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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 17, Number 9 September 2007 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Preschool Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Biography Shelf Poetry Shelf Science Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf Christian Studies Shelf
DVD Shelf Buddhist Studies Shelf Books in Series
Bilingual Shelf Picturebook Shelf Fiction Shelf

Reviewer's Choice

Lighthouses Of North America!
Lisa Trumbauer & Michael Kline
Williamson Books
c/o Ideals Publications
535 Metroplex Drive, Suite 250, Nashville, TN 37211
9780824967918, $16.99 1-800-586-2572

The newest edition to the 'Kaleidoscope Kids' series from Williamson Books, "Lighthouses Of North America: Exploring Their History, Lore & Science" combines Lisa Trumbauer's jam-packed compendium of lighthouse information with the light and lively full color illustrations by Michael Kline. Young readers ages 7 to 14 will learn why lighthouses were created, the science involved in their huge lights, the architecture and layout of tower style lighthouses, how to build a lighthouse, what the lives of lighthouse keepers and their families are like, lighthouses today, a map of lighthouses in the United States and Canada, and so much more! Enhanced with a section on Resources and an exceptionally useful index, "Lighthouses Of North America!" is an enthusiastically recommended addition to both school and community library collections, as well as an ideal supplement for homeschooling curriculums.

Abadaba Alphabet
Sheila Moore & Carol Holsinger
Abadaba Reading LLC
PO Box 80, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Gulotta Communications Inc. (publicity)
341 Lexington Street, Newton, MA 02466
9780978947309, $19.99 1-800-898-8656

"Abadaba Alphabet: Learning Letter Sounds" by author and Montessori teacher Sheila Moore is charmingly illustrated by Carol Holsinger and enhanced with the inclusion of an accompanying eleven minute CD ably narrated by master storyteller Jim Weiss. While traditional alphabet books for children teach them the names of the letters, they do not usually teach them about the different sounds associated with those letters or letter combinations. What Moore has done with "Abadaba Alphabet" is to change all that by turning traditional phonemic learning with its misplaced emphasis on letter names into a thoroughly 'kid friendly' picturebook approach to children learning letter sounds as a basic precondition toward acquiring fundamental literacy skills. "Abadaba Alphabet" is firmly based on sound academic practices that incorporates clever rhymes and nonsense verbal images to provide preschool and kindergarten children with a strong foundation in letter-sound relationships. As entertaining as it is educational, "Abadaba Alphabet" is especially recommended for preschool and elementary school library collections, and is ideal for home-schooling parents as a basic literacy curriculum supplement for children ages 4 through 6.

Willi Gets A History Lesson In Virginia's Historic Triangle
Ellen K. Rudolph
EKR Publications
257 North Calderwood Street, #356, Alcoa, TN 37701-2111
9780979134807, $25.00

Specially designed to interest young readers of elementary school age, "Willi Gets A History Lesson In Virginia's Historic Triangle" is a superbly illustrated introduction to the sights and features of three American colonial era communities that were typical of the times: Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. Willi is a little dog that serves children as a guide to the various elements that reflect life and daily activities of these English settlements that were the beginning of what would become the American nation. A throughly 'kid friendly' text is artfully combined with full color photographs. "Willi Gets A History Lesson In Virginia's Historic Triangle" is enhanced for children with the inclusion of maps, history notes, a history quiz, puzzles, links, hints about traveling with dogs, downloadable coloring plats, the website address for Willi's new blog, Indeed, as fun as it is informative, the associated website at is the perfect extension of what the book has to offer and makes it the perfect touring companion for any child touring these historic Virginian sites.

Molly Q's Trashy Travels Through The Water Cycle
Kristene Newcomb
Folsom Follies Press
166 Terry Cove, Kyle, TX 78640
0976079097, $8.00

Delightfully written and charmingly illustrated by Kristene Newcomb, "Molly Q's Trashy Travels Through The Water Cycle" engagingly introduces elementary school students in kindergarten through the third grade to an environmental awareness of the importance of the water cycle. Molly Q is a water drop who travels from an icy glacier near the North Pole to an aquifer, then transpires through an oak tree, runs off into a storm drain, experiences herself as rain, hail and snow, and along the way encounters a variety of animal life. Molly Q's journey also deals with the phenomena of pollution. Nicely enhanced with the inclusion of a glossary of water cycle terms and a water cycle chart, "Molly Q's Trashy Travels Through The Water Cycle" is an ideal addition to school and community library Environmental Studies collections for children, and highly recommended for home schooling curriculums as well.

The Preschool Shelf

In My Backyard
Valarie Giogas, author
Katherine Zecca, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464
9780977742318, $15.95 1-877-958-2600

"Hopscotch Magazine" writer Valarie Giogas presents In My Backyard, a rhyming children's counting picturebook that, in addition to teaching young readers the numbers one through ten, also instructs them in the names of different types of baby animals that can be found in a typical backyard. "In my backyard I can see / a nest of five bunnies / twitching at me. / They've gotten through the garden gate. / Just look at all the plants they ate!" Katherine Zecca's beautifully realistic color illustrations of baby animals cute enough to snuggle make In My Backyard a joy to page through while reading aloud its verses to children, or encouraging children to read the verses themselves.

The I Like Me Dance
Tim Friedlander & W. M. Edwards
Playdate Kids Publishing
PO box 2785, Malibu, CA 90265
9781933721071, $14.95

Colorfully illustrated by W. M. Edwards in a cartoon style that is perfect for children ages 3 to 6, "The I Like Me Dance" by Tim Friedlander is the latest title in the Playdate Kids Publisher series of picturebook titles showcasing the behavioral and psychological skills kids need to grow up into healthy and well-adjusted adults. "The I Like Me Dance" focuses upon the quality of self-esteem and is enhanced with the inclusion of an accompanying DVD. The story is set in an extraordinary zoo where Cosmos, Chloe, Danny and Dakota encounter memorable animals and unforgettable characters. The result is four happy kids who learn to uninhibitedly and non-judgementally dance in their own distinctive styles -- and in the process come to value both themselves and each other. Also highly recommended for preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library collections are the other titles in this outstanding Playdate Kids Publishing series: "Island :Potty Party" about potty training; and "Booger Boogie" about using a tissue to blow one's nose.

The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond
Steve Charney & David Goldbeck, authors
Maria Burgaleta Larson, illustrator
Ceres Press
PO Box 87, Woodstock, NY 12498
9781886101074, $16.95

The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond: Delicious Alphabet Poems Plus Food, Facts and Fun for Everyone is much more than an alphabet book - in addition to brief, rhyming poems about fruits and vegetables connected to each letter of the alphabet, The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond is packed with tasty recipes, jokes, amazing facts, activities, recommendations for further reading, and more. Illustrated with full-color photographs of tasty fruits and veggies, as well as cartoon-style pictures giving life to the poems, The ABC's of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond is a welcome introduction not only to the alphabet, but also to eating healthy. Highly recommended.

The Animals Watched
John Warren Stewig, author
Rosanne Litzinger, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823419067, $16.95

The Animals Watched is an ABC picturebook about the biblical story of Noah's ark - as told from the animals' perspectives! From the aardvarks to the quetzals, warthogs, and zebras, each animal corresponding to a saw a different thing. "'We,' said the yaks, 'we saw the rainbow God set in the sky and heard him say, 'I will never again send a flood to destroy my beautiful world.'" The charming color illustrations by Rosanne Litzinger add the perfect touch to this read-aloud picturebook.

Desert Digits
Barbara Gowan, author
Irving Toddy, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300, Chelsea, MI 48118
9781585361625, $17.95 1-800-231-5163

Desert Digits: An Arizona Number Book is a counting picturebook for young people that covers numbers 1-15, then 20, 30, and every number divisible by 10 up through 100. Each number has a simple sentence featuring it, a color illustration featuring that countable number of things or people, and an in-depth text sidebar of fun Arizona facts. "Pincushion, hedgehog, organ pipe, and 15 kinds of prickly pear - desert cacti with odd names, even a cholla called teddy bear." A wonderful read-aloud, look-and-find book to help familiarize young children with counting.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Realty Leak
Joni Sensel
Henry Holt & Company
175 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0805081259, $16.95

When Mr. Keen arrives in a small farm town with a wooden crate, strange things are observed, from pants that walk by themselves to a invisible ink factory. Bryan is determined to find out the secrets behind these strange occurrences, and with the aid of a girl sleuth the two set out to uncover the bizarre truth of world-changing events in REALITY LEAK.

Secret of the Sirens
Julia Golding
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453710, $16.99

Book one of a projected 'Companions Quartet' tells of Connie, sent to live with an eccentric aunt who lives by the sea. She's anticipating a dull life, but her encounter with a cool boy and a set of mythical sea creatures an ancient underwater society needing help as they face a threat leads her to explore unrealized powers in this fast-paced adventure perfect for young adult libraries reaching high school fans of fantasy.

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos
R.L. LaFevers
Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
0618756388, $16.00

Theodosia has her hands full at the Museum of Legends and Antiquities in London: while her father is head curator, it's only Theo who can see all the black magic and curses that cling to the museum's holdings and she's sneaking around using forgotten Egyptian magic to protect her father and her world from sinister forces. When her mother brings a new find into the museum with a terrible curse attached, Theo is faced with defending more than just her family in this fine fantasy story of courage and independence, perfect for teens who want a blend of fantasy and mystery.

They Came from Below
Blake Nelson
Starscape/TOR Teen
175 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
0765314231, $17.95

Blake Nelson's first science fiction book for teens provides a fine blend of social commentary and science fiction. Two teen girls vacationing in Cape Cod meet two cute boys but there the tale diverges from the usual romance, for the boys are unusual and they have an important message to impart about Earth's ecological state. In blending a familiar romance with a saga of friendly aliens and ecological concerns, THEY CAME FROM BELOW succeeds in producing a unique, involving and unpredictably satisfying story line.

Dean Whitlock
Clarion Books
215 Park Avenue South, New York NY 10003
0618702245, $16.00

It's been four years since Raven fled the Baron's estate: she's moved from a bonded servant to an outlaw mage haunted by her past and driven to know why her mother seemingly abandoned her. Her return to the Baron's estate for answers will lead to an impossible set of choices in RAVEN, a stunning story of a quest for truth which will change all the lives it touches. Young adult collections will find it an impressively compelling read.

