing up, in a delightfully catchy manner. Kids and adults alike will enjoy listening to Lemonade during car trips, parties, or anytime that lively music is good for lightening the day! The tracks are "Lemonade", "Must Be This Tall", "Dodgeball", "Rolling Down The Hill", "Long As I Got You", "Valentine (I don't wanna be yours)", "Me And My Kangaroo", "How Lucky We Are", "This Is How We Bring in the Sun", "Tree Home", "Eight-Legged Octopus", and "If I Were".

Sing-a-Long History, Vol. 2: The Rocket Went Up!
The Deedle Deedle Dees
Privately Published
$9.99 CD / $9.99 download

Brooklyn-based, educational rock band The Deedle Deedle Dees present Sing-a-Long History, Vol. 2: The Rocket Went Up!, a family-friendly music album featuring sixteen original songs about real-life heroes of history. From a comedic ditty about legendary escape artist Harry Houdini, to a tribute to the courageous doctors who battled the deadly Ebola virus, to a rap battle between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, to a song in honor of expert scientist Stephen Hawking and more, Sing-a-Long History, Vol. 2 is as enlightening as it is entertaining. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library children's music collections! The tracks are "Houdini", "Every Time I Stand Up", "Super Strong", "Ada Lovelace", "Pi", "The Rocket Went Up!", "This is for You", "Take My Hand", "Typhoid Mary Tells Her Side of Things", "Dissolve", "Tesla V. Edison", "H.M.S. Beagle", "Boston Molasses Flood", "Stephen Hawking, Can You Fact-Check this?", "Dreaming of Diana", and "I Remember You, Lucy".

The Laurie Berkner Band
Two Tomatoes Records LLC

Children's musician Laurie Berkner presents Superhero, an album of all-new songs celebrating the little things in life that can make every day fun. Berkner's delightful singing voice conveys her joy through a wide diversity of musical styles, including '60s pop, rootsy rock, lullabies, reggae, Latin, and more. The Laurie Berkner Band (Laurie Berkner on guitar, Brady Rymer on bass, Susie Lampert on keyboards, and Bobby Golden on drums/percussion) has put their all into a delightful album that serves its musical smorgasbord sunny side up! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Superhero", "Tallulah Jones", "Bicycle", "My My Marisol (ft. Ziggy Marley)", "This Is How I Do It", "I've Got So Much To Give", "Bubbles", "Tea Party", "When I Woke Up Today", "Umbrella", "Face To Face", "Opelika Alabama (ft. Brady Rymer)", "Juniper Square", "Pajama Time!", "Swing Me" (ft. Kira Willey), "Elephant in There", "Fireworks", "The Music in Me", "In And Out (Take A Trip)", "1-2 Hands", "Yes!", "Pool Safety", and "We Are The Dinosaurs (Dance Remix)". 59 min.

The DVD Shelf

Grace for President
Kelly DiPucchio, author
Pictures by LeUyen Pham
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
9781338090222 $59.95

Intended for viewers ages 5-9, Grace for President is the DVD adaptation of an uplifting picturebook about a young black girl with the gumption to be a trailblazer. When Grace learns in school that the United States has never had a female president, she resolves to become the first, and to kickstart her impending political career she becomes a candidate in the school's mock election! In addition to being a whimsical adventure, Grace for President also teaches young people the basics of the American Electoral system, and emphasizes the positive values of hard work, bravery, and independent thought. Highly recommended, especially for school library collections and homeroom viewing! 11 min., optional English subtitles, closed-captioned.

The Multimedia Shelf

Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies
Misja Fitzgerald Michel, author
Ilya Green, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal Avenue, Montreal, QC, Canada, H4A 2M2
9782924217788 $16.95

Under the Moon: Jazz Standards and Lullabies is a children's picturebook and music CD combo. The music CD consists of thirteen classic jazz songs by legendary performers of the 50's, including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Louis Armstrong, and Ray Charles. The gentle, nighttime illustrations beautifully complement this musical tour, enriched with notes and background information about these beloved songs. Jazz-loving parents will especially enjoy sharing Under the Moon with children during storytime or bedtime. Highly recommended!

