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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 23, Number 9 September 2013 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Business Shelf Cookbook Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Self-Help Shelf Environmental Shelf
Sports Shelf ABC Shelf Health Shelf
Activity Shelf Music Shelf Board Book Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Picturebook Shelf Judaic Shelf
Christian Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Art Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fiction Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Bilingual Shelf Education Shelf Autism Shelf
Holiday Shelf Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf
Science Shelf American History Shelf Native American Shelf
Agriculture Shelf Books in Series  

Reviewer's Choice

Howard B. Wigglebottom On Yes or No
Howard Binkow, Reverend Ana, & Taillefer Long
We Do Listen Foundation
1750 Ben Franklin Drive #11G
Sarasota, FL 34236
9780982616581 $15.00

Howard B. Wigglebottom On Yes or No: A Fable About Trust is a picturebook expressly designed for parents, teachers, or caregivers to share with children in order to help teach them about trust - how to tell when a person has earned it or not, and that it's OK to say "no", especially to strange adults. The story follows the rabbit Howard B. Wigglebottom as he tries to help his skunk friend Buzz, who keeps getting tricked, duped, or taken advantage of. "After asking many people, they learned Buzz was to say NO, and not speak to or trust any stranger until a teacher or a grownup from his family said OK. 'Even if the stranger is nice and wants to give me nice things?' asked Buzz. 'Yes!' said Howard. 'You must run away. Always run away.'" The final two pages are "Suggestions for Lessons and Reflections", spelling out key points that children need to learn about when not to trust people. Young children lack are vulnerable because they lack the judgment that can only come from a lifetime of experience; Howard B. Wigglebottom On Yes or No is an invaluable teaching tool to help them stay safe and learn about socializing. Highly recommended.

Rosie Revere, Engineer
Andrea Beaty, author
David Roberts, illustrator
115 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
9781419708459 $16.95

Loosely inspired by the fictional character of Rosie the Riveter that represented women who worked to aid the Allies in World War II, Rosie Revere, Engineer is a children's picturebook about a young girl who dreams of becoming an engineer. She studies, and practices, and tries to build working devices - but all too often, something seems to go wrong! Fortunately her Great-Great-Aunt-Rose gives her some valuable encouragement. "Life might have its failures, but this was not it. / The only true failure can come if you quit." Rosie Revere, Engineer offers a strong positive message about following one's calling and dreams, especially to young girls, and is highly recommended especially for public library picturebook collections.

Princess Lily
Ood Stalcup, author
Kathy Kerber, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781467043823, $9.50,

"Princess Lily" is a child's story about a princess who lives in two castles; one with her father, Prince Daniel, for two days a week, and another with her mother, Princess Mommy, for five days a week. Princess Lily always enjoys special times with her daddy and his cat Koko, having tea parties, playing outside, and learning to do home chores like taking out the trash. Princess Lily loves her daddy, Prince Daniel, very much and feels cherished in their time together. Lively color illustrations make "Princess Lily" a natural choice for healthy reading especially for children of separated or divorced families.

The Dogma of Cats for Kids
Deb Snyder, PhD., author
Images and Illustrations by
AngelBaby Press
328 Main St., Bridgton, ME 04009
9781484014547, $14.95,

"The Dogma of Cats for Kids" is a wonderful survey of how to enjoy life's moments to the max, in other words, how to live like a cat, for the moment. Cat platitudes are written in catchy verse, and cat lessons are written in red. Every charming page has a picture of Cagney, the author's special black cat, for children to find. Look at the pictures and read the words and discover how cats can help us live with our hearts, whole and complete. "The Dogma of Cats for Kids" is charming, funny, sweet, and absolutely unforgettable. "So tell all your friends that you know cats are wise. They are caring and strong; they never tell lies. We can be like a cat, appreciate everything we see. We can love everyone and be like Cagney!" For more information about this series for kids, go to,

Yum! Yum! Yum!
Eunice Efiba Asare Parbi, author
Stock Imagery by Thinkstock
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781477247198, $21.35,

"Yum! Yum! Yum!" is a story about nurturing truth telling as a desirable trait in children, even when it is messy or inconvenient or funny or hard. Adam shares chocolate candy with his class while the teacher is busy. Though the class promised Adam not to tell (Yum! Yum! Yum!), Eliza counted and told the teacher about 14 packets of chocolate shared with the children. Even though the class promised not to tell about the chocolate, they did the right thing and told the teacher anyway, because telling the truth is better than Yum! Yum! Yum! After that, the teacher reassured Adam that he is valued and loved and encouraged the children to settle down to work. "Yum! Yum! Yum!" is a lovely teaching fable for children form this innovative new series.

Pookie and the Lost Shoe
Jennifer Hopson, author
Johnny Hopson, Jr., illustrator
Dill Purple Geniuses Media
PO Box 3897, San Dimas, CA 91773
c/o Mouth Public Relations
9780985702571 $14.95

Pookie and the Lost Shoe: Learn Your Position Words is a picturebook adventure that doubles as a way to teach young people about position words - behind, up, down, on, around, etc. The simple story about Pookie's search for her missing footwear highlights various position words, and the expressive, brightly colored illustrations enhance the action. With its subtle emphasis on teaching children how to use position words in context, Pookie and the Lost Shoe is an excellent choice for gift-giving, read-aloud storytime, or public library picturebook collections.

The Business Shelf

The Next Big Thing: Developing Your Digital Business
Barbara Gottfried Hollander, author
Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
9781448869268, $31.95,

"The Next Big Thing": Developing Your Digital Business" is a teen resource guide from the series titled Digital Entrepreneurship in the Age of Apps, the Web, and Mobile Devices. A photo illustrated introduction features a 2010 event in Ireland featuring young technology leaders Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Michael Birch (Bebo), Niklas Zennstrom (Skype), Chad Hurley (YouTube), and Divyank Turakhia (Directi). All these creative entrepreneurs have succeeded in the area of development of a digital business. "The Next Big Thing" presents the nuts and bolts of creative digital entrepreneurship in 5 brief chapters, reduced to 5 smart steps: They are, Develop the Concept, Define the Digital Product, Evaluate the Market, Write a Business Plan, and Choosing a Business Structure and Protecting Intellectual Property Rights. Chapters are succinct, illustrated with sidebars, charts, and photos, and cover a wide variety of pertinent areas of interest. Concepts such as app development platforms, a table of myths and facts about digital business ideas, business plan templates and software, social media, and domain registration are introduced and explained with precision. An example of the viability of ""The Next Big Thing" as a resource and planning guide is the list of 10 Great Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser on page 44. Finally, a glossary and bibliography with updated web site references is included for further information. "The Next Big Thing" is for most young business-bound creators, the next big thing. Further titles from the highly recommended Digital Entrepreneurship series for teens and adults include: "Growing Your Digital Business, (9781448869299, $31.95)," by Colin Wilkinson, "Going Live (9781448869275, $31.95)," by Colin Wilkinson, and "Increasing Your Tweets, Likes, and Ratings (9781448869282, $31.95)," by Suzanne Wernick.

The Cookbook Shelf

Cool World Cooking
Lisa Wagner, author
Junior Scarletta Readers / Scarletta Press
Perseus Book Group
10 South Fifth Street, #1105
Minneapolis, MN 55402
9781938063121, $15.95,

"Cool World Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids!" is a global collection of over 40 fabulous ethnic recipes from Mexico, France, Italy, Africa, the Middle East, and China and Japan, specially explained and adapted for cooking by kids. "Cool World Cooking" starts with a general introduction including the Basics, explaining clean, safe cooking customs and practices plus a guide to four key symbols for hot stuff, super sharp, nut alert, and cool ideas for creative cooking. There follow five sections of recipes organized by country or area of origin, with different recipes from each region. Kid friendly color photos of special ingredients help identify foods and also step by step cooking procedures. Each recipe begins with a title and photo of the finished dish, plus a green highlighted sidebar listing ingredients and an orange bar tab listing tools plus appropriate symbols for hot, sharp, nuts, etc. Step by step instructions are color coded and briefly and simply explained. The "even cooler" symbol is used to give additional ideas for delicious variations on each recipe. Some examples of savory recipes include: Seasoned Chickpea Salad from Algeria in Africa, Classic Croque Monsieur from France, Tempting Taquitos from Mexico, Harriet's Tasty Tabbouleh from the Middle East, Cool Cucumber Sunomono from Japan, and Fantastic Fettucini Alfredo, from Italy. "Cool World Cooking" is a fabulous introduction to global cuisine for kids with adult supervision. An additional education feature is the introduction to each geographical area with a highlighted world map and list of terms with pronunciations, plus there is a helpful glossary of cooking terms at the end.

The Multicultural Shelf

If You Were Me and Lived In... South Korea
Carole P. Roman, author/illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd.
North Charleston, SC 29406
9781481062343, $9.99,

"If You Were Me and Lived In...South Korea" is the third illustrated book in ': An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures', a series for children pre-K through age 8 years. In this whirlwind tour of countries, we land in East Asia and discover many interesting things about South Korea. Landing in the capital city of Seoul, on the banks of the Han River, children discover possible South Korean names, toys, foods, and currency, as well as terms of address for father and mother. A Korean Folk Village Museum called Min Sok Chon is toured to show what Korean life was like 500 years ago. Special Korean foods, metal chopsticks for eating foods, and exercises like Taekwondo are explored and portrayed for children, along with special holidays such as Seol-nal, or the Lunar New Year. A yellow school bus would take children to school, called haggyo. At the end of the story is a list of Korean words used and their phonetic pronunciations. This excellent geographical/cultural exploration series introduces children to a well founded appreciation for diverse backgrounds and ways of living.