Chessie Bligh And The Scroll Of Andelthor
Thora Gabriel
iUniverse, Inc.
2021 Pine Lake Road, #100, Lincoln, NE 68512
0595390455, $17.95

"Chessie Bligh And The Scroll Of Andelthor" by Thora Gabriel is the story of a parentally neglected fourteen year old girl whose only friend is her Shih Tzu puppy named Wugghert. Out of defiance towards her absentee parents, Chessie trades places with another girl named Aelyn whom she encounters when their airplane flights from Europe to America (to attend boarding schools) is delayed in New York. Chessie taking the place of Aelyn arrives in Sterntaler, where she discovers a hidden elf encampment at the north rim of the Grand Canyon which is hidden from discovery by humans through the use of magic. That's also where Chessie discovers that she has magical powers and can change the course of history. But there is a fourteen year old series of elfin murders she must solve and a killer to bring to justice. Chessie also comes to realize that Sternfaler isn't so much a place as it is a multidimensional world where shape shifting, spells, and magical creatures abound. Most of all, Sternfaler is where her elf destiny begins! Also available in a hard cover edition (0595835791, $27.95), "Chessie Bligh And The Scroll Of Andelthor" is a superbly crafted and original fantasy novel and is especially recommended for school and community library Science Fiction/Fantasy collections for young readers ages 10 to 14.

The Biography Shelf

Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Ralph Covert and G. Riley Mills' SAWDUST AND SPANGLES: THE AMAZING LIFE OF W.C. COUP (0810993511, $16.95) receives lively color drawings by Giselle Potter as it tells of a little boy who dreams of running away to the circus and who falls in love with idea of a different kind of circus. Kids who enjoy circuses will find this a fine, involving tale of one man's alternative vision for a circus world. Susan Goldman Rubin's EDWARD HOPPER: PAINTER OF LIGHT AND SHADOW (0810993473, $18.95) provides kids with insights into artist Hopper's life and achievements, tracing his success as a painter and following the evolution of his career and life. Kids with good reading skills and an appreciation for art will welcome the detailed survey of his life and finest paintings, while teachers will relish a picturebook biography which includes many examples of his works.

Francis Marion And The Legend Of The Swamp Fox
Kate Salley Palmer & James H. Palmer Jr.
Warbranch Press
329 Warbranch Road, Central, SC 29630
0966711459, $13.95

Kate Palmer's articulate and informative text is effectively combined with James Palmer's superbly executed illustrations to provide young readers with an engaging biography of one of the American Revolution's more colorful characters and successful military leaders whose exploits in South Carolina against the British became an inspiration to George Washington's often beleaguered American forces elsewhere in the war. "Francis Marion And The Legend Of The Swamp Fox" is as educational as it is entertaining and an enthusiastically recommended addition to family, school, and community library American History reference collections in general, and American Revolutionary History supplemental lists in particular.

The Poetry Shelf

Dog Poems
Dave Crawley, author
Tamara Petrosino, illustrator
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590784549, $16.95 1-877-512-8366

Dog Poems is a children's picturebook featuring whimsical rhyming poems by Emmy-winning author Dave Crawley, all about different breeds of man's best friend. The simple, playful illustrations by Tamara Petrosino add a perfectly fun-filled touch to this wonderful poetry collection for young dog lovers. "Basset": The saggy baggy Basset hound / has ears that nearly touch the ground, / with mournful eyes and wrinkled skin / that hangs below his droopy chin. // But Basset has a clever snout. / His nose will always sniff you out. / With this amazing nasal asset, / nothing can get past the Basset.

The Science Shelf

One Well
Rochelle Strauss, author
Rosemary Woods, illustrator
Kids Can Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150
9781553379546, $17.95 1-800-265-0884

Award-winning author Rochelle Strauss presents One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, a picturebook for children with advanced reading skills, packed cover to cover about the need to conserve water. "Becoming Well Aware doesn't just mean using less water, it also means taking better care of the water we have. You can protect water from pollution by walking more and driving less, which keeps car exhaust from polluting water in the atmosphere. Organizing shoreline cleanups keeps trash from entering lakes, rivers and streams. Planting trees anchors the soil so that it doesn't wash into waterways and make them muddy." The gentle color illustrates are the perfect complement to this sober yet positive-themed children's book about the vital importance of fresh water. Highly recommended especially for public library collections.

The Everglades
Wayne Lynch
NorthWord Press
c/o T&N Children's Publishing
11571 K-Tel Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343
9781559719704, $16.95 1-888-255-9989

Beautifully illustrated with full-color photography throughout, The Everglades introduces young readers to the treasures of the Everglades ecosystem, from its alligators to its rare flowers, reptilian and amphibian inhabitants shaded green or brown, bears, raccoons, panthers, and much more. Fun facts abound in this picturebook: "Raccoons have a better sense of touch in their front paws than any other meat-eating animal. They use their sensitive paws to search for crabs, crayfish, clams, frogs, and snails in shallow water. When early settlers saw the animals splashing on the edge of marshes they wrongly thought they were washing their food." Highly recommended for children's collections in both school and public libraries.

c/o Houghton Mifflin Company
222 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116 1-800-225-3362

Author Claire Llewellyn presents two picturebooks in a debut science series for kids. "Ask Dr. K. Fisher about Dinosaurs" (9780753461068, $10.95) is filled cover to cover with fantastic facts about the reptiles that once ruled the earth, from thick-skulled pachycephalosaurus to the toothsome Tyrannosaurus rex and the crocodilians who survived the dinosaurs' extinction. "Ask Dr. K. Fisher about Animals" (9780753460436, $10.95) offers more fun facts about modern-day animals, from the life cycles of tadpoles to the warning colors of ladybugs and rabbits' roles in food chains. What distinguishes the "Ask Dr. K. Fisher" books are their "advice columnist" style, featuring letters from animals or dinosaurs with questions and scientifically savvy answers from Dr. K. Fisher. Simplistic color illustrations by Kate Sheppard round out these intriguing introductions to the secrets of the animal kingdom.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Here's What I Know So Far: Doc's Story
Diane Till, author
Tom Schwartz, illustrator
Ocean Publishing
PO Box 1080, Flagler Beach, FL 32136
9780976729174, $15.99

Here's What I Know So Far is a unique picturebook written to help young people better understand the responsibility of caring for a puppy. Each two-page spread discusses the realities of a puppy's life, both directly from the puppy's point of view ("Why walk when you can run? Walking on a leash is just no fun."), and from the sage perspective of a professional veterinarian ("Puppies know an 'I mean business' tone of voice when they hear it. Well, you do too, don't you?"). The abstract-style illustrations add a distinctive touch without being too distracting from the immersive wealth of information. An excellent starter book for teaching young people the basics of understanding how puppies think and how to properly train and care for them.

The Art Shelf

How To Name Paint
Linda Chun Yan Wang
NPA Party Productions
152 West 44th Street, Suite 6B, New York, NY 10036
9780979197918, $17.95

Name Painting has its origins in ancient Chinese calligraphy but is a relatively recent arrival to the United States having debut in New York City only a decade ago. The colors, images, and constantly evolving nature have elevated Name Painting to the status of a fine art form. Now with Linda Wang's unique and imaginative artistry, 'user friendly' instructions and illustrative examples, children and adults can learn how to create wonderful visual images using Name Painting techniques to transform a person's name into colorful figures and objects using water-based paints. Also very highly recommended is the companion book by Linda Wang, "The Art Of Name Painting" (9780979197901, $17.95). Between these two outstanding 'how to' instruction manuals, anyone can quickly and easily acquire the basic skills needed to transform anyone's name into true works of art.

Kurtal Explores Australian Aboriginal Art
Tony Haruch
Crystal Productions
PO Box 2159, Glenview, IL 60025
9781562905330, $15.95 1-800-255-8629

Kurtal Explores Australian Aboriginal Art is more than a children's picturebook - author and researcher Tony Haruch introduces young readers to the distinctive creativity of authentic Aboriginal artworks. Narrated through the eyes of Kurtal, a young Aborigine boy, Kurtal Explores Australian Aboriginal Art shows an Aboriginal collage, painting, or other creation on the right page of each two-page spread, and an extended description of the work and often the person who crafted it on the left page of each spread. Young people just beginning to learn how to read might need an adult to read aloud the text, but children of all ages can appreciate the colorful artworks. An excellent introduction to native art appreciation.

The Christian Studies Shelf

Under the Grapevine
Chrissi Hart, author
Claire Brandenburg, illustrator
Conciliar Press
PO Box 76, Ben Lomond, CA 95005-0076
9781888212846, $15.95 1-800-967-7377

Under the Grapevine: A Miracle by Saint Kendeas of Cyprus is a picturebook for young readers recounting a Christian miracle that truly happened to the author's grandmother, Christina, when she was a young girl. Christina was a sickly girl; it was through the grace and intercession of a beloved local saint - who had lived in Cyprus more than one thousand years ago - that she was healed and able to walk again. The emotional color paintings of illustrator Claire Brandenburg add a resplendent touch to this gentle story of faith in God, recommended for children ages four and up.

Things I Wonder
Jennifer Lynne Smith, author
Angela M. Gray, illustrator
His Work Christian Publishing
PO Box 5732, Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
9780977832859, $17.95

Things I Wonder is a Christian picturebook for young readers featuring iconic color artwork by Angela M. Gray and playful rhyming verse by high school teacher Jennifer Lynne Smith. A young boy wonders what it would be like if the world were so very different than it is now - what if the sky looked and tasted like cotton candy? Or what would the world be like if he didn't have eyes or a nose? "I have wonders, many wonders, / but this is what I know... / that my Father up in Heaven / must truly love me so." A delightful addition to picturebook collections for young Christian children.

What Happens When I Talk to God?
Stormie Omartian, author
Shari Warren, illustrator
Harvest House Publishers
990 Owen Loop North, Eugene, Oregon 97402-9173
9780736916769, $15.99 1-800-547-8979

What Happens When I Talk to God?: The Power of Prayer for Boys and Girls is a picturebook for Christian children created according to the precept "It's never too soon to teach a child to pray." What Happens When I Talk to God? discusses the importance of using prayer to thank God for His bounty, and how God always watches over all His children. "My favorite thing about talking to God is that I can talk to Him about anything. God wants me to tell Him about the things that matter to me. That's because anything I care about, He cares about too. Whatever is important to me is also important to God. I say, 'Thank You, God, that You are my friend and I can tell You everything.'" The gentle, friendly illustrations of children of a diversity of races praying to God adds this perfect visual touch to this picturebook, highly recommend for Christian parents to share with young children.

