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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 22, Number 9 September 2012 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Political Science Shelf Reference Shelf
Jobs/Career Shelf Social Issues Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Travel Shelf Self-Help Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Poetry Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Christian Shelf Health Shelf Easy Reader Shelf
ABC Shelf Board Book Shelf Fiction Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
World History Shelf Autism Shelf Books in Series

Reviewer's Choice

The Conference of the Birds
retold by Alexis York Lumbard (original author Attar)
illustrated by Demi
foreword by Senned Hossein Nasr
Wisdom Tales
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781937786021, $19.95,

"The Conference of the Birds" is an illuminated retelling of a work titled "Mantiq al-Tayr," by a 12th century Persian poet named Farid al-Din Attar. Beautifully illustrated with fabulous artistic renditions of birds done in a celestial style that draws from Chinese, Japanese, and Persian traditions, "The Conference of the Birds" is a sacred story about the search for enlightenment of the soul, told in effortlessly flowing verse. The fabulously beautiful, enlightened hoopoe addresses his fellow birds, exhorting them to seek to advance to the mystical island home of King Simorgh the wise. Although the story has many obvious Judeo-Christian parallels, it is indeed about the quest for spiritual enlightenment, from the Sufi tradition. Masterfully translated, retold, and illustrated, the story's appeal is both to the naive and to the advanced mind. Children will grasp some of the essential message of hope in overcoming pride, fear, impatience, greed, and sloth in the ever demanding search for the ultimate enlightenment of great King. Each bird has a special obstacle to surpass in their flight. The dazzling and enigmatic ending adds to the mystic and satisfying appeal of the entire story. "The Conference of the Birds" is a beautiful sacred text, retold for the enjoyment and enlightenment of not only children, but everyone.

Cindy R. Juckette, author/illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781470014216, $12.99,

"Pockets" is a heartwarming true story about a boy's special visit with his great grandfather. Colton is excited to visit his great grandparents, but he is unhappy that his mother can't give him his favorite jeans and T-shirt to wear for the visit. His mother does not tell him why she doesn't have his favorite clothes for him, but she seems to smile. Then they arrive at Great Grandpa's and Colton happily plays in the back yard with Great -Grandpa. In his busy play, he collects three piles of natural objects, leaves, stones, and acorns. He asks his Great Grandpa for a way to carry his special things. This leads to a search for the best way to carry everything, which leads to Great Grandpa bringing Colton a paper bag with something inside. To Colton's surprise, it contains his favorite overalls with pockets and his favorite comfortable orange T-shirt. Happily, Colton changes to his favorite clothes ( which are just like Great-Grandpa's), uses his pockets, and gives his Great Grandpa one special leftover red stone to carry in a pocket next to his heart. "Pockets" is a wonderful, warm, immediate interaction experience between generations. Both the story and the colorful illustrations help to bring a precious focus to the treasured relationship between a boy and his Great-Grandpa.

The Political Science Shelf

Electing the President
Betty M. See
Prufrock Press
PO Box 8813
Waco, TX 76714-8813
9781593639938, $14.95,

For many young people, 2012 is the first election they will be curious about. "Electing the President: An Interactive Simulation on the Electoral Process" is a guide for young people and teachers teaching young people on how to help them understand the electoral process, explaining the many aspects of the lessons from the role of delegates, candidates, the electoral college, and much more. With plenty of activities for teachers to lead to allow children to learn by doing, "Electing the President" is a strong addition to youth education and social studies classes.

The Reference Shelf

The World Almanac for Kids 2012
World Almanac Books
c/o Infobase Learning
132 West 31st Street
New York, NY 10001
9781600571527 $24.95

Featuring full-color photographs and illustrations on almost every page, The World Almanac for Kids 2012 is filled cover to cover with fascinating facts about virtually everything - animals, art, books, buildings, disasters, crime, games, fashion, health, homework help, inventions, religion, science, space, weather, weights & measures, world history, and much more. Part basic education, part trivia wonderhouse, and wholly captivating for readers of all ages to simply browse, The World Almanac for Kids 2012 is an ideal tool to help young people get interested in the world around them. An excellent pick for homeschoolers as well as for public and school children's libraries, The World Almanac for Kids 2012 is worthy of the highest recommendation. "About 97% of the world's water is slat water in the oceans and inland seas, which can be drunk only after special treatment. Another 2% of the water is frozen in ice caps and glaciers. Half of the 1% left is too far underground to be reached. That leaves only 0.5% for all the people, plants, and animals on Earth."

The Jobs/Career Shelf

The Teen's Ultimate Guide to Making Money When You Can't Get a Job
Julie Fryer
Atlantic Publishing Group
1210 SW 23rd Place, Ocala, FL 34471
97816011386113, $24.95,

Getting a job as a teen is often easier said than done. "The Teen's Ultimate Guide to making Money When You Can't Get a Job: 199 Ideas for Earning Cash on Your Own Terms" is a guide to gaining money, whether from standard employment, tutoring, internet opportunities, or other inventive ideas. "The Teen's Ultimate Guide to Making Money When You Can't Get a Job" is invaluable for teens and young adults saving up money to go to college, and its suggestions may prove just as vital to older enterprising readers as well!

The Part-Timer Primer
Darrell Doepke
Timbrewolfe Publishing
704 228th Ave. NE, #442
Sammamish, WA
9780985622800, $9.99

You need a little money to live, and when you're a teen, you have to start working for it. "The Part-Timer Primer: A Teen's Guide to Surviving the Hiring Process and Landing Your First Job" is a guide for young people who want to break out into the part time job market, where you need experience to get experience, a fact that can seem quite often daunting. With plenty of advice for the first time job hunter, "The Part-Timer Primer" is a fine and much recommended pick for teens with a little universal wisdom for any job seeker.

The Social Issues Shelf

Vegan Is Love
Ruby Roth, author/illustrator
North Atlantic Books
2526 Martin Luther King, Jr., Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
9781583943540, $16.95,

"Vegan Is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action" is a cheerful, color illustrated introduction and guide to a vegan philosophy for children. First and foremost, children learn that being vegan means choosing a way of life that is based on conscious caring for the lifelong welfare of animals on earth. Being vegan means learning to live without dressing in clothing made of parts of animals, as well as learning to eat foods that animals have not been harmed to make. Another way to protect animals is to refuse to use products such as soaps or shampoos that are tested on animal subjects. The concept of cruelty-free production is explained briefly. Even visiting zoos and aquariums is not respectful of animals, who are not meant to be imprisoned or confined, or to be performers, such as at a circus, or in a race. entertainment is meant to be done by creatures who love to perform. Vegans wish to do no harm to animals. Vegans prefer organically raised plants as a healthful diet base. Vegans choose a way of life in their daily consumption patterns that protects the environments of earth, the forests, the oceans, the Arctic, and the rest. That is why, the author concludes, "Vegan is love." At the end of this inspiring book describing vegan philosophy, ideals and lifestyle, there is a list of specific ways which kids can act to protect animals and the earth and fulfill a healthy vegan lifestyle. Readers are also encouraged to visit, for more ideas and links. This vividly conceptualized children's book is a successor to the author's first book, "That's Why We Don't Eat Animals (9781583943540, $16.95)."

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
James Finn Garner
Souvenir Press
9780285640412, $12.95,

The story tales of Grimm just aren't with the times for today's more sensitive readers. "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories" is a collection of short fiction from James Finn Garner as he presents many classic fairy tales updated for the twenty first century, doing everything it can to not offend anyone. From Goldilocks' true intentions in studying anthropomorphic bears, the penalties of kissing fair maidens in comas, and this newer edition includes the story 'The Duckling That Was Judged On Its Personal Merits And Not Its Physical Appearance'. Filled with plenty of chuckleworthy humor for kids and adults, "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories" shouldn't be overlooked.

