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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 21, Number 9 September 2011 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice American History Shelf Health Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Travel Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Writing Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Science Shelf
Educational Shelf Art Shelf ABC Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Native American Shelf Multicultural Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Fiction Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf
Sports Shelf Cookbook Shelf History Shelf
Environmental Shelf Holiday Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Activity Shelf
Books in Series    

Reviewer's Choice

Penelope Popper Book Doctor
Toni Buzzeo, author
Jana Christy, illustrator
4810 Forest Run Road, Madison, WI 53704
9781602130548, $17.95,

"Penelope Popper Book Doctor" is a charming color illustrated story about a girl who wanted to be a doctor. Penelope is discouraged in her doctoring attempts because most of her practice patients are too busy to let her check blood pressures, listen for heart beats, or check reflexes. Finally her teacher suggests she visit Ms. Brisco in the library to possibly expand her knowledge of doctoring. Imagine Penelope's surprise and joy when she learns (from books on the nonfiction shelves) that there are many different kinds of doctors! Animal doctors, people doctors, even book doctors! So Penelope decides to learn all about what book doctors do, since there is a real need for book doctors in the library. Penelope learns the first rule of book care is "Wash your hands before reading a book!" She quickly learns that not all children remember this important rule! Along with Ms. Brisco, Penelope leans an important list of Book Care Rules and creates a set of Book Care Bags for children to use. Finally Penelope performs important restoration work on the big dictionary which had fallen behind the radiator and gotten damaged. In gratitude, Penelope's teacher and fellow students award her a new badge that says "Penelope Popper Book Doctor!" "Penelope Popper Book Doctor" is an excellent book for children age 5 and up, and should be on every children's librarian's emergency resource shelf.

My Bonus Mom!
Tami Butcher, author
Feras Nouf, illustrator
Foreword by Bill Engvall
Five Star Publications
P.O. Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246
9781589850811, $16.95,

"My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom" is a great adjustment handbook for children of divorced and blended families. Written by a woman who experienced all the conflicting emotions of a child undergoing such a potentially traumatic transition, "My Bonus Mom" takes a new look at the experience of accepting one or more new parent figures. The genius of the book lies in replacing the wicked stepmother of old fairytales with the new concept of a "bonus" mom. Even more important, "My Bonus Mom" carefully clarifies that the child is not to blame for the parents' choice to divorce. Written in jaunty verse text, with expressive color illustrations of real-looking people, "My Bonus Mom" does not flinch from the difficult or painful parts of its primary subject matter, but still leaves the reader with an uplifted feeling.

Marilyn is Moving!
Irene Agapion-Palamaris
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452075594, $19.99,

Moving is a tough endeavor for any child. "Marilyn is Moving!" follows young Marilyn as she copes with the sudden plans for moving that her family inflicts on her, being separated from the family and friends that she has learned to know so well. Speaking to many children who fear such a big change in their lives, "Marilyn is Moving!" is an excellent and very much recommended read.

The American History Shelf

The Big Civil War Book
Carole Marsh
Gallopade International
6000 Shakerag Hill, Suite 314
Peachtree City, GA 30269
9780635078247, $19.99,

One of the most chaotic times in American history, there is much to learn about the American Civil War. "The Big Civil War Book" is an introduction to the Civil War for younger students, packed cover to cover with ways to make learning the conflict a lot more fun than the actual war was. Highly graphical, Carole Marsh presents a way to keep the topic interesting and keep children hooked by history. "The Big Civil War Book" is an excellent addition to any community library children's history or civil war collection.

The Health Shelf

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad
Howard Binkow & Susan F. Cornelison
We Do Listen Foundation
1212 Ben Franklin Drive #803
Sarasota, FL 34236
9780982616536, $15.00,

You can't eat cake every day, and it's a good idea to realize that early on. "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad" is a children's picturebook from Howard Binkow and Susan F. Cornelison as they use the young Howard, a rabbit who through his misadventures will learn the importance of overdoing even the best things. "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad" comes with a strong lesson, charming artwork and proves highly recommended.

Sabrina The Girl With a Hole In Her Heart
Wendy Lewis, author
Diane Lucas, illustrator
Two Dolphins Publishing Group
28494 Westinghouse Place #201, Valencia, CA 91355
9780615478197, $16.95,

Based on a true story, "Sabrina The Girl With a Hole In Her Heart" is the story of a 10-year old girl from rural Zanzibar who faces a life-altering choice: Because of a congenital heart defect which required skilled surgery, she must choose whether or not to leave her family and village to fly far away to Tel Aviv and put her life in the hands of strange doctors who can perform a surgery or a set of surgeries that will save her life. Based on the work of a charitable Israeli organization called Save a Child's Heart, the story of Sabrina reflects a story that has been retold in many different settings, saving the lives of over 2,600 children of various faiths and from all parts of the world. In addition to telling the very real story of a frightened girl who courageously takes the risk of making the long trip and having the surgery, "Sabrina The Girl With a Hole in Her Heart" has many educational asides that teach children how the heart works, including a diagram of a heart with ASD (a hole in the heart), and a picture of a heart lung machine as well as an echocardiogram. "Sabrina The Girl With a Hole In Her Heart" is excellent medical and social education for children ages 7-11, presenting added information about the social and cultural factors that accompany each successful humanitarian effort such as Save A Child's Heart. Additional information about children and Save A Child's Heart is also provided.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Civil War Adventure
Chuck Dixon & Gary Kwapisz
History Graphics Press
528 Tower Rd., Lebanon, VA 24266
9780982446621, $14.95,

Graphic novels often tell of grand stories in a visual medium. Why not blend history into it in such a way? "Civil War Adventure" is a collection of stories in graphic novel form as Chuck Dixon & Gary Kwapisz use an easy to get into format to help kids learn history in these riveting stories that are drawn from history to educate readers as they entertain. "Civil War Adventures" is a must for any graphic novels collection aimed at younger readers.

Questrons: The Web Riders
Sphulling Arts
c/o CreateSpace
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781463691165 $14.99 print / $2.99 Kindle/Nook

Intended for young adult readers age 8-13, Questrons: The Web Riders is a full-color graphic novel following a group of ordinary neighborhood children who have discovered how to travel cyberspace. Their adventures in the virtual world will lead them to amazing discoveries, and possibly the opportunity to save Earth from impact with an asteroid hurtling through space! A handful of subtle warnings about the risks of internet browsing are interleaved within the fantastic story. "'Hey, I was looking for you.' 'Me!!!' 'You have won a lottery ticket. Fill up this form with your details. I will get your money.' 'But I hardly know you.' Ankam chases away the spammer with anti-virus. 'Go away!' 'He almost hypnotized me.' 'Web is such a dangerous place.'" Available in inexpensive ebook formats as well as print, Questrons: The Web Riders is a wholesome read for young people growing up in today's technology-driven world.

The Travel Shelf

Kids Go! Travel Guides: Bali
Mio Debnam, author
Tania Willis, illustrator
Haven Books
9789881896797, $10.00,

"Bali" is the first travel book in a series designed especially for kids age 7 and up. Imaginatively presented with jaunty color illustrations, "Bali" offers the Top Five Must -Dos, how to Be a Culture Vulture, Talk to the Animals, Get Wild & Wet, Non-Stop Action, It's Raining It's Pouring, Shop Till You Drop, Food, Glorious Food, and extra sections on Bali Know-It -All, Make A Note, Keepsakes, Explore Ubud, with area map, and a Bali Map. There are lists of recommended restaurants, ideas of what to do and where to go when it's raining, action adventure tour ideas, A list of common phrases or sayings in Bahasa Indonesia is included and other interesting facts and figures about Bali. Tips about good manners in Bali (never offer your left hand, or point your feet at someone's head, or point with fingers; these are all considered rude or impolite) are included as well as excellent exploration and activity suggestions. "Bali" is an action packed, fun-filled, practical guide to the attractions of Bali for kids, complete with maps and protocol, all in a compact, 55 page book about the size of a map. Web site research is also suggested to prepare for full trip enjoyment. Every traveling youngster and their parent(s) would benefit from acquaintance with this excellent series of guide books for kids. Also recommended in this series is "Phuket (9789881896780, $10.00)," "New York (9789881896773, $10.00)," "Hong Kong (9789881896759, $10.00)," and "London (9789881896742, $10.00)."

The Bilingual Shelf

Cinco the Clinic Cat
Carol Brickell, author
Jim Hastings, illustrator
Brown Books Publishing Group
16200 N. Dallas Parkway, Suite 170
Dallas, TX 75248
9781934812846, $8.95,

A cat can bring a good deal of joy with it, along with a healthy dose of mischief. "Cinco the Clinic Cat" is a children's bilingual picturebook following the adventures of a cat who enters the clinic's world, the story is presented in both English and Spanish with a fun hand drawn art style from Jim Hastings and a unique story from Carol Brickell. "Cinco the Clinic Cat" is another fine pick for bilingual picturebook collections.

Matthew Frederick, author
Leo Latti, illustrator
Long Bridge Publishing
9780984272365, $11.95,

One dog can bring joy to so many. "Hadrian, the Dog of Pompeii" is a bilingual book with text in both Italian and English from Matthew Frederick and illustrator Leo Latti. Telling of a curious dog that turns friend to the people and hero, "Hadrian" will prove an excellent pick for young dog lovers who want to learn English or Italian.

The Park Our Town Built
Diane Gonzales Bertrand, author
Tanja Bauerle, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
1400 Miller Parkway, McHenry, IL 60050
9781936299126, $16.95,

"The Park Our Town Built/ El parque que nuestro pueblo construyo" is a bilingual illustrated children's book about a community effort to build a park that is celebrated with a big party and fireworks. Written in the style of "This is the house that Jack built," "The Park Our Town Built" rolls along with English text in black and Spanish text in red, building contextually clear vocabulary and embellishing a message of the value of communal effort and cooperation towards large goals, laced with plenty of fun and good humor. After the last festive, illustrated pair of page, 'These are the fireworks...etc' a vocabulary page reinforces the 15 words in Spanish and English for review. "The Park Our Town Built" is great bilingual educational entertainment for kids in grades K-3.

The Writing Shelf

Writing To Persuade
Chris Nolan and Lauren Spencer
Rosen Publishers
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448846856, $30.60,

"Writing To Persuade" is a young adults writing text from the Write Like a Pro series. Chapters on brainstorming and planning, tackling the first draft, improving your writing style, polishing the first draft, checking and correcting, designing and sharing your written work, and sharing your descriptive writing digitally are presented. Sidebars and color coded tips and pointers help convey key concepts or techniques in an interesting format. In chapter 7, three essential steps to follow before posting or sharing written work are suggested, including the need to always protect your identity in cyberspace. In addition a helpful glossary and a list of additional resources and web sites is included, with reference to, "Writing To Persuade" is a most useful text for teen or tween writers who are launching their writing careers. Also recommended titles from this series include: "Writing to Inform (9781448846818, $30.60)," by Frances K. Hubbard and Lauren Spencer, and "Writing to Describe (9781448846801, $30.60)," by Denis E. McGuinness and Lauren Spencer.