Blue and Red Make Purple: A Musical Journey with Jennifer Gasoi
Jennifer Gasoi, author
Steve Adams, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal Avenue, Montreal, QC, Canada, H4A 2M2
9782924217795 $16.95

Blue and Red Make Purple: A Musical Journey with Jennifer Gasoi is a children's picturebook and CD combo in which both media complement one another. The music of Grammy award-winning composer Jennifer Gasoi draws upon styles including bluegrass, blues, cajun, calypso, and klezmer with an underlying core of jazz, and pairs beautifully with the sweeping, delightful illustrations by artist Steve Adams. Blue and Red Make Purple included educational "notes" (get it?) about the history, instruments, and special characteristics of each showcased musical genre. Blue and Red Make Purple is a joy for music-loving parents and children to share, highly recommended.

The Fiction Shelf

Judith Silverthorne
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Avenue, Regina, SK, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550506525, $16.95, PB, 223pp,

The year is 1842 and fourteen-year-old Jennie Lawrence has been found guilty of stealing and finds herself aboard one of the few women-only convict ships, destined for Australia. The conditions aboard the ship are abhorrent: the women are ill from lack of food and water and are beaten if they disobey orders. The only way for the women to survive the voyage is to band together. And so, with the help of Sarah, Bridget, Alice and other convicts, her new "family", young Jennie battles the jailers, the ship and the sea. But will it be enough to set them free? "Convictions" is a simply riveting read from beginning to end and will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists of teen readers that "Convictions" is also available in a Kindle format ($7.52).

The Best Man
Richard Peck
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
Listening Library, Inc.
9780803738393, $16.99, HC, 240pp,

Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of the best are his grandpa, the great architect; his dad, the great vintage car customizer; and his uncle Paul, who is just plain great. These are the three he wants to be. Along the way he finds a fourth -- Mr. McLeod, a teacher. In fact, the first male teacher in the history of the school. But now here comes middle school and puberty. Change. Archer wonders how much change has to happen before his voice does. He doesn't see too far ahead, so every day or so a startling revelation breaks over him. Then a really big one when he's the best man at the wedding of two of his role models. But that gets ahead of the story. "The Best Man" by renowned children's author Richard Peck is a wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end and is especially appropriate for ages 9 to 12. While enthusiastically recommended and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, junior high and community library collections, it should be noted that "The Best Man" is also available in a Kindle edition ($10.99) and in a complete and unabridged CD audio book format (Listening Library, 9780735288867, $30.00).

Search for the Hidden Garden
Sherry Weaver Smith, author
Rebecca Thornburgh, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
9780819890504, $9.95, PB, 128pp,

Young Charlotte Delacroix thinks she's found a special treasure map, but it's Therese Martin (living in Lisieux, France just month before entering her Carmelite convent) who helps her to see exactly how special the treasure is, and how it can change her life. It might just change other lives, too. "Search for the Hidden Garden" takes children age 7 to 10 on a wonderfully entertaining journey of discovery: discovery of a children's garden, but also the discovery of how friendship and doing small, good things brings us closer to the saints and to God. "Search for the Hidden Garden" is a charming and even inspiring historical novel that is especially recommended for parochial and elementary school students grades 3 to 7, and would prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Blood Brothers
Laura Roybal
All About Kids Publishing
PO Box 159, Gilroy, CA 95021
9780996375627, $11.95, PB, 278pp,

Jason Delgado gets sent to live with his paternal grandparents after he gets shot at a school dance. His estranged father lives there also along with his cousin James. His resentment towards his father and cousin festers until he learns the truth about his cousin James. "Blood Brothers" is a young adult novel with the kind of story that could easily be found throughout the country. A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, "Blood Brothers" is very highly recommended for teens and young adults, and is certain to be an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections.