The Travel Shelf

Natural Hawaii
Dana Rozier
Dot Dot Books
9780967075013, $12.95,

Hawai'i has a culture that entices many young folks. "Natural Hawaii: An Inquisitive Kid's Guide" is a fun and informative read for young readers informing them about everything about the Hawaiian islands and its people. With countless color photographs throughout, lots of acts and history, trivia, and much more for anyone who is going to live there or visit there in some time to come, "Natural Hawaii" is a choice pick, highly recommended reading.

The Self-Help Shelf

End Your Rainbow
Patricia Overson
Beaver's Pond Press
7108 Ohms Lane, Edina, MN 55439-2129
9781592985036, $19.95,

A little charm and inspiration goes far in making a child's day shine. "End Your Rainbow: Inspirations for Children" is a collection of musings and inspiration aimed at younger children, teaching them to reach further and higher to always keep working towards their hopes. Encouraging them to share their thoughts and memories, "End Your Rainbow" is a strong pick for any motivational and inspirational collection geared towards children.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Mouse Code
Joel Thurtell
Hardalee Press
11803 Priscilla Lane
Plymouth, MI 48170
9780975996942 $12.99

Award-winning newspaper reporter and ham radio operator Joel Thurtell presents Mouse Code, a chapter book ideal for middle school and preteen readers, about an enterprising field mouse who invents radio and a code system to communicate warnings to fellow mice, voles, shrews, groundhogs, badgers, and even a blue racer. Threats abound for humble wildlife, from the threat of human development to the hunger of natural predators, and a skillful communication system can save mouse lives! A few follow-up notes teach young people more about Morse Code, which the U.S. Army and the U.S. Coast Guard used to use (before they abandoned it for more modern systems). Adventurous black-and-white illustrations of intrepid mouse enliven almost every page of this delightful and highly recommended storybook, which will especially appeal to young people who enjoyed the mouse-hero novels of the classic "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" series.

My Monster Burrufu
Alberto Corral, author
Alessandra Sorrentino, illustrator
Petite Grande Idee
9780615459349 $8.95

A handful of black-and-white illustrations enrich My Monster Burrufu, a chapter book for young readers about the friendship between seven-year-old Olivia, who is getting used to living in a new house, and the gigantic, furry, cookie-loving attack monster that is Burrufu. A most wonderful friendship blossoms, as the two of them begin to trust and learn from each other. Joyful and upbeat from cover to cover, My Monster Burrufu is an excellent pick for beginning to intermediate readers, highly recommended.

Magikal Mindwell
M. J. W., Mary Wright, author
Daisy Brooke, illustrator
Balboa Press
c/o Hay House
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781452536996, $31.95,

"Magikal Mindwell: The Beginning" is a fantastic story about the awakening of motivation to learn and achieve in a boy named Charlie. Charlie has had so many obstacles and difficulties in his life that he has succumbed to a negative pattern of reacting in school. When unfairness and lack of sensitive teaching seem to be endlessly punishing, he gives up hope. His one positive thought revolves around the upcoming Talent Show, where he would like to do a special breakdance routine. However, his nemesis, Mrs. Buldero, seems determined to deny him this opportunity based on his previous behavior. Charlie is ready to quit when he encounters Magikal Mindwell, a truly creative and unique entity who challenges him to open up and imagine and learn from a new beginning. She introduces him to the Teachablometer, a magical device that measures how teachable he is, after his Learnometer and his Changeometer can get recharged to prepare him. Gradually Charlie learns new ways to think positively about himself and his abilities. Whenever Charlie encounters fresh obstacles or old temptations to indulge in self destructive behaviors, he uses his new resources, personified by Magikal Mindwell to think his way to a better place to be. This engaging story has a very happy ending, but most important is its message of creative self teaching and renewal. Everyone can change, and imagine happiness. Learning starts when you are ready to accept it. Ask and it shall be given, knock and you shall enter. The brightly colored illustrations reveal Charlie encountering many familiar, common prejudices and obstacles to learning, and eventually overcoming them. "Magikal Mindwell" is a great self-help book for adolescents, preteens, and preadolescents, and for their teachers and caretakers.

The Month of Zephram Mondays
Leslie A. Susskind
Privately Published
9780982474419, $8.99,

With no magic, the quadruplets feel pretty outcast. When no one has magic, they might be the only hope. "The Month of Zephram Mondays: The Very First of the Zephram Tales" is a youth fantasy from Leslie A. Susskind, who tells of the magical kingdom of Zephram, where everyone has magic except the Royal Quadrupulets. But a curse steals the magic, and those who have already had to without it, get their chance to prove themselves. "The Month of Zephram Mondays" is a fun read with a positive message, much recommended. Also from Susskind's Zephram series is "The Tale of Time Warp Tuesday" (9780982474488, $8.99), telling of the continuing adventures of the mundane and royal Quadrupulets.

The Love for a Dragon
Wendi Sovercool
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466914384 $10.03

Inspired by the author's child asking her, "Mom, can you write me a story about a dragon?", The Love for a Dragon is a fantasy novella for young people who are just beginning to read chapter books. When a pure-hearted tomboy girl encounters a dying mother dragon, she fulfills the mother's last wish by raising the mother's last egg into a beautiful and intelligent baby dragon. With the dragon's help, she also befriends a mysterious boy, to whom she begins to feel a strong attraction. Part fantasy adventure, part love story, part bedtime fable, The Love for a Dragon is sure to delight young dragon fans, especially girls.

Kaytek the Wizard
Janusz Korczak
527 Empire Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11225
9780983868507, $17.95,

Reality at the whim of a schoolboy isn't the best situation for reality. "Kaytek the Wizard" tells of the beginnings of a schoolboy's realization that he has the power of magic in his hands. But his mischief at first turns into something more, he soon learns that there are consequences to his actions. A coming of age tale with a good dose of sorcery with illustrations from Avi Katz, "Kaytek the Wizard" is a humorous and much recommended read for fans of youthful fantasy.

The Obsidian Pebble
R.A. Jones
Lucky Bat Books
c/o Author Marketing Experts
PO Box 421156, San Diego, CA 92142
9781467961431, $TBA,

A few ghosts aren't enough to drive everyone away. "The Obsidian Pebble" is a novel from R.A. Jones following Oz Chambers, who lives in a haunted house. As his mother wants to move, he adores his setting, and along with his friends, set out to find the truth behind the house's haunted reputation. A riveting adventure for young adults with a good dose of mystery, "The Obsidian Pebble" is very much worth considering.

Enter the Corn Bunny
Ibrahim Ginoschio De Oscheola
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9780595452736, $8.95,

Even fairies need a break for awhile. "Enter the Corn Bunny: The Tooth Fairy Goes on Vacation" follows the endeavors of the corn bunny, who fills in for the Tooth Fairy when she goes on vacation. A whimsical story of magic and filling in, "Enter the Corn Bunny" is an entertaining and choice pick, highly recommended for younger readers.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Far and Away
Ezekiel Crotzer
Biographical Publishing Company
95 Sycamore Drive
Prospect, CT 06712-1493
1929882750 $17.95

Far and Away is a thrilling novel that will especially appeal to teens and young men, but readers of all ages and backgrounds can appreciate the excitement of a mystery (and even murder!) along the Mississippi. The Mississippi River itself is endangered, and William Haste wants to save it; meanwhile, Jennifer Wikeness and Tom Wikeness are up to something questionable. The ultimate threat could come from as far away as Peru and its possible weapons of mass destruction! Intrigue and suspense build to a tense climax, in this action-driven showdown of cross-purposes that will keep the reader guessing up to the very end.