The Grand Adventures of Petit Louis
Kayce M. Swigelson
Monograph Publishing
1 Put Lane
Eureka, Missouri 63025
9780988964310 $24.95

The Grand Adventures of Petit Louis is a colorful picturebook that joyfully introduces children to French culture. Petit Louis is an adventurous cat with a curious standard of beauty - he resolves to add an extra touch of class to the city of Paris by painting moustaches on every work of art and area of interest he can find! As young readers follow Louis' adventures, they learn about the majestic Louvre, the French ball game of Petanque (similar to horseshoes), the delight of fresh-baked baguettes, a handful of words in the French language, and much more. The moderately long story (48 pp.) is text-heavy enough to make The Grand Adventures of Petit Louis appropriate for more advanced readers who are just about ready to move on to chapter books. Highly recommended.

The Self-Help Shelf

When My Worries Get Too Big!
Karl Dunn Buron, author/illustrator
Brenda Smith Myles, PhD, Foreword
AAPC Publishing
PO Box 23173, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66283
9781937473808, $18.00,

"When My Worries Get Too Big!" is an excellent relaxation book written especially for kids with problems caused by anxiety or difficulty accepting changes. Originally created as a simple relaxation response for a five year old child who suffered from difficulty tolerating everyday schedule surprises, the 5 step relaxation exercise is explained simply in both words and illustrations. It is called "My Calming Sequence," or the "Relaxed Body Exercise." It is summarized as: 1. Take three long breaths. 2. Stretch your arms up over your head, down, and up again. 3. Rub your hands together and count to 3. 4. Rub your thighs and count to 3. 5. Take another long breath (and think of happy things). The child is also taught to use a stress scale to identify the level of anxiety he is feeling. Many pages of "When My Worries Get too Big!" invite the child to portray, express, or draw how he is feeling, or think of ways at each level of stress to try to feel calmer. Simple language and child-like illustrations reinforce the message of the child's relaxation book. "When My Worries Get Too Big!" also adds Recommendations for Teachers and Parents and Evidence-Based Strategies for Proactively Supporting Highly Anxious Children, as well as a list of references and other related books.

101 Rainbow Ribbons
Linda Colletti, author
Casey Niederwerfer, illustrator
First Person Productions, Publisher
50 S. Fair Oaks Avenue, Madison, WI 53714
9780984727629, $12.95,

"101 Rainbow Ribbons: Helping Children Understand Basic Concepts of Dying and Death" is a lovely family true story retold by the daughter of the story's subject to her grandson, Evan. "101 Rainbow Ribbons" is a story to help young children envision an afterlife, in a very fun image. In the story, Grandma answers Evan's questions about death and dying with honesty and care. "101 Rainbow Ribbons" can help to bridge the gap for young children struggling to understand death and dying. The image of the flying blue wagon, shown in bright, cheery illustrations by the author's son, is a wonderful imaginative transport to another realm that even young children can relate to. At the end of the book are suggestions and comments to parents of young children who are adjusting to the concept of death and dying, plus a list of other resource books about grief, death and dying for children.

The Environmental Shelf

Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods
Mary Quattlebaum, author
Laura J. Bryant, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Way
Nevada City, CA 95959
9781584693345 $16.95

Intended for young people ages 3-8, Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods offers a fresh, environmentally conscious take on the classic children's song. The singsong verse follows grandfather MacDonald and his granddaughter Jo as they hike through the forest, observe plants and animals, and enjoy the beauty of nature. "And in those woods she heard an owl, / E-I-E-I-O. / With a hoo-hoo here / And a hoo-hoo there, / Here a hoo, there a hoo, / Everywhere a hoo-hoo." The final few pages are filled with fun facts about the plants and animals (such as great horned owls) shown in the book, suggested indoor activities for more learning, and tips on "how to be a naturalist like Jo", such as how to be a safe and courteous hiker. "Do not approach or stalk a wild creature; if you discover one that is hurt or sick, tell a ranger or other adult." Jo MacDonald Hiked in the Woods is a special treat for parents to read aloud to their children when teaching them about the wonders of the great outdoors!

My Big World
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10110-0017
9780500650165 $18.95

Filled with colorful images throughout, My Big World teaches young people all about the world's environments, from oceans to forests to plants and animals. A number of hands-on activities, such as making ginger moon cookies, finger mountaineering, or starting a mini garden, are suggested with step-by-step instructions (though it should be noted that My Big World is not a consumable activity book). "Look at the busy bees flying from daisy to daisy, drinking nectar. Bees also collect pollen, which is a special powder that helps to make seeds. When a bee drops the pollen from one daisy onto another, a seed can form and a new flower can grow." Created by London-based author-and-illustrator group OKIDO, My Big World makes an excellent, education, and entertaining gift for little ones!

Nature's Yucky! 3 :The Eastern United States
Lee Ann Landstrom and Karen I. Shragg, authors
Rachel Rogge, illustrator
Mountain Press Publishing Company
1301 South Third Street West, Missoula, MT 59806
8679767426010, $12.00,

"Nature's Yucky! 3: The Eastern United States" presents fascinating information about the habits of white-tailed deer, black widow spiders, bobcats, giant swallowtail butterflies, ant lions, walking sticks, spotted salamanders, river otters, American toads, and many more eastern U. S. species. Each fully illustrated two page spread begins with a fact statement, followed by (in bold letters) the exclamation, "Eeewww!! That's Yucky!" This is followed by another page of information starting with "But hey, it's okay. Just imagine if it weren't that way!" At the end of the book are additional pages of information about the species described with accurate and stunning black and white illustrations. Additional activities and resources follow at the end of this fascinating nature education book for children age 5 and up.

The Sports Shelf

Big Book of Who: Football
Sports Illustrated Kids Books
c/o Time Home Entertainment
135 West 50th Street, NY, NY 10020
c/o Goodman Media International (publicity)
9781618930408 $17.95

Packed with over 120 pages of fascinating football facts, true-life player trivia, and striking full-color photography, Big Book of Who: Football is designed to teach young adult football enthusiasts about the 101 most important players of America's most fiercely cherished team sport. Some of the highlighted individuals are known for earning championship victories; some for their personal charisma; some for breaking records; all are iconic and exemplary athletes. Every page of Big Book of Who begins with a "Who" question, such as "Who is the last linebacker to be named MVP of a Super Bowl?", followed by the answer (Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis) with a couple paragraphs of text description. Big Book of Who: Football is a great pick not only for sharing the joy of learning about pro football with young people, but also as a sports trivia primer!

When Children Play: The Story of Right to Play
Gina McMurchy-Barber, author
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
311 Washington St., Brighton, MA 02135
9781554551545, $19.95,

"When Children Play: The Story of Right to Play" is a great illustrated history of the story of Right to Play, an international sport access program for disadvantaged children in troubled world communities. Begun in 1994 by Norwegian speed skate champion named Johann Olav Koss, Right to Play quickly changed from a fund raising Olympic Aid beginning to a hands on volunteer coached and supported charitable organization partnered with WHO and UNICEF to bring opportunities for healthy sports involvement and access to disadvantaged children. It's symbol is the red soccer ball with the motto "Look after yourself, look after one another," inscribed on it. A profound philosophy informs Right to Play, the idea that "we could translate this love of sport into an opportunity to promote health and well being throughout the world." Right to Play has programs for sport opportunities for children in countries around the world, including Uganda, Eritrea, Thailand, Pakistan, Rwanda, Ethiopia, China, and many more. Right to Play is supported by huge international volunteer support and is a member of United We Serve, a volunteering collective begun by President Obama in 2009 to improve communities and more, as well as UNICEF and WHO. The motto of Right to Play is "When children play, the world wins." The story of Right to Play is an inspiration to both children and adults in all parts of the world. "When Children Play" also includes a number of fun experimental games to play, with minimal or creative equipment required, and red highlighted inspirational quotations and promoter's thumbnail biographies. "When Children Play: The Story of Right to Play" is a vibrant resource on the Canadian-based organization of this international cooperative volunteer innovative program. Also included in the text are a glossary of terms, index, list of resources and references on Right to Play.

Sports Illustrated Kids STATS!
Sports Illustrated For Kids
c/o Goodman Media International
750 Seventh Avenue, 28th floor
NY, NY 10019
9781618930392, $14.95,

"Sports Illustrated Kids STATS!: The Biggest Numbers in Sports" is a profusely illustrated, 128 page compendium of player performance statistics in a variety of sports ranging from football and basketball, to auto racing and tennis. Nicely organized into five major sections (Unbreakable Records; Amazing Feats; Champions; Fast and Furious; Odd Numbers), "Sports Illustrated Kids STATS!: The Biggest Numbers in Sports" will delight young readers age 5 and up who are interested in athletic competition. Thoroughly 'kid friendly', informed and informative, "Sports Illustrated Kids STATS!: The Biggest Numbers in Sports" is very highly recommended for personal, school, and community library Sports & Athletics reference collections.

The ABC Shelf

A Silly Rhyming Alphabet Book About Animals From A To Z
Simone Da Costa, author
Anindita Modak, illustrator
Da Costa's Empire Publishing
9780987925510, $12.00,

"A Silly Rhyming Book About Animals From A To Z" is just what its title proclaims and more. Every page has a starring letter and animal in different bright color, accompanied with a little rhyming story. Extremely vivid, bright illustrations bring the silly animals to life, as in "M is for Monkey" and "P is for Parrot." After reading all 26 silly stories, there is A to Z Quiz Time, Do You Mind? Here are 10 multiple choice questions to help young children remember details of each silly animal's story, with quiz answers at the bottom. Children ages 3-6 will love this unusual alphabet story book with its unforgettable animals and bright, silly pictures.