Clarion Books
c/o Houghton Mifflin
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003

Marilyn Singer's Miss Muffet Or What Came After (9780547905662, $16.99) features lovely drawings by David Litchfield as it tells quite a different version of Miss Muffet's story, which doesn't revolve around a scary spider so much as a daring girl who sets off on an adventure and the equally courageous spider who joins her. Verse arranged like a musical theater piece will require good reading skills or parental assistance, but provides a fun new take on Miss Muffet's story. Rita Gay's When the World is Dreaming (9780544582620, $17.99) features Kenard Pak's lovely drawings as it examines creatures that prepare for a good night and bedtime dreams. But, what do animals dream of? A winning story follows each animal's preferred nighttime fantasies.

Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Inc.
400 Market Street, Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Two excellent new books join others in this publisher's new but blossoming publications for young readers, and are especially recommended for collections seeking well-done stories about diversity holding deep psychological messages. Jane Evans' Cyril Squirrel Finds Out About Love (9781785920806, $15.95) tells of a curious squirrel who asks many questions, especially about the biggest mystery of all: love. Cyril doesn't receive any definitive answers to his queries about this elusive quality, so he gets a notebook and a map and sets off to find his own answers in an engaging story that teaches kids about different facets of love. Alison Knowles' Ollie and the Golden Stripe (9781785920813, $15.95) documents the experiences of Ollie, who just stands by as his classmate Adam is bullied. Sophie Wiltshire's colorful drawings lend to a chapter book that requires reading skills from grades 3-5, but offers many insights on how Ollie can use his superpowers to better understand Adam's feelings and his own responsibility in facing down injustice. Both are excellent additions recommended for elementary-level collections.

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

Gavin Brown's Josh Baxter Levels Up (9780545772945, $12.99) is recommended for advanced elementary to middle school readers as it tells of gamer Josh Baxter, who's experiencing his third new school in two years. Immersed in the gamer's atmosphere, he's developed a strategy for survival that actually holds very few goals - but the forces against him include bad grades, punishments from his Mom, and too many losing propositions. How can Josh up the ante and resolve his problems? A fine story evolves in which video game approaches translate to real-life challenges. Mahtab Narsimhan's Mission Mumbai (9780545746519, $16.99) relates what happens when aspiring photographer Dylan is invited to visit India with his best friend Rohit. It's the perfect answer to a conflicted home life with parents who are fighting, and Dylan eagerly anticipates the colors and sights of India. What he doesn't expect is that Mumbai is very different from New York City, and offers challenges ranging from filth and crowds to odd customs. Despite his optimistic acceptance of another culture, he's on the edge of disaster in this powerful story of cross-cultural friendship which is recommended for any young reader interested in other countries and their challenges. Kirby Larson's Audacity Jones to the Rescue (9780545840569, $16.99) tells of a girl who longs for adventure as she wiles away too many boring hours at Miss Maisie's School for Wayward Girls. It's not that she's wayward so much as precocious, and even though Audacity has many books to keep her satisfied and a cat to play with, she longs for the kinds of adventure she reads about in her books. So when a mysterious Commodore Crutchfield takes her to Washington, D.C. where Audacity stumbles upon a plot, she uses her book-reading experience to tackle the heart of danger in this winning young adult story of a plucky orphan's determination. Jenny Goebel's Fortune Falls (9780545819903, $16.99) tells of a magical town where superstitions are a real part of daily life. In this town, Sadie is an Unlucky - and she can only expect her luck to get worse as she ages. Because her ill fortune is likely to impact others, Sadie can also anticipate being banned from her town after the age of twelve - but, she doesn't want to leave her family and friends. How can she change her fortune? A scheme gone awry threatens everything she loves in this powerful story of magic and survival.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Sammy and the Headless Horseman
Rona Arato
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552696 $12.95

Sammy and the Headless Horseman is a ghostly mystery novel for young adults, perfect for the Halloween season. Eleven-year-old Sammy Levin has to spend his summer in the Catskill Mountains with his obnoxious cousin Joshua, and worse, Sammy has been forcibly "volunteered" as hired help for the Pine Grove Hotel. Then sightings of a menacing headless horseman are reported. Sammy and his friends jump at the chance to solve the mystery, but the truth could be more dangerous than any of them expect! An exciting story sure to engage young adults, Sammy and the Headless Horseman is especially recommended for public and school library children's collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