Hidden Mickey Adventures 1: Peter and the Wolf
Nancy Temple Rodrigue
Double R Books
c/o Rodrigue & Sons Company
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite #1457
New York, NY 10001
9780983397564 $12.99

Hidden Mickey Adventures 1: Peter and the Wolf is a novel ideal for young adults ages 9 and up, following Peter Brentwood and his younger brother on a mysterious adventure to discover the legacy of Walt Disney. Intrigued by a letter from Disney himself, they embark on what they think is a simple treasure hunt - but then a shadowy figure begins tracking their every move, and hidden family secrets come perilously close to being brought to light. They are fortunate to have a protector and friend in Wolf, but will his help tip the balance in time? Hidden Mickey Adventures 1: Peter and the Wolf is an engaging, Disney-themed read, highly recommended.

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee
Tom Angelberger, author
115 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011
9781419703928, $12.95,

A children's mystery chapter book with illustrations and origami instructions, this third volume in an extremely popular series for middle schoolers, "The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book", encases the funny antics of the Fortune Wookiee (also known as the cootie catcher), a paper fortune teller who resembles Chewbacca, sent to the kids of McQuarrie Middle School by madcap student Dwight, former accomplice now transferred to a new school to help him act more "normal." Dwight gives the Fortune Wookiee to Sara, a girl, and therefore untrustworthy, who promises it will help solve all problems. The trouble is, with girls doing the interpreting, most of the problems being solved seem to have a common romantic theme. What can Tommy and friends do to solve the dual mysteries of the Fortune Wookiee and (gasp!) "normal" Dwight transformed! Kids will devour this charming illustrated volume with instructions for folding their own origami Fortune Wookiee.

Mystery at the Phoenix Festival
Jake and Nicole Spanton
Broad Creek Press
PO Box 43, Mt. Airy, NC 27030
9780983714880, $9.99,

Dogs are members of the family, and losing them tears your heart apart. "Mystery at the Phoenix Festival" is a Christian novel about two faithful kids on a cross country trip as they search for their lost dogs, and the ones who took them. A fun read for young Christians, "Mystery at the Phoenix Festival" is a strongly recommended pick, not to be missed.

The Poetry Shelf

Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain
Barbara R. Vance
Copperplate Publishing
PO Box 260503, Plano, TX 75026-0503
9780615314440, $17.95,

There are many things not yet understood by the young folks, but that won't stop their imaginations. "Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain" is a collection of illustrations and poems from Barbara R. Vance as she presents poems in a style of legendary children's poet Shel Silverstein, following his style of offbeat poetry and just as offbeat illustrations. For children and those who don't want to stop being children, "Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain" is a humorous and choice addition to any all ages collection. "The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies": The ultimate chocolate chip cookies/Go best with some milk on the side/And always fit well in your pocket/(for the extras you're trying to hide.)//And though they say sharing is nice--/And I am inclined to agree --/I must say, I like them the best/When it's only he cookies and me.

Vanilla Gorilla, Animal Art & Poems
Judith Krimski, illustrator
David Harrow, author
Big Lettuce Studio
9781456711900, $14.95,

"Vanilla Gorilla" is an astonishing, exuberant, brilliantly colorful explosion of artistic and poetic creativity about exotic species of animals. Designed to intrigue and delight the minds of curious children, "Vanilla Gorilla" features such unusual creatures as the aye-aye, the fanaloka, and the Portuguese man o' war. Creative verse describes the attributes of each amazing animal, while fabulous splashes of bright colors sketch versions of the creature in its natural habitat. Children age 2 and up will be astounded and delighted by "Vanilla Gorilla," and older children will be amazed and excited by the book's creative challenge to draw an animal, real or imaginary, and write a poem about it. Qualifying submissions will be posted on Facebook.

Teacup Rhymes for Teacup Humans
Larisa White
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781468557848, $17.99,

The world is different when you don't have decades of experience at living. "Teacup Rhymes for Teacups Humans" is a collection of poetry aimed at younger readers as Larisa White presents these charming rhymes with art throughout, focusing on the encounters readers would run into in their everyday lives. "Teacup Rhymes for Teacup Humans" is a choice pick for younger readers.

The Picturebook Shelf

Bye, Bye, Butterflies
Andrew Larsen, author, Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
195 Allstate Parkway
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 4T8
9781554552207, $18.95,

As a caterpillar matures into a beautiful butterfly, sometimes the only thing that must be done is letting them fly free. "Bye, Bye, Butterflies" is a children's picturebook that teaches children about the process of maturation as they follow young caterpillars as they enter into their cocoons and emerge as beautiful butterflies. "Bye, Bye, Butterflies" is a fine pick for young readers with an interest in nature with beautiful color artwork from Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli, 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,

Each day comes with its own tour of adventure and joy. "Teddy's Day: On a Bearish Adventure Through Everyday Life" is a humorous adventure for young readers as Teddy goes through the joys of his everyday life and finds adventure in everything. With colorful illustrations throughout, "Teddy's Day" proves as a fine novice children's picturebook to help learning to read or as a read-along choice, much recommended. Also from Peter Liptak and illustrator Pascal Biannicleger is "Teddy's Camp: On a Bearish Adventure into the Woods" (9781936342174, $11.95), following Teddy into his camp days.

Sally Simon Simmons' Super Frustrating Day
Abbie Schiller and Samantha Kurtzman-Counter
Ruby's Studio
9780615610337, $12.95,

Life doesn't always go your way, but it doesn't mean you have to break down about it. "Sally Simon Simmons' Super Frustrating Day" is a children's picturebook following young Sally's day where nothing seems to go her way, as she tries to make a sandwich that can touch the sky. As she tries to rush, she fails, and gets frustrated, but is taught to overcome her frustration to take it easy and that will help her succeed. "Sally Simmons' Super Frustrating Day" is a highly recommended read for young people who need assistance in dealing with the problems that come with their young lives.

The Dog Show
Sally O. Lee
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781477697665 $9.99

The Dog Show is a cheery and colorful softcover picturebook ideal for young dog lovers. The story is about The Annual Dog Show, which accepts both purebreeds and mutts. Proud dog owners all over town, adults and children alike, work to get their pets ready for the big event. "The judge continued, 'The winner of The Dog Show this year is the dog that showed the most energy and joy and jumped around the ring better than the others. This year, the first place prize goes to Harry!" The sketchy, cartoony artwork style adds a warm and inviting touch to this delightful read-aloud storybook.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Jane Cabrera
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
9780823425198, $16.95,

The stars are shared by the whole world. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a children's picturebook written and illustrated by Jane Babrera, expanding on the famous nursery rhyme, spreading it to the countless animals all throughout the world, seeing the stars from their own place in the world across the world and throughout it. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" is a fine and fun read for parents and their children, highly recommended.

Patricia Hubbell
Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591
9780761453888, $14.99,

Flying through the sky, many young people stare upwards in awe. "Airplanes: Soaring! Turning! Diving!" is a children's picturebook exploring the the many types of plane that soar through the skies throughout our every day lives. With charming illustrations from Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, "Airplanes: Soaring! Turning! Diving!" is a treasure trove of a picture book from Patricia Hubbell, a top pick for the youth who wants to learn more of the metal birds of mankind.

Heather Theurer
Channel Photographics
9800 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 200B
San Rafael, CA 94901
9780982613788, $16.95,

Invention is always the pursuit of the curious child. "Thaddeus" is a children's picturebook following young Thaddeus as he seeks to do his own part in taking over the family business, learning the tricks and how to understand what an inventor ought to do; it's not all just fun and games. With beautiful full color illustrations, "Thaddeus" is a moderately advanced read for young people, but proves very highly recommended.

Dreams Around the World
Takashi Owaki, author
One Peace Books
43-32 22nd Street, #204., Long Island City, NY 11101
9781935548119, $16.95,

"Dreams Around the World" is a beautifully photographed odyssey around the world exploring the treasured dreams of thirteen children from locations as diverse as Africa, Finland, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Poland. The author/photographer traveled from Japan to fifty five countries on six continents, interviewing over 1400 children to obtain the thirteen children chosen for "Dreams Around the World." Written to appeal to children ages 4-8, "Dreams Around the World" shows a great variety of cultural outlooks, resulting in specific cherished goals and dreams of these children. Many children will recognize or perhaps discover dreams of their own here, to be a ballerina, a teacher, a gelato shop owner, a police officer, or a clown! Although continents and addresses may vary, something about all children's dreams is similar. For a wonderful opportunity to begin to imagine global ties and the joyous miracle of cultural diversity, "Dreams Around the World" is a perfect introduction to a common heritage of global awareness.