The Health Shelf

No Ordinary Apple
Sara Marlowe, author
Phil Pascuzzo, illustrator
Wisdom Publications
199 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9781614290766, $16.95,

"No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully" is an invitation to kids to explore eating slowly, using all their senses in appreciation, or eating mindfully. Written as a story about Elliot, the hungry boy, and Carmen, his friend who invites him to learn to eat mindfully, "No Ordinary Apple" becomes an experiment in respectful food consumption and exploration. Vibrant color illustrations add to the adventure in really tasting, feeling, smelling, and even hearing an apple. The wonderful realization dawns on Elliot that he can learn to eat any food mindfully by slowing down and considering how the food looks, feels sounds, smells and tastes. "No Ordinary Apple" ends with a revelation that even pizza could be eaten mindfully, promising a whole world of taste sensations and experiences! "No Ordinary Apple" is also a story about the power of the mind to help experience the world fully and completely.

The Activity Shelf

Get Ready for Kindergarten: Numbers, Time & Opposites
Heather Stella, author
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
151 West 19th St., New York, NY 10011
9781579129385, $7.95,

"Get Ready for Kindergarten: Numbers, Time & Opposites" is a kindergarten math readiness workbook that has 251 skill exercises in math, days and months, comparing, numbers 1-20, telling time, opposites, and more. Part of a Teacher Approved Methods for Learning Fundamentals series, "Get Ready for Kindergarten: Numbers, Time & Opposites" is filled with easy to follow simple written exercises and games, with over 100 stickers to reward each completed page. With light parental supervision, children age 5 and up can learn to write numbers 1-20, add and subtract, recognize differences in size and amount, match pairs and opposites, and comprehend different ways of counting such as using tally marks. A pictograph answer key at the end is included, along with a certificate of completion for the child. "Get Ready for Kindergarten: Numbers, Time & Opposites"" is the perfect pre-K academic activity workbook to help prepare children for kindergarten and the early education years that follow. Also highly recommended in this teacher approved series is "Get Ready for Kindergarten: Letters & Sight Words (9781579129378, $7.95)."

Interactive Mini Scrapbooks
Kathy Orta Files, author
Annie's Publishing
306 East Parr Road, Berne, IN 46711
9781596358171, $14.95,

"Interactive Mini Scrapbooks" is a delightful craft book with illustrated instructions for four different interactive mini scrapbooks specially designed with add-on features for lucky children or grandchildren. Clear step by step instructions make the mini scrapbook construction easy to assemble and finish. Author and designer Kathy Orta Files presents many special tips and techniques and shows a dazzling array of imaginative finished mini scrapbooks. "Interactive Mini Scrapbooks" is a perfect mini treasure trove of creative scrapbook ideas for eager crafters.

The Girl's Book of Adventure
Michele Lecreux, et al.
Jocelyn Millet, illustrator
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppage, NY 11788
9780764166105, $14.99,

Authored by Michele Lecreux with Celia Gallais and Clemence Roux de Luze. "The Girl's Book of Adventure: The Little Guidebook for Smart and Resourceful Girls"" is a sturdy, hardbacked, spiral bound resource book filled with 40 different exciting projects for girls ages 8-12, complete with a decorative pink elastic book closer, to keep notes and pieces intact. Every page is cleverly illustrated and organized to highlight easy instructions and information about different activities or crafts, perfect to pursue on a summer vacation. Some examples include identifying poison plants, making an organic calendar, creating games, ways to recycle yogurt containers, easy recipes for seasonal treats and drinks, identifying wild flowers, party projects, making a dream catcher, and blank pages for notes and sketches and over 50 charming colored stickers, plus much more. "The Girl's Book of Adventure" is a recipe for creative leisure time activities that will appeal to girls age 8-12 with leisure time on their hands. Banish boredom and sponsor creativity and fun with "The Girl's Book of Adventure!" Also recommended in this series by the same authors is "The Boy's Book of Adventure (9780764166112, $14.99)," a great outdoors activity book and more.

Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing
Amie Petronis Plumley & Andria Lisle
Storey Kids
c/o Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
9781612120492, $18.95,

Kids who want to learn sewing machine basics will receive all these foundation skills here, with some twenty projects for decorating a room or creating accessories accompanying reusable pattern pieces and a lay-flat binding that lends to creating art and practical and fun pieces. From a felt guitar to a patchwork scarf and a quilt, this offers a range of projects from practical to whimsical - all of which build skills and offer delightful uses for the sewing machine which are kid-friendly and easy to learn. Elementary to middle school students will find this a fun approach!

Animals Upside Down
Steve Jenkin and Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780547341279, $24.99,

Turn wheels, pull tabs, lift flaps and more to reveal over twenty different animals and the methods they use to survive in this whimsical title recommended for any family where children want to absorb animal fats while learning in a fun, playful environment. The pop-ups and more aren't recommended for the rigors of library lending; but families will find this the perfect choice for any child fascinated by animals and old enough to handle a hands-on book of tabs and expanded animal images.

The Music Shelf

Maestro Mouse and the Mystery of the Missing Baton
Peter W. Barnes author
Cheryl Shaw Barnes, illustrator
Little Patriot Press
One Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001
Perseus Distribution (distributor)
250 West 57th St., New York, NY 10107
9781621570363, $16.95,

"Maestro Mouse and the Mystery of the Missing Baton" is a delightful musical mystery in which little Wolfgang Mouse helps Maestro Mouse find his lost baton, so he can finally conduct the mouse orchestra to play Beethoven's Ode to Cheese, in the Paramouse Concert Hall. Children can have fun finding the hidden Wolfgang in every page of illustration in the story, while they learn about the composition and performance of a classical symphony orchestra. A rhyming narrative text keeps story pages turning and interest high, while funny mouse instrumentalists demonstrate the many exciting musical instruments that make up an orchestra. In the end, mouse children receive a thorough educational tour of the mystery of symphony music performance. Helpful end notes for parents and teachers cover more information about each section of the symphony orchestra, plus notes on famous composers, a musical matching game, symphonic seating chart, a size them up instrument section, a musical facts and fiction quiz, and a further list of musical resources online. "Maestro Mouse and the Mystery of the Missing Baton" is a guided reading level O educational story book for children age 7 and up.

The Board Book Shelf

Potty Palooza
Rachel Gordon, author
Sarah Bergmann, illustrator
Parent's Guide by Claudia Gold, M.D.
Workman Publishing
225 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
9780761174851, $8.95,

"Potty Palooza: A Step-By Step Guide To Using A Potty" is a great step by step potty manual for kids and parents/caretakers. Complete with potty chart, three kinds of pretty stickers, a great potty song, and "A Parent's Guide to Toilet Training," "Potty Palooza" is a pasteboard map to success for kids ready for independent toiletry. Twelve simple steps are described and illustrated, along with a number of important facts about elimination (or pooping and peeing). Cheerful illustrations of a red headed toddler learning to pee and poop on the toilet help a youngster to identify with successful independent potty skills. A number (five) of curious creatures are invited to become part of the Potty Palooza; each one has a special role to fulfill for the child, including amusing them while waiting to pee or poop. The best thing in "Potty Palooza" is the silly Potty Song, to be sung to any tune you like that fits: ""Oh, the potty's nice for when I poop,/ And when I've got to pee./ I take my diaper off/ and then I sit on my tush-y!/ Yes, I sit on my tush-y!!!" "Potty Palooza" is full of great ideas for kids who are ready to use the potty and their parents; it almost makes potty training automatic!

The Easy Reader Shelf

Now I'm Big!
Karen Katz
Margaret K. McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor
New York, NY 10020
9781416935476 $15.99

Written especially for toddlers and young children, Now I'm Big! is an exuberant picturebook that celebrates the increased independence of growing up. The charming, colorful pictures show various children who can do brand new things all by themselves. "When I was a baby I drank from a bottle and ate with my fingers. What a mess! / NOW I'M BIG! I can eat with a fork and a spoon, and drink from a cup!" But the most exciting thing that a big kid can do by herself is take care of a new baby sister - "I can help her put on her booties, snap her snaps, and wash her face." Now I'm Big! is a heartwarming and empowering book perfect for parents to read aloud to and share with their growing children.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Voyage
Veronica Salinas, author
Camilla Engman, illustrator
Groundwood Books/ House of Anansi Press
c/o Publishers West
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781554983865, $16.95,

"The Voyage" is a simple, precise, delicately illustrated teaching tale or fable about building a strong sense of self in changing circumstances, with profound reverberations, of interest to all ages. It begins with a brown duck in a forest packing a knapsack, with the statement, "Maybe one day you have to leave...." The challenging adventure continues with the brown duck being blown very far away, to someplace strange, where no creature is speaking a language the duck can understand. Finally the duck cries for loneliness, but is surprised to meet a new friend (another duck!) Who she can understand! Asking the question ""Who am I?' is answered with a laugh and "You are who you are." Then the little brown duck can magically understand all the other creatures who tried to communicate with her and she is so happy. One day the wind comes along again and blows her new friend away. This time she is ready to meet a new friend and keep having new experiences. The mixed media appearing, minimalistic illustrations are absolutely central to the theme at the heart of "The Voyage," expressing its spare message of self-security so effectively. "The Voyage" is a timeless work, appealing to readers across generations.

Grandma Loves You!
Helen Foster James, author
Petra Brown, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
Suite 200
315 East Eisenhower Parkway
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585368365 $14.99

Grandma Loves You! is a children's picturebook created especially to express the love a grandmother has for her grandchild. The inviting color illustrations of a grandmother rabbit welcoming a baby bunny - her beloved grandchild - add a heartwarming touch to the charming text. "The moment I saw you, / I fell in love, Honey, my bunny, / my sweet turtledove... // My baby grew up, / and now there is you. / For you are my baby's baby, / that's true." The final two pages offer lines for a grandmother to write a special letter to her grandchild, and space to paste in a picture of grandma and grandchild together. Grandma Loves You! is a wonderful picturebook, perfect to read aloud and share with visiting grandchildren.