Dan Elish
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, New York 10591
9781608705016, $34.21,

"Screenplays" is a how-to book for children age 8 and up from a series titled the Craft of Writing. Including 5 chapters on a Montage History of Film, the Big Picture, Things to Think About, Your Screenplay From Beginning to End, and Writing Exercises, "The Craft of Writing Screenplays" presents basic tools and techniques for the beginning screenwriter. Movie genres, the rule of 'but,' use of dialogue, and getting an idea are all concepts to be explored and mastered. The concept of breaking down a 62 minute movie to 12 ten page sequences is presented in the 4th chapter to facilitate organization and production. "The Craft of Writing Screen Plays" is well suited for an audience of tweens and teens anxious to begin their creative efforts in the field of cinema. Additional recommended titles in this series include "The Craft of Writing Poetry" (9781608705009, $34.21), by Mark Mussari, " Plays" (9781608704996, $34.21), by Dan Elish, " Journalism" (9781608704989, $34.21), by Julia A. Evans, and "Fiction" (9781608704972, $34.21), by Dan Elish.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Story of Jumping Mouse
retold by Amanda St. John
Durga Yael Bernhard, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781609731403, $27.07,

From a series titled 'Folktales from Around the World', "The Story of Jumping Mouse: A Native American Folktale" retold by Amanda St. John and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard is the story of Little Mouse, the youngest, most curious mouse in his family, who had a good heart. Although Little Mouse is very curious, he shows respect and kindness for his brother, he listens to his elders and neighbors, and he helps everyone he can. He brings good medicine to all creatures around him. Because of his caring actions, such as sharing his eyes with the Wolf and the Bison so they could see, he is rewarded by a magic frog with more good medicine. Becoming Jumping Mouse, he obeys Frogs instructions and jumps into the sky to see what he will become, now that he is blind from giving. A miracle happens! Jumping Mouse jumps into the sky and becomes...Eagle. He can see and he can fly! This magic happened to Jumping Mouse because he was thoughtful and caring with others. "The Story of Jumping Mouse" is filled with storyteller's sayings in the tradition of the Native American tribes of the Northern Plains of North America. Vocabulary words such as "ikosi (that is how it is)," "hese (fly)," and "pitokwe, api (come in, sit down)," are used and explained in the story. Beautifully detailed colored illustrations follow the magical transformations of Little Mouse. "The Story of Jumping Mouse" is an excellent teaching tale for children age 5 and up. From an oral Native American tradition, "The Story of Jumping Mouse" was first written down by a Native American man named Hyemeyohsts Storm in 1985, in order that it might be shared with children of many cultures and languages. Other recommended titles in this series by the same talented team include: "Coyote Rides the Sun: A Native American Folktale (9781609731380, $27.07)," "The Pied Piper of Hamlin: A German Folktale (9781609731427, $27.07)," "The Frog King: An African Folktale (9781609731373, $27.07)," "Bouki Cuts Wood: A Haitian Folktale (9781609731359, $27.07)," "Issun Boshi (One-Inch Boy): A Japanese Folktale (9781609731397, $27.07)," "Medio Pollito (Half-Chick): A Mexican Folktale (9781609731410, $27.07)," and "Frog Went A-Traveling: A Russian Folktale (9781609731366, $27.07)."

The Science Shelf

What's So Hot About Volcanoes?
Wendell A. Duffield
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West, 59801
PO Box 2399, Missoula, MT 59806
9780878425747, $16.00,

Fire, lava, explosions, it's no wonder volcanoes inspire such awe. "What's So Hot About Volcanoes?" is an informative book about volcanoes and their effect on humanity. Wendell A. Duffield walks readers through these beacon's nature's power, with plenty of facts, how they form, and the force of their eruptions. From the basic geology to the bizarre notions behind it all, "What's So Hot About Volcanoes?" is a top pick for children's science collections and for any young lover of rock and fire.

Mysterious Bones
Katherine Kirkpatrick, author
Emma Stevenson, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823421879, $17.95,

As relics of humanity's origins emerge, the push to understand it all grows ever stronger. "Mysterious Bones: The Story of Kennewick Man" traces the history surrounding the discovery of human fossils of one of America's earliest human inhabitants. Through controversy surrounding ownership of the remains and what it has told us about our ancient ancestors, "Mysterious Bones" is aimed at any with a strong interest in the prehistory of the world, highly recommended.

Meet the Planets
John McGranaghan, author
LaurieAllen Klein, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A-2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607181330, $8.95,

"Meet The Planets" is a fantastic combination picture book/encyclopedia of fun information about the solar system's eight planets. Narrated by the former ninth planet, Pluto (now known as a dwarf planet), the story becomes a contest of pick your favorite planet. The Sun was supposed to judge, but can't decide, so the readers become the judges, and the meteors have to leave for a shower. Who can decide who the winner will be? stunning color illustrations include many learning references about the planets that kids will want to investigate through extra teaching activities, interactive reading comprehension and math quizzes, and Meet the Planets' homepage ( Presented in both hard cover and paperback, also in ebooks, and Spanish and English with audio, "Meet the Planets" is the perfect science solutions to learning activities about our solar system for students age 6 and up.

The Educational Shelf

Book Club, 25 Activities for Any Reading Discussion
Andrea Hetzke
Upstart Books
4810 Forest Run Road, Madison, WI 53704
9781602130555, $15.00,

"Book Club, 25 Activities for Any Reading Discussion" is a paperback manual full of a variety of suggested activities and games for book clubs for kids. Using easily available, inexpensive materials, "Book Club' presents four categories of activities: Up-and Moving Activities, Sitting Activities, Games, and Technology Activities. All the exercises present fun challenges for kids age 8 and up.

The Art Shelf

Ready, Set, Draw... Flower Garden!
Heather Zschock, author/designer
Kerren Barbas Steckler, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY, 10601
9781441305022, $15.99,

From the Young Artist Series, "Ready, Set, Draw... Flower Garden!: Learn How to Draw, Step-by-Step, 18 Flowers, Bugs, and More!" is a child's art instruction kit that comes complete with colored instruction manual, four double sided colored pencils already sharpened, and a blank white artist's sketch pad. Step by step instructions showing drawing lines in red show young artists how to draw 18 different flowers on prepared backgrounds with tracing line images provided. Added images to draw include a birdhouse, birdbath, ladybug, and more. "Ready, Set, Draw... Flower Garden" is the perfect gift for the artistically oriented child or any child who loves to draw. Removable blank sketch pad and double-ended colored pencils complete the fun art cit for kids age 4 and up. Also very highly recommended are the other titles in this outstanding series from Peter Pauper Press: "Ready, Set, Draw...Animals!" (9781593598280, $15.99); "Reader, Set, Draw...Things That Go!" (9781593598471, $15.99); and "Ready, Set, Draw...Under The Sea!" (9781593598372, $15.99).

The ABC Shelf

The Magic Letters of the Alphabet
John J. D'Arcy
JuJo Books
PO Box 451041, Omaha, NE 68145
Concierge Marketing (publicity)
13518 L St., Omaha, NE 68137
9780983408314, $10.95,

When the letters come together, the magic of language happens. "The Magic Letters of the Alphabet: Featuring the Word Carrot" is a children's picturebook from John J. D'Arcy as he has fun with charming art as the letters of the word carrot together to create magic. "The Magic Letters of the Alphabet" is a fine pick and solidly recommended for younger readers to pick up language skills.

If Rocks Could Sing
Leslie McGuirk
Random House
6001 Shellmound Street, 4th Floor,
Emeryville, CA 94608
9781582463704, $15.99,

Rocks aren't as boring as you'd think. "If Rocks Could Sing" is an alphabet picturebook from Leslie McGuirk, who she walks readers through the fun of the alphabet using rocks to represent each letter of the alphabet. A fun way to teach the alphabet for those with a love of rocks and nature, "If Rocks Could Sing" is a fine addition to community library children's collections.

Except the Color Grey
Arlene Alda
Tundra Books
PO Box 1030, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
9781770492844, $18.99,

There are many colors of the world, and children quickly attach themselves to a favorite. "Except the Color Grey" is an exploration of colors as Arlene Alda uses photography to walk young readers through the wide assortments of colors in our world. A strong pick for anyone seeking to help a reader learn colors, "Except the Color Grey" is quite the pick.

Ten Little Bulldogs
Renay Daniels
Sortis Publishing
2193 E. Claxton Ave., Gilbert, AZ 85297
9780982798676, $14.95,

"Ten Little Bulldogs" is a charming color photo illustrated counting book for children age 4 and up. A portion of the proceeds from "Ten Little Bulldogs" go to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a charity that raises money for children's hospitals around the U. S. Darling pictures of real little bulldogs with numbers and pawprints to match are showcased, with a hidden bone in each picture for children to spy. Text in verse helps the counting rhyme proceed and the story is completed by the charming photos. "Ten Little Bulldogs" ends with a good night pose, all adorable puppies ready for slumber, and ready to help soothe a lucky child to sleep with the counting rhyme and charming photos of little puppy bulldogs.

An Ant
Kallie Woods
3824 Sunset Drive, Spring Park, MN 55384
9780983202318, $34.99,

Getting a head start on literacy is always a good idea. "An Ant" is a workbook for young readers four to seven to gain a grasp of language. Presented in full color, the lessons within will help young readers read simple sentences and simple stories that teach easy reading, punctuation, and illustrates the stories alongside it. "An Ant" is a fine pick for any educator or parent of a young child looking for resources to help teach kids how to read.

The Picturebook Shelf

Noah the Boa at Large
Henrietta Krumpett, author
Monika Suska, illustrator
Castlebridge Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310798, $16.95,

Written by a Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians about an actual snake, "Noah the Boa at Large" is a humorous illustrated story about a real boa constrictor who was very good at escaping from his Amphibians Exhibit home at the zoo. Written in verse and delightfully illustrated in bright primary colors, "Noah the Boa at Large" shows exactly what adventures Noah has when he slips away through an open door during snack time (to the snack-mouse's great delight). Noah goes exploring! He finds himself in such unlikely places as a taxi cab, a busy street, a coffee shop, and finally a cinema, where he happily curls up on a seat to watch the show. Fortunately when the movie is over, his neighboring set mate is Fran the zookeeper, who has been searching everywhere for Noah! This time when Noah returns to his snake House home, there is a surprise waiting for him, a lady boa constrictor named Lu! "Noah the Boa at Large" has bright colors, action, humor, and a surprise happy ending to make it first class reading entertainment for children ages 4 and up.