Grandy Apple
Ellen Brenner-Sorensen, creator
Joe Gardner, author
Alessandra Gasparini, illustrator
Gardner Publishing and Distribution
75 Orange Ave., #215
South Orange, NJ 07079
9781936979080, $14.99

Described as a 'read-aloud interactive storybook,' Grandy Apple is a delightful, imaginative, illustrated tale about an adorable Apple-Fruit family, with lilting versed narrative. Every family member has a different fruit face, but the bodies are endearingly humanoid. The Apple family lives in an Apple Orchard, where they make apple cider for villages all around. Grandy Apple likes to take the fruit children on beach outings to play, and she teaches them to remember to be grateful, in addition to learning at school, working and playing. for Grandy Apple's birthday the whole family celebrates by dressing up in their best finery and having a party. Later, all the Fruit children enjoy a nice hot bath while they exchange stories with Grandy. Then Polly Pineapple, Penny Pear, and Hannah Banana all go to bed, each kissed and loved by Grandy Apple. The delicately tinted, expressively sweet fruit-faced illustrations make "Grandy Apple" a truly unforgettable bedtime story, to be treasured and shared by both young and old.

Hooligan Bear Home
Ian Toynton, author
Andrea Dietrich, illustrator
Big Tent Books
115 Bluebill Drive, Savannah, GA 31419
9781601310880, $15.95,

"Hooligan Bear Home" is the first book in a series that teaches children that even when unpredictable difficulties arise, friends and ingenuity and combine to create amazing, caring solutions. Hooligan Bear and his nephew, Little Louie return from a walk one day to find the Bear Factory, where they live, has been closed! Although everyone has gone away, Hooligan comforts Louie and tells him they can make a life together in the empty Bear Factory, with some minor scouting for necessary basic furniture such as a bed and a desk. The adventure continues when Hooligan and Louie take another exploratory walk and encounter a man's hat, which becomes in succession a camouflaged hiding place, a specially contrived elevator to the window of the Bear Factory, and a bed for Little Louie. "Hooligan Bear Home" is a fantastic, delicately woven narrative, with charming pastel illustrations of the two enterprising bears. A sense of caring, love, and creative ingenuity that protects will grow in the minds of young children who experience "Hooligan Bear Home" with a loving adult together.

The Princess Who Wore Glasses
Laura Hertzfeld Katz, author
Jacob Duncan, illustrator
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781453882405, $12.95,

"The Princess Who Wore Glasses" is a charmingly illustrated story about a little princess named Liana who enjoyed dancing to the singing trees. She thought the trees sang because she couldn't see the birds. Her parents, the king and queen decided to take her to the magician Maximilian to help her see better. After magically testing her with his swirling color kaleidoscope, Maximilian offers to help Liana see the world better with beautiful, fancy glasses she will choose herself. Liana is so happy with her glasses with swirls of purple, pink and blue on the frames, decorated with her name especially. She can see so many beautiful things! The man in the moon, colored birds, tiny yellow flowers, clouds in the sky, everything is now accessible to her eyes because of the magic glasses. At school she is excited to show her friends her new magic glasses. She even wants to wear her glasses to sleep so her dreams will be clearer. "The Princess Who Wore Glasses" is a wonderful story that will help young girls who need glasses to see better. It can be challenging to feel good about yourself when you look different from others. "The Princess Who Wore Glasses" reveals so many good things about having glasses to see the world. Finally the creative, detailed illustrations for this book, made painstakingly by a 12 year old boy, completely complement the wonderful story. Girls will love "The Princess Who Wore Glasses," and they will know that wearing glasses can be a wonderful thing.

Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?
Carmela LaVigna Coyle, author
Mike Gordon, illustrator
Taylor Trade Publishing
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200
Lanham, MD 20706
9781589796935, $15.95,

Super Heroes inspire wonder with their amazing feats, but what about everything else? "Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?" is a children's picturebook from Carmela LaVigna with art from Mike Gordon. Following a young boy as he ponders what super heroes face in their everyday lives as he tries to embark on his own adventure of saving the day and living life simultaneously. "Do Super Heroes Have Teddy Bears?" is a fun read along storybook for parents and children, highly recommended.

Dinosaur Thunder
Marion Dane Bauer
Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780590425960, $16.99,

DINOSAUR THUNDER receives fine color drawings by Caldecott Honor artist Margaret Chodos-Irvine and tells of two very different brothers affected by a coming storm. One is terrified and looks for a place to hide, the other is thrilled by the lightning and thunder. Neither expects dinosaurs to enter the mix in this fun picturebook tale recommended for very early learners.

Olivia and the Best Teacher Ever
Ilanit Oliver
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781442435995, $3.99,

Olivia and the Best Teacher Ever provides a whimsical, fun story of Mrs. Hoggenmuller, who is being considered for Teacher of the Year. Olivia is determined to make sure the class performs at its best for her favorite teacher - but will this prove enough to win the prize? Shane L. Johnson provides fine drawings for this whimsical easy reader featuring a small pig and her generous heart.

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

Jill McElmurry's MARIO MAKES A MOVE (9780375868542, $16.99) tells of Mario, who loves to invent amazing moves while his parents admire their little squirrel's talents. The only person who isn't amazed is his best friend Isabelle - who isn't impressed with his fairly ordinary 'feats'. So Mario must come up with something to impress her - and his search for the ultimate act involves some elegant and unexpected collaboration in this fun story. Diane Kredensor's OLLIE & MOON (9780375870149, $15.99) provides a fun story of Moon, who loves to make Ollie laugh. Today her favorite jokes aren't working, and a fun day pairs fine cartoon drawings and whimsical adventure with Mike Meskin's color photos of actual trains, fairs, urban environments and more to make for a delightfully different adventure. Mini Grey's TRACTION MAN AND THE BEACH ODYSSEY (9780375869525, $16.99) tells of a fun day out when Traction Man and his loyal pet Scrubbing Brush head to the beach for adventure. From a fun underwater world explored using a Squid-Proof Scuba Suit to an unexpected danger, this provides a whimsical day at the beach perfect for any picturebook reader. Il Sung Na's HIDE & SEEK (9780375870781, $15.99) helps young readers practice counting from 1 to 10 as they find hidden animals in a fun game of hide-and-seek. An unexpected conclusion keeps this lively and helps reinforce the counting theme throughout. Bonnie Christensen's I, GALILEO (9780375867538, $17.99) offers a fine biography that reads like fiction as it lets Galileo himself tell his story of discovery and invention. Kids with good reading skills will appreciate the fine attention to science concepts and biographical detail that keeps this a lively introduction. Lesley Simpson's A SONG FOR MY SISTER (9781582464275, $16.99) receives a fine illustration by Tatjana Mai-Wyss and tells of Mira's long-time wish for a sister - and surprise when the new baby isn't as fun as she expected. On the day of her Jewish naming ceremony the baby continues to cry - until Mira offers her own perfect gift: just the right name. Jewish tradition blends with a fine story about a new sister's adjustments to a baby in the house. Tatyana Feeney's SMALL BUNNY'S BLUE BLANKET (9780375870873, $16.99) tells of Small Bunny, who does everything with Blue Blanket. Blue Blanket helps him be all he can be, giving him confidence - but one day bunny's mother insists Blue Blanket must be washed - and Small Bunny isn't sure his friend will ever be the same after.