The Tyger Voyage
Richard Adams & Nicola Bayley
David R. Godine, Publisher
PO Box 450
Jaffrey, NH 03452
9781567924916 $15.95

Widely beloved and award-winning author Richard Adams (perhaps best known for his classic novel "Watership Down") presents The Tyger Voyage, one of his few children's picturebooks, brilliantly illustrated by Nicola Bayley. The rhyming verse is about an adventurous tyger father-son duo who set out to sea on a fantastic adventure. In an unusual blend of anthropomorphic and realistic elements, the father and son look very much like the hungry tigers one might find at a zoo, yet their amazing voyage has them hobnobbing with nobles and befriending gypsies, in between explorations of faraway lands. "My father's read this tale I've told / Of noble deeds and travels bold. / He says that while he must admit / The pair showed admirable grit, / He thinks that I should emphasize / Their trip was really most unwise." A delight to read aloud and share, The Tyger Voyage is highly recommended.

Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story
Elisa Kleven
Dial Books
c/o Penguin Group USA
345 Hudson Street, 15th floor
New York, NY 10014
c/o JKS Communications (publicity)
9780803737426 $16.99

Award-winning author and illustrator Elisa Kleven presents Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story, a heartwarming children's picturebook about the travels of a plucky little Glasswings butterfly named Claire. As the introduction mentions, Glasswings are a real butterfly species native to Central and South America, known for their purely translucent wings. Claire, the butterfly in the story, gets separated from her family, but with the aid of local city animals, she finds a beautiful garden where she can wait for them, amid a sea of colorful flowers. An upbeat, kindhearted children's story, Glasswings is an excellent choice for reading aloud to young ones, especially if they happen to be butterfly fans!

Noni is Nervous
Heather Hartt-Sussman
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5A 2P9
9781770493230, $19.99,

Noni is Nervous receives fun drawings by Genevieve Cote and tells of a girl nervous about her first day of school. From what to wear to handling a mean teacher and fellow students, Noni faces a world of frightening possibilities in going to school - and while her family offers comfort, support and advice, she must find her own solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. The result is a fine, realistic and fun story of a not-so-courageous girl who finds her own way into bravery in going to school by herself - something many a child will readily relate to.

How Roland Rolls
Jim Carrey, author
Rob Nason, illustrator
Some Kind of Garden Media
c/o Perseus Distribution
9780989368001 $16.95

How Roland Rolls is a cheerful children's picturebook by Hollywood movie star Jim Carrey. The exuberant, colorful artwork and the playful story follow Roland, a freewheeling wave who makes a splash - and new friends - everywhere he goes. How Roland Rolls is a fun read-aloud story, perfect for parents or grandparents to share with little ones.

Polly's Pipers
Helen Waldman
Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail Drive, Suite 205
Dallas, TX 75248-2871
9781612540726 $16.99

Inspired by a true story, Polly's Pipers is a lighthearted children's picturebook about a little girl who is distressed that her important "pipers" have gone missing! She searches everywhere for them - in the kitchen, in the closet, under the bed, and more. Her mommy joins the search as well, but just what are Polly's "pipers"? Colorful, vivacious, and ever-so-slightly exaggerated illustrations bring this gentle tale of hustle and bustle to life.

Too Much Glue
Jason Lefebvre, author
Zac Retz, illustrator
Flash Light Press
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610
9781936261277 $16.95

Too Much Glue is a colorful children's picturebook about a young boy whose enthusiasm in art class leads him to use more glue than the teacher recommends. When he gets glue and colorful bits of paper all over himself, none of his classmates can figure out how to detangle his sticky mess, until his parents come to collect him - fortunately, Dad has a brilliant idea! The lively, exuberant art adds the perfect touch to this just-for-fun read-aloud story.

Lion vs. Rabbit
Alex Latimer
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781561457090 $15.95

Featuring bold, uniquely stylized color illustrations Lion vs. Rabbit is an original picturebook intended for young readers ages 4-8. Lion is a notorious bully who makes the other animals miserable, but none of them can defeat Lion in any kind of competition... until Rabbit shows up to help! Rabbit beats Lion at a marshmallow eating contest, a quiz, a hopping contest, and more - but what is the hidden secret behind Rabbit's many talents? A gentle, playful parable evolves.

Saxony Grace
Tonia Roberts, author
Michele Phillips, illustrator
9781610051484, $14.95,

Saxony Grace Arrington is an adorable birthday princess about to turn 5 years old. But she is afraid she has lost her birthday present. Her father tells her to be patient and her mother bakes her favorite birthday cake, a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and jellybeans. Her best friend BB arrives and they run upstairs to discover the surprise birthday present, a pair of sparkly, purple Zippy Zoomers! The girls have a great time skating together and Saxony Grace has a happy day. Just as her parents are tucking her in on her 5th birthday, they tell her about another surprise. No, it is not a cat, as she guesses, but instead, a baby brother or sister! Saxony Grace decides to be very happy about her two birthday surprises. "Saxony Grace" is a beautiful story about an African American girl who has a white best friend and does her best to grow up at her own special rate.

Hank Finds an Egg
Rebecca Dudley
Peter Pauper Press, Inc.
202 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10601
9781441311580 $16.99

Intended for children ages 3-8, Hank Finds an Egg is a completely wordless children's picturebook. The story follows a small anthropomorphic mammal named Hank, who discovers a lost hummingbird egg that has fallen outside of the nest. He tries to keep the egg sufficiently warm, but how is he to return it to its mother and siblings? Hank, the egg, the hummingbirds, and the forest floor are brought beautifully to life with amazing, incredibly detailed and posed three-dimensional sculptures; scenes are photographically captured with the same exquisite care and love that went into crafting them. A heartwarming tale of compassion and love, Hank Finds an Egg is highly recommended.

Puddle Moon
Mari Gayatri Stein, author/illustrator
introduction by Astronaut David Scott
RiverWood Books
P.O. Box 3400, Ashland, Oregon 97520
9780979384004, $17.95,

"Puddle Moon" is a story of a magical, mystical adventure shared by Megan, Mumbles, her dog, Fumbles, her orange cat, and Inches the mouse. Together they hear the rain go "kerplunk" on the roof as they go to sleep, and instead they decide to have a moonlight adventure in the warm rainy night. They find a puddle which reflects the beautiful moon, "tempting as an ice cream cone, or a yummy bone, or a saucer of cream, or a slice of cheese." Together the friends float and fly to the beautiful Puddle Moon and enjoy an evening of fantastic delight. After chasing dreams and wishes, the friends are magically transported back safely to their beds, and memories of the Puddle Moon fill their dreams. Magical water color illustrations add to the intense charm and enchantment of this lovely bedtime story for children.

My Favorite Time of Year, A Rhyming Seasons Book
Julie Aydlott, Emily Sullivan, and Kalie Sullivan, authors
Farcas Fabiana, illustrator
SDBAS Publishing
P.O. Box 7275, Loveland, CO 80537
9780979412462, $12.95,

"My Favorite Time of Year" is an illustrated rhyming book of seasons written by two daughters and their mother. Filled with fun memories of seasonal traditions such as: eating hot dogs in warm weather, the joy of spring flowers and wearing no heavy coats plus hiding Easter eggs and eating chocolate bunnies, summer days at the beach, Fourth of July fireworks, and outdoor play and sleepovers with friends, fall shortened days, Halloween tricks and treats and November turkey and pumpkin pie. But the very best season of all is winter, when Christmas finally comes, with the lit and decorated tree, presents, and Santa, winter is definitely "My Favorite Time of Year!" The darkly tinted illustrations show two blonde sisters and their parents enjoying all the fun activities that mark each special season with joy and delight. The lilting verse narrative has a homey ring that takes a reader back to carefree childhood days.

Flora's Very Windy Day
Jeanne Birdsall, author
Matt Phelan, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780618986767, $6.99,

"Flora's Very Windy Day" is a wonderful, whimsical story about a girl named Flora who is blown away by a very strong wind along with her brother, Crispin. Flora has not shown too much appreciation of her brother, but when a dragonfly asks her for him (to polish her wings) she refuses, saying Crispin is her brother and she is taking him home. The dragonfly warns her "If the wind lets you." Flora and Crispin fly on with the wind, encountering a rainbow, a sparrow, a cloud, an eagle, and finally the man in the moon. Flora even talks to the wind, who asks her for Crispin, saying "You do want to get rid of him, don't you?" Flora answers, "No, thank you... I should take him home. My mother wouldn't like it if I lost him." The wind grants her request, and blows them home to her mother, who gives them chocolate chip cookies, after Flora brushes off a bit of rainbow from Crispin's coat. "Flora's Very Windy Day" is magnificently illustrated and hand lettered, with ink, water color, and pastels. "Flora's Very Windy Day" is ideal to read to young siblings who are learning to get along with each other.

The Rainbow Egg
Linda Hendricks, M.D., author
Christine Greer, R.N., illustrator
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781449775391, $12.95,

"The Rainbow Egg" is a new interpretation of the experience of adoption. Lovingly illustrated with colorful portraits of chief characters in their favorite places, "The Rainbow Egg" describes a hypothetical world where a chicken named Hope (who lives in the woods) lays a rainbow egg, but has no nest or protection or way of carrying and caring for her egg. Hope becomes very weary trying to carry her egg and she is startled to hear the song of a red bird, near a special home for other chickens, who all have nests and eggs (except for Mr. And Mrs. Rainbow). Because Mr. And Mrs. Rainbow have a nest but no egg, and Hope has an egg, but no nest, they listen to the song of the red bird and Hope gives the egg to the Rainbows to keep, hatch, love, and care for. The happy ending respects all players, and brings closure and harmony to this lovely allegory about adoption.