The Cooking With Kids Cookbook
Lynn Walters, Jane Stacey
University of New Mexico Press
1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque NM 87131-0001
9780826357298, $24.95, Sprial Bound HC, 154pp,

All young children, boys and girls, should know how to conduct themselves in a kitchen and take a hand in the preparation of family meals. Kitchen skills are skills that will serve them a life time and help to insure they grow up with a health diet and a respect for family meals. The collaborative work of Lynn Walters (Founder of Cooking with Kids and who, prior to her work in schools, was a restaurateur in Santa Fe, New Mexico); Jane Stacey (a graduate of the New York Restaurant School and the program director at Cooking with Kids), "The Cooking With Kids Cookbook" begins with such basics as the importance of washing hands, assembling ingredients and cookware, washing all produce, and reading recipes all the way through before beginning. Then such basics as rolling dough, tearing lettuces and greens for salad, making fruit salad, and cleaning up. Of special note are the instructions on the safe and proper use of kitchen knives. The thoroughly 'kid friendly' recipes are then grouped together in five major sections: Soups and Small Plates; Salads; Main Dishes; Stove-Top Breads; Fruits and Sweets. There is even a two-page listing of Cooking Words. The recipes themselves range from Tricolor Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette or Lemony Dressing; Black Bean Tostadas with Salsa Fresca; Red Lentils with Carrot Rice Pilaf and Cucumber Raita; and Fresh Green and White Fettuccine with Tomato Basil Sauce; to Stove-Top Pizza; Blue Cornbread; Rainforest Macaroons, Homemade Applesauce; Strawberry Crepes; and Coconut Rice Balls. With spiral binding that allows the cookbook to lay flat open on a kitchen table or counter, "The Cooking With Kids Cookbook" is an ideal combination of instruction manual and menu planner that is unreservedly recommended for family cookbook collections.

Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science
Andrew Schloss
Quarry Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781631591099, $22.99, Flexibound, 160pp,

Parents and grandparents wanting to instill in children ages 7 to 10 a love and appreciation of science and culinary skills now have a wonderfully illustrated, step-by-step instructional compendium packed from cover to cover with fun and easy kitchen-based projects for doing so with the help of "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science: A Family Guide to Fun Experiments in the Kitchen" by Andrew Schloss that unites science and cooking. All recipes/projects showcased in "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" are non-toxic and safe for consumption; some just to taste (slime, ectoplasm) and to serve up to family and friends such as molten chocolate cupcakes, disappearing peppermint pillows, and amber maple syrup crystals! Thoroughly 'user friendly' in tone, commentary, organization and presentation, "Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science" will prove to be an enormously popular addition to family and community library cookbook and science book collections.

The Autism Shelf

Same But Different
Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Elizabeth Peete, RJ Peete
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545094589, $17.99,

Same But Different is about teens with autism, and provides a fine survey about friends and family who struggle with the condition and the types of challenges they face, from friendships and maturity to school and dating. This collection offers its insights through alternating narratives based on the authors' lives and those of other teens, exploring family feelings, relationships, and many important points that will lead the teen reader to a better understanding of autism and its effects on families and peers.

The Self-Help Shelf

Quiet Power
Susan Cain with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor, New York, NY 10014
9780803740600 $17.99

The successor to the award-winning "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking", "Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts" is addressed especially to introverted young adults. Chapters discuss the unique challenges that less talkative or outgoing young people face in school, extracurricular activities, family life, and friendship. Quiet Power is highly recommended for high school and public library collections, and also as a gift for creative yet shy young adults.

The Crafts Shelf

DIY Box Creations
Courtney Sanchez
Walter Foster Jr.
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
400 First Avenue North, Suite 400, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1722
9781633221390 $9.95

DIY Box Creations: Fun and Creative Projects to Make Out of Really Big Boxes! is a flexibound, hands-on craft guide for kids. Using simple, relatively inexpensive materials such as painters' tape, wood glue, spray tape, and large cardboard boxes, kids can create 12 projects such as a boxcar, train table, retro stove, airplane, and more. Packed with full-color photographs illustrating its step-by-step instructions, DIY Box Creations is a great source of creative fun! Highly recommended.