The Christian Shelf

Saint Catherine Laboure
Marianne Lorraine Trouve
Pauline Kids
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
0181987225, $7.95,

Greatness does not have age as a requirement. "Saint Catherine Laboure: And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal" is a telling of the story of Catherine Laboure whose encounter with the Virgin Mary gave the Farm girl the ability to deliver the Miraculous Medal to the world, and helped many others form that friendship with God. "Saint Catherine Laboure" is a strong pick for Christian youths, Catholics in particular.

Sing a Joyful Song
Linda Fulford Gault, author/illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781468550818, $12.50,

"Sing a Joyful Song: The Adventures of Madame Flutterby, Book II" is an inspirational children's story based on scriptures verses from Psalms 98:4-6, Psalm 100:1-2, Psalm 66:1-2, Genesis 7:12, 14-16, Genesis 8:11, and Genesis 9:17. These Bible verses contain the story of Noah and the ark, the dove, and the rainbow, in addition to praise songs for God. The main character for "Sing a Joyful Song" is a singing butterfly named Madame Flutterby. She and her mate are taken by a gentle human named Noah to ride upon the ark during the 40 day flood. She meets many other animals and makes friends with them on the ark. But some of the animals are fearful and begin to cry when the time on the ark becomes long and uncertain. It is then that Madame Flutterby uses her gift of singing to calm and quite the other animals. Even better, she decides it would help everyone if many animals could help make music together and a wonderful concert on the ark of living music erupts in praise to God the creator. Noah tells her and all the animals, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord," with much gladness. None of the animals were sad or unhappy any more. "Sing a Joyful Song" is the best kind of inspirational reading for young children. The gentle pastel colored illustrations reveal the innocence of the animals and the great sense of adventure shared by all of them with the human family in the ark.

The Health Shelf

Just Like Grandpa
Elizabeth Murphy-Melas, author
Mary Kay Wright, illustrator
Health Press NA inc.
2920 Carlisle NE, Suite 111
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
9780929173566, $14.95,

"Just Like Grandpa: A Story About Color Vision Deficiency" is a children's special needs book that tells a quiet, gentle story about a boy who finds he has inherited color-blindness from his grandfather. Filled with gently humorous, colored illustrations, "Just Like Grandpa" explains gradually why Ben has difficulty at school distinguishing the red objects or items from the green ones, or sometimes the brown ones. Ben has CVD, or color vision deficiency, as do 8 percent of all boys and one half percent of all girls. CVD is usually caused by a genetic abnormality, and can be part of a familial tendency towards CVD. It can also be caused by other factor such as aging, injury to the eye and use of certain medications, although these are more infrequent causes. Once Ben is diagnosed as CVD, he learns there are many things he can do to cope with his color insensitivity. He learns some of these coping skills from his Grandpa and some from his mother and some from his teacher. Ben learns that he is not dumb just because he cannot distinguish certain colors, such as red, green, and brown. He learns that with help he can separate and label his school colored pencils, so he can read the label and know what color he is using. Best of all, Ben learns that he can lead a full and active life while using some ordinary daily coping strategies to adapt to his CVD. "Just Like Grandpa" is the thirteenth book by this publisher in a series of bibliotherapy children's books. Like the others, it contains diagrams and explanations of medical terminology and refers readers to special resources. "Just Like Grandpa" is recommended for children age 5 and up.

The Easy Reader Shelf

Mice on Ice
Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley, author/illustrators
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823425761, $14.95,

"Mice on Ice" is a fantastically illustrated I Like To Read book for beginning readers that features sparse, repetitive, verse narrative with brilliantly colorful illustrations. Created by a father-daughter team, "Mice on Ice" is full of visual and verbal surprises that will keep the pages turning. Whoever heard of mice that can skate on ice? And wear such funny, colorful clothes? And what happens when they meet (gasp) a Cat? Children of all ages will adore the spunky sparkly pages of "Mice on Ice," a preschool reader that is destined to become a beloved classic.

The ABC Shelf

T is for Twin Cities
Nancy Carlson and Helen L. Wilbur, authors
David Geister, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585365838, $16.95,

"T is for Twin Cities: A Minneapolis/St. Paul Alphabet" is a historically based colorful alphabet book that explores famous landmarks and traditions of the Minneapolis/ St, Paul area in Minnesota. Every page features a letter related to a special Twin Cities feature, subject, or topic, with an explanatory paragraph accompanied by a full page color illustration of the subject. In a popular example, "T is for Twin Cities" tells of the famous comic artist, Charles Schultz (for "C"), former Twin Cities resident and creator of Peanuts, Snoopy, Lucy, and Charlie Brown. Other representative choices include "A is for art," with a picture of the spoonbridge fountain with a cherry in Minneapolis, and "G is for Tyrone Guthrie," founder of Minneapolis' famous Guthrie Theater. Other popular alphabet choices include Vikings, State Fair, Keillor (Garrison), and University, in addition to River, Ice, and Zero degrees. Written for children ages 6-10, "T is for Twin Cities" is a great way to introduce kids to many fun facts and fascinating background stories of the beautiful Twin Cities area in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The Board Book Shelf

Little Hockey
Matt Napier, author
Renne Benoit, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781575367122, $7.95,

"Little Hockey" is a rhyming riddle book full of exciting color illustrations of all the trappings of hockey. Printed on sturdy pasteboard, here are 10 rhyming riddles with clearly illustrated answers that every child can easily learn, enhancing reading, counting, and comprehension skills all at once. "Little Hockey" is the perfect preschool reading-counting book for young sports and hockey fans.

The Fiction Shelf

A Long Way From Home
Alice Walsh
Second Story Press
20 Maud Street, Suite 401
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2M5
9781926920795, $11.95,

9/11 would prove to be a terrifying entry into America. "A Long Way From Home" is a novel set on September 11th, 2001, following teenaged Rabia, her single mother and her brother as they come to America on that day where Afghanistan and the Arabic world became the enemy in the eyes of many America. Unusual friendship grows between Rabia and an American, and find kindness in a tumultuous time for new Americans. "A Long Way from Home" is an enticing and much recommended addition to any literary fiction collection.

Tale of the Black Mamba
Lenore Angela
Rare Rabbits Press
29540 Duncan Avenue
Abbotsford, BC V4X 1J4, Canada
9780987808004, $15.95,

With a little skill at illusion at hand, the hunt for treasure may be a bit ill advised. "Tale of the Black Mamba" is a turn of the century adventure. Teen magician Avery Fontaine is led on the search for a treasure at the Buffalo, New York World Fair. Of course, his curiosity doesn't mean he's the only one looking for it, and there may be someone far more foul who will go for any means necessary to line his own pockets in the Black Mamba. "Tale of the Black Mamba" is a fun addition to any youth historical fiction collection.

Because of the Moon
C. J. Cutayne
Blue Moose Publishing Group
9780987689313, $12.95,

A troubled youth has to face much until they find their life's own path. "Because of the Moon" follows Jay Roberts, who faces trouble as he's caught doing graffiti. Sentenced under his grandfather's supervision in an Indian reservation, Jay continues to rebel against all, but it might all change when he learns a bit of respect. "Because of the Moon" is a strong pick for youth and coming of age fiction collections.

Tegan O'Malley
Larry Names
Eagan Hill Publishers
W6694 County Road YY
Neshkoro, WI 54960
9780910937276, $12.99,

Not every doorway is a two-way affair. "Tegan O'Malley: The Traveler in Time" is the first entry into Larry Names series following Tegan, who discovers her ways to pass through the past, but finds that coming back is really quite difficult. With humor and adventure for young readers, "Tegan O'Malley" is a fun read that young adults may quite well enjoy, recommended.