Seven Little Mice Go to School
Harue Yamashita and Kazuo Iwamura
NorthSouth Books
c/o Myrick Marketing & Media
PMB 248
455 Sam Ridley Parkway West
Smyrna, TN 37167
9780735840126, $16.95,

Seven Little Mice Go to School provides a fine, winning story of seven mice who aren't happy about going to school. It's too far away, it holds possible bullies, and they won't know anybody. Mother is worried too: how is she going to get seven mice through the forest to school? Somehow everything gets sorted out in this light, fun survey for any picturebook collection.

The Great Bear
Libby Gleeson, author
Armin Greder, artist
Candlewick Press
99 Dover St., Somerville, MA 02144
9780763651367, $16.95,

"The Great Bear" is a magnificent dual presentation that uses both text and illustrations to tell an enriched story. The story begins about a bear who performs in a medieval circus, enduring taunts and jeers and cruelty, hardship, and exhaustion of the spirit. Finally the bear has suffered enough, and the marvelous charcoal and pastel illustrations tell the rest of the story, or rather suggest it to the reader, who completes the narrative in his/her own imagination. The tormented bear is shown climbing a high pole, reaching for the amazing stars to become the great constellation Ursa Major, escaping a painful, humiliating existence for a higher plane. "The Great Bear" is an amazing story with many levels of interpretation possible, all of which can contribute to a more humane notion of existence for all living beings. The result of a vivid dream of the author and an intense collaboration between author and artist, "The Great Bear" is a wondrous tale that children of all ages will treasure.

Only Cows Allowed!
Lynn Plourde, author
Rebecca Harrison Reed, illustrator
Down East Books
PO Box 679, Camden, ME 04843
9780892727902, $16.95,

"Only Cows Allowed" is a memorable tale of some cows who demand exclusive occupation privileges in a newly built New England barn. Their owner, a clueless first time farmer didn't quite know what to do about the cows' sign, "Only Cows Allowed" on his new barn. But what about the other animals? first clever hens (who say, "How do you know we're not really cows in chicken disguises?"), then horses, then even barn cats are not allowed into the cows' barn. And more animals, including pigs, sheep, goats, and geese arrive and are excluded by the selfish, non-productive cows. They all say, "We have a right to live here too," and when the cows see they mean it and are also about to have families, they let them in the nick of time. The farmer knows he has a responsibility to the babies born on his farm, and he attempts a little deception on the selfish cows, chewing bubblegum to prove he was a cow, and throwing a party. The surprise hilarious ending will keep kids' interest and sense of spontaneous fun engaged, while the gentle pastel images finish delivering the punch line. "Only Cows Allowed!" will appeal to kids age 4 and up.

Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal
Rocknoceros, author
Missy Sheldrake, illustrator
Ashway Press
5624 Doubletree Circle
Birmingham, AL 35242
9780975457511, $9.99,

"Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal" (a CD of 18 songs is separate) is the companion book to a hit CD called "Colonel Purple Turtle ($14.99, from Go! Team! Records) by a three member award winning kidrock band called Rocknoceros, about whom Smithsonian reports "Rocknoceros' blend of infectious and catchy educational tunes were perfect for the Smithsonian's younger fans. It's rare to find a group of talented, professional musicians who can turn learning into such a fun, toe-tapping experience..." The catchy text and colorful illustrations of "Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal" are inspired by songs on the CD "Colonel Purple Turtle." From friendly frogs to ladybugs, butterflies, and meadowlarks, Soggy Bog is host and home to a variety of creatures celebrated in "Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Journal." Community-building values are instilled by the friendly creatures of Soggy Bog, and Colonel Purple Turtle closes with a group picture of all the animals described, asking 'What is your favorite animal?' Kids will love "Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal" so much they will undoubtedly ask parents and teachers for the companion CD by Coach Cotton, Williebob, and Boogie Woogie Bennie, better known as Rocknoceros! Perfect for kids ages 4-12, "Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal" is sure to be a hit.

Bugs in the Garden
Beatrice Alemagna
180 Varick St., New York, NY 10014
9780714862385, $12.95,

"Bugs in the Garden" is an original creative children's fable illustrated with imaginative pictures of bugs created with fabric, notions, collage, and embroidery. The adventure-seeking bugs are attempting to move outside their comfort zone, which happens to be an old blanket on an old bed at the bottom of the garden. The challenge for the bugs is in the risk of trusting strange new bugs who look and act different from them. Story and art complement each other perfectly in this creative fable that encourages children to try harder to accept individual differences when making new friends. "Bugs in the Garden" will intrigue children age 5 and up, and they will love the fuzzy textures of the cloth and yarn embroidered illustrations.

Butterfly Tree
Sandra Markle
Peachtree Publishers
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561455393, $16.95,

The world has many mysteries, and we don't solve them all when we turn into an adult. "Butterfly Tree" is a picturebook adventure from Sandra Markle, telling the story of Jilly and Mother as they go through the wilderness and together face the many mysteries of the world and find their own understanding. With a beautiful water-color style of art throughout, "Butterfly Tree" is a fine read for any parent and child who share an interest in nature.

Krishna Dalal, author
Jessica Warrick, illustrator
One Word Publishing
1103 Shelter Bay Ave., Mill Valley, CA 94941
9780983324508, $9.99,

The spelling bee proves to be quite the blend of anxiety and pride to many young contestants. "Sardoodledom" is a humorous children's picturebook from author Krishna Dalal and illustrator Jessica Warrick as they explore the spelling bee and the children facing it. Tackling many elementary language questions and providing education with humor, "Sardoodledom" is a fine addition to children's picturebook collections and for kids who want to learn some of the more eccentric natures of language.

Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step
Mark Sperring & Tom McLaughlin
250 Wireless Boulevard, Hauppauge, NY 11788
9780764146787, $7.99,

When you've been naughty, forgiveness is the first thing you seek. "Captain Buckleboots on the Naughty Step" is a story of sorry, as Sam, a young man finds his latest stint on the naughty step he isn't alone. Along with others who struggle to be forgiven for what they've done, he tries to help Captain Buckleboots apologize after stealing treasure. With a quaint sense of humor, "Captain Buckleboots" is a fine and very much recommended read for picturebook collections.

Bye Bye Balloon
Ryan SanAngelo, author
Sean Boyce, illustrator
Little King Press
15 May Street, Fairfield, CT 06825
9780983277309, $15.95,

High above it all, you can see anything and everything. "Bye Bye Balloon" follows one loose balloon as it takes young readers on a tour across the wonders of the world. With painted illustrations from Sean Boyce, author Ryan SanAngelo does well in giving youths an introductory to the world's landmarks. "Bye Bye Balloon" is an excellent addition to community library picturebook collections.

How Back-Back Got His Name
Thomas Weck & Peter Weck
Lima Bear Press
2305 MacDonough Rd., Suite 201,
Wilmington, DE 19805-2620
9781933872148, $15.95,

You don't realize how important it is until it's gone. "How Back-Back Got His Name" tells the story of Plumpton the Opossum and the disappearance of his back. Along with his friends, they must crack the mystery and get the back back. With a unique quirky art style from Len DiSalvo, the brothers Weck make a fun and very highly recommended story. "How Back-Back Got His Name" is a treasure to be added to any community library picturebook collection.

Amazingly Wonderful Things
Marla J. Hohmeier, author
Penny Weber, illustrator
Raven Tree Press
c/o Delta Publishing Company
1400, Miller Parkway
McHenry, IL 60050-7030
9781936299102, $16.95,

When you aim high with what you want to do, you're sure to end up with something at least wonderful. "Amazingly Wonderful Things" is a charming and inspirational picture book aimed at younger readers from Marla J. Hohmeier, telling of a driven little girl with dreams of doing anything and seeks others to inspire others to do as well. With joyful illustrations of Penny Weber, "Amazingly Wonderful Things" is an excellent pick for community library picturebook collections.

Margie K. Carroll, author
Daniel J. Cox, illustrator
Margie Carroll Press
PO Box 581, Holly Springs, GA 30142
9780984479337, $19.95,

Life can feel so perfect, but the challenge of life are unavoidable. "Portia: Polar Bear's Birthday Wish" is a children's picturebook by Margie K. Carroll, using photography by Daniel J. Cox to craft the story. With full color glossy photography of many polar bears, Carroll tells the story of Portia and the young polar bear cub's friends and what she asks of for her birthday. "Portia" is a touching pick for any animal loving young reader, easy to read and great for read-alongs.

Frederick & The Sand Castle
Mark Johnson, author
Kami Johnson, illustrator
Clifton Carriage House
12 South 6th Street, Ste. 1250
Minneapolis, MN 55402
9780982571385, $16.95,

The efforts of creation are what matters, regardless of the fragility of the product. "Frederick & The Sand Castle" is a children's picturebook telling of Frederick and his construction of sand castles he makes with loving care even in spite of the elements destroying his work. With many lessons to be learned, "Frederick & The Sand Castle" is a wonderful combined effort of author Mark Johnson and illustrator Kami Johnson, highly recommended.

Abe's Lucky Day
Jill Warren, author
Kalpart, illustrator
Outskirts Press
10940 S Parker Road - 515, Parker, CO 80134
9781432773052, $16.95,

When luck turns, everything changes. "Abe's Lucky Day" is a children's picturebook as Jill Warren tells of homeless Abe, a man with no luck and not much to look forward to but a harsh winter in which he must struggle. But one day changes everything, as Abe struggles for something of normalcy. "Abe's Lucky Day" is a moving read of how one act of kindness can change life forever.

A Gift of Love
Dr. Claus, author
Christopher Vassallo, illustrator
Privately Published
9781614970019, $9.99,

The world changed that day and many did not understand why. "A Gift of Love" is a story of a first day of school that happens to be September 11th, 2001. A story of childhood innocence and trying to understand, as well as the power of community, "A Gift of Love" is a children's picturebook with a very touching message to be shared.

The Big Snuggle-Up
Brian Pattern & Nicola Bayley
Kane Miller EDC Publishing
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213
San Diego, CA 92117
9781610670364, $15.99,

The bitterness of winter's cold is nothing to be left out in. "The Big Snuggle-Up" tells of one vicious winter day where a scarecrow enters the house to get warm. But he's not the only one looking to get warm, as others join him and they learn that there's more to staying warm and happy than hot cocoa and the fire. A story of friendship and that there is always room for more of it, "The Big Snuggle-Up" is excellently composed and illustrated by Brian Patten and Nicola Bayley, a choice addition to any picturebook collection.

I Had a Favorite Dress
Boni Ashburn, author
Julia Denos, illustrator
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419700163, $16.95,

Our favorite things are to be treasured, but sometimes we have to face loss of them. "I Had a Favorite Dress" is a children's picturebook following a young girl facing her favorite dress in which she out grows. With her mother's help, she finds a way to turn her favorite dress into something special. "I Had a Favorite Dress" is a moving read with good art and good lessons from the combined efforts of Boni Ashbrun & Julia Denos.