A Butterfly Without Wings
David M. F. Powers, author
Natalia Nesterova, illustrator
Pants On Fire Press
9780982727164, $11.99,

"A Butterfly Without Wings" is a delightful fable about a feisty caterpillar who is determined to surviving enough to eat his tasty green leaf, despite multiple encounters with potential creatures with designs to eat him. He is creative, spunky, and quick, but best of all, he imagines himself as "a butterfly without wings," not a caterpillar. Kids will love this sing song, spunky tale of an imaginative caterpillar who will live to see another day as a butterfly. The green and sunny illustrations bring "A Butterfly Without Wings" to full life.

Sammy C-Gull: Second Adventure
Jane Montecalvo, author
Hilbert Bermejo, illustrator
Sarah Jane Chapman, cover design
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781466955110, $16.09,

"Sammy C-Gull, Second Adventure" is a charming story about Sammy, a young gull who learns the difficult skill of making a smooth landing after flying high in the sky above the sea. Sammy learns with many other platoons of young gulls from a wise elder gull commander. At first none of the gulls really listen very well to the commander's instructions, and all land awkwardly, head first. But finally, after many repeated trials, all gulls including Sammy are able to land smoothly and make their teacher proud. They even are allowed to fly all the way out to Dog Bar Breakwater with their master and make a perfect smooth landing. Charming colored illustrations of Sammy and all the other gulls flying and landing over the waves extend the pleasure of the story, which teaches persistence, and perhaps, respect for others. "Sammy C-Gull" seems appropriate for children age 5 and up, due to its complex narrative and changing syntax.

Brady Needs a Nightlight: A Fundamentale About Nighttime
Brian Barlics, author
Gregory Burgess Jones, illustrator
Black Rose Writing
9781612961958, $15.95,

"Brady Needs A Nightlight" is a charming illustrated story in verse about an unusual young bat who likes the daytime. Brady is scared to sleep or fly in the dark, like other young bats. But he likes the lights of little fireflies, and some are persuaded to light on his ears and light up his night flights. Brady even invites his new firefly friends for a sleepover and they become his friendly nightlight's. This charming story written in hypnotic rhyme with its cut paper style illustrations
will beguile young reluctant sleepers to the land of dreams.

J. J. Bear
Tosca M. Schauer, author
Thinkstock, illustrator
Abbott Press
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781458207838, $16.99,

"J. J. Bear" is the delightful illustrated story of a lost teddy bear who finds himself in a factory warehouse, and is rescued by Charley the Company Cat and eventually adopted by a new loving family. J. J. Bear has many hair-raising adventures during his stay in the factory, but the ultimate outcome is overwhelmingly good. "J. J. Bear" is a creative, reassuring story about issues of abandonment and loss, with wonderful healing results. "J. J. Bear"" can be read to children age 7 and up with great enjoyment.

Mike the Little Bean: I'm Gonna Tickle You!
Marie Kyriakou, author
Anna Lombardos, translator
Lida Varvaroussi, illustrator
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781477223109, $22.88,

"Mike the Little Bean: I'm Gonna Tickle You!" is an inspiring allegorical children's story about a tough little green bean who encounters and survives many frightening obstacles and experiences. Mike is a resourceful, lovable character who is determined to cope with all the scary changes he experiences. Mike first encounters the Wind, who changes his world, and whom he escapes by inventing a great defense, tickling! He later is carried, blown, lifted, and chased through many strange environments, but he always manages to find a way to safety and happiness, although he misses his home and family of beans. Finally, Mike comes to a lovely garden and a little girl named Hope, who gently cares for him and plants him in the good earth, and waters him so he will grow into a great strong bean plant. "Mike the Little Bean: I'm Gonna Tickle You" is filled with charming painted color illustrations that allow the qualities of love and hope to shine through. The talented author of "Mike the Little Bean : I'm Gonna Tickle You" is a multiple award-winning children's charity supporter and advocate, performing in a show called "With Love" in Athens, Greece, where "Mike the Little Bean: I'm Gonna Tickle You" was presented live on stage in October, 2012.

Norby the College Mascot
Nick Patton, author/illustrator
St. Norbert College Press
c/o St. Norbert College
100 Grant St., De Pere, WI 54115
9780985108014, $14.95,

"Norby the College Mascot" is an illustrated book for kids about the famous mascot for St. Norbert College of De Pere, WI, affectionately known as Norby, or Sir Norbert the Green Knight. Norby is pictured in settings familiar to the college on the banks of the Fox River, exploring different ways of being himself. First Norby is happy being a mascot cheering at the games. Then he decides to explore other identities, including being a student, a professor, and even the college president. He likes all these experiences, but finally realizes that he is best pleased with promoting school spirit by being Norby, the special college mascot! Children ages 3-8 will enjoy the wildly colorful fun and humorous illustrations of Norby enjoying his adventures exploring different interests.

The Adventures of Parker the Parrot
Jenny Homfray, author
Joanna Dawson, illustrator
AuthorHouse UK
500 Avebury Boulevard
Central Milton Keynes, MK9 2BE
9781438912295, $TBA,

"The Adventures of Parker the Parrot" is a whimsical collection of beloved parrot stories, about Parker the parrot pet belonging to Miss Brown, the village schoolmistress. Parker loved to visit school with Miss Brown, and the students also loved for Parker to visit. Parker was not always good during his visits, but he certainly was entertaining. Here are three amazing Parker school visits memorialized in story chapters, illustrated by sensitive pen and ink water color portraits of Parker on his adventures. First Parker goes on a picnic by the sea with the students, hiding in the picnic basket and eating all the lunch treats! Next, Parker has adventures in the snow, attends Sports Day, and claims a rocket ship, all during sanctioned or unsanctioned school visits. Parker's parrot naughtiness is endearing and legendary. The children love him, and so does Miss Brown, despite his heedless-of-the-rules parrot behavior. "The Adventures of Parker the Parrot" is sure to interest young readers age 7 and up. It is dedicated to Felix, a boy who died of neuroblastoma cancer, and 50% of the royalties are going to the Neuroblastoma Society to fight childhood cancer.

We Love California!
Gabriella Francine with Solara Vayanian, authors
Phil Velikan, illustrator
BBM Books
220 Newport Center Dr. #11-369
Newport Beach, CA 92660
9781938504013 $15.00

We Love California! is a children's picturebook celebrating the Golden State. Cuffy the Grizzly (California's state bear) teaches young readers about the state capital, the state motto ("Eureka"), the state fossil (the saber-toothed tiger), and much more. Colorful, charming illustrations enliven this educational picturebook, highly recommended especially for public library children's collections.

King of the Zoo
Erica S. Perl
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545461825, $16.99,

KING OF THE ZOO receives lovely drawings by Jackie Urbanovic, who adds a whimsical touch to all her animal faces as she tells of one Carlos the chameleon, who is a cool and charming king of the zoo. Carlos thinks he's the most clever one of all - even king of the zoo - until he faces a host of other creatures who hold different ideas about who is actually on top. Can his ability to change colors result in a superior position? Kids will find this a fun, thought-provoking tale.

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

Michael Townsend's CUTE & CUTER (9780375857188, $15.99) tells of Sir Yips-A-Lot, a cute birthday present dog who becomes Janie's best friend - until on her next birthday the cutest kitty, Lady Meow-Meow, makes an appearance. Suddenly Sir Yips-A-Lot worries that he will be replaced in cuteness - and he tries to ramp up his own appeal to assure he'll always have a place in Janie's heart. Unfortunately she's preoccupied with Meow-Meow: can Sir Yips-A-Lot win her favor? A lovely story emerges. Good reading skills are required for Jennifer Larue Huget's THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO RUNNING AWAY FROM HOME (9780375867392, $17.99), which provides a fun primer on the topic and explores the basic process of carefully crafting one's exit. Red Nose Studio provides an engaging accompaniment to the whimsical survey of what it takes to run away from home, and how best to do so - a pick for any who can read sentences and are moving into the chapter book realm, but who aren't quite there yet. Lenore Look and Meilo So's BRUSH OF THE GODS (9780375870019, $17.99) provides a lovely biography of Chinese painter Wu Daozi, who wants to learn calligraphy but who really enjoys painting flowers and animals. Soon his work appears on walls of temples and in public - and his paintings become so realistic that his contemporaries take notice. While this is a biography and stays true to facts, it reads with all the drama and flair of fiction, and is a recommended pick for any who want their biographies spiced with fictional methods of drama and characterization. All are fine picks for picturebook collections.