Playoff Fever & Split Pants
Marty Schupak
Youth Sports Club
9 Florence Court
Valley Cottage, NY 10989
9781475280371, $11.99,

'If only I...' is a phrase we utter to ourselves forgetting what we left behind. "Playoff Fever & Split Pants" is a youthful coming of age tale centered around baseball as Cliff Vermond deals with the pressures of potentially costing his team the championship and dealing with the new pressures of young adulthood and what it brings to the table. "Playoff Fever & Split Pants" is a fine choice preteen and teen readers, much recommended.

Burglar Boy
Jackie Martin
Pegasus Publishers
9781907552144, $10.77,

A life of crime is not for everyone, even if they're somewhat good at it. "Burglar Boy" is a youthful novel of adventure from Jackie Martin, telling of young Dean, a burglar put up to it by his brother. On one particular breaking and entering adventure, Dean finds something much more than the riches he's suppose to snatch, and nothing will ever be the same. "Burglar Boy" is a fine addition to any youth fiction collection.

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

Marissa Moss's AMELIA'S BACK-TO-SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE (9781442443495, $12.99) looks like a notebook filled with handwriting and color drawings and provides advanced elementary to early middle school readers with a fun and different back-to-school guide. Amelia's notes about school come from herself, her fans and her friends, and features two stories: 'Vote for Amelia' and 'Amelia's Guide to babysitting'. It's a delightfully whimsical account of the end of summer, the beginning of a new semester, and one girl's advice about the whole matter. Readers in middle school will appreciate Martin Leicht and Isla Neal's MOTHERSHIP (9781442429604, $16.99), which is Book One of the 'Ever-Expanding Universe' series. Elvie lives in 2074 and has a best friend and a bright future working on a project on Mars. When she gets involved with handsome but dumb Cole and becomes pregnant, she's sent to a home for teen mothers for her junior years - and finds herself kidnapped by a team that includes her boyfriend, who tries to warn her that her teachers are aliens after her unborn baby. Science fiction blends with the story of a pregnant teen facing down alien invaders in this fine and very different story, recommended for mature readers.

Scholastic Press
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999

Donna Freitas' GOLD MEDAL SUMMER (9780545327886, $16.99) tells of Joey Jordan, who loves gymnastics but has never quite made it to the top ranks of competition. Now she wants to challenge herself with a new routine her coach forbids - and also finds her life further complicated by romance. The summer promises to be a life-changing one, taking Joey to new heights of achievement and despair, and her experiences in GOLD MEDAL SUMMER - based on the author's own experiences in real life - makes for riveting reading. Also absorbing is Sarah Rubin's SOMEDAY DANCER (9780545393782, $16.99), which tells of Casey Quinn who lives in the South Carolina countryside in 1959 and dreams of becoming a dancer. Her family is poor and can't afford ballet lessons - but she dreams of living in New York City. A powerful story of achievement against all odds evolves. Patricia C. Wrede's THE FAR WEST (9780545033442, $17.99) provides a powerful fantasy recommended for mature readers and tells of Eff, who has traveled past the Great Barrier Spell, seen steam dragons, and come back home - only to find herself drawn to the Far West again. Eff will learn more about magic and life during the course of her journeys in this involving, compelling saga recommended for any young adult fantasy enthusiast.

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

Dave Shelton's A BOY AND A BEAR IN A BOAT (9780385752480, $16.99) provides a whimsical, fun story of a boy and a bear who go to sea only to encounter turbulent waters and terrifying sea monsters. The odds are against them - can they survive, and can their friendship overcome all odds? Black and white illustrations throughout a 290-page story make this a good pick for kids who have mostly transitioned past the picturebook levels but still enjoy some degree of illustration. Jenny Smith's DIARY OF A PARENT TRAINER (9780385741989, $12.99) is a fun 'diary' of a kid who advises others on 'parent training' routines. But it's not just about parents: it's about friendships, romances, security breaches, and fun times with friends, and is a whimsical and delightfully light read. Steve Colter's CHEESIE MACK IS COOL IN A DUEL (9780375864384, $15.99) returns Cheesie and Georgie to readers in grades 4-6. This time the duo is off to their favorite summer camp in Maine, where they will get to make the campfires. It's certain to be a great summer - until they're placed in a cabin with Cheesie's arch enemy Kevin. Can they turn disaster into opportunity? All are delightful leisure reading choices.

The Multimedia Shelf

Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Anna Harwell Celenza, author
JoAnn E. Kitchel, illustrator
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781570916373, $19.95,

"Vivaldi's Four Seasons" is an illustrated book and CD about the famous set of four concertos for violin composed by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) entitled "The Four Seasons." After the concertos were written, Vivaldi wrote a set of four sonnets to accompany them. The author of "Vivaldi's Four Seasons" speculates that Vivaldi wrote the music for the concertos and the sonnets with a very special performing group of orphan girl musicians in mind, the Pio Ospedale della Pieta (Devout Hospital of Mercy) for orphan girls. Vivaldi spent substantial time in his early career teaching the girls of the orphanage to perform and love music. The children were poor, possibly handicapped, and starved for stimulation and beauty. Vivaldi, a beginning priest, tried to bring the girls a bit of joy and color and stimulation along with his music lessons. Their performances became quite well known and skilled, despite the convention of a disguising screen to hide the young musicians, some of whom may have been considered undesirable looking because of their handicaps. "Vivaldi's Four Seasons" is a stimulating, colorfully illustrated musical history and appreciation biographical sketch of both the composer and his work with the early performers of this lovely set of concertos for violins. Touches of reality bring the setting of "The Four Seasons" to life in the Baroque era of Venice, and the healing, transformative power of music is celebrated first and last. "Vivaldi's Four Seasons" is the seventh music appreciation title for young readers by this author.

Dorme: A Magical Dreamland Visit
Sylvia Binsfeld
Owl & the Tiger Dream Press
29 Creekwood Square, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
9780983704805, $19.95,

"Dorme: A Magical Dreamland Visit" is a special bedtime experience illustrated book and DVD for busy young children. Described as a visual lullaby, "Dorme" is a sleep time preparation experience that can enable children and parents to embrace a peaceful night's rest with some mysterious positive dream symbols and imagery sprinkled throughout. After being kissed good night by his mother, a young boy steps into a starry void, entering the beginning of Dorme, which means sleep. He sees floating toys, an unfamiliar house, a bridge and a tiny toy boat with no oars, on which he magically finds himself afloat. Soon he also sees his mother, come to guide and protect him on his dreamland journey. He meets more mysterious people, including the Sandman, and his Grandmother, and eventually he stages a magical release of a dove so that he and other children can embrace peace and love. This signals the beginning of the end of this night's adventure, but tomorrow will bring another one. "Dome: A Magical Dreamland Visit" is a beautiful bedtime story to be enjoyed by parents and children. The gentle narrative verse and the dreamy gold and midnight blue pictures of magical dreamland experiences are both lulling and unforgettable, both real and magical. One of the wonderful secret messages is "The time to return to innocence has begun..."

W is for Wapiti
Christiane Duchesne and Paul Kunigis, composers
Karen Young and Glen Bowser, performers
Genevieve Cote, illustrator
The Secret Mountain
3816, Royal, Montreal, QC, Canada, H4A 2M2
9782923163833, $16.95,

"W is for Wapiti: An Alphabet Songbook" is a vivid alphabet songbook with an imaginative illustrated song/poem for every letter. The book is accompanied by a CD so children can learn to sing along as they laugh and learn much more than their alphabet. An unusual example is Papa's Quiet Rascals, a song about kitty cats in honor of P, Q, and R. "Daddy, oh Daddy/ Will you sing me a song?/ I'd like to hear the one/ About the four kitty cats/ Papa's quiet rascals/ Lying under the bed/ No one can see them there/ It's dark under the bed/ Papa's quiet rascals/ Are really quite rambunctious/ Purring, snoring, hissing, growling/ Papa's quiet rascals." As any child can quickly hear, this is not your standard alphabet songbook, it is way too much fun! The theme of imaginative fun is further explored in the accompanying CD performances, which end with a recap song, "Let's Sing It Again!" "W is for Wapiti" is the perfect gift for the over well read child who needs a little fresh outlook on learning.