The Picky Little Witch
Elizabeth Brokamp, author
Marsha Riti, illustrator
1000 Burmaster Street, Gretna, LO 70053
9781589808829, $16.99,

Even with all the knowledge of potions and brews, it can be hard to please a picky eater. "The Picky Little Witch" follows Mama Witch as she deals with her Picky little daughter witch as they try to work together to find something better to cook. "The Picky Little Witch" is an excellent read for parents and their children with a highly amusing concept, and Marsha Riti's excellent illustrations throughout. Highly recommended.

John Rocco
c/o Disney
114 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011-5690
9781423121909, $16.99,

Normal isn't without merits, but it's not an everyday thing. "Blackout" is a story of a city facing a blackout and how when a wrench is thrown into normal, wonderful things can happen. With charming and colorful illustrations and stories from John Rocco, "Blackout" shows a story of when the lights go out and everyone stops being busy on one neighborhood block. An excellent and very much recommended read.

Oh Mighty Mississippi
Melissa Vocelka, author
Amy Larson, illustrator
North Star Press of St. Cloud
PO Box 451, St. Cloud, MN 56302
9780878394234, $17.95,

The Mississippi river is quite the force in many lives. "Oh Mighty Mississippi" is a unique picturebook as Amy Larson presents a very intriguing abstract artistic style, backed by the words of Melissa Vocelka as they tell the natural story of the river and its surroundings. "Oh Mighty Mississippi" is a sure pick for any young reader who loves nature and everything about it.

Tooter's Stinky Wish
Brian Cretney, author
Peggy Collins, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington Street, Brighton, MA 02135
9781554551651, $18.95,

No one likes being left out. "Tooter's Stinky Wish" is a children's picturebook by Brian Cretney and illustrated by Peggy Collins. It tells of Tooter, the only skunk who doesn't stink. Wanting to be like the rest, he embraces who he is and finds friendship in spite of it. With a strong message that shouldn't be ignored, "Tooter's Stinky Wish" is a fine read that should very much be considered, highly recommended.

Teddy's Day
Peter Liptak, author
Pascal Biannicleger, illustrator
Little Bear Books
c/o Exile Press
2355 Fairview Avenue North, #191, Roseville, MN 55113
9780980197419, $13.95,

Everyday is an adventure all in itself. "Teddy's Day: On a Bearish Adventure Through Everyday Life" is a children's picturebook as Teddy goes through and makes fun out of the mundane. Pascal Biannicleger lends his art to Peter Liptak's words to a very surreal and fun read that kids and parents will very much enjoy together. "Teddy's Day" is a fine addition to any children's picturebook collection.

557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Clemency Pearce and Rebecca Elliott's FRANGOLINE AND THE MIDNIGHT DREAM (9780545314268, $16.99) tells of an imp who is an angel by day and a devil at night. Her antics awake all kinds of creatures: but will she learn her lesson and act more responsibly? FRANGOLINE AND THE MIDNIGHT DREAM presents a fun dark story of a naughty girl and is an engaging, different read. Kevin Lewis' NOT INSIDE THIS HOUSE! (9780439439817, $16.99) tells of a boy with the unlikely name of Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse, who not only loves to explore - but brings home specimens from his travels, from a bug to a moose. His antics are captured in fun drawings by David Ercolini in a whimsical, winning survey for any picturebook collection. Also highly recommended is Cynthia Lord and Derek Anderson's HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAMSTER (9780545255226, $16.99), a fine survey of a hamster's special day. Hamster's dog friend decides to shop for his hamster friend's birthday - but keeps getting waylaid by his own desires in this funny story of a birthday gone awry.

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

Anna Grossnickle Hines' I AM A TYRANNOSAURUS (9781582464138, $12.99) provides a fine account of a little boy who enjoys being different dinosaurs - until his mother joins him and plays the role of a mother dinosaur. The little boy's enjoyment of identifying different dinosaur characteristics is captured perfectly in this whimsical, fun tale! Betsy Franco's DOUBLE PLAY! MONKEYING AROUND WITH ADDITION (9781582463841, $15.99) receives Doug Cushman's engaging, fun drawings as it explores best friends who discover the math concept of doubling. Doubling helps kids prepare for multiplication - and this offers a host of playing animals to reinforce the concept. Stephanie Blake's A DEAL'S A DEAL! (9780375869013, $15.99) tells of Simon the Super Rabbit who trades cars with his friend, only to find a big surprise in store when it proves to be less extraordinary than he thought. It's time for revenge: the kind of revenge only Simon the Super Rabbit could conceive of in this whimsical, fun and winning story perfect for any young reader!

Walker & Company/Bloomsbury
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010

Kevin O'Malley's THE GREAT RACE (9780802721587, $16.99) provides a fine, classic fable about a tortoise who wants to enjoy a quiet lunch at his favorite restaurant, only to find the pesky rabbit Lever Lapin boasts too loudly to ignore. Nate decides to challenge Lever to an impossible race: one only his cleverness can win. A funny take-off on The Tortoise and the Hare evolves. Dean Hale's SCAPEGOAT: THE STORY OF A GOAT NAMED OAT AND A CHEWED-UP COAT (9781599904689, $16.99) tells of a goat who is blamed for everything, from a missing TV remote to a broken toy and lost keys. But the goat is sick of it - and a fun set of rhymes and illustrations documents increasing tensions between the family goat and owner Jimmy Choat.

The Native American Shelf

Lucy's Dance
Deb Vanasse, author
Nancy E. Slagle, illustrator
Snowy Owl Books
c/o University of Alaska Press
PO Box 756240, Fairbanks, AK 99775-6240
9781602231269, $10.95,

Traditions can be wonderful things, but they are all too easily forgotten. "Lucy's Dance" follows Lucy who wants to help her grandfather embrace the traditional dances of the Yup'ik people. With beautiful artwork from Nancy E. Slagle, "Lucy's Dance" is a charming read of family, tradition, and the power of them combined to create something truly special.

Kateri, Native American Saint
Giovanna Paponetti
Clear Light Publishers
823 Don Diego, Santa Fe, NM 87505
9781574160987, $24.95,

Faith knows no race. "Kateri, Native American Saint: The Life and Miracles of Kateri Tekakwitha" tells the story of this Native American woman who in the seventeenth century fully embraced the faith and is on the verge of being Catholicism's first Native American saint. Telling her story, of an orphan moving through her young life with determination only to die before reaching a quarter century of life, her history of her life and what came after serves to provide much inspiration. "Kateri, Native American Saint" is a strong addition to any Catholic history collection.

The Multicultural Shelf

On the Seesaw Bridge
Yuichi Kimura, author
Kowshiro Hata, illustrator
451 Park Avenue South, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
9781935654186, $14.95,

Sometimes circumstance makes friends out of enemies. "On the Seesaw Bridge" is an imported children's picturebook from Japan. Author Yuichi Kimura and illustrator Kowshiro Hata unite to tell a story of a flood and how the deluge forces a fox chasing a rabbit to stop and cooperate, else they'll both cease to be in the raging waters below. A different take on friendship, "On the Seesaw Bridge" is a fine addition to any children's picturebook collection seeking international flavor.

The Mangrove Tree
Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Ave. Suite 1205, New York, NY 10016
9781600604591, $19.95,

Sometimes with hard work and science, life only gets better. "The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families" tells the true story of how scientist Dr. Sato advised the small African village of Hargigo to adopt the growing of Mangrove trees to solve their food shortages and become self-sufficient. A moving and uniquely illustrated fable of hard work and ingenuity, "The Mangrove Tree" is an excellent addition to any nonfiction children's picturebook collection.

The Easy Reader Shelf

The Cruisers: Checkmate
Walter Dean Myers
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780439916271, $16.99,

The Cruisers: Checkmate provides the second book in The Cruisers series - but requires no familiarity with the prior book in order to earn attention and acclaim from newcomers. Here a group of gifted misfits who attend a school in Harlem for the brightest kids find one of their members is arrested for trying to buy drugs - which sets off a chain of decisions that will change their group. A fine story evolves.

Too Clever III
Julia E. Antoine
23 Kimberly Avenue, West Haven, CT 06516
9780983602903, $16.99,

A cherished pet is very much worth rescuing. "Too Clever III" is a continuation of Julia E. Antoine's Too Clever series as she tells of Curious Mary and her efforts to rescue her beloved bunny Esme before Easter Sunday when it may be too late. A farm adventure, "Too Clever III" is a fun mid-level novel for young readers, recommended reading.

The Summer of the Crows
Tony Ducklow
Privately Published
9781461118930, $7.49,

It was originally planned to be a simple night of video games... "The Summer of the Crows" follows Tucker McTeal through one particular summer that goes out of control in its own unique way. He and his friends embark on a tale of adventure that teaches them more than they ever would have normally learned on summer vacation! "The Summer of the Crows" is a fun read for young people ready to make the leap to novels.

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

Audrey Coulumbis' LEXIE (9780375856327, $15.99) tells of ten-year-old Lexie, who used to love going to the shore with her parents - until they got divorced. For the first time her mom won't be there - AND her dad has a new girlfriend and her two sons who are coming to stay with them for a week. Can the summer get any worse? Kids in grades 4-6 will find this an inviting, moving read. Claudia Mills' MASON DIXON: PET DISASTERS (9780375868733, $12.99) tells of nine-year-old Mason Dixon, who lives in Colorado and likes plenty of things - but not traditional pets. He isn't sure about dogs, though - and one experience in particular may change his mind about dogs in this hilarious story. Erica S. Perl's WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU O.J. (9780375859243, $15.99) tells of ten-year-old Zelly, who has tired to convince her parents to let her have a dog, to no avail. When her grandfather decides on a scheme involving a 'practice dog' named O.J, Zelly wonders if her desires will ever come to life in this fine story of family adjustments. Winifred Conkling's SYLVIA & AKI (9781582463377, $16.99) provides a fine story based on true events and tells of a challenge to California's separation of races in its schools. Mendez vs. Westminster School District led to the desegregation of California's schools and helped build the case that would end school segregation nationally: extensive interviews with Sylvia and Aki - who remain friends today - make for a moving story of prejudice and change.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Flickers of True Destiny
Nadine Simon, author
Kevin Kendall, illustrator
Eloquent Books
c/o Strategic Book Group
845 Third Avenue, 6th floor, 6016, New York, NY 10022
9781608609482, $11.95,

"Flickers of True Destiny" is a quirky, sensitively written fairy tale with a twist or two and a good surprise ending. Written as an illustrated chapter book, "Flickers of True Destiny" will appeal to a select audience of children with heightened imaginations and special questions to answer. The heroine is GG a small 8 year old girl with a flair for detective work who lives with her aunt in an old-fashioned town named Pickleberry. GG loves a special tree house built for her by her grandfather many years ago. In search of the cause for a wanton destruction of the interior of the tree house, GG encounters a true adventure. The tree house serves as an entry way to a fairyland where GG has many wonderful experiences, some scary and some inspiring. "Flickers of True Destiny" is a tale about finding one's true identity, and it is told with delicacy, grace, and style. Intricate black and white illustrations enhance the story's flow, and GG's colorful search becomes as entrancing as the entrance to fairyland. "Flickers of True Destiny" will appeal to girls age 8 and up.