Stories of the Saints
Joyce Denham, author
Judy Stevens, illustrator
Paraclete Press
PO Box 1568, Orleans, MA 02653
9781557255341, $9.95

Stories of the Saints is a children's picturebook presenting the stories of fourteen saints who lived long ago. "They had one thing in common: They loved God more than anything else in the world. And they tried to show God's love to everyone they met - even if it ruffled feathers and made people angry; even if people laughed at them for it." The saints profiled are Mary mother of Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Stephen, Paul, Laurence, Martin of Tours, Genevieve, Columba of Iona, Bathild, Francis of Assisi, Elizabeth of Portugal, and Bridget of Sweden. The stylized color illustrations add a stained-glass feel to the text, which is sufficiently detailed to make Stories of the Saints ideal for children who are almost ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended for Christian children's libraries, at home or at church.

Clopper and the Night Travelers
Emily King, author
Ed Olson, illustrator
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
9780825430664, $12.99 1-800-733-2607

Clopper and the Night Travelers is a picturebook for Christian children, told from the perspective of a friendly donkey who was present for the birth of Jesus Christ. Clopper and the Night Travelers further tells the tale of how Jesus' mother and father followed the guidance of an angel to hide the baby Jesus from the wicked King Herod's dominion. "When we got to Israel, Joseph heard that Herod's cruel son Archelaus ruled the land around Bethlehem. In a dream, God warned Joseph not to go back there. So we kept going north, all the way to Nazareth. That was a long trip and my hooves needed a rest!" Jovial, cartoony illustrations endear this story, which makes the early years of Jesus' family's life accessible to young readers. A welcome addition to Christian children's picturebook shelves. Also highly recommended is the previous picturebook in the Clopper series, "Clopper the Christmas Donkey."

John Perkins, author
Gennady Spirin, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453390, $16.99 1-800-831-9881

Perceval: King Arthur's Knight of the Holy Grail is a picturebook retelling of the legend of Perceval, written by Jungian therapist John Perkins and superbly illustrated with full-color, Renaissance-technique paintings by award-winning artist Gennady Spirin. Perceval is fairly text-heavy for a picturebook, and is therefore ideal for young readers who not only love fantastic tales but also are nearly ready to make the transition to chapter books. The legend of Perceval itself is a humbling story, at its core about how there is more to being a knight than embodying the virtues of chivalry. The virtues of faith in God and the mercy of the Savior Jesus Christ are a crucial theme in Perceval's epic story.

The DVD Shelf

All About John Deere For Kids: Part 1
TM Books & Video
PO Box 279, New Buffalo, MI 49117
1932291814, $14.95 1-800-892-2822

John Deere founded what was to evolve into Deere & Company in 1837. From a one-man blacksmith shop, the company expanded into a world wide corporation doing business in more than 160 countries. it is one of the oldest continuing industrial companies in the United States. "All About John Deere For Kids: Part 1" is a 40 minute, full color DVD that showcases such John Deere items as big 12-wheel tractors, giant earth-moving equipment, snow plows, antique Johnny Poppers on parade, 24-row planters, track tractors, and various model John Deere trains, tractors, and trucks. This live-action DVD is enhanced for viewers of all ages with original songs by James Coffey. Exhibiting flawless production standards, "All About John Deere For Kids: Part 1" is as entertaining as it is informative, making it a strongly recommended addition to school and community library DVD collections for children and grown-up alike!

Let's Talk Puberty
Lynda Madaras
Disney Educational Productions
500 South Buena Vista Street, Burbank, CA 91521-6307
DVD $59.95 each, $89.00 for set, 1-818-569-5996

Two new educational DVDs from Disney are ideal for teaching basic sex ed to boys and girls in grades 4-6. Let's Talk Puberty for Girls (1597531383, $59.95, 14 minutes) and Let's Talk Puberty for Boys (1597531375, $59.95, 11 minutes) cover the physical and emotional changes that occur in young people's bodies as they grow up. Created with the support of award-winning author Lynda Madaras, Let's Talk Puberty uses simple animation and kindly humor to reassure young people that their experiences are all part of normal growing up. Bonus features include a downloadable Educator's Guide, closed captioning, and the option for bilingual Spanish mode. An excellent teacher's supplement, highly recommended for classroom use.

The Busy Bee Dogs Present... The Three Little Pigs
Busy Bee Dog Productions
c/o 411 Video Information
PO Box 1223, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
DVD $14.95

The Busy Bee Dogs Present... The Three Little Pigs is a DVD for viewers ages 3 and up featuring the classic fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs with a twist - the pigs and the Big Bad Wolf are all played by lovable canine actors! A Hickory Dickory Dock sing-along and a segment inviting viewers to exercise with the dogs, a hidden bee game, and a paper insert with discussion questions and activities round out this enriching and mentally stimulating DVD for children's collections. Highly recommended. 30 minutes, color.

The Buddhist Studies Shelf

Samsara Dog
Helen Manos, author
Julie Vivas, illustrator
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
9781933605517, $17.95

Samsara Dog is a children's picturebook written by practicing Buddhist Helen Manos, who sought to present the concept of reincarnation in a natural and seamless way. A dog returns to live life after life with children, helping each of its charges in a different way, until he finally learns what he needs to learn to rise above the endless wheel of death and rebirth. An excellent children's introduction to the Buddhist philosophy of rebirth, nobility, and the journey to Nirvana.

Books in Series

Advance Publishing, Inc.
6950 Fulton Street, Houston, TX 77022 1-800-917-9630

'Another Sommer Time Story' is a series of twenty award-winning picturebooks that entertain children ages 5 to 10 years even as it presents and advocates family values, good behavior, and a sense of ethics. Three of the newest titles in this highly acclaimed and strongly recommended series written by Carl Sommer includes: "The Richest Poor Kid" (9781575370743, $16.95) illustrated by Jorge Martinez; "Spike The Rebel" (9781575370729, $16.95) illustrated by Enrique Vignolo; and "Dare To Dream" (9781575370736, $16.95) featuring illustrations by Jorge Martinez, Greg Budwine, and Kennon James. "The Richest Poor Kid" is the story of young Randy who hates being poor and when offered two wishes finds out that there are unexpected problems when everything you touch now turns to gold. "Spike The Rebel" is about a true troublemaker who finds out the hard way that having friends and helping others leads to a much happier life. In "Dare To Dream", Nelson discovers valuable lessons on how to stay focused, dream big, and what the keys are to becoming successful in life, even when living in a community where drugs and gangs are a constant problem. Each of these 48-page picture books artfully combine a strong message with solid entertainment values making them an ideal addition family, church, school, and community library picturebook collections. Librarians are especially encouraged to visit the Advance Publishing website for a complete list of all the available titles in this outstanding series.

Reference Point Press
PO Box 27779, San Diego, CA 92198

Metaphysics is an area of study in strange but fascinating paranormal phenomena that ranges from the extraterrestrial, to the supernatural, to the extrasensory. 'The Mysterious & Unknown' is a new and fascinating series from Reference Point Press that is designed by the authors to introduce seven key metaphysical subjects to young readers in the middle school/junior high school grades. Each individual volume is enhanced with full color photography, suggestions for further reading, a 'Works Consulted' section that includes internet sources as well as books, and an index. Enthusiastically recommended for both school and community library collections, the seven titles comprising this outstanding and thoroughly 'kid friendly' series include William W. Lace's "The Curse of King Tut" (9781601520241, $24.95); Peggy J. Parks' "ESP" (9781601520258, $24.95) and "Witches" (9781601520319, $24.95); and Gail B. Stewart's "UFOs" (9781601520302, $24.95); Stuart A. Kallen's "Alien Abductions" (9781601520234, $24.95) and "Haunted Houses" (9781601520265, $24.95); and Charles George's "Pyramids" (9781601520272, $24.95).

The Bilingual Shelf

My Colors, My World
Maya Christina Gonzalez
Children's Book Press
2211 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110-1811
9780892392216, $16.95

The very first children's book that artist Maya Christina Gonzalez has written as well as illustrated, My Colors, My World / Mis Colores, Mi Mundo is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about a girl who lives in the desert, and her search to discover colors of every hue. "Of all the colors I find, I like hot pink the best. It's the color of the desert sunset." The gently stylized illustrations make superb use of color to blend perfectly with the rhythmic text. Recommended for bilingual library and personal picturebook collections.

The Tale of the Lucky Cat
Sunny Seki
East West Discovery Press
818 West 144th Street, Gardena, CA 90247
9780966943757, $18.95

The Tale of the Lucky Cat is a bilingual English/Japanese picturebook retelling an ancient Japanese legend, about a humble toymaker who cared for an injured cat before its tragic death, and in turn was saved from lightning by the cat's beckoning spirit. To remember his friend, he worked hard to create clay statues of a cat with a raised paw. Today these lucky cat statues, known as "maneki neko", are popular throughout Japan for spreading good fortune. The appealing color illustrations add the perfect touch to this wonderful picturebook, highly recommended for children's library collections.

The First Tortilla
Rudolfo Anaya, author
Amy Cordova, illustrator
University of New Mexico Press
MSC04 2820, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
9780826342140, $16.95 1-800-249-7737

The First Tortilla is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about a small Mexican village on the brink of starvation due to lack of rainfall. A young girl named Jade received a message from a blue hummingbird, telling her to bring a gift to the mountain spirit. Jade embarks on a journey to the top of the volcano, braving burning lava; the mountain spirit is pleased with her gift, and allows the ants in a nearby cave to share their corn with her. Jade uses the dry corn and water to make dough, and cooks it to create the very first tortilla. An ingenious retelling of a traditional Mexican folktale, vibrantly illustrated by prize-winning cultural activist Amy Cordova.

Grandma's Ready / La Abuelita Ya Esta Lista
Sharon Chess, author
Megan D. Wellman, illustrator
Nelson Publishing & Marketing LLC
366 Welch Road, Northville, MI 48167
9781933916040, $10.95

Grandma's Ready / La Abuelita Ya Esta Lista is a bilingual English/Spanish softcover picturebook about a mother who is about to become a new grandmother. Such a momentous forthcoming event requires preparation - what does an impending grandmother have to do to get ready? "Find the old toys and clean them like new. / Your mom and dad used them when they were small too. / A special place for when it's time to sleep. / And a space for when you start to creep." Simple illustrations colored in a style reminiscent of crayon add a playful touch to this picturebook ideal for reading aloud in either (or both) languages.