The Music CD Shelf

Love is a Superpower
Ben Rudnick & Friends
Bartlett Ave. Productions, Inc.
PO Box 1426, Arlington, MA 02474-0022
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127

Love is a Superpower is the tenth family-friendly album from the popular performing group Ben Rudnick and Friends (also jokingly known as "the Grateful Dead for kids"). Featuring eleven songs (nearly all of them original), Love is a Superpower brims with enthusiasm and a diversity of pop culture musical types, from '70's soul and funk to a tribute to the Beatles' upbeat style. Adults will enjoy the songs just as much as their children in this excellent all-around pick especially recommended for family road trips. The tracks are "A Little Boogie" (3:02), "Love is a Superpower" (4:07), "Where are the Dragons?" (4:20), "Wake Up Happy" (3:30), "Ray" (3:43), "Chicken Soup Ballad" (4:27), "Prime Time" (2:47), "Wheels" (2:41), "My Horse" (2:17), "Swingin' Along" (3:27), "Scribbling" (2:21), "Here Comes the Sun" (2:52), and "Jenny Jenkins" (4:24). 44 min., 11 sec.

The Colored Pencil Factory
Smoggy Borough Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Family-friendly bluegrass band Astrograss presents their latest album The Colored Pencil Factory, a tuneful music CD intended for listeners of all ages. The Colored Pencil Factory is more than just entertainment; its songs chronicle how the art of bluegrass and folk music originated and evolved, becoming a treasury of cultural history, and speaking to problems both historic and modern. The songs draw upon a range of styles from Appalachian mountain music to traditional bluegrass, progressive bluegrass ("newgrass"), and even Eastern European folk, but all of them have an undeniably catchy cadence. A great introduction to the wonderful bluegrass tradition, The Colored Pencil Factory is highly recommended. 49 min.

Family Values
Charity and the JAMband
Raindrop Records
c/o Waldmania! (publicity
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

San Francisco's award-winning, family-friendly music group Charity and the JAMband present their fourth studio album, Family Values, a music CD for ages 3-9 about the enduring value of positive emotions and outlooks, as well as the precious virtues of kindness and empathy toward other human beings. The musical tempo ranges from thoughtful to singsong to flat-out rock 'n' roll. A delightful work featuring intelligible lyrics, a strong moral message, and an inner soul of compassion, Family Values is highly recommended. The tracks are "Peace Pledge", "Family Values", "Loving Kindness", "Lemonade", "Bike", "Love is Here", "Ice Cream", "Valentine", "Flower Power", "Green Beans Everywhere", "Grateful", "We Are The Ones", and "You Are My Sunshine". 48 min.

Barry G. and the Dream Jam Kids
Produced by Rick Chertoff
myKaZoo Music
c/o Universal Music Enterprises
2220 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street, Portland, OR 97221

Produced by five-time Grammy Award nominee Rick Chertoff, Huh-uh is a children's music CD from Barry G and the Dream Jam Kids, featuring ten original songs in the spirit of folk music. Designed to be sing-along friendly, and tuneful to ears of all ages (so that adults can enjoy repeated listenings along with their little ones), Huh-uh is a top pick for car trips, children's parties, or rainy day fun. The tracks are "Huh-uh", "Act Like an Animal", "Into the Valley", "The Captain Was a Monkey", "The Longest Train", "Hammer Ring", "Just Chillin'", "Who's That Twisting", "Hello Hello", and "Are You Sleepy".

Rabbit Days and Dumplings
Elena Moon Park and Friends
Festival Five Records
323 Dean Street, Suite 2
Brooklyn, NY 11217

The debut album of performer Elena Moon Park, Rabbit Days and Dumplings is a children's music CD featuring widely beloved songs from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Tibet, arranged with flair by Park and a multitude of other musicians. Both English and Asian languages are used in the playful performances, which draw upon western and traditional Asian instruments for a beautiful fusion of tradition and harmony. A wonderful, singsong introduction to Asian culture, Rabbit Days and Dumplings is highly recommended. The tracks are "Sol Nal", "Diu Diu Deng", "Doraji", "Tum Tum Chuen", "Sisi Sima", "Soran Bushi", "Poong Nyun Ga", "Akatombo", "Zui Zui Zukkorobashi", "Diu Shou Juan", "San Toki", "Picking Flowers", "Summer is Here", "Ti Oh Oh", "Anta Gata Doko Sa", and "Tinsagunu Hana".

Middle of Nowhere
To Market Kids
4136 Lamson Avenue
Spring Hill, FL 34608

Middle of Nowhere is the debut children's music CD that brings to life the fictional character of Elska (from the Icelandic word "to love") who lives on an imaginary volcanic island in the Arctic, just off the coast of Iceland, with a handful of quirky animal friends. An illustrated CD booklet complements this delightful and imaginative musical romp. Middle of Nowhere is brimming with joy and a powerful sense of wide-eyed wonder. The tracks are "I Just Had an Idea", "Winter Bear", "Don't Make Fun of the Goobler", "Arctic Fox", "The Land of Lost Socks", "Click Click", "Man-Made Hole", "In the Middle of Nowhere", "Hiddi Hiddi", "Midnight Sun in the Arctic", "The Elska Express" and "Frozen in Time".

The Grand Scream of Things
Andy Z
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Ideal for young people ages 8-12, The Grand Scream of Things is a Halloween-themed music CD/audio play by award-winning children's performer Andy Z. Young Andy and his talking chihuahua Reggie discover a lost magic wand, so Andy sets out to return the wand to its owner - the mysterious Sandy Witch. A musical adventure comes to life in the thrilling style of an old time radio play; The Grand Scream of Things features ten Andy Z original tunes from a variety of different styles, including punk, hip-hop, and Big Band swing. The Grand Scream of Things is scream-tastic seasonal fun, highly recommended especially for children's Halloween parties. 66 min.

Bubble Ride
Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys
c/o Waldmania! (publicity)
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Multiple award-winning children's band Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys present Bubble Ride, a music CD brimming with energy and enthusiasm the whole family can get into. Acoustical instruments complement the clear diction and pitch-perfect harmony, allowing the humorous song lyrics to shine through. Bubble Ride is pure family-friendly fun, ideal for young listeners ages 1-8 and perfect for car trips or children's parties. The tracks are "Moomooheehawbaabaaneigh" (3:55), "Peacock Walk" (3:19), "Spinning Around" (3:35), "Tickle Monster" (2:49), "One Fine Day" (2:39), "Train Dance" (4:20), "Bubble Ride" (3:20), "Yo-yo Song" (4:04), "Hey Ho" (2:25), "Mama Dada Blues" (3:44), "Deep in the Jungle" (3:10), "What Am I To Do" (3:23), "Free To Be You And Me" (3:01), and "Bye Bye Song" (3:11). 47 min.

The DVD Shelf

Worlds Together: Ethiopia
Master Communications, Inc.
4480 Lake Forest Drive, Suite 302
Cincinnati, OH 45242
9781604801064 $29.95

Worlds Together: Ethiopia (25 min.) is an educational DVD ideal for grade school and high school classrooms about a relatively little-known nation. Covering the basics of Ethiopian culture, history, food, geography, and people, Worlds Together: Ethiopia visits the cities of Harar and Addis Ababa, as well as the 800 year old Christian Churches of Lalibela. An extraordinary and optimistic glimpse of a faraway land, Worlds Together: Ethiopia is especially recommended for school and library DVD collections, as are the other two debut installments in the Worlds Together series, "Worlds Together: East Africa" and "Worlds Together: West Africa".