Disney Hyperion
c/o Hyperion Books for Children
114 Fifth Avenue, 14th floor
New York, NY 10011

Donna Jo Napoli's A SINGLE PEARL (9781423145578, $17.99) receives gorgeous drawings by Jim Lamarche and tells of a grain of sand who believes he's worthless - until a hungry oyster ingests him and the sand becomes trapped within the oyster's shell. The grain of sand is terrified (if sand can have emotion) but over the years becomes transformed during its encounter with the oyster - and when a diver discovers its beauty, it changes from being a worthless grain to something magical. A fine story of how sand becomes a pearl becomes a magical account in this fine saga. Lynn Plourde's YOU'RE WEARING THAT TO SCHOOL?!! (9781423155102, $16.99) receives fine drawings by Sue Cornelison and provides the fun story of a hippo, Penelope, who is excited about the first day of school. She will wear her best new rainbow outfit and share a big picnic with her new friend - but her best friend, mouse Tiny who began school last year ahead of her, has some important tips about how to fit in without sticking out. The fun saga of whether to blend in or stand out will delight any child seeking his or her own path - and illustrates the benefits of both sides. Ahmet Zappa's BECAUSE I'M YOUR DAD (9781423147749, $15.99) reviews what makes the best kind of father: dads should be playful, make great Halloween costumes, tell funny stories at bedtime, and should above all cultivate a whimsical and giving relationship with a child. All these ideas take the form of two monsters who have fun interacting in this zany tale of the ultimate father-son relationship. John Rocco's SUPER HAIR-O AND THE BARBER OF DOOM (9781423121895, $16.99) tells of a superhero who gets his powers from one source: his hair. Rocco is unstoppable - until he encounters a clever super-villain who comes up with the ultimate evil way of stopping him. Captured, Rocco must come up with a plan to retain his powers in this engaging tale of a young boy determined to keep his freedom and abilities against all odds. All are fine and unusual picturebook stories kids will appreciate.

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

Drew Daywalt's THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (9780399255373, $17.99) tells of Duncan, who just wants to color - despite a rebellion conducted by a box of crayons who want to quit. All of them need a break, the colors feel used, and all are fighting. Can Duncan create a colorful solution that will bring the crayons back together? Crayon illustrations accompany printing in crayon colors in a whimsical and unique story kids will find delightfully fun. David Elliot's HENRY'S MAP (9780399160721, $16.99) tells of a particular pig who sees his farm is too much of a mess even for a pig to enjoy. His plan for cleaning it up involves a map and a journey through the farm to tag the animals on the map. The purpose is to outline that everything has its place - and in a story line reminiscent of Pooh Bear poor Henry discovers that creating a map as not as simple as one might expect - even if it is of his own backyard. Dave Horowitz's TWENTY-SIX PIRATES (9780399257773, $16.99) provides a whimsical alphabet book that uses pirates and cut-paper artwork to teach letters. Rhymes, swashbuckling adventure, and colorful adventures lend to a very simple and unique story kids will find fun. All are fine recommendations for discriminating collections.

Harper & Row
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022

Ree Drummond's CHARLIE GOES TO SCHOOL (9780062219206, $17.99) receives fun drawings by Diane deGroat and provides an appealing reader for ages 4-8, who will delight in the story of a dog who is a great napper, and a good ranch dog. Charlie decides to create a school of his own to help instruct them in his wisdom, but his animal friends are less than perfect students. From Kitty Kitty's failing in numbers to other important lessons that go astray, Charlie may not be the best choice of a teacher - or maybe it's his choice of students? A whimsical animal story evolves. Rob Scotton's SPLAT AND THE COOL SCHOOL TRIP (9780062133661, $17.99) is also a fine story for ages 4-8 and tells of Splat the Cat, who is excited when Mrs. Wimpydimple announces the class will be going to the zoo. Splat only wants to see the penguins, whom he deems are perfect, given that their coloring is just like his - but when he fails to get his wish, the zoo expedition seems ruined: or is it? These are colorful, fun titles highly recommended for any picturebook reader.

c/o Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor
New York, NY 10010-7728

Kristyn Crow's ZOMBELINA (9780802729036, $16.99) receives fun drawings by Molly Idle and tells of Zombelina, who loves to dance and finally enrolls in ballet class for real girls. Her dancing is frighteningly good - but the problem is, Zombelina suffers from stage fright. What happens to her dancing if she can't conquer her fears? A fine story of a little zombie challenged by the thing she loves most makes for a lovely saga. Robin Pulver's SATURDAY IS DADURDAY (9780802786913, $16.99) tells of the one day a week Mimi gets to spend with just her father - Dadurday. The two have many fun moments - but when her father's work schedule changes and he can no longer spend Saturdays with her, she feels their time together is ruined. How can Mimi still make time with her father special? These are fine picturebooks that portray common fears and easy solutions.

The Judaic Shelf

Let's Meet Community Helpers
Rikki Benenfeld
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781929628759 $10.95

Featuring laminated pages better able to accept the wear of toddlers' hands, Let's Meet Community Helpers is the latest in Hachai's tradition of educational picturebooks created especially for young Jewish children. The subject material of Let's Meet Community Helpers is almost entirely secular; the simple, rhyming text follows two children who, under the guidance of their loving parents, meet and show their gratitude to various public servants - mail carriers, policemen, firemen, librarians, and much more. "I wait patiently, without a fuss, / Here's the bus driver with his bus! // We pay and sit down, side by side, / Now everyone can enjoy the ride." The inviting color illustrations add the perfect touch to this gentle, read-aloud picturebook with a strong positive message.

The Christian Shelf

The Bible-Time Nursery Rhyme Book
Emily Hunter
Outskirts Press, Inc.
10940 South Parker Road, #515
Parker, CO 80134
9781478711827 $30.95

Embellished with black-and-white and some color illustrations throughout, The Bible-Time Nursery Rhyme Book adapts Biblical passages into simple yet relevant and accessible nursery rhymes. For example, one poem turns Lk. 17:15-17 of the New Testament into the poem Ten Sick Men: "Ten sick men knelt by Jesus to pray, / 'Please, dear Jesus, make us well today!' / The ten sick men, Jesus healed that day, / And ten merry men went on their merry way. // But one came back, and he knelt down to say, 'Thank you, Jesus, for healing me today!' / But then Jesus said, 'Did I not heal ten? / Where - oh, where - are the other nine men?'" The Bible-Time Nursery Rhyme Book is a wonderful way to help introduce young Christian children to both the Old and New Testaments. Highly recommended.

Saints of North America Activity Book
Katherine A. Borgatti, author
Liguori Publications
One Liguori Drive, Liguori, MO 63057
9780764822438, $9.99,

"Saints of North America Activity Book" is an activity book for children ages 4-9 about North American Saints shown in their daily life activities. Part of the Saints and Me! Series for children, "Saints of North America"" presents biographical information about Kateri Tekakwitha, Juan Diego, Rose Philippine Duchesne, Damien of Molokai, Elizabeth Ann Seton, and Andre Bessette. There are many fun pages of games like tic-tac-toe, mazes, drawing lessons, connect the dots, pictures to color, hidden objects to find and color, scavenger hunts, spot the differences, crossword puzzles, matching games, and much more. At the end of over 100 reproducible pages of fun, there are answer keys for the truly puzzled. "Saints of North America Activity Book" represents hours of educational fun that will help children to understand the holy virtues and lives of these famous North American saints.

Noah's Ark
Barbara Herndon, editor
Kelly Pulley, illustrator
5300 Patterson Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310736349, $4.99,

"Noah's Ark" is a Baby Beginner's Bible" series board book summary of the story of Noah's Ark as originally told in Genesis 6-9. This sturdy, colorful board book tells the story of Noah's Ark first in colorfully illustrated pages with one word per page, giving the definitive outline of the story with images and important terms. Then a brief written summary of the story of Noah and the Ark is presented at the end of the book, for further study. "Noah's Ark" is a wonderful first introduction to beloved Bible stories for very young children (ages 0-3). Other titles in the Baby Beginner's Bible series that are also highly recommended to encourage spiritual development in the very young include: "Jonah and the Big Fish (9780310737735)," by editor Barbara Herndon and illustrator Kelly Pulley, "Creation (9780310736332)," by editor Barbara Herndon and illustrator Kelly Pulley, and "Daniel and the Lions (9780310737728)," by editor Barbara Herndon and illustrator Kelly Pulley. The art direction and design for all books of the series was done by Cindy Davis.

The Lesson of the Tree and its Fruit
Eric Bohnet, author
Joanne Renaud, illustrator
Concordia Publishing House
3558 South Jefferson Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63118
9780758640956, $2.49,

Fresh from the Arch Books Bible Story Series for children is "The Lesson of the Tree and Its Fruit," taken from Matthew 7:15-20 and Luke 6:43-45, retold in narrative verse for children by Eric Bohnet. Charming color illustrations depict the olive tree full of good fruit and Jesus teaching the people the parable of how we like the fruit trees bear according to our natures. good trees bear good fruit and sick trees will bear bad fruit. Thus children are told this excellent teaching parable with story and verse, picture and branch. A note to Parents at the end helps explain the parable further in Christian terms. "The Lesson of the Tree and Its Fruit" is retold for children ages 5-9, at reading level 3. Explore this excellent Christian children's Bible series for more examples of themes found in the Bible from Genesis through Acts.

Sammy is Special
Tom Witschi, author
Katie Erickson, artist
WinePress Publishing
1730 Railroad St., Enumclaw, WA 98022
9781414112978, $13.99,

"Sammy Is Special" is a sensitive story about two good friends who overcame many differences to appreciate each other. Sonja was a gifted, intelligent girl when she met Sammy, a young boy with Down's Syndrome who moved in next door. At first his different appearance and different speech made Sonja slow to appreciate Sammy, but her mother encouraged her to give him a chance. At first unsure, Sonja began slowly to appreciate Sammy and to respond positively to his friendly overtures. Their relationship developed and continued as she grew up and went away to college, while he stayed in her home town and worked in the grocery store. Sammy even influenced Sonja to join a Christian church and to develop a relationship with Jesus. Finally Sonja is told by her mother that Sammy has passed away at the age of 55. Sonja decided to attend Sammy's memorial service and to speak of his lifelong influence on her. She said, "Next to Jesus, Sammy was my best friend. Sammy showed me Jesus, and he showed me how to act and talk like Jesus. Sammy loved Jesus and Jesus loved Sammy. Sammy finished his work on earth, and Jesus took him home. Sammy was an example of how to be like Jesus. I, for one, am changed. Sammy influenced me, and I am changed." ""Sammy Is Special" is a gentle tribute to the many gifts that are included in an individual who may be different, such as Sammy. The story is enhanced by darkly colored illustrations of the days and times of Sammy and Sonja.