The Picturebook Shelf

Harry Abrams
115 West 18th Street, New York NY 10011

Poems to celebrate the wonders of museums have been selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen in BEHIND THE MUSEUM DOOR (081091204X, $16.95), featuring the works of poets Jane Yolen, Dotlich, and many more representing all kinds of museums and their treasures. Kids will find this an excellent introduction to museums and teachers will find it perfect for introducing a field trip, offering up lively drawings and delicious descriptions. Jean-Luc Fromenthal and Joelle Jolivet's 365 PENGUINS (081094460X, $17.95) is an oversized presentation which could make for a shelving challenge for some holdings, but which provides a fun account of a mailman's surprise delivery of a penguin a day. Who is sending all these penguins and why? A zany counting story of too many penguins evolves.

Knopf/Random House Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

Mary Serfozo's WHOO'S THERE? (9780375840500, $9.99) tells of an old owl who keeps watch over a forest alive with sounds and smells. Whoo is out there? Old Owl wants to know and Mary Serfozo brings the query alive with rhyming text and lively drawings by Jeffrey Scherer to entice the very young picturebook reader. Jan Whybrow and Adrian Reynolds' HARRY AND THE DINOSAURS GO TO SCHOOL (9780375841804, $15.99) tells of Harry's first (scary) day of school. Not only is he afraid, but Stegosaurus is even more scared because they have to be left in the hall with the coats. When Harry discovers someone even more afraid he finds some of his fears vanishing in this gentle picturebook tale of a difficult first day. James Rumford's DON'T TOUCH MY HAT! (9780375837821, $16.99) tells of a prairie town called Sunshine where a sheriff and his ten-gallon hat keeps the law in the wild west. Why is Sheriff John so successful? He's convinced his hat has a lot to do with his abilities or does it? Any kid who loves zany cowboy tales will find this a whimsical pick. Maggie Smith's ONE NAKED BABY (9780375833298, $15.99) offers a rollicking simple counting rhyme for the young reader, following a baby as he has a bath, gets dressed, and eats a snack. The toddler's antics are accompanied by bright, fun drawings. Ivor Baddiel and Sophie Jubb and Ailie Busby's COCK-A-DOODLE QUACK! QUACK! (9780385751049, $15.99) tells of Baby Rooster's important job: to wake up everybody in the morning. The only problem is he doesn't really know how, yet. All the animals try to help, creating a zany situation enhance by Ailie Busby's fun color drawings. It's an easy read kids will appreciate.

The Boy Who Painted Dragons
Margaret McElderry
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781416924692, $21.99 1-800-223-2336

Ping loves to decorate his home with paintings of dragons and while his works seem to celebrate the dragon, in fact they mask his deepest fears. When the Heavenly Dragon visits Ping, impressed with his apparent love of dragons, Ping's worst nightmare seems to come alive. An outstanding fable of growing courage will reach young picturebook readers with an excellent story.

A Good Day
Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
006114018X, $16.99 1-800-242-7737

A bad day for a bird, dog, fox and little squirrel turns into something special when a change in attitude and viewpoint leads to new realizations and even a possible good day. Even the youngest picturebook reader will find this an accessible, easy and gentle read.

The Birdman
Veronika Martenova Charles
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Platsburgh, NY 12901
0887767400, $22.99

Noor Nobi is a broken, poor India man whose children are gone, leaving him with no meaning in life until he sees a sick, frightened caged bird and decides to help. He bargains for the poor bird and becomes committed to nursing him back to health and helping him to fly in the process re-discovering the meaning of his own life. THE BIRDMAN is a true story and fine drawings by Annouchka Gravel Galouchko and Stephen Daigle bring it alive.

The Perfect Nest
Catherine Friend
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9780763624309, $16.99

Jack the cat is building the perfect nest to attract the perfect chicken who will lay the perfect egg to make a perfect omelet, but before he can achieve his goal, unexpected dinner guests who have contributed show up to reap the benefits. A fun story of dinner plans gone awry receives large and zany drawings by John Manders in a pick discriminating libraries will love.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10021

Jonathan Emmett and Rebecca Harry's THIS WAY, RUBY! (0439879922, $16.99) tells of duckling Ruby, the smallest of five siblings who falls behind the others. When a storm arises Ruby seems headed for disaster, but her talent for noticing things will prove the salvation of them all in this gentle story of a small duck's talents. Julia Gran's BIG BUG SURPRISE (0439676096, $12.99) tells of Prunella, who is eager to share her big bug surprise at show and tell. But a bigger bug surprise awaits the classroom and sends her teacher and classmates into a frenzy. Can Prunella's bug knowledge save the day? A fun tale of bugs and hidden abilities will delight young picturebook readers and libraries catering to them.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's SHELLS! SHELLS! SHELLS! (9780761453321, $16.99) tells of Buddy and his mother, who spend a day at the beach collecting and learning about shells. The two bears have a fine time and kids also receive a fine introduction to the magic of shells and shell collecting, but in an easy picturebook form. Eric A. Kimmel's SOPA DE CACTUS (9780761453444, $16.99) is entirely in Spanish and is a recommended pick for Spanish picturebook collections. Drawings by Phil Huling enhance a fun story of a different, fantastic soup recipe. Tim Meyers retells THE FURRY-LEGGED TEAPOT (9780761452959, $16.99), telling of a Japanese raccoon-dog who learns how to magically change himself to anything even a teapot. But what happens when he can't change back? His search for his true form will lead him away from home and on an unforgettable journey in this funny, different story which features Robert McGuire's whimsical illustrations. Michael Garland's HOORAY JOSE! (9780761453451, $14.99) tells of a small mouse with big basketball star dreams. He longs to join the Mice Team in the park and practices hard but he's never picked because he's too short. Then one day he gets his change, in this hilarious and moving story kids will readily enjoy.

My Big Rig
Jonathan London, author
Viviana Garofoli, illustrator
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453468, $14.99 1-800-831-9881

Father of two Jonathan London presents My Big Rig, a children's picturebook about a young boy who imagines what it would be like to drive a bright yellow, eighteen-wheeler truck across the country. Illustrated in a distinctive, colorful artistic style reminiscent of simple paper cutout collages by Viviana Garofoli, My Big Rig is sure to excite young truck lovers from coast to coast. "Wouldn't it be fun / to drive a truck / across the country? // I climb into my big rig / and wave good-bye. // I blast my horn. / My engine roars."

The Curious Polka-Dot Present
Cheri L Hallwood, author
Patricia M. Rose, illustrator
Forever Young Publishers
PO Box 216, Niles, MI 49120
9780977442218, $16.99

The Curious Polka-Dot Present is a charming picturebook about a young girl who receives a mysterious present - large, oddly shaped, covered in polka-dot wrapping. She wonders what could possibly be inside, until she opens it and discovered it's a birthday present from her grandmother - a big soft doll hand-made to look just like her! Illustrated with warm color illustrations featuring soft purple, blue, pink and yellow highlights, The Curious Polka-Dot Present is a simple yet fun read-aloud story for parents to share with children.

Shape Me A Rhyme
Jane Yolen, author
Jason Stemple, photographer
c/o Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590784501, $17.95 1-877-512-8366

Shape Me A Rhyme: Nature's Forms in Poetry is a beautiful children's picturebook matching brief poems by award-winning author Jane Yolen with stunningly beautiful color photographs of nature's creatures by Jason Stemple. Each poem and photograph is centered around a specific shape found in the natural world. A blend of whimsy and respect for the wonders of natural ecology, Shape Me A Rhyme is a delight for young people and highly recommended for children's library collections. "Triangle": To tell the truth, / The gator's tooth- / Triangular in shape- / Is dangerous / And dagger-ous / When that great mouth's agape.

The Little Elephant with the Big Earache
Charlotte Cowan M.D., author
Elaine Garvin, illustrator
The Hippocratic Press
281A Fairhaven Hill Road, Concord, MA 01742
9780975351604, $17.95

Written by pediatrician Charlotte Cowan, The Little Elephant with the Big Earache is a children's picturebook dealing with the subject of ear infections in terms young readers age 2-7 can understand. After young Eddie the elephant spends the day making mud castles with his cousin, he comes down with a terrible earache. His mother looks after him during the night, and Dr. Hippo offers reassurance the next day. Will Eddie get better in time for his birthday party? An accompanying fold-out card "Ear Infections Made Easy: Answers to Common Questions" serves as a useful quick-reference guide for parents concerned about what to do when their children have ear infections. Highly recommended.

The Legend of Baeoh
Lucas Taekwon Lee, author
Max Forward, illustrator
Robert D. Reed Publishers
PO Box 1992, 1380 Face Rock Drive, Bandon, OR 97411
9781931741880, $17.95

The Legend of Baeoh: How Baeoh Got His Stripes is a children's picturebook about a young tiger born without stripes, amid a clan of tigers who determine social rank by stripe count. Young Baeoh is not content with a second-class life, and sets out to earn his stripes through training and hard work. Yet he learns that the true value of power is not in having power, but using it to protect those who need it most. When jackals threaten the clan, it is Baeoh who must step up to defend his fellow tigers! A charming, brightly illustrated children's story with a moral worth taking to heart.

The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons
Nancy Bo Flood, author
Billy Whitethorne, illustrator
Salina Bookshelf Inc.
1254 West University Avenue, Suite 130, Flagstaff AZ, 86001
9781893354067, $17.95

Nancy Bo Flood, a teacher at Dine Navajo College, presents The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons, a children's picturebook chronicle of the year month-by-month on Navajo land. Each month has both its English and Navajo name presented, though The Navajo Year, Walk Through Many Seasons is not a bilingual book. Beautiful, full-color illustrations that reflect an abiding love of the natural land, created by Navajo Nation resident Bill Whitethorne, distinguish this charming month-by-month book.