The Fiction Shelf

Bernadette in the Doghouse
Susan Glickman, author
Melanie Allard, illustrator
Second Story Press
c/o Orca Books
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781897187920, $8.95,

"Bernadette in the Doghouse" is the second book in the "Lunch Bunch" series, which revolves around the adventures of third-grade Bernadette and her three special friends, Annie, Keisha, and Megan. Bernadette faces a friendship dilemma when her best friend Jasmine comes to visit for the holidays and Bernadette ends up ignoring her Lunch Bunch friends to be with Jasmine, visiting the science center and conducting weird experiments attempting to create ice cream from snow. Bernadette's mother plays a special role in believing in her daughter's ability to create solutions to her relationship dilemmas. The whole thorny issue of BFF competitive friendships is tackled creatively in "Bernadette in the Doghouse," and solutions that are crafted may resonate significantly with a young female readership who face similar problems. "Bernadette in the Doghouse" manages not to take itself too seriously while offering some serious food for thought, with cheery black and white pencil illustrations and positive believable action and exposition to balance the book. "Bernadette in the Doghouse" is an all around winner, and readers will eagerly anticipate the third volume of the "Lunch Bunch" series.

Breaking the Beale Code
Sean McCartney
Mountainland Publishing, Inc.
PO Box 150891, Ogden, UT 84415
9780974547633, $9.95,

In every code there is some degree of logic, and finding that logic is very much vital to breaking it. "Breaking the Beale Code" follows the Treasure Hunters Club as they search for an ancient and rich treasure of history. With millions of dollars and the life of a friend on the line, they are racing against time in this work of young adult adventure. A fine pick for any young reader stepping towards more standard novel fare, "Breaking the Beale Code" is highly recommended.

Ice Storm
Penny Draper
Coteau Books
2517 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK, Canada, S4P 0T2
9781550504514, $8.95,

The natural power of ice is something that should very much be feared. "Ice Storm" is a young adult novel following Alice and Sophie as they face the power of a full on ice storm. As their families livelihood is threatened, it is up to these young girls to their part and help make it through the natural pressures that come with it. "Ice Storm" is a fine pick for younger readers, highly recommended.

Tiptoe Through Tasmania
Janice Anderson
Brainy Books
2360 Mendocino Avenue, Suite A-2-189
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
9780983279105, $7.99,

With the fate of an entire species in their hands, they must act quick or leave the Tasmanian devil to its doom. "Tiptoe Through Tasmania" is a fast paced adventure read for younger readers as Janice Anderson tells the story of how Jaden and Max must help save the Tasmanian devil from extinction in a very dangerous island. "Tiptoe Through Tasmania" is a solidly recommended read for any youth who loves adventure and nature.

The Boy at the End of the World
Greg Van Eekhout
175 - 5th Avenue, New York NY 10010
9781599905242, $16.99,

The Boy at the End of the World tells of Fisher, the last boy on Earth born from a survival pod long after humans have vanished. He has only a broken robot for a friend and sets out on a journey to discover if he's really alone - but even basic survival is a challenge, with no other humans around. This story of a wild adventure and struggle for survival offers a riveting story perfect for any young adult collection.

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

Jenny Hubbard's PAPER COVERS ROCK (9780385740555, $16.99) tells of a teen who has just entered his junior year at a boys' boarding school when he fails to save his friend from drowning. Fearing consequences if he reveals the truth, Alex and his friend Glenn decide to lie - and they seem to get away with it until a young English teacher seems to sense the truth from Alex's writing. Should Alex choose between his friend and the truth? A fine, engrossing saga evolves. M.L. Welsh's MISTRESS OF THE STORM (9780385752442, $16.99) tells of Verity, who knows she'll never fit in and won't be as popular as her little sister - until a strange old red book changes her life and embroils her in magic and intrigue. Her discovery of new friend, ancient enemies, and a powerful witch will change her world in this engrossing saga. Ruth White's YOU'LL LIKE IT HERE (EVERYBODY DOES) (9780385739986, $16.99) tells of Meggie Blue, whose family is forced to flee in the middle of the night and who arrive in a safe city called Fashion City. It seems like utopia, but it conceals some dangerous secrets in this story of a family in search of real freedom and facing futuristic dangers. Steven Farley's THE BLACK STALLION AND THE LOST CITY (9780375868375, $16.99) returns Alex Ramsay and the Black to a new adventure. Here they are stunt performers in a new movie - but their venture into a nearby forest involves them in a hidden strange society and its false Utopia, endangering Alex and The Black. The son of the creator of the Black Stallion series is every bit as adept as his father at creating an involving, moving saga.

Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012

Andrew Peters' RAVENWOOD (9780545305501, $16.99) tells of a forest kingdom, Arborium, at risk from tree choppers. Can a plumber's apprentice stop the shopping - and if so, how? Ark holds the lowest of plumbing jobs - he seems an unlikely candidate for saving a kingdom in this fine ecological thriller, perfect for any young adult fantasy library. Paula Morris' DARK SOULS (9780545251327, $17.99) tells of Miranda, who arrives in York with a secret and tries to avoid the many ghosts who roam the city. When she meets Nick, an intense boy who knows all of York's hidden secrets, she discovers something dangerous is being hatched and she may be the only person to prevent the city's dangerous fate. DARK SOULS is a dark fantasy perfect for older readers. Vicky Alvear Shecter's CLEOPATRA'S MOON (9780545221306, $18.99) tells of Cleopatra Selene, the only daughter of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt who has grown up in the royal palace and known only a privileged life. Now a prisoner of Rome when a war destroys her world, Selene vows to reclaim her heritage, gathers support for her return, and eventually finds herself in conflict over two young men and different roads to power. A powerful novel of ancient Egypt brings the early times to life. Kat Falls' RIP TIDE (9780545178433, $16.99) tells of Ty, who has always known the ocean is a dangerous place and faces aquatic predators each time he goes beyond the borders of his family's subsea farm. But his latest encounter is something different: an entire township chained to a sunken airplane -and a mystery that affects Ty and his topsider friend Gemma. An intense saga evolves in this thriller. Patricia C. Wrede's ACROSS THE GREAT BARRIER (9780545033435, $16.99) tells of Eff, who could be a powerful magician but who finds herself out west, away from the frontier city she's always known. Everyone expects her to be amazing, so when she's asked to travel past the Barrier Spell with one of the new professors at her father's school, new possibilities arise. This is a sequel to THIRTEENTH CHILD but stands well on its own for newcomers to Eff's story.

The Christian Shelf

The Story Bible
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63118
9780758619020, $29.99,

"The Story Bible" is a fabulous, color-illustrated children's Bible edition, containing more than 130 timeless stories from the Old and New Testaments, with wording drawn directly from the Scriptures. Presented in easy to read structure, stories can be read aloud or read along with the literate child. There are prayer summaries, discussion points, and a glossary of key terms. The Ask, Pray, Do sidebar suggestions are particularly helpful in increasing children's understanding of the message and concepts of a Scripture story. Children will key into the excitement of tracing the Old Testament promise of the coming of a Messiah and the new Testament fulfillment of that promise in the birth and life of Jesus. "The Story Bible if for children age 3 and up.

The Spirit in Football
Kathryn Nixon & Ana Boudreau
The B&B Media Group
109 South Main Street Corsicana, TX 75110
9780615386690, $14.99,

It has become a weekly frenzy throughout the autumn and winter months. "The Spirit in Football" is a Christian book exploring faith and the sport, drawing heavily from scripture with charming illustrations throughout. A treasure to those who want to teach the values of both faith and football, "The Spirit of Football" is quite the choice for reading between parent and child. Also recommended from authors Kathryn Nixon & Ana Boudreau, is "The Spirit in Baseball" (9781450776247, $14.99) applying the same principles to America's pastime.

In The Tree House
Archbishop Cyril Aphrem Karim, author
Brian Acquaire, illustrator
Atlas Books
30 Amberwood Parkway, Ashland, OH 44805
9780983318804, $16.99,

"In the Tree House" is an inspiring story about a boy who follows his childhood dream to follow a calling to the priesthood of the Syriac Orthodox Christian Church of Antioch. Ultimately, seven year old Matthew aspires to become a bishop. He invites his sister and friend to help him conduct his first pretend service in their treehouse, which they transform into a church setting using common materials creatively. Filled with colorful illustrations, "In the Tree House" tells a compassionate story of a boy who never forgot his childhood dream and who followed his vision and calling to become a priest who cares and watches over others. The powerful message of humanity and compassion will resonate with young readers, who also may have high dreams they hope to achieve, using the bridge of creative play to begin the long process of finalizing their hopeful visions of the future. "In the Tree House" offers young children the best example of how to dream and how to begin to achieve a dream, always remembering the hear of the best dream is compassion and caring for others.

Little One
Brenda Davis-Worrles, author
Tanya Stewart, illustrator
Vantage Press
419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016
9780533157938, $7.95,

"Little One" is a tale about the value of obedience. Little One is a young colt who wanders away from the barn where he was born, disobeying his mother's safety rules. A storm approaches and Little One seeks shelter in a cave. When a bear threatens to eat him up, Little one asks for heavenly assistance, just like Daniel did in the lion's den. The result will reassure youngsters that God is listening and watching, and cares for them even when they are unaware of their danger. Charming sepia and white ink drawings depict Little One and the bear in the cave with delicate detail. "Little One" will charm children age 4 and up.

The Judaic Shelf

Big Small or Just One Wall
Leibel Fajnland
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Blvd, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628599, $12.95,

Size doesn't matter, the people do. "Big, Small, or Just One Wall" is a colorful picturebook aimed at Jewish youths at the many kinds of shul in the world. Shuls may also be known more commonly as synagogues or Jewish places of worship. Educational for young Jewish readers, "Big, Small, or Just One Wall" is excellently illustrated by Tova Leff and compiled by Leibel Fajland, a top pick for any Jewish children's collection.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia
David Burnie
c/o Macmillan Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9780753465806, $27.99,

The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia presents information on over 2000 kinds of animals, from insects to amphibians, birds, and mammals. Thoroughly researched, illustrated with stunning color photos of hundreds of individual creatures, "The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia" is the go-to reference on the animal kingdom for children age 6 and up. Chapters on Simple Animals, Cnidarians, Flatworms and Roundworms, Segmented Worms, Mollusks, Arachnids, Crustaceans, Centipedes and Millipedes, Insects, Echinoderms, Chordates, Cartilaginous Fish, Bony Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds and Mammals are included, along with a Glossary and index. In each chapter, special information of interest is presented in highlighted feature panels with accompanying illustrations. Habitat, life span, behavior, migration, diet, and common geographical range are all described briefly in compact style. "The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia" is an excellent reference book for public, educational, and private collections.