The Berenstain Bears Faithful Cubs
Stan & Jan Berenstain with Mike Berenstain, authors/illustrators
5300 Patterson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49530
9780310735045, $7.99,

"The Berenstain Bears Faithful Cubs" is a hardcover edition of three books in one, including Discover God's Creation, Do Their Best (2010), and Learn to Share (2011). In the first minibook, Discover God's Creation, Brother and Sister Bear learn that too much TV is not good for their minds, and no substitute for enjoying the wonderful world outside. In The Berenstain Bears Do Their Best, the bear family work on building a kite to fly in a contest. Their faith in God and Papa's skill at constructing kites carries the kite through a windy contest, and they win, gloriously, with their homemade red kite. In Learn to Share, Sister Bear learns to share and play with her Brother Bear, with Mother Bear's helpful advice, every day, "Take time to share. Take time to pray." Then Sister Bear learns it is fun to share with Brother and even other cubs. "Please think of Jesus. He would want us to share and show we love our fellow bear." All the delightful Berenstain Bears stories have fun verse narrative and joyous cartoon characters who are beloved teachers. Here is a set of Christian morality fables for children that will endure times test as enduring favorites.

Kids Can Catch the Love
Sharalyn Friesen, author
Lauren Stoltzfus, editor
Reuben Graham, designer
1251 Virginia Avenue
Harrisonburg VA 22802-2434
9780836196979, $19.99,

"Kids Can Catch the Love" is a curriculum handbook for children ages 6-10, teaching many lessons about becoming more aware of God's love for us. Part of an educational series for kids titled Kids Can Club, "Kids Can Catch the Love" is a clearly and simply organized multi-pronged approach to teaching groups of kids about Biblical sources of faith and discovery. Lesson content is divided by session numbers into theme, Kids Can Catch the Love (scripture quotation resource), Kids Create (related craft activities), and Kids Move (action games incorporating lessons on the theme). There are many structure suggestions for club session times and lessons, from early arrival suggestions to group building ideas, to closing exercises and songs. A Bible memory verse list and tips and Book list is included, as well as helpful tips on managing unwanted behavior. There is material for 8 sessions, with specific suggestions for text, preparation, Kids Cluster, Kids Explore, Kids Create, Kids Move, and closing. This manual lends itself well to youth group meetings, children's clubs, Sunday night youth activities, or other settings. Stories and scripture sources included Biblical characters of Miriam, Gideon, Hagar, Daniel, Hannah, Samuel, Jonathan, and David, with a closing emphasis on celebrating God's love. "Kids Can Catch the Love"" is an excellent, inclusive resource for Christian-oriented curriculums for youth groups. Another title in the Kids Can Club Series that is also highly recommended is "Kids Can Know the Way (9780836196962, $19.99)."

The Moon Is Broken!
Monique B. Martin, author
Brian Flotte, Jr., illustrator
Freret Media Group
9780988293502, $17.99,

"The Moon Is Broken!" is a gentle, verse story about a little girl who believes the crescent moon is broken and that God needs to be told to mend it. She tries to find someone qualified to help her fix the moon or help God fix the moon, ending up with her mother. Her mother warmly reassures her that the moon is not broken, only changing, as it has always done, and that God has nor forgotten the moon or made a mistake. Reassure, the little girl returns to sleep, smiling at the crescent moon. A Creole flavor adds to the charm of "The Moon Is Broken!" and the imaginative color illustrations portray a girl and mother with skin the color of cafe au lait, making the bedtime story one of diverse appeal.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Bats Biggest! Littlest!
Sandra Markle
Boyds Mills Press
815 Church Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
9781590789520 $16.95

Part of the Biggest! Littlest! educational picturebook series, Bats Biggest! Littlest! is filled with amazing facts and striking, full-color photography of bats. Award-winning author Sandra Markle teaches young readers about the vital roles bats play various ecosystems worldwide - some are fruit-eating bats, who help distribute seeds as they feed; others are insectivores, who help keep pest populations in check. Other bats each fish or toads, and vampire bats are notorious for subsisting on a diet of blood! "Honduran White Bats do more than just hang out together. They make a tent they can share. To do that, the bats bite the side veins of a large banana leaf. When enough veins are snapped, the sides of the leaf flop down. Then the little bats stay dry when it rains." An eye-opening tour of these incredible and widespread flying mammals, Bats Biggest! Littlest! is enthusiastically recommended especially for public and early grade school library children's collections.

Here Come the Humpbacks!
April Pulley Sayre, author
Jamie Hogan, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street
Watertown, MA 02472
9781580894067 $7.95

Here Come the Humpbacks! is a softcover children's picturebook that teaches young people about these extraordinary, gigantic sea mammals. The story follows a mother humpback whale and her calf during their long migration from the Caribbean to the New England coast and back again, and is peppered with amazing true facts about humpbacks. "Remoras, also called suckerfish, do not harm the whale. A remora holds on by suction. It can let go, move, and reattach. Remoras likely eat whale droppings or leftovers from a whale's meal. Adult humpback whales also have barnacles. Barnacles are crustaceans, like lobsters. They cement themselves to ships, rocks, and whales. (One scientist found almost a thousand pounds of barnacles on one whale!)" As educational as it is entertaining, Here Come the Humpbacks! is highly recommended.

Eight Dolphins of Katrina
Janet Wyman Coleman, author
Yan Nascimbene, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547719238 $16.99

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival is a children's picturebook based on the fascinating story of how eight bottlenose dolphins lived through the devastating Hurricane Katrina, which completely wrecked their home at the Marine Life Oceanarium. A tidal wave had swept the eight dolphins out into the Gulf of Mexico, but they would be unable to survive there for more than a few days or a week, because they didn't know how to feed or defend themselves in the wild. The story of how the dolphins were rescued is brought to life with charming color illustrations, while a postscript addendum features photographs of the dolphins and their trainers. "How do we capture eight dolphins swimming in open water? ...The trainers found a floating platform made of rubber mats. They put it in the water and taught the dolphins how to beach themselves on the seesawing surface... One by one, the dolphins were hoisted off the platform and lowered onto a boat." An addition section of true stories about man's best friends in the open sea rounds out this heartwarming true story.

The Tapir Scientist
Sy Montgomery, author
Nic Bishop, photographer
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780547815480 $18.99

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal is a nonfiction children's book with detailed text all about these fascinating, endangered, and unique mammals. The text is fairly involved, suitable for older children, and illustrated with dozens of captivating color photographs. Author Sy Montgomery reveals what it's like to accompany tapir scientist and conservationist Pati Medici in the field. "All but three of the nine tapirs Pati and her team have radio collared here since her study began three years ago were caught in box traps. 'Darting is very difficult compared to trapping,' Pati explains." Highly recommended especially for public library children' s collections, The Tapir Scientist is sure to encourage a love of wild animals and the science of studying them in young minds!

Alien Invaders
Jane Drake & Ann Love
Tundra Books
75 Sherbourne Street, 5th floor
9781770495128, $8.95,

Alien Invaders: Species That Threaten Our World is illustrated by Mark Thurman and provides a lively, fun introduction to real-world alien invaders happening right under our noses. From cane toads to walking catfish and giant African snails, this gathers a set of real alien invaders and considers the havoc they are wrecking on native species and environments. Kids in grades 4-6 will find this a fine coverage packed with exciting insights into nature.

Why I Love Dogs
K. A. Masters, author/illustrator
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781449788131, $7.95,

Enhanced by additional images by Thinkstock, K. A. Masters' "Why I Love Dogs"" is a child's or adult's book about grieving and accepting the loss of a beloved dog. Written in simple verse with charming paintings of different, well-loved dogs, "Why I Love Dogs" is both a heartwarming tribute and a memorial to past pets who were held, trained, fed, and cherished by children and adults throughout their lives, which are, by definition, shorter than human, as a rule. All dog owners and pet lovers will appreciate "Why I Love Dogs" and it is an especially thoughtful gift to a recently bereaved family or dog owner.

Vacations With Buster
London Lake Pickett, author
Lynda Farrington Wilson, illustrator
Privately Published
9780615761923, $14.95,

"Vacations With Buster" is a continuing series of real adventures of the author with a specially trained guide dog named Buster. A sequel to "Adventures with Buster," "Vacations With Buster" tells anecdotes of travels to visit school, the beach, the mountains, the desert, shopping trips, and hiking. Buster travels safely with his owner on planes, in cars, and on foot in all kinds of places, urban and rural. Buster's job is to keep his owner, who is blind, safe and to obey her commands. Some of the chapters tell funny stories of incidents with Buster's travel experiences. The hand painted portraits of Buster, a beautiful large, black dog in his Guide Dog harness, add color to each chapter's adventures. At the end of "Vacations With Buster" there is a list of 40 commands that Buster is able to understand and obey. Buster was trained as a puppy, along with his owner, at a special Guide Dog School. Complimentary copies of "Vacations With Buster" are available for libraries and non-profit agencies. Watch for more sequels about the exciting life of Guide Dog Buster and his owner, author London Lake Pickett.