The Dragon's Gift
Thomas Allen, author
Sarah Madsen, illustrator
MoonRattles Inc.
70 Dapplegray Road, Bell Canyon, CA 91307
9780979092039, $16.00

The Dragon's Gift is a children's picturebook loosely based on the benevolent river dragons of Chinese mythology. When a young boy sets out to fish, the local fishermen won't let him cast his net near their boats. He must travel to a spot far along the river - but instead of catching fish, his net traps a dragon! The dragon is wise, and amused by the plucky yet respectful boy, and together they become friends. The simple yet evocative watercolors by illustrator Sarah Madsen add the perfect touch to Thomas Allen's charming story, ideal for young readers who are almost ready to make the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Nightie Night, Lucy
Sally O. Lee
Lee Publishing
35 Locust Street, Danvers, MA 01923
9781419644894, $15.99

Nightie Night, Lucy is a softcover children's picturebook about a bunny rabbit girl Lucy and her pet cat Seymour who aren't quite ready to go to bed yet. Instead, the two of the imagine all sorts of wonderful adventures together. "First they decided to fly through space. / Then, Lucy became a ballerina on a big stage with bright lights. / Seymour rode his motorcycle through the rolling green mountains." A two-page picture spread in the author's iconic, lovable art style follows each setting, in this wonderful picturebook ideal for reading aloud right before bedtime.

Suzanne Bloom
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590784570, $15.95 1-877-512-8366

Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor recognized author Suzanne Bloom presents Treasure, a rhyming children's picturebook about a polar bear and a goose who discover a map, and dive in search of treasure! Although their hunt proves fruitless, their real treasure lies in their friendship with each other. The blue-and-white palette and the fuzzy, warmhearted illustrations of two best pals add the perfect touch to this charming story.

Playing To Win
Karen Deans, author
Elbrite Brown, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823419265, $16.95

Playing To Win: The Story of Althea Gibson is a children's picturebook biography of Althea Gibson, an African-American female tennis player from Harlem. Growing up in the 1930s, Althea discovered she had natural talent at tennis - but in that era, tennis was primarily a sport played at wealthy clubs that excluded African-Americans. But Althea refused to give up, and dedicated herself to becoming a record-setting, world-famous sportswoman. "In 1955 the U.S. government asked Althea to become a goodwill ambassador as part of a traveling tennis team. The team of two men and two women journeyed around the world playing tennis. It was the best thing that could have happened for Althea's career. It allowed her to play lots of tennis while touring Southeast Asia." An inspirational tale of a positive role model.

Little Wen
Ruowen Wang, author
Wei Xu, illustrator
Kevin and Robin Books
64 Clancy Drive, Toronto, ON Canada M2J 2V8
9780973879933, $22.95

Little Wen: What is the Chinese Saying for This One? is a children's picturebook based on author Ruowen Wang's memories of growing up in China. A young girl named Wen is precious and creative, but the nation of China is a land of overwhelming traditions and stringent social rules. How is a girl to mature into herself in land of relentlessly rigid social expectations? "Boys who did not want to run to a public bathroom down the street would stand before a bucket to pee. Wen asked Mama why they could pee standing up. Mama said, 'Because they are boys. Girls cannot do that, so don't you even think about it.'" Retellings of Chinese tales pepper this adventurous tale of daily life in a different culture.

How Timbo and Trevor Got Together
Barbara E. Towle, author
Susan Spellman, illustrator
Revolution Booksellers
60 Winter Street, Exeter, NH 03833
9781933002217, $19.95

How Timbo and Trevor Got Together is a children's picturebook about friendship. When Timbo the baby hippopotamus meets Trevor the old tortoise, Timbo just wants to be friends; Trevor rebuffs him at first. But when a tidal wave separates Timbo from his mother, Trevor grumpily accepts Timbo... and learns that being friends can be fun. Based on a true story of an actual event reported in Nairobi, when a baby hippopotamus caught up in a tsunami was befriended by an old tortoise, How Timbo and Trevor Got Together is a delightful read-aloud story, and highly recommended.

It Takes a Lot of Love
Michael Ambrosio, author
Jennifer Awes, illustrator
LionX Publishing Inc.
24988 Blue Ravine Rd., #108-113, Folsom, CA 95630
9780971608542, $14.95

It Takes a Lot of Love is a rhyming children's picturebook about a little bear who has trouble falling asleep. Sometimes he sneezes and falls out of bed, sometimes he gets tangled in the covers. With help from his loving mommy and daddy, he finally manages to drift off. "Daddy and Mommy / together persist / With so much love, / I cannot resist. // So if you see me dreaming, / please don't make a peep, / because it took a lot of love / for me to finally go to sleep." The warm and fuzzy art style adds a comforting touch to this ideal read-aloud storybook just before a child's bedtime.

Grandfather's Wrinkles
Kathryn England, author
Richard McFarland, illustrator
Flash Light Press
3709 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
9780972922593, $15.95

Grandfather's Wrinkles is an enchanting children's picturebook about the bonds of family. When a little girl named Lucy asks her grandad where the wrinkles in his face came from, he tells her about the joyous events in his life that brought about each wrinkle. "Whenever I smiled an especially big smile, I got a wrinkle to show for it." From his wedding day, to the day Lucy's mother was born, to his daughter's wedding day, to the last two wrinkles - the very newest - that came when Lucy was born, Grandfather's Wrinkles is a trip through the wonderful and happy moments of life. A heartwarming read-aloud picturebook meant to be shared between grandparents and grandchildren.

Four Feet, Two Sandals
Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed, authors
Doug Chayka, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
2140 Oak Industrial Drive, NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
9780802852960, $17.00 1-800-253-7521

Based on co-author Khadra Mohammed's experiences with refugees in Peshawar, a city on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Four Feet, Two Sandals is a children's picturebook about ten-year-old Lina and her young friend who each discover one of a wonderful pair of sandals. Together they must solve the problem of how to share one pair of sandles between four feet! As they wait and hope for their names to appear on a list for a new home, the sandals become a symbol of their fast friendship - a bond that will endure even when one of them finally has the opportunity to escape the hard conditions and live in a new land. The broad brush strokes of illustrator Doug Chayka draw the reader in to the harsh and barren world of the refugees, where positive human relationships are an particular treasure amid the daily difficulty of survival. A thoughtful yet serious picturebook, highly recommended for children's public library and personal collections.

Moonlight Travelers
Hugh Plant, author
Sarah Kenyon Nygaard, illustrator
Beaver's Pond Press
7104 Ohms Lane, Suite 216, Edina, MN 55439
9781592981731, $17.95 1-952-829-8818

Moonlight Travelers is a children's picturebook about a little pet guinea pig, called Pig Girl, who sneaks out at night to visit her friends. Together, she makes plans with fellow guinea pig Buckminster and a stuffed bear called Baby to put together a grand flying machine and visit a lifelong friend, the rabbit Mr. Lopps, who is around no more. After a long journey, with guidance from a wise owl, they at last have the opportunity to meet their missing friend. "'How did you get to this place?' asked Baby. 'I'm not sure,' said Mr. Lopps. 'I don't remember much about my last night at my old home. I was very, very ill and stopped breathing. Then Old One appeared and brought me to this beautiful valley. I have a nice new home, have met some new friends and I am happy. In this place everything the same is before, yet everything is different.'" A kindly and gentle introduction for young people, about learning to accept the passing on of loved ones, and to acknowledge one of life's greatest mysteries. Highly recommended.

Down at the Sea Hotel
Greg Brown, author
Mireille Levert, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816 Royal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H4A 2M2
9782923163345, $16.95

Down at the Sea Hotel is a gentle children's picturebook illustrating a song by Greg Brown. In addition, an accompanying music CD offers fourteen different lullabies, written by Neil Young, Billy Joel, Carole King, Don Henley, Tom Waits and Nanci Griffith. Lyrics for the CD lullabies are in the back of the picturebook. The soothing color illustrations of a little piglet and his friends enhance the natural sleepy-eyed aura of Down at the Sea Hotel. An ideal book for reading aloud to young children before bedtime, and the music CD is a relaxing comfort to share.

Boris Ate a Thesaurus
Neil Steven Klayman, author
Barry M. Chung, illustrator
Carson-Dellosa Publishing
7027 Albert Pick Road, Greensboro, NC 27409
9781600952586, $14.95

Boris Ate a Thesaurus is a children's picturebook about a young boy who happens to eat a thesaurus - and suddenly starts talking in synonyms! His fame and popularity increase, and he is even invited to meet the President and deliver a big, giant, huge speech to all of America. But is one boy up to giving a great speech, or will his grand words suddenly disappear, evaporate, vanish? He discovers the answer in the Library of Congress: "All the words in the world are right here in these books. The secret to remember is that books are for reading, not for eating. Every time you read, you discover new words that last a lifetime." Playful illustrations by artists Barry M. Chung round out this friendly picturebook ideal for encouraging young people to read more.

What Stinks?
George Carruth, author
Libby Carruth Krock, illustrator
Carruth Studio
106 1/2 W. 3rd St., Perrysburg, OH 43551
9780977326724, $15.95

What Stinks? is a rhyming children's book about a boy and a girl who smell a strange odor - so they search up and down the house to find its source. It isn't coming from the dog or the cat, or the closet or under the bed. "To find that smell, / Mom and Dad were asked... / They looked at each other / and began to laugh! // Mom giggled quietly, / Dad belly-laughed. / They then shouted loudly, / 'You both need a bath!'" The appealing color illustrations by talented artist Libby Carruth Krock enhance this delightful picturebook, ideal for reading aloud to young people to prepare them for bathtime.

There's an Opossum in My Backyard
Gary Bogue, author
Chuck Todd, illustrator
Heyday Books
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597140591, $15.95

There's an Opossum in My Backyard is a children's picturebook about the Virginia opossum, the only marsupial native to North America. Written and illustrated in a realistic style, There's an Opossum in My Backyard is a child's perspective of an opossum's search for food, its attempts to evade predators by hiding or playing dead, and even its escapades when it gets inside a human house! The final two pages are filled with fun facts about opossums, in this educational and engaging storybook recommended for children's library and personal collections.

Twilight Hunt
Narelle Oliver
Star Bright Books
30-19 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
9781595721075, $16.95 1-800-788-4439

Twilight Hunt: A Seek-and-Find Book is a children's picturebook following a screech owl's hunt amid a nighttime forest to feed her chicks. What distinguishes this simple tale is its illustrations in linocent print medium, combined with paint, pencil, and collage. In twilight hunt, the insects and the animals the screech owl searches for use natural camouflage to blend into their surroundings - but when a great horned owl begins its hunt, the screech owl has to depend on camouflage too! The last few pages of Twilight Hunt offer an "answer key" as to which creatures are hidden where in the different illustrations, and some fascinating facts about camouflage and disguise in the natural world. Highly recommended.