Famous Horses
Barbara M. Linde
Gareth Stevens
111 East 14th St., Ste. 349, New York, NY 10003
978143394623, $22.60,

"Famous Horses" is an educational book from the Horsing Around Series for children age 5-8. "Famous Horses" presents information about eight actual horses (one a Hollywood star) and one literary fictional horse (Black Beauty).who exemplify inspirational qualities such as courage, compassion, creativity, speed, and endurance. In a sidebar titled "The Mane Fact," additional information about each horse or related character is highlighted. New vocabulary words are presented in bold type the first time they appear in the book, and they are further defined in the Glossary at the end. Additional books and web sites are suggested, and color photos illustrate each horse story. "Famous Horses" is a handy reference about well-known equine identities for students to enjoy. Also recommended in this series are the following titles: "Miniature Horses (9781433946318)," by Barbara M. Linde, and "Working Horses (9781433946431)," by Jeanne Nagle. This outstanding series from Gareth Stevens is also available in paperback for $8.15 each.

Toby The Pet Therapy Dog And His Hospital Friends
Charmaine Hammond, author
Rose Anne Prevec, illustrator
Kendahl House Press
Betty Youngs Book Publishers
c/o SCB Distributors
15608 South New Century Drive, Gardena, CA 90248
9780983604501, $9.99,

Based on a true story from the book and movie, "On Toby's Terms," "Toby the Pet Therapy Dog and His Hospital Friends" tells the story of a special dog who cheers sick patients with his visits and his stuffed teddy bear toy. Toby likes visiting his hospital friends. He cheers Sara, a frightened girl who is awaiting an operation. He takes old Mrs. Smith for a walk outside. He helps Miguel who is lonely and homesick for his family. Though he is excited to visit his hospital friends, Toby quiets his loud woofs when Charmaine tells him to, so he won't frighten people. While Nurse Nancy reads a story, Toby falls asleep. Everyone is very happy to hear Toby will visit again next Wednesday. Colorful illustrations show the warmth and interest that Toby displays in his work, and color photos allow children to see the real Toby who inspired this story. Study questions at the end will help children to develop their critical thinking skills.

The Mountain Pine Beetle
Kay Turnbaugh, author
David Brooks, illustrator
Pruett Publishing Company
PO Box 2140, Boulder, CO 80306
9780871089588, $14.95,

The most powerful of things comes in the smallest of packages. "The Mountain Pine Beetle: Tiny But Mighty" tells the legend of this powerful creature which at the size of a grain of rice can take down the tallest of trees. Telling the story of this creature and its history and marvel, "The Mountain Pine Beetle" is of high interest to any youthful reader who has an interest in what most would regard as creepy but instead find them amazing.

The Mutt & the Mustang
Judy Archibald
Pet Pals Publishing
PO Box 1748, Estes Park, CO 80517
9780615450247, $16.95,

It's not just various animals and humans who create friendships across species. "The Mutt & the Mustang" draws on a true story of how dogs and horses can forge friendships just like we do. With Patricia Greenberg's easily accessible and inviting artwork and Judy Archibald's stories drawn from true stories, "The Mutt & the Mustang" is a fine addition to any picturebook collection.

The Sports Shelf

Cheerleading: Girls Play to Win Series
Marty Gitlin, author
Tami Krause, content consultant
Norwood House Press
P.O. Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599534626, $27.93,

"Cheerleading" is a color-photo-illustrated sports summary book about the history, rules, practices, significant personalities, and fundamentals of women's cheerleading. Written with the assistance of Tami Krause, Head Coach and Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders, "Cheerleading" covers key training skills, cheerleading basics, techniques, strategies, use of equipment and competitive events, as well as star personalities and performers who mattered. "Cheerleading" will appeal to teens and pre-teens who are interested in pursuing the sport. Written in clear, expressive action prose, "Cheerleading" also contains a Glossary, list of resources including books and web sites, index, and list of recommended places to visit. From the Girls Play to Win Series, "Cheerleading" will be a popular choice for young adults in libraries and physical educational resources. Other titles from this series that are also recommended include: "Lacrosse," by Bo Smoika (9781599534633, $27.93), "Softball," by Marty Gitlin (9781599534657, $27.93), "Soccer," by Jeff Kassouf (9781599534640, $27.93), "Swimming & Diving," by Paul Hoblin (9781599534664, $27.93), and "Track & Field," by Chros MacDougal (9781599534671, $27.93).

The Cookbook Shelf

Cooking With Cereals and Grains
Julian Powell & Clare O'Shea
Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448848423, $27.95,

"Cooking With Cereals and Grains" is an educational cookbook from the Cooking Healthy Series. Introductory chapters on cereals and a balanced diet and farming and processing show the origin and usefulness of incorporating cereals and grains into the diet. The following chapters present special information and recipes for preparing rice, wheat, oats, corn, barley, rye, and millet and sorghum, all color photo-illustrated for added interest. Food facts and cooks' tips are presented in highlighted paragraphs with identifying glyphs, along with other bits of useful information. Recipes are clearly presented, listing ingredients and amounts first, then proceeding step by step to the finished product. Some interesting recipe examples include Rice and Millet Salad (p.44), Sun-Dried Tomato and Green Onion Barley (p. 37), Oat Pancakes (p. 25), and Risotto (p. 13), plus many more. "Cooking With Cereals and Grains" is a wise choice for libraries and schools as well as individual families desiring to raise healthy teens and young adults. Also recommended from this series are the following titles: "Cooking With Fruits and Vegetables (9781448848447, $27.95)," "Cooking With Eggs and Dairy (9781448848430, $27.95)," and "Cooking With Meats and Fish (978144884845, $27.95)."

Cutie Pies for Kids
Jennifer Adams, author
Zac Williams, photographer
Gibbs Smith
P.O. Box 667, Layton, Utah 84041
9781423620495, $14.99,

"Cutie Pies for Kids" is a mini-pie sampler cookbook for kids age 6 and up. Spiral bound and filled with mouth-watering color photos of finished little pies, "Cutie Pies" offers delicious recipes for over 26 "cutie pies" in the categories of creamy pies, fruity pies, frozen pies, and my favorite, extreme pies. Want to try a taste of Safari Toffee Brownie pie, or how about Strawberry Kisses, or even Asian Dragon Gingersnap? If boredom looms, you can always resort to Alien Invasion Pistachio. Pies can be made with homemade piecrust (recipe included) or pre made piecrust dough, usually frozen. Recipes for graham cracker and cookie crumb crust pies are also included. Pies are made in Wilton 4 and 3/4 -inch mini tart/quiche pans with removable bottoms, available in sets of 6. Recipes are clearly presented, with ingredient lists on the left and procedures listed on the right. Each recipe has a colored photo of the finished product, beautifully displayed. For convenience, a handy metric conversion chart is printed on the back inside cover. "Cutie Pies for Kids" may be written for kids, but adults will want to sample some of these wares as well.

The History Shelf

Big Wig
Kathleen Krull
Scholastic Inc.
557 Broadway, New York NY 10012
9780439676403, $18.99,

BIG WIG: A LITTLE HISTORY OF HAIR provides fine drawings by Peter Malone to accompany a whimsical fun survey of changing hair styles. Kids with good reading skills will enjoy a picturebook survey that begins in ancient times and moves to modern day styles, and libraries will appreciate a whimsical guide to fashion that uses historical fact to pack a coverage of style changes.

The Environmental Shelf

Abby's Adventures
Suzanne Ridolfi, author
Dawn, Griffin, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
701 Berry St., P.O. Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781936172153, $14.99,

Abby's Adventures: Earth Day and the Recycling Fashionista" is the third book in a popular and successful "Going Green" series for K-5 students and other interested children. Abby is a 6 year old girl who is growing up while learning new ways to care for her environment. Accompanying "Earth Day and the Recycling Fashionista is an 18 " Abby doll made of 100% recycled plastic bottles that provides a fun teaching toy for kids. The doll illustrates one of Abby's Earth Day adventures: She attempts to make herself a dress out of plastic soda bottles. While her first attempt is not a staggering success, her mother and teacher encourage her to persevere, and she tries her idea again with a little more help in recycled resources. Presto! Abby has a hit recycling fashionista dress design, with special fabric made entirely of recycled materials. Important self esteem generating messages are delivered, along with valuable earth-saving philosophies. Abby's Adventures: Earth Day and the Recycling Fashionista" is a fun, creative book for kids learning what they can do about care for the environment.

Sheila Says We're Weird
Ruth Ann Smalley, author
Jennifer Emery, illustrator
Tilbury House Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, Maine 04345
9780884483267, $16.95,

"Sheila Says We're Weird" is an illustrated children's book that teaches sound environmental practices for families while it entertains. Sheila is a neighbor girl who observes many strange "green" practices in her best friend's family. Shopping at the farmer's market for local foods, composting, using a hand lawn mower, Heating with a wood stove instead of a furnace, riding bikes and walking instead of driving, drying laundry on the line instead of the dryer, making sun tea, all of these activities seem weird to Sheila. Yet Sheila seems to enjoy participating in many of these activities with the family very much. Hmmmm, could there be a lesson here? For painless and preach-free environmental education, sold especially well with spunky, colorful illustrations, read "Sheila Says We're Weird" to children age 6 and up.

The Holiday Shelf

The Santa Club
Kelly Moss, author
Jim Keserich, illustrator
Palmary Press
PO Box 778000, Henderson, NV 89077
9780982134016, $14.95,

Santa's deeds and existence inspire thoughts of wonder in many young people. "The Santa Club" is a read-along children's book from Kelly Moss and illustrator Jim Keserich discussing Santa and revealing the true nature of gift giving around the spirit of Christmas. "The Santa Club" comes with a different idea of old St. Nicholas and his legacy through the years to come, very highly recommended for children's picturebook collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

Alyson Noel, author
Kathleen McInerney, narrator
Macmillan Young Listeners
c/o Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9781427213648 $19.99

Dreamland is the unabridged audiobook adaptation of a novel in "The Immortals" series. While Riley may be skilled at Soul Catching, she regrets the loneliness of a work-driven afterlife. Hoping to contact her sister Ever, she visits the place where dreams happen, and learns of two ways to send them - becoming a dream jumper, who incorporates oneself into a person's dream, or a dreamweaver, who creates and sends dreams. Yet dreamweaving was outlawed decades ago, and its studio boarded up; Riley's search for the defunct studio will lead her into an unparalleled nightmare! Although intended for young adults, Dreamland will appeal to listeners of all ages and is highly recommended for public library audiobook collections. 4 CDs, 5 hours.