The Social Issues Shelf

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Character
Garth Sundem
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631980268 $9.99

Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Character: Choices That Matter Around the World is an anthology of thirty true-life stories of young people worldwide who dared to stand up for their conscience and work to make the world a better place. From ten-year-old Arti Verma, who spoke out against the caste system in her village in India; to 14-year-old Eunice Muba, who risked her life to report on the oppression of girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; to Sarbast Ali, wheelchair-bound Syrian who fled to a refugee camp in Northern Iraq and worked to improve his own education; these amazing tales of brave heroes and heroines are inspirational and highly recommended for children's library collections as well as personal reading lists.

The Money/Finance Shelf

The Survival Guide for Money Smarts
Eric Braun and Sandy Donovan
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1299
9781631980282 $13.99 pbk

The Survival Guide for Money Smarts: Earn, Save, Spend, Give is a guide created especially to be accessible to teenagers and young adults, but doesn't talk down to the reader or gloss over tough issues. Chapters address how to make a budget plan; tips for being a smart and mindful consumer; the basics of saving accounts, checking accounts, prepaid cards, and credit cards; investments; and more. "Whichever method you choose for tracking your budget, the important thing is to be consistent. Every time money comes in, put it in those envelopes or fill out your chart. If you tend to be forgetful about things like this, give yourself reminders. You can jot down a reminder in your planner or calendar. You can also set a reminder on a phone or computer." The Survival Guide for Money Smarts is a superb, reader-friendly resource for young people, ideal for children's library collections.

Books in Series

M. C. Swenson, author
Michael and Sarah M. Miller, editors
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781503808232, $27.07, HC, 24pp,

"Cats" is an introduction to the world of domestic cats from the series, In the Barnyard, written for young readers age 5 and up. "Cats" has information on domestic cat colors, characteristics, claws, eating, hunting, and life expectancy, plus multiple color photo portraits of many different individual cats. Each pair of pages also has a highlighted sidebar feature with additional interesting facts about cats, called "Did You Know?" "Cats" is completed by a glossary and To Learn More section with additional written and web resources about cats. Young readers will enjoy paging through "Cats" and learning more about some of their favorite pets. Additional titles from the In the Barnyard series that are also highly recommended include: "Goats" (9781503808270, $27.07), by Mary Berendes, "Dogs" (9781503808263, $27.07), by M. C. Swenson, "Cows" (9781503808256, $27.07), by Cynthia Amoroso and Bob Noyed, "Chickens" (9781503808249, $27.07), by Cynthia Amoroso and Bob Noyed, "Sheep" (9781503808300, $27.07), by Mary Alinas, "Pigs" (9781503808294, $27.07), by Cynthia Amoroso and Bob Noyed, and "Horses" (9781503808287, $27.07), by Cynthia Amoroso and Bob Noyed.

Rita Storey, author
Sarah Ridley, editor
Sarah Peutrill, series editor
Tudor Photography, Banbury, photography
PowerKids Press
c/o Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
9781508150671, $27.50 (List) / $20.70 (S&L),

"Sewing" is a creative crafts project manual for young readers with grade 3 reading levels and grades 3-6 interest levels. Part of the I Love Crafts series, "Sewing" contains step by step color illustrated instructions for 12 creative sewing projects, with appealing portraits of finished projects. Many projects use felt for the hand sewing medium, but there are also other sewing projects using other mediums. All projects require a sewing needle and sewing pins and scissors. Some require glue. Responsible adult supervision is suggested for children completing these projects. Sewing crafters are cautioned to always return sewing needles and pins to a safe place such as a needle case or a pincushion. Also, homemade toys and projects should be kept away from babies and small children because they safety cannot be tested. Each project begins with an outlined sidebar list of required materials and tools, with added tips and suggestions highlighted in purple. Simple, illustrated, step by step instructions follow a numbered sequence of paragraphs, ending with a charming picture of the finished product. Projects included in "Sewing" are; a needle and pin case, a tissue holder, a teddy bear, a plastic bag jellyfish, hanging hearts, a yo-yo necklace, a flower cushion, a glove monster, a felt cookie, a superstar shoe bag, and an undersea mobile. Sewing stitches are carefully explained and demonstrated on pages 26-28, and project templates are provided on pages 29-31. "Sewing" is completed with a handy index and Further Information section on page 32. "Sewing" is an ideal crafts project manual for the young reader with an interest in simple hand sewing work. The colorful photographs of easy instructions and finished projects are bright and visually appealing. Also highly recommended are the following titles from the I Love Crafts series by the same author, Rita Storey: "Masks (9781508150657, $20.70 S&L),"Knitting (9781508150589, $20.70 S&L)," and "Cards and Wrapping Paper (9781508150633, $20.70 S&L)."