A Poet's Bird Garden
Laura Nyman Montenegro
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York 10003
9780374360382, $16.00

Inspired by Vincent van Gogh's classic painting "A Poet's Garden", A Poet's Bird Garden is a picturebook about a young girl whose pet bird Chirpie gets loose. Poets try to help her lure Chripie out of the tree by offering tasty seeds and fresh water, or doing cheerful dances, but Chripie won't come down and all other birds are staying away too! At last the girl discovers the furry feline prowler who is the real reason the birds are staying away. The expressive color illustrations add the perfect touch to this charming story, told in simple verse.

Looking for Loons
Jennifer Lloyd, author
Kirsti Anne Wakelin, illustrator
Simply Read Books
501-5525 West Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6M 3W6
9781894965545, $16.95

Looking for Loons is a children's picturebook set in a cottage by a lake. As dawn comes, different sounds wake different members of the family, but where are the sounds of the loons? A young boy delays a mouth-watering pancake breakfast to sit on the porch chair, listen, and watch for the loons - and when they come, it is an experience to remember! The thoughtful, naturalistic artwork of Kirsti Anne Wakelin beautifully illustrates this charming story, ideal for reading aloud.

Artist in Overalls
John Duggleby
Chronicle Books
85 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
9780811812429, $15.95

Artist in Overalls: The Life of Grant Wood is a picturebook biography of renowned painter Grant Wood, perhaps best known for his classic artwork "American Gothic" showing a farm woman and man standing with a pitchfork in front of their farmhouse. Grant Wood was born and raised by a farming family; though his contemporaries were Impressionists, he preferred to paint the people and places around him with a classical feel - a style that would come to be known as Regionalism. Illustrated with colorful reproductions of Grant Wood's timeless art, as well as a few vintage black-and-white photographs depicting his life and family. Artist in Overalls offers enough literary detail into Grant Wood's life story that it is ideal for young readers who are just about ready to graduate to chapter books, and is a highly recommended addition to children's library collections.

Thumbalina of Toulaba
Daniel Picouly after Hans Christian Andersen, author
Olivier Tallec, illustrator
Enchanted Lion Books
45 Main Street, Suite 519, Brooklyn, NY 11201
9781592700691, $16.95 1-888-330-8477

Thumbalina of Toulaba is a children's picturebook retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, with a twist. Set on an imaginary island in the Caribbean, Thumbalina of Toulaba follows a dark-skinned Thumbalina born of a flower. Ill-treated by her normal-sized siblings, and beset by would-be suitors of every species imaginable, Thumbalina must learn how to stand up for herself and say "no", and find her destiny with the help of a beloved bird of paradise friend. The simple yet brightly colored painted illustrations bring the birds, beasts, and plants of all nature add a vivid touch to this gentle story about learning confidence and strength.

Mangoes & Bananas
Nathan Kumar Scott, author
T. Balaji, illustrator
Tara Publishing
38/GA Shoreham, 5th Avenue Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, India
8186211063, $16.95

Mangoes & Bananas is a children's picturebook remarkably illustrated through the traditional art from of Kalamkari, originally developed on the southeastern coast of India in the 17th century. Kalamkari has been used to create beautiful designs on cloth for hundreds of years; Mangoes & Bananas is the first time Kalamkari art has been used to illustrate a book. The results bring to life simple figures and gently muted colors, giving a unique feel to the engaging story about a mouse deer and a monkey who are best friends. They grow a mango and a banana tree together, planning to share the fruit; but only the monkey can climb up high enough to pluck the fruit. In a moment of greed and weakness, the monkey eats all of the bananas; when it seems the monkey is about to succumb and devour the mangoes as well, the mouse deer must quickly come up with a clever plan to secure a fair share of the fruit! A clever and appealing cross-cultural storybook.

Romina's Rangoli
Malathi Michelle Iyengar, author
Jennifer Wanardi, illustrator
Shen's Books
40951 Fremont Blvd., Freemont, CA 94538
9781885008329, $16.95

Romina's Rangoli is a children's picturebook about accepting and embracing both sides of one's biracial heritage. Young Romina is learning about immigrants at school, and her assignment for the forthcoming school open house is to make a project that represents the culture her family comes from. But Romina's father is from India, and her mother is from Mexico; how can she find one project to represent both cultures? Each member of Romina's family tries to help, but it is her neighbor Mr. Gonzales who inspires her to combine Mexican "papel picado" papercutting techniques and traditional Indian "rangoli" floor designs. The soft-hued color illustrations complement the text, which is involved enough to make Romina's Rangoli ideal for children who are almost ready to make the transition from picturebooks to chapter books. Highly recommended.

Rachna Gilmore, author
Renne Benoit, illustrator
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187128, $14.95

When-I-was-a-little-girl is a whimsical children's picturebook about how memories can sometimes change with perspective. Young Lisabeth tries to be a good girl, but it seems she is always "to messy" or "too picky" compared to the translucent, ghostlike figure of When-I-was-a-little-girl that Lisabeth's mother regularly invokes. Lisabeth is in a pickle - until Grandma comes to visit! Grandma remembers When-I-was-a-little-girl in a very different way; indeed, When-I-was-a-little-girl and Lisabeth are quite alike after all! A heartwarming and gentle story that ultimately reassures the strength of family bonds.

Cattle Kids
Cat Urbigkit
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street, Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590785089, $16.95 1-877-512-8366

IRA Notable Book author Cat Urbigkit presents Cattle Kids: A Year on the Western Range is a children's picturebook all about life as a cowboy or cowgirl - a job that isn't entirely restricted to grown-ups! Beautiful, full-color photography illustrates this exciting portrayal of young people helping adults look after cattle, from calving and branding to haying and rounding up the herd. A delightful, honest, and accurate portrayal of genuine ranch life.

The Life and Times of Lilly the Lash: The Garden Gathering
Julie Woik, author
Marc Tobin, illustrator
Advocate House
9780977913947, $19.95

The Life and Times of Lilly the Lash: The Garden Gathering is the debut picturebook in a new children's series featuring a clumsy young fairy named Ms. Lilly the Lash. The exuberant rhyming verse expresses a tale about Lilly's efforts to help plants and animals in need. Underlying the simple story and cartoony artwork is a message about self-esteem for young people, about the importance of building confidence and feeling good in oneself - traits that are valuable for improved performance in school and life. Highly recommended.

Storm Codes
Tracy Nelson Maurer, author
Christina Rodriguez, illustrator
Windward Publishing
c/o Finney Company
8075 215th Street West, Lakeville, Minnesota 55044-9146
9780893170639, $17.95

Storm Codes is a children's picturebook set in Duluth, Minnesota during the 1960s, amid the sights and sounds of Great Lakes shipping were commonplace. Seven-year-old Katy and her mother wait anxiously for Katy's father's ship to return to the harbor; Katy even creates her own secret code to help bring her father back safe and sound. Author Tracy Nelson Maurer, herself a Duluth native, has crafted an emotional tale firmly grounded in nautical history. Storm Codes introduces young readers to basic nautical terms, and the color artwork of Christina Rodriguez perfectly evokes the restless ocean. Highly recommended for young people who are almost ready to make the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Taking a Bath with the Dog
Scott Menchin
Candlewick Press
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140-1338
9780763629199, $15.99 1-800-526-0275

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things that Make Me Happy is a lighthearted picturebook for beginning readers. A little girl, Sweet Pea, is feeling sad, so one by one she asks everyone and everything the question: "What makes you happy?" A rabbit on an exercise wheel answers, "Running around." A bat answers, "Sleeping upside down". A man examining the rings on a tree stump answers, "Counting." At last Sweet Pea figures out that a whole range of activities make her happy - from blowing bubbles to drinking tea with Grandma. "Mom, you're smiling. You must be happy too!" The iconic pictures effectively illustrate each activity mentioned, making Taking a Bath with the Dog easier to comprehend for novice readers sounding out their very first words.

Our Friendship Rules
Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif, author
Alissa Imre Geis, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
2 Mechanic Street, Gardiner, ME 04345
9780884482918, $16.95 1-800-582-1899

Written by former hate-violence prosecutor Peggy Moss and ninth grader Dee Dee Tardif, Our Friendship Rules is a children's picturebook about the true value of friendship. Two girls, Alexandra and Jenny, have been best friends for a long time. But when Alexandra is drawn by the allure of a new student, she'll do almost anything to become the cool girl's best friend - even tell Jenny's most private secret. Then she learns what it feels like to lose her best friend, and see the pain she's caused. Can a broken friendship be rebuilt? What are the rules that should govern a friendship? A straightforward story about learning to get along with and respect others, illustrated with distinctive collage-style paintings by Alissa Imre Geis.

When Little Pinkie Gets Her Wings
Linda Elliott, author
Bobbi Switzer, illustrator
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 S. Parker Rd., 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781598008715, $11.95 1-888-672-6657

Written by porcine aficionado Linda Elliott, When Little Pinkie Gets Her Wings is a softcover children's picturebook with a touch of magic. Little Pinkie the Pig longs for wings of her very own - but when her wish is granted, she discovers that true joy lies not in flying to please herself, but rather applying her new airborne talents to help others in need. Simple color illustrations drawn in a kid-friendly style bring this delightful pig fairy tale to life.

Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House
Rickey Pittman, author
Judith Hierstein, illustrator
Pelican Publishing Company
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LA 70053-2246
9781589804357, $15.95 1-800-843-1724

Award-winning author Rickey Pittman presents Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House, a children's picturebook revealing the amazing true story of a young black boy rescued from his cruel guardian by Varina Davis, wife of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Jefferson Davis registered Jim as a free black child and became his guardian; Jim was treated well and enjoyed happy times in the Confederate white house during the civil war. Yet when the Union won, Jefferson Davis was imprisoned and Jim Limber was taken away by Union soldiers. Jim Limber was displayed as a "slave" of Jefferson Davis, though he tried to protest that the scars inflicted upon him were from his first master, not from the former Confederate President. By the time Jefferson Davis was freed from prison, Jim Limber had disappeared, never to be heard from again - what happened to him remains a mystery to this day. Earthy illustrations by arts teacher Judith Hierstein add a complementary touch to this glimpse of a largely unknown and unseen side of the Confederate White House.