Read & Sing with Hap Palmer
Hap Palmer
Hap-Pal Music
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)

Ideal for youngsters ages 4-9, Read & Sing with Hap Palmer: Musical Picture Books for Young Children is a DVD containing twelve beloved songs by children's musician Hap Palmer, brought to life with colorful illustrations and photographs, and designed to encourage young people to read and sing aloud. An exuberant, upbeat way to help children start identifying sight words and increase their vocabulary, Read & Sing with Hap Palmer is highly recommended for gift giving and for public library children's collections. The picturebook-songs are "Sammy/I'm Glad I'm Me", "What A Miracle", "Down By The Bay", "The Mice Go Marching", "What Do The Animals Say?", "The Clown Song", "Growing", "Backwards Land", "Teddy Bear Ball", "Witches' Brew", "One Little Sound", and "We're On Our Way".

Angelina Ballerina Dreams Do Come True: The Movie
Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Angelina Ballerina Dreams Do Come True: The Movie is a full-length computer animated movie about everyone's favorite dancing mouse at a crossroads. Should Angelina become a prima ballerina, or stay with the Camembert Academy where her friends and family are? A colorful, upbeat viewing experience sure to delight and inspire, Dreams Do Come True is especially recommended for young girls. Dreams Do Come True offers the language choices of English, French, or Spanish, as well as a bonus "Sing & Dance with Angelina" game. 56 min., widescreen.

Hit Entertainment
Lionsgate (distribution)
c/o Andrea Blain Public Relations
9750 Crawford Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076

Two new computer-animated children's DVDs from Hit Entertainment's popular series contain positive messages for young boys and girls alike! "Bob the Builder: The Ultimate Can-Do Crew Collection" ($9.98, 103 min., English/Spanish/French language options, fullscreen) packs in ten family-friendly episodes touting the values of hard work as a team, creative problem solving, and the fun and adventure of tackling big challenges. Bonus features include the "If You Were On Bob's Team" game and the "Lofty the Painter" game. "Fireman Sam Heroic Rescue Adventures" ($9.98, 55 min., English/French language options, fullscreen) features six courageous episodes of Fireman Sam and his capable crew, selflessly rescuing people in perilous situations. Both DVDs offer strong moral values, encouraging young viewers to emulate the virtues of bravery and industrious behavior, and are highly recommended.

The World History Shelf

A Passion for Victory
Benson Bobrick
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9780385868696, $19.99,

A PASSION FOR VICTORY: THE STORY OF THE OLYMPICS IN ANCIENT AND EARLY MODERN TIMES is a pick for grades 5-7 and provides a fine survey of the ancient Olympics, suitable for any collection strong in Greek history and sports history. It charts the ancient Games and the evolution of the Olympic movement, and details the evolving quest to keep the Olympics alive over the centuries. Vintage black and white photos accompany plenty of facts and lively sports history details about the early Olympics: perfect for reports and research projects.

The Autism Shelf

My Friend Zac
Toni Cheray
1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781463418311, $10.63,

Autism can prove to be tough to understand for many children. "My Friend Zac" is a memoir from Toni Cheray, as she presents a story of children's friendships with her autistic son Zachary, drawn from her experience witnessing how young people struggle to interact with him properly. With a powerful message of tolerance and understanding, "My Friend Zac" is highly recommended for children's picturebook collections, and as a tool to help youngsters better understand autism.

Books in Series

Gary Jeffrey, author
Emmanuele Boccanfuso, illustrator
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349
New York, NY 10003
9781433967634, $23.95,

"Mermaids" is a title from the Graphic Mythical Creatures series of six titles of illustrated nonfiction books about the history and lore of mermaids (and other fantastic creatures or beings). "Mermaids" contains three chapters including The Mermaid's Comb, Sea People, and Other Mermaid Tales, plus a glossary and index. Tales are collected from different locations and sources, including Cornwall, Great Britain, The Magdalenes, islands off the coast of Canada, and even Russia, Ireland, and Cameroon. Beautiful colored illustrations show depictions of mermaids from history and in artists' imaginations. "Mermaids" will pique the imagination of young readers about the various myths and origins of the mystical mermaid. Other titles in this series that are recommended include "Centaurs," by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Alessandro Poluzzi (9781433967511, $23.95), "Firebirds," by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Sara Cappoli (9781433967559, $23.95), "Vampires," by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Dheeraj Verma (9781433967719, $23.95), "Goblins," by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Dheeraj Verma (9781433967597, $23.95), and "Unicorns," by Gary Jeffrey, illustrated by Dheeraj Verma (9781433967672, $23.95).

Counting in the Desert 1-2-3
Aaron R. Murray, author
Enslow Publishers, Inc.
Box 398, 40 Industrial Road
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
9780766040519, $21.26 each,

"Counting in the Desert 1-2-3" is a preschool counting book that features fabulous color photography of animals and plants in desert settings. Here are lizards, birds, scorpions, beautiful views of sand dunes, meerkats, camels, a spider, and a cactus, all with a large colored number blocked opposite the photo page. Preschool children will love learning their numbers 1-10 with "Counting in the Desert 1-2-3," which is part of a counting series of books featuring different habitats and locations. Also recommended in this series are the following titles by the same author: "Counting in the Tundra 1-2-3" (9780766040564), "Counting in the Grasslands 1-2-3" (9780766040540), "Counting in the Oceans 1-2-3" (9780766040526), "Counting in the Rain Forest 1-2-3" (9780766040557), and "Counting in the Forest 1-2-3" (9780766040533).

Marshall Cavendish
99 White Plains Road
Tarrytown, NY 10591

Six new additions to the 'It's My State!' series provide eye-catching covers and geography basics for grades 3 and up, and are picks for any collection who would stock a set of U.S. states. Each book holds some 80 pages of facts about the people, government, history, and geography of each state. An index, bibliography, and plenty of contemporary color photos and charts accompanies details that include a few projects for state-specific local creations (such as a cornhusker broom for Kansas). The six new additions include KANSAS (9781608706570, $21.95), HAWAII (9781608706563, $21.95), ALASKA (9781608706556, $21.95), VERMONT (9781608706600), $21.95), UTAH (9781608706594, $21.95) and NEW HAMPSHIRE (9781608706587, $21.95). The result is an outstanding survey highly recommended for any elementary-level collection.

Crabtree Publishing Company
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3308
New York, NY 10118

Bobbie Kalman's 'I Can Write a Book' series will reach grades 3-4 with captivating covers, intriguing invitations to explore one's creative writing skills, and specific themes. Six titles each hold some 32 pages of captivating color photos and illustrations, basic insights on what happens during the writing of a book, and keys to helping kids understand how they may use their experiences to write. Among the specific topics each book addresses: LANDFORMS (9780778779926, $26.60), CULTURE (9780778779896, $26.60), COUNTRIES (9780778779889, $26.60), MY LIFE (9780778779933, $26.60), HISTORY (9780778779902, $26.60) and BUTTERFLIES (9780778779872, $26.60). From basic topic facts to important step-by-step keys on how to write about a subject, introductory discussions of copyright, and more, each book provides elementary-level readers with guided and encouraging writing directions. Robert Walker's BAR AND BAT MITZVAHS (9780778740865, $26.60) joins others in the 'Celebrations in My World' series and offers basic insights on the lessons and ritual ceremonies for Jewish girls and boys coming of age. Kids in grade 2 receive 32 pages of large print, colorful modern photos, and a basic modern review of the processes and purposes of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremony. 'Vehicles on the Move' is a fine series for Grades 2-3, offering vehicle-specific book coverages of some 32 pages each and including unusual vehicles kids will find fascinating. Lynn Peppas produces engrossing coverages in ATVs AND OFF-ROADERS (9780778730170, $26.60), MONSTER TRUCKS (9780778730194, $26.60), CRANES (9780778730187, $26.60) and ROAD MAKERS AND BREAKERS (9780778730200, $26.60), adding to a popular and ever-expanding series that is packed with colorful pictures and clear descriptions of vehicle operations. All are fine picks recommended for any basic, elementary-level collection!

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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