Art, Culture, and Sports
Jon Richards and Ed Simkins, authors
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 100118
9780778726555, $27.60, HC, 32pp,

"Art, Culture, and Sports" is a title from the Mapographica series, for guided reading level T readers. "Art, Culture, and Sports" presents quantified information about art, culture and sports in the world presented in graphs and maps and colorful representations showing comparative profiles and data totals with respect to the different areas of global populations. The information is quite fascinating presented in this imaginative format. For example, the introductory page shows a mapographic titled Our Creative Planet which shows different categories of information about the world's total population if it were reduced to just 100 people. A rainbow color coded graphic circle shows totals regarding literacy, social media, college degrees, poverty, religions, and access to computers. For example, if the world's population were reduced to 100, the average person would not have a college degree, would not own a computer, and would not use social media. They would be literate (able to read and write). Further fascinating statistical projections are presented in similar Mapographic formats on the following subjects: great civilizations, architecture, the name game (preferred names for boys and girls), food and drink, written publications (read all about it), clothing (world's most valuable fashion brands), music sales and festivals, spending on education, number of feature films produced, carnivals and festivals, a world of soccer, the Olympic games, and using social media. A great deal of fascinating information emerges in these maps and graphs and representations, relating to the concept of "mapping the world," or using two dimensional representations of the sphere-shaped world to display a wide range of information. Mapographica's "Art, Culture, and Sports finishes with a glossary and list of websites on related topics, plus an index. "Art, Culture, and Sports" is a creative approach to imagining the characteristics of our global population with regard to at least three large fields of interest. The colorful graphics and symbols and dramatic representations of quantified make "Art, Culture and Sports" interesting and accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities in students, presenting as claimed, "your world in infographics". Also highly recommended are the following titles from the same Mapographica series: "The Human-Made World" (97807787265790, $27.60), "People on Earth" (9780778726562, $27.60), and "The Natural World" (9780778726586, $27.60), all by the same authors, Jon Richards and Ed Simkins.

Picture Graphs
Crystal Sikkens, author
Thinkstock & Shutterstock, images
Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 100118
9780778726364, $7.95, soft cover, 24pp,

"Picture Graphs" is a creative book for children age 5 and up that teaches kids how to collect data, organize and present information in graphs using images or pictures, and how to analyze and draw conclusions from the data and picture graphs of information. Part of the Get Graphing series for elementary students, "Picture Graphs" helps expand and build data literacy skills by teaching kids how to become data detectives. Using graphs, charts, and pictures as graph components, students are taught picture representation tied to numbers, or data amounts, used in horizontal or vertical picture graph formats. Tally charts are shown and explained, and simple instructions for graph creation are presented. Collecting and comparing data are further graph creation skills that are taught in simple steps. Finally, other resources including websites and books about graphing are listed, as well as a glossary, index, and answers to embedded research questions. Fun, colorful sidebar illustrations keep interest high and encourage identification with the role of data detective. "Picture Graphs" is an excellent, creative manual to beginning students of scientific observation and data quantification and representation. Kids ages 5-8 will enjoy "Picture Graphs," as well as the rest of the titles in the Get Graphing series, which include the following: "Line Graphs (9780778726 357, $7.95)," by Lizann Flatt, "Collecting Data (9780778726371, $7.95)," by Lizann Flatt, and " Bar Graphs (9780778726340, $7.95)," by Crystal Sikkens.