Frank and the Giant
Dev Ross, author
Larry Reinhart, illustrator
Treasure Bay
40 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, CA 94960
9781601150066, $14.95

Frank and the Giant is a children's picturebook in the "We Both Read" series, in which every two-page spread features a more complex passage for adults to read to children on the left, and a simple read-aloud word or phrase for the young person to read aloud on the right. The colorful artwork offers a wealth of contextual information to help young readers, and the Parent's Introduction is designed to help acclimate parents to encouraging a love of reading in their children. The story of Frank and the Giant follows an adventurous little frog and his friends, who follow their ball into the house of a tremendous giant - who turns out to be a little boy! A lighthearted and fun experience to share with young people learning to sound out their first words.

By the Light of the Moon
Sheridan Cain, author
Gaby Hansen, illustrator
Tiger Tales
202 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton, CT 06897
9781589250628, $15.95

By the Light of the Moon is a children's picturebook about a mother mouse's dilemma - the farmer's plow is coming, and she has to search for a safe bed for her little baby mouse to sleep. Different animals suggest their favorite places - the mole recommends sleeping underground, while the duck suggests a bed of reeds. But none of the beds are quite right, and mother mouse is at her wit's end, until she remembers the wisdom that her own mother once gave her, long ago. The soothing color illustrations are distinguished with flecks of glitter representing the moonlight. The moon itself, prominent in many pictures, is distinguished with a type of white glitter that makes it soft to the physical touch. By the Light of the Moon is a wonderful picturebook to read at bedtime, created especially to help children appreciate the comfort and security of their own beds.

Library Mouse
Daniel Kirk
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9780810993464, $15.95 1-800-759-0190

Author Daniel Kirk was inspired to create the picturebook Library Mouse after perusing the stacks at a local library with his family. Library Mouse follows a little mouse named Sam, who makes home in the wall behind children's reference books and loves to read more than anything. One day, Sam decides to write a book himself - and as library patrons discover the books Sam writes, his popularity grows! Eventually, people want to meet this notable new author; what is a mouse to do? An engaging celebration of the wonders of reading, and the joy of sharing truly good books - whether reading them or writing them.

Speech Class Rules
Ronda M. Wojcicki, M.S., CCC-SLP, author
Loel Barr, illustrator
The Speech Place Publishing
1810-A York Road, Suite 432, Lutherville, Maryland 21093
9780979410208, $19.95

Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist Ronda M. Wojcicki presents Speech Class Rules: An Introduction to Speech Therapy for Children is a picturebook that teaches young readers about what to expect when attending a class designed to help them with speech/language impairments. "When Felipe started coming to speech class, he talked with a lot of 'bumps'. (That's what Miss W. calls it when he stops in the middle of a word or sentence, or he repeats something). She says that some people call it stuttering. But now he's learning to use 'easy speech' with soft starts and lots of breaths." Speech Class Rules is a very positive and nonthreatening introduction ideal for easing anxiety, and especially recommended for school libraries to help orientate students learning communication skills. The simple illustrations by Loel Barr show the "Speech Class Rules" on the wall: 1) We speak slowly and clearly. 2) We take turns talking. 3) We use soft voices. 4) We do our homework. 5) We respecte each other. 6) We have fun!

We Share One World
Jane E. Hoffelt, author
Marty Husted, illustrator
Illumination Arts Publishing
PO Box 1865, Bellevue, WA 98009
9780970190789, $15.95 1-888-210-8216

Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Publishers Marketing Association, We Share One World is a children's picturebook about the connections between people all over the world. Marty Husted's rich watercolors depict children worldwide from Russia to Tanzania to Japan. Author Jane E. Hoffelt expresses a positive message in the simple poem underscoring the theme of unity. "You and I, we share one world, / One golden sun, / One silver moon. / Day and night we breathe the air. / We touch the wind / And play our songs." A heartwarming read-aloud book meant to be shared with and help expand young minds.

Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart
Marybeth Lorbiecki, author
Renee Graef, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
c/o Thomson Gale
27500 Drake Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331-3535
9781585362899, $16.95 1-800-231-5163

Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart is a children's picturebook that puts a double twist on the old American tall tale of Paul Bunyan. In Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart, the iconic giant lumberjack and his big blue ox Babe meet an extraordinarily tall and strong woman - a match made in heaven? But before the big, beautiful Lucette will agree to be Paul's wife, she challenges him to a test of love. Paul Bunyan's Sweetheart isn't just a tall tale - an underlying theme about the importance of conservation and love for the land courses through the rollicking adventure. "I need me some shade and fine-smelling woods and a sparkling lake for a good swim. So if you want to show me you love me, Paul, start planting trees where you've cut them. And start saving trees around lakes and streams. You need to become an all-around man of the woods - a forester!" Illustrator Renee Graef, whose other credits include artwork for the "Kirsten" books in the American Girl series, brings this original take on a timeless legend to life with expressive and vibrant colors.

The Dragonfly Door
John Adams, author
Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
Feather Rock Books, Inc.
4245 Chippewa Lane, Maple Plain, MN 55359
9781934066126, $17.95

The debut children's picturebook of author John Adams, The Dragonfly Door dares to confront serious topics - of loss, death, grieving, and transition. Nym and Lea are two close insect friends, but one day after Nym yells at Lea, Lea disappears. Nym searches everywhere for her missing friend, and can't find her. At last Nym falls asleep, grief-stricken, and finally hears Lea's voice one more time. "'I died and went to this special place,' Lea said, her voice full of love. 'But I didn't want you to leave,' Nym pleaded. 'I'm sorry I yelled.' 'I know you're sorry,' Lea assured her. 'I left because my water nymph body died while I was picking flowers in the reeds, not because you yelled.'" The warm, emotional colors of award-winning artist Barbara L. Gibson illustrate this highly recommended picturebook for sharing the bittersweet realities of life with young people.

One Year in Beijing
Xiaohong Wang, author
Grace Lin, illustrator
China Sprout
110 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001
9780974730257, $16.95

One Year in Beijing is a children's picturebook that takes the reader on a month-by-month journey of what it's like to live in China's capital city, as seen through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl. Author Xiaohong Wong grew up in Beijing in the hope that sharing what adolescence in Beijing is like will inspire children worldwide to learn more about what happens beyond their own backyards. Simple, iconic illustrations add a visual touch to the descriptions of seasonal activities in this enriching blend of story and memoir.

Angel in a Bubble
Melisa Eyuboglu
Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
12430 Tesson Ferry Road #186, Saint Louis, MO 63128
9781933090481, $10.95

Written and illustrated by nine-year-old Melisa Eyuboglu, Angel in a Bubble is a softcover children's picturebook about a girl whose angel turns into a bubble. Distressed by this turn of events, the girl resolves to visit God and ask Him to change the rule that all angels who fall into the ocean become bubbles. An authentic and heartwarming showcase of a child's vivid imagination.

Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear
Brenda Williams & Rosamund Fowler
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140
9781905236817, $16.99 1-866-215-1756

A tiny spider threads its way through the illustrations on each page of Home for a Tiger, Home for a Bear, a children's picturebook about the wide varieties of homes different animals have. "Kangaroo mom has a pouch, / Where baby joey likes to crouch. / Cuddly koala munches leaves; / Lives in eucalyptus trees." The last few pages offer more detailed facts for curious young readers about different types of natural habitat and the creatures that live there - and the variety of spiders to be found in the energetic color illustrations! A delightfully fun read-aloud, look-and-find book.

A Kiss Goodbye
Audrey Penn, author
Barbara L. Gibson, illustrator
Tanglewood Press
c/o SoCal Public Relations
8130 La Mesa Blvd., Ste. 137, La Mesa, CA 91941
9781933718040, $16.95

Conference speaker Audrey Penn presents A Kiss Goodbye, the picturebook sequel to "The Kissing Hand" and "A Pocket Full of Kisses", featuring the further adventures of the lovable young Chester Raccoon and his family. In A Kiss Goodbye, Chester encounters an all-too-common dilemma: the trees in his part of the forest are being cut down, and he and his family have to move to a new home. Chester is saddened at having to say goodbye to his faithful old tree, and apprehensive of moving to a strange new tree, but he soon learns that moving isn't all bad and makes friends with a brand-new playmate. A heartwarming read-aloud storybook, beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Barbara Leonard Gibson.

In The Pond
Anna Milbourne & Mat Russell
EDC Publishing
PO Box 470663, Tulsa, OK 74146-6515
9780794515447, $9.99 1-800-475-4522

Expertly designed by Laura Parker, "In The Pond" is an enthusiastically recommended picturebook for young readers in which Mat Russell's superbly executed artwork is a perfect showcase for Anna Milbourne's simply story about the life cycle of a frog. "In The Pond" begins with a little cluster of jelly eggs floating in a quite duck pond. Then each little egg becomes a tadpole. But tadpoles have hungry enemies and must work hard to survive. Eventually those that succeed in avoiding predator fish and birds will become frogs. And when frogs create little clusters of jelly eggs, the cycle starts all over again. Beautifully presented, "In The Pond" is entertaining and informative making it a welcome and popular addition to both school and community library picturebook collections for young readers.

The Year Of The Pig
Oliver Chin & Miah Alcore
PO Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94127
1597020079, $15.95

Written is a simple by elegant style by Oliver Chin and joyously illustrated in a cartoon style by Miah Alcore, "The Year Of The Pig: Tales From The Chinese Zodiac" is a 36-page picturebook compendium of stories featuring Patti the Pig and Farmer Wu. The adventures of this remarkable little pig are based upon the 5,000 year legacy of the Chinese Zodiac and translated into a contemporary farm setting and includes creatures taken from the Chinese lunar calendar. "The Year Of The Pig" is a lively entertainment for boys and girls. Also very highly recommended for school and community library picturebook collections from Immedium is "The Year Of The Dog", their first title in a series showcasing the charismatic animals of the Chinese New Year.

Wordworth Dances The Waltz
Frances H. Kakugawa & Melissa DeSica
Watermark Publishing
1088 Bishop Street, Suite 310, Honolulu, HI 96813
9780979064739, $10.95 1-800-900-2665

Wordsworth the Poet is a little mouse who is worried about his Granda. She's is losing her memory and having trouble doing things she used to be able to do quite easily. What can Wordsworth as a loving grandson do to help his Grandma? This is the story and premise for "Wordworth Dances The Waltz", a superbly written picturebook story by Frances H. Kakugawa which is enhanced throughout with the full color illustrations of Melissa DeSica. Just what can Wordsworth do? Well for one thing, writes some poetry to express the situation and his feelings. In the end, Wordsworth comes to understand that despite all the changes in his Grandma's behavior, he still loves her and always will. "Wordworth Dances The Waltz" is an especially recommended picturebook for young children experiencing the phenomena of memory loss, Alzheimers, and other forms of dementia manifesting within their own grandparents. Simply stated, "Wordworth Dances The Waltz" should be a part of every elementary school and community library picturebook collection for young children.