It's the First Day of School... Forever!
R.L. Stine
Macmillan Young Listeners
c/o Macmillan Audio
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
9781427212559 $15.99

It's the First Day of School... Forever! is the unabridged audiobook adaptation of a young adult novel by popular favorite author R.L. Stine (who is especially well known for the "Goosebumps" series). Artie wakes up, falls out of bed, hits his head, and proceeds to endure the worst possible first day of school imaginable. He goes to sleep... and when he wakes up, the horrible day is repeating itself all over again! What can Artie do to uncover the mystery of the repetitive time loop, before it's the first day of school... forever? An engaging and welcome addition to children's library audiobook collections, highly recommended. 3 CDs, 4 hours.

Dogs in the Dead of Night
Mary Pope Osborne
Listening Library, Inc.
1745 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
9780307746627 $15.00

An unabridged audiobook production read by the author, Dogs in the Dead of Night is book #46 in the Magic Tree House series, following Jack and Annie on their new mission to obtain a rare flower to save a friend. The magic tree house sends them back in time to the Swiss Alps, where they discover an ancient monastery that is home to monks and St. Bernads. Annie volunteers to train a young dog named Barry, but when Barry escapes, their mission is compounded by the task of tracking down Barry! An extraordinary, fantastic adventure, Dogs in the Dead of Night is highly recommended especially for children's library audiobook collections. 2 CDs, 1 1/2 hours.

The Music CD Shelf

Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech
Ben Rudnick & Friends
Bartlett Ave. Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Five-time Parent's Choice award-winners Ben Rudnick & Friends present Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech, a family-friendly music CD of their public performance in Lexington. Songs from their first six recordings, popular favorite cover tunes, and an amazing undercurrent of energy and vigor, Live in Lexington is a guitar-and-vocals performance to remember, further enhanced with additional instruments ranging from the mandolin and drums to the accordion and even the saxophone. An enthusiastic and energetic performance, especially recommended for playing during long family car trips or children's parties. The tracks are "I Like Silver, I Like Gold" (3:24), "Skip to my Lou" (2:53), "Twisting Low" (3:31), "Hava Nagila" (3:56), "My Name is Burt" (3:28), "Sally Salamander" (3:24), "Juicy Black Fly" (4:07), "Mama Don't 'Low" (3:09), "Big River" (3:57), "Rainy Day" (4:16), "Cowgirl Song" (5:14), "Jambalaya" (3:06), "Hey Good Lookin'" (1:59), "Walk of Life" (4:12), "Monkey and the Engineer" (2:47), "Countdown" (0:31), "Rocket Ship Man" (2:24), "I Got a New Friend" (2:30), "Spin" (4:37), "Band Introductions" (0:53), "Macaroni & Cheese" (3:26), "Oh Boy" (2:04), "I Need a Hand" (2:50), "Thanks!" (1:02) and "When the Saints Go Marching In" (4:22).

Colonel Purple Turtle
Go Team! Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

The fourth studio album and first kid-centric album of Rocknoceros, Colonel Purple Turtle is a children's music CD that weaves educational lessons about science and the basic life skills into its catchy music. A diverse range of musical styles, from electric guitar to violin-viola-cello strings, to elements of Latin music and much more fill this smorgasbord of audio fun. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Colonel Purple Turtle", "Harry Elefante", "Early Worm", "What's Your Favorite Animal?", "Pirate Harvey", "We Are Frogs", "Double-O Chicken", "How Do You Do?", "Rocky the Dog", "Conservation", "Sprouted", "Echolocation", "Ladybird Beetle", "Truman Coyote", "Did the Moon See You?" "Fire of the Sun", "Ain't Nothin' but a Fox", "Attention Citizens", and "Friends". A separate ($9.99 by itself, $20.00 book-and-CD combo) 24-page book "Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal" is filled with art and renditions of the playful characters in these songs. 47 min.

The DVD Shelf

MyPlate Dietary Guidelines for Elementary Students
Hosted by Melissa Halas-Liang, MA, RD, CDE
Learning ZoneXPress
PO Box 1022
Owatonna, MN 55060

Learning ZoneXPress, a publisher of top-quality teaching DVDs, continues its excellent track record with MyPlate Dietary Guidelines for Elementary Students, an educational film intended for young people in grades 1-6. Registered dietician Melissa Halas-Liang shows two students how to prepare meals that are both nutritional and tasty, using the easy-to-follow MyPlate guidelines. Applying the guidelines to common favorite foods such as tacos and pizza, as well as breakfast and snacks, is a breeze; kitchen how-to segments are interleaved with interviews of young people talking about their favorite foods. Printable teaching materials are available online to enhance the positive message of this superb DVD, highly recommended for school and public library collections especially in today's junk food-saturated world. 23 min.

Families of the World series
Master Communications, Inc.
4480 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 302
Cincinnati, OH 45242
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
$29.95 each

Two new volumes in the award-winning "Families of the World" DVD series are excellent, educational viewing for young people ages 5-11. "Families of the Philippines" (9781604801125, 30 min.) follows 13-year-old Khim and 7-year-old Shahani on the island nation. Each child attends a large school; Khim's daily chores range from taking care of the family's goats to gathering wood and cooking rice for dinner, while Shahani buys groceries with her mother. Both children also enjoy hobbies and leisure activities when they can; Khim even likes arcade games! "Families of Germany" (9781604801132, 30 min.) introduces viewers to 8-year-old Sophia who lives in a small town near Frankfurt, and ten-year-old Ole of downtown Berlin. From Sophia's efforts to help the family look after chickens and calves, to Ole's participation in the Boy Scouts, handball team, and meticulous care of his pet tortoise, "Families of Germany" is a wonderful slice of life that reveals how children in a nation across the ocean are not so different from children anywhere else. Both DVDs and the entire series are worthy of the highest recommendation for school and public library children's DVD collections.

Angelina Ballerina: The Shining Star Trophy
Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Angelina Ballerina: The Shining Star Trophy is a delightful, computer-animated children's movie Angelina, the young mouse with a dancing dream. When Ms. Mimi announces a grand talent show at the Camembert Academy, which will award the winner a Shining Star Trophy, Angelina helps her friends refine their own special acts - but will this leave her enough time to create a stellar performance of her own? A "Talent Show Trivia Game" bonus feature enhances this wonderful movie with a positive message about the values of hard work, friendship, and believing in oneself. Highly recommended, especially for young girls. 53 min., widescreen.

Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels
Hit Entertainment
c/o Lionsgate (distributor)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076
$19.98 DVD / $24.99 Blu-ray & DVD combo pack

Available in both DVD format and a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, Thomas & Friends: Day of the Diesels is a brand-new computer-animated children's movie in the enduringly popular "Thomas & Friends" DVD series, starring the cheerful anthropomorphic star Thomas the Tank Engine. Fire engines Flynn and Belle help Thomas in an adventure to combat a fire on Sodor. Meanwhile, Percy is enamored by the Dieselworks and its master, Diesel 10, but he doesn't realize that the crafty Diesel 10 is scheming to take control of the Steamworks for himself! The high fun of this adventurous saga is further enhanced with a medley of bonus features, including a "Fiery Flynn to the Rescue" game, two music videos, and an educational aside on how steam engines and diesels really work. An excellent gift for young fans of the Thomas & Friends series, Day of the Diesels will also prove a popular lend in public library children's DVD collections. 58 min., widescreen.

Shalom Sesame: Adventures in Israel
Anneliese van der Pol
SISU Home Entertainment Inc.
340 W. 39th St., 6th fl., New York, NY 10018

Intended for viewers ages 3-8, Shalom Sesame: Adventures in Israel is the twelfth and final volume of the excellent "Shalom Sesame" series that has Grover (of the popular public television program Sesame Street) teach young viewers about Jewish traditions and Israeli culture. Adventures in Israel lives up to its title as Grover explores the wonders of the nation before his trip abroad finally comes to an end. His wonderful sightseeing tour includes an encounter with archaeologists studying hard to learn more of Israel's rich history! A heartwarming farewell and the perfect wrap-up to an extraordinary educational series, Shalom Sesame: Adventures in Israel and the entire DVD set is especially recommended for synagogue DVD libraries catering to young members. 27 min. plus 25 min. extras. A Shalom Sesame 12-DVD boxed set (1560867000, 6 hours plus extras, $149.95) is also available.

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
Words and pictures by Mo Willems
Weston Woods Studios
143 Main Street
Norwalk, CT 06851
0545326109 $59.95

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! is the DVD adaptation of a bedtime picturebook intended for young people ages 2-7. Even though it's getting dark out, one stubborn little pigeon is not going to bed! How is the reader to counter the pigeon's trickery and persuade it to go to sleep? Author Mo Willems provides the narration, and music by Scotty Huff and Robert Reynolds enhances this charming and delightful DVD. 6 min.

Happy Valley, volume 1 and Castle Farm, volume 1
Organa Kids (distributor)
2203 Balsam Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Andrea Blain Public Relations (publicity)
9750 Crawford Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
$14.95 each

Brought to American shores for the first time by Organa Kids, Happy Valley, volume 1 (59 min., 9 episodes) collects a colorful animated British television series ideal for little ones ages 2-5. Both time-tested and contemporary nursery rhymes and songs pepper this delightful show set in a pastoral countryside near the sea. Children count goats, play, brush their teeth, and take joy in their daily routine in this upbeat and playful series. Also highly recommended is Organa Kids' "Castle Farm Volume 1" (59 min., 9 episodes), another popular British preschool television cartoon brought stateside, featuring Farm Girl and Piggy on their many daily quests and chores (a unicorn sometimes gives them very helpful advice)! Both DVDs are superb picks for parents of young children, preschool libraries, and public library children's collections.

The Activity Shelf

Learn to Have Fun With Your Senses
John Taylor
Sensory World
c/o Future Horizons
1010 N. Davis Drive, Arlington, TX 76012
9781935567240, $14.95,

Your senses are your connection to the world, and they are quite important to embrace. "Learn to Have Fun With Your Senses" is a guide to your senses and how to embrace them, and deal with problems of dealing with overreactions to dealing with many sensory aspects of everyday life. With plenty of games and activities to train the senses, "Learn to Have Fun with Your Senses" is a treasure trove of fun, a top pick for activity books for parents and teachers to use with young children.

Sticks and Stones
Phyllis J. Perry, author
Lauren Scheuer, illustrator
Red Chair Press
P.O. Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258
9781936163861, $9.95,

"Sticks and Stones" is a black and white, illustrated, international children's game book containing reproducible instructions for 39 fun games for kids from countries around the world. No expensive equipment or uniforms are required for these games. Some are for indoor fun, others are active outdoor games. Some are team or small group games and some are for two or more players. Hiding and circle games teach flexibility and cooperation and social skills, while active games involving jumping and running keep kids healthy and entertained as well as physically fit. In addition, each game from a different country lists fun facts and helpful information about the country. "Sticks and Stones" is the perfect tool to help pry kids away from electronic devices and re-introduce them to the fun world of non-virtual interaction, with an emphasis on action! "Sticks and Stones" will work well for parents, care givers, community centers, day care centers and camps and other kid friendly environments. Game participants should be age 7 and up.