Wacky Roadside Attractions
Kristin Baird Rattini et. al., authors
National Geographic Kids
1145 17th Street N.W., Washington D.C. 20036
9781426324079, $12.99,

From the juvenile nonfiction series titled "125 .....", "125 Wacky Roadside Attractions" presents colorful information about 125 unusual roadside landmarks from around the world for readers ages 8-12. Beginning with an introduction and road map that shows coded, numbered locations of all 125 attractions on a map of the world, here are colorful photos and sidebar descriptions of each zany, unusual roadside attraction. Locations are found in each of the world's 6 continents excepting Antarctica. Sidebars titled What and Where describe each fantastic attraction, with further riveting factoids inset in orange balloons to further jazz up the high interest. Here are some interesting examples of the 125 wacky attractions featured: Tayka Hotel De Sal, a hotel made of salt in Tahua, Bolivia, Creepy Gollum at hobbit Hanging Around, in Wellington, New Zealand, the International Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, the Hand of the Desert, a giant hand sculpture in Atacama Desert, Chile, a traffic light tree sculpture in London, England, a corn maze in Chester, New Jersey, Birdhouse paradise, a birdhouse and flower bonanza in Loogootee, Indiana, Waterwalkerz Ball featuring walk on water bubbles in Moscow, Russia, the Kakslauttanen, or arctic resort in Saariselka, Finland, and many more. In addition to 125 stellar wacky roadside attractions, the book closes with Hitting the Road with Marissa Gawel, a National Geographic Young Explorer who documents many strange, artsy and fun attractions throughout the United States. Twenty of her amazing adventure stops are listed, plus tips for young explorers traveling and enjoying exploration on the road. For a fascinating page-turner for young explorers, "125 Wacky Roadside Attractions" fills the bill for interest, variety, and culture on the go.

The Adventures of Camellia N.: The Arctic
Debra L. Wideroe, author
Daniela Frongia, illustrator
Notable Kids Publishing
PO 2047, Parker, CO 80134
9780997085112, $16.95,

"The Adventures of Camellia N. - The Arctic" is an exciting invitation to share the dream voyage of an imaginative little girl who takes her stuffed animal friends with her on her bedtime global travel tours. For her trip to the Arctic, Camellia chooses to take Bear-Bear and Puffy, the stuffed puffin bird. Once safely asleep in her bed in the moonlight, Camellia reports for service on the icy cold deck of the icebreaker One, with Captain Lars and his jolly crew, who are there to explore the Arctic and show her this strange, cold world. The tour started off with a nice hot cup of cocoa from the ship's chef for Camellia. Soon Camellia discovered that there were Aortic polar bears in the ocean who looked exactly like her stuffed blue Bear-Bear. The fluffy white furry polar bears jumped and played and swam in the Arctic water, where they were exactly right at home. Camellia's next and up. introduction was a white beluga whale, who "sing" through breathing through their blow holes. Camellia learned the belugas were called sea canaries because of their singing to one another, in the large group or pod of whales swimming together through the ocean. As the ship sailed close to land, Camellia also saw Arctic foxes playing with each other in the snow, and also a herd of caribou or reindeer. The Captain explained that the Arctic caribou had special vision which helped them to see the Arctic foxes and to protect them from harm. Camellia's green eyes opened wide to see the last marvelous sight of the Arctic tour in the sky! Prompted by the Captain, she looked up to se dancing colored lights flickering across the sky, green, blue, purple, and pink! This magical sight was called the Northern Lights, and Camellia loved it very much. Then Camellia was tired and yawning, so the Captain took her for one last hot cup of cocoa so she could return to sleep and dream of beluga whales, polar bears, Arctic foxes and caribou at home beneath the Northern Lights of the Aortic. She said, "The world is more beautiful than I ever imagined. I will treasure it and take care of it forever." Dazzling, darkening, dreamy images help to lull Camellia back to sleep in her own bed with Bear Bear and Puffin. This award- winning author's new educational series promises to offer many hours of fun exploration for children age 5 and up.

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

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