Opening Day
Susan Bartlett & Luanne Wrenn
Tilbury House, Publishers
2 Mechanic Street, Gardiner, ME 04345
9780884482888, $16.95 1-800-582-1899

Engagingly written by Susan Bartlett for preschool and kindergarten children ages 3 to 6, "Opening Day" is a 32-page picturebook which is beautifully illustrated in full color oil paintings by Luanne Wrenn. It's the story of a young boy named Sam whose best friend Eric loves to hunt. Eric and his Dad have invited Sam to hunt with them on the opening day of deer season. But Sam's mother is a vegetarian while his own father just wants to buy meat for the family table at their local grocery store. Sam is faced with the possibility of losing out on his friendship with Eric or possibly disappointing his family. A compellingly and skillfully presented story about friendship, "Opening Day" is enhanced with age appropriate information about deer habits and habitat, as well as tracking and hunting. A truly elegant story, "Opening Day" is as entertaining as it is thoughtful and a very strongly recommended addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picturebook collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow's Nest
Karen Pavlicin
Alma Little
8362 Tamarack Vlg. Ste. 119-106, St. Paul, MN 55125
9781934617007, $16.95

Perch, Mrs. Sackets, and Crow's Nest is a novel for young adults about a ten-year-old boy visiting his grandma for the summer. He dearly misses his deceased father, and his best friend Anthony has moved away. But it turns out that even a sleepy little small town can be a haven for summer fun! An enjoyable adventure of discovery ensues.

White Magic: Spells to Hold You
Kelly Easton
Wendy Lamb Books
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
9780375837692, $15.99

White Magic: Spells to Hold You is a young adult novel about benevolent witchcraft. Chrissie, a fifteen year old girl, forced to move from snowy Vermont to Los Angeles, thinks her life is all but over until she meets the mysterious Yvonne, half witch, half gypsy. Yvonne teaches Chrissie about white magic; together with Karen - a kindly but shy girl in love with the wrong boy - they form a coven of "good witches". Together they learn the value of the bonds of friendship, and how to enhance the potency of magic with good intentions, good thoughts, and good deeds. A gentle and delightful narrative.

Ocean of Fire
M.C. Pugin-Rodas
ESOL Publishing
10305 Colony View Dr., Fairfax, VA 22032
9780979376122, $18.95

"The Eight Ball Club" series installment Ocean of Fire a novel for young adults written for reading pleasure - and as an excellent reading improvement tool for intermediate language level students, and students studying English as a second language. ESL educator and author M.C. Pugin-Rodas has included key vocabulary words in bold print, deliberate repetition of key academic science words, and a "What's That Word?" glossary. In Ocean of Fire, eight high school students from different backgrounds become trapped inside the magma chamber of a volcano. They must work together and apply their different talents to navigate lava rivers, secret underground staircases, and much more to escape with their lives. A handful of black-and-white illustrations round out this engaging, multiculturally themed adventure. A teacher's reproducible activity book connected to Ocean of Fire is separately available.

Pirate's Passage
William Gilkerson
Trumpeter Books
Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston MA 02115
9781590305485, $11.95

Sailor, journalist, and historian William Gilkerson presents Pirate's Passage is an award-winning novel for young adults, combining the history of Western piracy with a tale of adventure and intrigue. When a windstorm forces a small boat to seek refuge at port on the Nova Scotia coast in 1952, its old sea captain changes the life of an ordinary family, and regales a young boy named Jim with exciting stories about pirates. Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy this lengthy and enthralling saga, sparsely illustrated with black-and-white sketches by the author.

The Feedsack Dress
Carolyn Mulford
Cave Hollow Press
713 Tyler, Warrenburg, MO 64093
9780971349742, $7.95

When the new school year junior high school students in Craigsburg starts up in the Fall of 1949, farm girl Gail Albright is really looking forward to it. But Gail finds herself the target of cruel jokes by fellow student Veronica Holt a snobbish clique because Gail, a farm girl, is wearing a feedsack dress her mother had made for her. Gail is determined to overcome her embarrassment and anger, which means she must find the strength to beat Veronica at her own game and with a little help from some newly made friends, she just might be able to succeed. A welcome and confidently recommended addition to school and community library collections, "The Feedsack Dress" is a charming, original, and deftly written novel by an author who has a readily discernable talent for story telling and an impressive ability to make her readers care about her characters.

Quit Bugging Me
Karen Laven
Aspirations Media
7755 Lakeview Lane, Spring Lake Park, MN 55432
9780977604364, $11.99 www.aspirationsmedia

Award-winning poet Karen Laven presents Quit Bugging Me, a novel for young adults about thirteen-year-old Emily, who has to write a book report about bugs. Repulsed by the thought, she doesn't realize that her mischievous brother Bud and a cursed bug book could turn her life into a disaster! Quit Bugging Me is told entirely through a series of email correspondence, lending it a contemporary vibe. An enjoyable and original adventure.

Ben Franklin's War
Stephen Eaton Hume
Dundurn Press
2250 Military Road, Tonawanda NY 14150
9781550026382, $10.99

Award-nominated children's author and English teacher Stephen Eaton Hume presents Ben Franklin's War, a novel for young adults set in the time of America's Revolutionary War. Ben Franklin, one of America's Founding Fathers, journeyed to Canada in search of help fighting against England's rule over the America, but finds little aid and much danger. Ben Franklin's War is told from the perspective of Michael, a deaf boy who is one of a crew of orphans and abandoned children who take it upon themselves to hide the leader from the British Redcoats. Michael's sign language even inspires Ben Franklin to create a top secret spy code. A tale of adventure, featuring inventions and challenges at the dawn of the American nation.

Delacorte Press
c/o Bantam Dell Publishing Group
1745 Broadway, New York NY 10019 1-800-726-0600

S.A. Harazin's BLOOD BROTHERS (9780385733649, $15.99) provides a fine pick for advanced teen readers and tells of 17-year-old Clay, who loves working as a hospital orderly assisting in the ER. When his best friend enters the hospital for a suspected drug overdose, Clay may be blamed for his condition and finds himself drawn into an investigation of his best friend's darker side, in order to save his job and reputation. A fast-paced story of friendship and courage evolves. Olivia Birdsall's NOTES ON A NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCE (9780385733700, $15.99) tells of teen Mia, whose world crumbles when her father suddenly leaves them. With a mother who reacts by burying herself in work and a brother's best friend who finally notices her, Mia has her hands full adjusting to a world of new changes. Both books will earn spots in any teen leisure reading collection.

Grace Above All
Jane St. Anthony
Farrar Straus Giroux
19 Union Square West, New York NY 10003
0374399409, $16.00

Grace sets out to rescue her sister, adrift in an inflatable raft, and in doing so finds herself entangled with Frankie, a handsome boy who assists in the rescue. What evolves from that act of bravery is a newfound understanding of herself and her world in GRACE ABOVE ALL, a fine teen leisure read about self-understanding and relationships.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stewart
Little, Brown
1271 Avenue of Americas, New York NY 10020
0316057770, $16.99

An ad for 'gifted children seeking special opportunities' invites dozens of children to take a series of mind-bending tests but the winners, four special children, are to go on a secret mission which proves dangerous and compelling, introducing them to new worlds in THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY. Advanced teen readers will quickly become absorbed in the challenging adventure which holds plenty of twists and turns to keep readers guessing, making it a fine leisure library pick.

Benette Whitmore
Walker & Company
104 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
080278884X, $16.95

Sky thinks filming her sixteen summer for a school project will prove immeasurably dull but her video diary evolves into a record of how her family is falling apart with the center of trouble being an evolving fallout shelter. Told in 'scenes' as in a movie, SHELTER provides a moving chart of a family in trouble and will make an excellent leisure read for young adults.

River Secrets
Shannon Hale
175 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
1582349010, $17.95

Razo is too short to be a good soldier and it's mainly out of pity that his captain asks him to join an elite mission as an ambassador's escort, but it's Razo who discovers the first murder, and who is the only one able to befriend both high and low born people, who together can fill in details about the murderer. As Razo begins to learn the real secrets of the river he finds a newfound appreciation of his unique abilities in RIVER SECRETS, which will please young adult readers seeking action and psychological understanding alike.

Chasing Tail Lights
Patrick Jones
Walker & Company
104 5th Avenue, New York NY 10011
0802796281, $16.95

Christy loves to stand on the highway overpass watching cars, and trying to understand her new life since her father died. For alcoholism and violence has long plagued the only place she can call home, and Christy is searching for anyone to lead her away from home and Flint Michigan. A gentle story of self-discovery and possible wrong paths evolves.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

John Marsden's WHILE I LIVE (0439793186, $16.99) creates 'The Ellie Chronicles', continuing the story of a girl who has spent years fighting invaders in her home country, and who is back on her family's farm trying to rebuild her life after years of war. The only problem is the war isn't really over yet, and when tragedy hits she again finds herself struggling to survive. The same fierce independent spirit displayed in Marsden's 'Tomorrow' series revolving around Ellie and her courageous band of friends continues in this satisfying new series. Todd Mitchell's THE TRAITOR KING (0439827884, $16.99) tells of Darren and Jackie, who have always known their family was strange but not by how much. A fantasy mystery revolves around the family and once they discover some of the secrets, a vanished uncle's plight draws them into a world they never imagined. Both are outstanding picks for young adult libraries.

Dutton/Philomel Books
c/o Penguin Putnam
375 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014 1-800-847-5515

Jordan Roter's CAMP RULES (9780525478034, $15.99) teens of teen 'It' girl Logan, who is spending her final summer as the exclusive Bank One's Alpha Camper until interloper Penny arrives to upstage her. Both of them want Penny to go home but when they join forces to get her kicked out, an unexpected friendship evolves in this fun story of camp craziness. Kathryn Erskine's QUAKING (9780399247743, $16.99) tells of Matt, who dresses in Gothic black and defies everyone until she moves in with a peaceful Quaker family in Pennsylvania. Their lifestyle and philosophy will challenge her battles and her outlook on past and present problems in this moving story of love and change.

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Diane C. Donovan, Editor
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