The Super Silly Yosemite Sticker and Activity Book
Katherine Brumage and Doug Hansen, authors
Doug Hansen, illustrator
PO Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781597141550, $7.95,

Yosemite is filled knowledge about nature, and plenty of ways to teach kids. "The Super Silly Yosemite Sticker and Activity Book" is a book filled with educational games, mazes and activities surrounding the famous park as Katherine Brumage and Doug Hansen come together to teach readers with fun illustrations. Also included are full color, consumable stickers for kids to enjoy or to reward their success in activities in the book. "The Super Silly Yosemite Sticker and Activity Book" is an excellent way to educate the young and curious, very highly recommended.

Princesses, A Paper Doll Fold-Out Play Set
Heather Zschock, designer
Peter Pauper Press
202 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10601
9781441303370, $15.99,

Deftly written by Melody N. Chanted and delightfully illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, "Princesses" is a fabulous colorful paper doll fold -out playset including 3 princesses, 3 princes, a queen and a king punch out paper dolls and 22 mix and match outfits plus three royal scenes for backgrounds to help enact royal fairytales. Presented in hardcover book form, "Princesses" includes a handy storage envelope for convenience and a wonderful book of accompanying characters and toys, including a paper unicorn. Girls age 5 and older will love "Princesses," and will have hours of creative play with all the paper dolls. Also highly recommended is the paper doll fold-out playset by the team of Melody N. Chanted and Gabrielle Grimard, "The Wonderful World Of Ballet" (9781441303370, $15.99).

Books in Series

Piano and Laylee Text Message
Carmela N. Curatola Knowles, author
Emily Lewellen, illustrator
HomePage Books
c/o International Society for Technology in Education
180 West 8th Avenue, Suite 300, Eugene, OR 97401
9781564842787, $10.95,

"Piano and Laylee Text Message" is a charming illustrated manual for children age 5 and up that teaches texting etiquette for beginning texters. Piano and Laylee are puppy friends whose parents have entrusted them with their own cell phones so they can text them while they are home waiting for a parent to return. Piano and Laylee learn how to text, but they discover that some messages can be misinterpreted, if not thought through carefully. The lesson is simply presented and carefully explained. Colorful illustrations of puppies texting add whimsical charm. Piano and Laylee learn how to be friendly and polite when sending text messages. Also recommended from this series are the following titles: "Piano and Laylee Learn About Acceptable Use Policies (9781564842817)," "Piano and Laylee Go Online (9781564842770)," "Piano and Laylee and the Cyberbully (9781564842794)," and "Piano and Laylee Help a Copycat Become a Creative Cat (9781564842800)." The Piano and Laylee series ($10.95 each) packs a valuable message in a compact, colorful, attention getting format, and should be a useful educational tool for children.

The Juggle Puzzle
Sindy McKay, author
Olga and Aleksey Ivanov, illustrators
Treasure Bay
P.O. Box 119, Novato, CA 94948
9781601153432, $9.95,

"The Juggle Puzzle" is a level 6 We Read Phonics book for students in grades K-2. Brightly colored illustrations gaily dance through the story of a circus juggler who must solve a puzzle: How to row a tiger, goat and pot of stew across a river by himself without losing the goat (whom the tiger would eat), or the stew (which the goat would eat) or the tiger. It's a classic logic puzzle challenge for which kids will love tracing out a winning solution. In this innovative series, kids are invited to play simple phonics games with parents or teachers to improve their reading, spelling and language skills. Also recommended in this series are the following titles: "The Garden Crew (9781601153456, $9.95)," by Sindy McKay, illustrated by Meredith Johnson, and "Dad Does It All (9781601153418, $9.95), by Paul Orshoski, illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. An additional title from the same publisher's We Both Read series that is highly recommended is "Oh, No! We're Doing a Show! (9781601152558, $9.95), by Dev Ross, illustrated by Meredith Johnson. This nonfiction level 1-2 book for children in grades 1-2 has a 'take turns reading' approach with a parent's page, with more vocabulary and detail, and a child's page, with more action and simpler language. All of Mrs. Carson's students work together to plan and present a talent show. Even Keesha, who is afraid to perform in front of an audience, ends up joining in and having a great time!

Foods of Mexico
Kevin Pearce
Gareth Stevens
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
9781433957147, $22.60,

From Gareth Steven's outstanding series 'Culture in the Kitchen', Kevin Pearce's "Foods of Mexico" is a color photo-illustrated cultural cuisine book for tweens that gives background information about many popular foods in Mexican cuisine. One authentic food of Mexico that is presented complete with a recipe is salsa, made of tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, onions, chili peppers, lime juice and salt, usually served with tortilla chips. Many other interesting foods are described and presented, including prickly pear cactus fruit, chocolate, corn (in tortillas and as a vegetable), plantains and special drinks and sweets. Also included is a glossary of terms, and a list of resources both books and web sites. "Foods of Mexico" gives a great taste and historical background of some of the possible offerings of varied Mexican cuisine. Other recommended titles from the Culture In the Kitchen series include "Foods of the Middle East (9781433957185, $22.60)," by Roman Ayter, "Foods of China (9781433957222, $22.60)," by Therese Shea, "Foods of West Africa (9781433957222, $22.60)," by Ethan Y. Garten, "Foods of Italy (9781433957109, $22.60)," by John Matthew, and "Foods of India (9781433957062, $22.60)," by Mary Molly Shea.

Ruth Owen
Windmill Books
c/o Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781615333776, $25.25,

"Elephants" is a nonfiction title from the World's Smartest Animals series for children age 6 and up. Filled with stunning color photos of elephants in the wild and other settings, "Elephants" presents an encyclopedia of knowledge about the almost largest mammal on the planet. Highlighted sidebars labeled 'Elephant Skills' present interesting facts of elephant development and physical and intellectual characteristics. An example is: "Elephants miss each other. They show great happiness when they meet up with a friend. They hug by wrapping their trunks around each other." Information about a group called Save the Elephants is presented, along with a glossary and list of resources including web site referrals. "Elephants" is a complete package for education about elephants today. Additional recommended titles in this series by the same author include "Crows" (9781615333769, $25.25), "Chimpanzees" (9781615333806, $25.25), "Orangutans" (9781615333813, $25.25), "Octopuses" (9781615333745, $25.25), "Horses" (9781615333783, $25.25), "Parrots" (9781615333752, $25.25), and "Dolphins" (9781615333790, $25.25).

Not Fair, Won't Share
Sue Graves, author
Desideria Guicciardini, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
217 Fifth Avenue North, Suite 200
Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781575423753, $12.99,

"Not Fair, Won't Share" is a picture book from a series titled Our Emotions and Behavior which helps young children understand their feelings and emotions. Written especially for children between the ages of 4 and 8, "Not Fair Won't Share" presents a typical classroom dilemma when Nora won't take turns with other children in the school's Space Station. Everyone including the teacher, Miss Clover, gets mad! Then they all take a deep breath, spend some time in other quiet pursuits safely, calm down, say "I'm sorry!" and learn to try having fun while sharing fairly. Pictures at the book's end allow children to tell stories about the process of learning to share. Additional notes to adults about how to use the book with children provide other learning games and discussion ideas. The spunky, colorful illustrations make the story's impact vivid and positive for children. Additional recommended titles in this series by the same author includes "But Why Can't I?" (9781575423760, $12.99), "I'm Not Happy" (9781575423739, $12.99), and "Who Feels Scared?" (9781575423746, $12.99).

Backyard Safari series
Trudi Strain Trueit
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
$19.95 each,

New additions to the 32-page 'Backyard Safari' series make this a fine collection for any elementary-level library, with each book featuring a close-up color cover of an animal and inside pages for grades 3-5 advocating exploring that animal's characteristics. Kids with good reading skills will find pages of observations, experiments, information, and projects designed to enhance observation and appreciation of each animal. BIRDS (9781608702428), SQUIRRELS (9781608702480), SPIDERS (9781608702497), FROGS AND TOADS (9781608702459) and CATERPILLARS AND BUTTERFLIES (9781608702435) all prove eye-opening, and vivid color photos enhance the exploration.

Morgan Reynolds Publishing
620 South Elm St. Suite 387, Greensboro, NC 27406
$28.95 Each,

Four new additions to the 'Story of Mexico' series by R. Conrad Stein provides a fine in-depth set of assessments perfect for any advanced elementary to middle school collection. THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR (9781599351605, $28.95) covers the history of a war fought from 1846 to 1848, offering a survey of a war often overlooked in history books; ANCIENT MEXICO (9781599351612, $28.95) documents the history and achievements of ancient Mexican societies, MODERN MEXICO (9781599351629, $28.95) adds contrast in speaking of modern Mexican developments, culture and influences, and EMILIANO ZAPATA AND THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION (9781599351636, $28.95) provides a fine blend of biography and survey of the Mexican Revolution and its effects. Highly recommended for any collection with more than a passing interest in Mexican history and culture, each book packs in 144 pages filled with black and white photos and illustrations and facts. David Aretha's THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: BLACK POWER (9781599351643, $28.95) surveys the black power movement's history and influences, offering 128 pages of overview and history of the black power movement of the 1960s and 70s. Key figures, events, and lasting changes are documented. Kem Knapp Sawyer's CHAMPION OF FREEDOM: MOHANDAS GANDHI (9781599351667, $28.95) offers a 144-page biography of the peace leader's efforts around the world, providing a fine history of Gandhi's involvements in politics not only in India but in South Africa. His influence would change the world and is documented in this moving story.

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591

Dan Elish's THE CRAFT OF WRITING: FICTION (9781608704972, $34.21) joins others in the 'Craft of Writing' series to provide advanced elementary to early middle school grades with 96 pages of details on how to write fiction. From a history of fiction writing to style and creation, this packs in plenty of detail and 'how to' examples and makes for a top pick for any learning how to write. Stephen Krensky's 'Documents of Democracy' series ($23.95 each) will appeal to grades 8 and up with each book offering 80 pages of in-depth detail on a document key to the democratic process. THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION (9780761449157), THE BILL OF RIGHTS (9780761449126), THE CONSTITUTION (9780761449171) and THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (9780761449133) each provide a history of the document, the circumstances of its creation, and its continuing importance to American history. World and Its Peoples: Sub-Saharan Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific (9780761479123, $499.95) provides a fine set of geography titles for the advanced middle to high school grade levels, with each book focusing on a region of Africa and providing over a hundred pages packed with maps, contemporary color photos, and particular countries of each region of sub-Saharan Africa. History, culture, and the grouping of African nations by regions allows for a fine cross-comparison between neighboring nations.

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

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