Justin Morgan and the Big Horse Race
Ellen F. Feld, author
Jeanne Mellin, illustrator
Willow Bend Publishing
P.O. Box 304, Goshen, MA 01032
9780983113812, $16.95,

"Justin Morgan and the Big Horse Race" is the illustrated story of a famous horse originally named Figure but later known as Justin Morgan (his owner's name). Justin Morgan is very fast and works hard as a farm horse in Vermont. One day he is challenged to race two professional race horses from New York, Silvertail and Sweepstakes. On the dirt roads of Vermont, first he races Silvertail and wins. Then, even though he is tired from the first race, he is challenged by Sweepstakes to race again. Justin Morgan wins the race, because of his mighty heart, against the odds. "Justin Morgan and the Big Horse Race" is based on an actual event which took place in Brookfield, Vermont in 1796. A legendary racer and more, Justin Morgan became the ancestor of all American Morgan horses descended today. Color illustrations of Justin Morgan and other horses are beautiful accompaniments to the historic horse tale.

Cha Cha and the Picnic Basket
Lisa Stephens, author
Declan Smith, illustrator
Xlibris Corporation
1663 South Liberty Drive
Bloomington, IN 47403-5161
9781479784103, $20.00,

"Cha Cha and the Picnic Basket" (as told by James Stephens, age 4) is a funny true story about a yellow Labrador puppy named Cha Cha and his first picnic with his new family, James and Harry and Mum and Dad. Told in humorous verse, ""Cha Cha and the Picnic Basket" follows the new puppy's first adventurous picnic experience with his family, he disappears! Fortunately he turns up with chocolate frosting on his muzzle, in the picnic basket! Pastel illustrations help tell this funny Cha Cha story, which is based on the author's son's original tale as a four year old. A portion of the book proceeds for "Cha Cha and the Picnic Basket" are donated to the charitable organization, Guide Dogs Australia.

Anybody Home?
Marianne Berkes, author
Rebecca Dickinson, illustrator
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607186182, $17.95,

"Anybody Home?" is the spellbinding story of Polly, the pregnant possum, who is looking for a home to have her babies in. Polly asks a spider and a robin in an oak tree if they have room for her but they shoo her away. She continues her search, asking "Anybody home?" of Becky Bee, Suzy Squirrel, Timmy Turtle, Milton Mole, Betty Beaver, Billy Bat, even hiding in desperation from Freddy Fox and family, who would surely eat her. No one's home is right for her, and hospitality is minimum. Finally she tries Woody Woodpecker's empty hole in the oak tree, and just in time she moves in and delivers 12 baby possums! Children learn about nocturnal and diurnal animals and 10 different types of habitats, or animal homes, from Polly's search. A grid marked map is included to show Polly's path of exploration for a home for her family. Illustrations are both funny and partly realistic, in lovely color. ""Anybody Home?" is ideal for nature education reading activities for children in grades K-2.

Justin Time: The Big Pet Story
Brandon James Scott, author/illustrator
P.O. Box 31846, San Francisco, CA 94131
9781597020411, $15.95,

"Justin Time: The Big Pet Story" is the storybook rendering of a Justin Time episode where he imagines keeping a pet elephant, with friends Squidgy (dog) and Olive (girl). Justin imagines a huge pink pet elephant named Tiny. The first rule Olive explains is Rule #1: Elephants need lots of play time! However, problems arise when the playground equipment is not quite sturdy enough to accommodate elephant size play. Olive and Justin discover many other rules of pet care for elephants involving feeding, cleanup, exercise, napping, and more. Hilarious color illustrations orchestrate the efforts of Justin, Olive and Squidgy to meet Tiny's huge care needs. Finally Justin decides taking care of an elephant is more work than he thought it was, and the team decides to seek a wonderful palace zoo with a zoo keeper for Tiny to move to. Tiny even meets a new elephant friend, which makes her very happy. Justin and Squidgy and Olive are happy too, because now they can visit their elephant at the zoo. "The Big Pet Story" is full of ebullient, buoyant, fantasy elements that give it wind in all its sails, especially appealing to children ages 2-5.

The Art Shelf

Al and Teddy
Neil Waldeman, artist/author
Dream Yard Press
23 Rosedale Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605
9780615729695, $17.95,

"Al and Teddy" is a magical story about two brothers, Al and Teddy, who share powerful dreams of mystical art creation together. Al is the older brother whose fantastic art creations and ideas Teddy wants to visit and share. Al keeps inviting him to come but only when he is older, first 5 and then 6. Finally Teddy realizes the important thing is his relationship with his admired and cherished big brother, and the dreams they have shared together through his pictures and stories. Luminous color illustrations give life to the dreams and fantasies of Al, secretly King Alejandro, and Ted, secretly Prince Teodoro. A fabulous mythic character created by Al when he shot him with his paintbrush and turned him into a picture, is the moon monster. At the end, Al hands Ted a pencil and invites him to enter his art adventure world, saying, "Wanna fly?" This children's story about the transforming power of love, friendship and art is both inspiring and unforgettable. The award winning artist/author has designated the profits from "Al and Teddy" to go to support talented young artists who study at the Fred Dolan Art Academy. "Al and Teddy" is a magnificent, worthy, and inspiring choice for young readers and artists ages 4-8.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Diego's Dragon Book One: Spirits of the Sun
Kevin Gerard
Crying Cougar Press
17453 Plaza Cerado #105
San Diego CA, 92128
9780615536347 $11.95

Diego's Dragon Book One: Spirits of the Sun kicks off a young adult fantasy adventure featuring Diego, an eleven-year-old Hispanic boy who wins a sixth grade writing contest. His prize is a mysterious black dragon statue, which he names "Magnifico". But Magnifico is not an object at all; he is the leader of the mysterious Sol Dragons, which live within the Sun and help keep the natural order. Diego is inextricably linked to Magnifico; together they embark on a journey to aid Magnifico's people, but could their freedom come at a terrible cost? Although Spirits of the Sun especially reaches out to young Latin American readers, the mature, thoughtful story carries a strong trans-generational appeal, and is highly recommended for dragon fans of all ages!

Dewi and the Seeds of Doom
Maggie Lyons, author
MuseItUp Publishing/ Halo Publishing International
14878 James, Pierrefonds, Que H9H 1P5, Canada
9781612440941, $ 9.99

"Dewi and the Seeds of Doom" is the second fantasy adventure book in the Dewi series for young readers. The first title, "Dewi the Red Dragon,"" introduced the young Welsh dragon to readers of an online children's magazine, Knowonder. Dewi is a brave, curious, resourceful young dragon who discovers trouble in a dark castle named Gloomsgor Castle, owned by one dastardly Baron Doom. Dewi lives up to his heroic nature as a symbol of Welsh national pride and doers of good, brave deeds. With his friend Squiffy, the water vole, and using the advice of friend Billy the goat, Dewi tries to nurse and rescue a burned rat named Bomber. This leads to investigation of the evil happenings at Gloomsgor Castle by Baron Doom and the hunt is up. Young chapter readers will love the riddles and jokes that are woven into the narrative of "Dewi and the Seeds of Doom,"" while the fast pace and jolly tone of good comrades in arms are heartening and true. "Dewi and the Seeds of Doom" is a wonderful thumbnail portrait of a young hero (son of Owen the Great) just beginning to seek his destiny and do good (or great) deeds. Plenty of exciting escapades and dangerous, fire breathing events allow Dewi to shine at his best, and he definitely comes through both for his friends and his readers. A second title by the same author that is also amusing and highly recommended is "Vin and the Dorky Duet (9781612440910, $9.95)," a quirky read about a 7th grade boy who plots to escape a trumpet piano duet through devious means that involve many humorous episodes.

The Quirks: Welcome to Normal
Erin Soderberg
c/o Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor
New York, NY 10010-7728
9781599907895, $13.99,

The Quirks: Welcome to Normal receives fun drawings by Kelly Light and explores the Quirks, who each have a special magical power, from a wild imagination to mind control and invisibility. All Molly wants is for her strange family to be totally normal - as is she. And she hopes Normal, Michigan will be the place where everything settles down. The only problem is: her family is anything but normal. Can they ever fit in anywhere? A whimsical story of an unusual family emerges, perfect for advanced elementary school readers.

In the After
Demitria Lunetta
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780062105455, $17.99,

In the After tells of how Amy's world is changed when it is attacked by Them. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy survives and lives in hiding - until she and her toddler charge are rescued and taken to a colony of survivors. New hope seems like a dream - but soon Amy comes to realize it's even more of a threat than Them. A gripping story makes for a fast-paced account highly recommended for advanced teen readers who enjoy stories of apocalypse, survival, and resourcefulness - all paired with a mystery and a plot that just won't quit.

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

Kathryn Lasky's GUARDIANS GA'HOOLE: THE RISE OF A LEGEND (9780545509787, $16.99) tells of an owlet who hatches into a war-torn world. For over a hundred years his people have fought off enemy owls - but an invasion is coming that defies success, and soon the tyrant owl Bylrick will win and no owl will be safe. Can one small owl stand against the tide of evil and win? A fine story provides a satisfying sequel to GUARDIANS and will win prior fans and newcomers alike. Thomas Taylor's HAUNTERS (9780545496445, $17.99) tells of three boys: each of whom has the same strange power: to time-travel. Through dreams they can appear as ghosts anywhere they wish. The first is a genius, the second is a dream-terrorist, the third must keep the other two apart in order to assure a future for them all. A gripping story of past, present, and three powerful individuals emerges in a story packed with satisfying twists and turns. Angela Cervantes' GABY, LOST AND FOUND (9780545489454, $16.99) tells of sixth grader Gaby, who is looking for a new home when her mother leaves for Honduras and Gaby finds herself alone. Meanwhile her favorite shelter cat needs a ne home also: can both of them find the dream home they need to survive? A fine story of survival evolves. Ann M. Martin's BETTER TO WISH (9780545359429, $16.99) is Book 1 of the 'Family Tree' series and tells of four girls, four generations, and choices that lead to family ties and changes. This story begins with the saga of Abby, is set in 1930, and tells of a life filled with changes involving new siblings, a new home, and new friendships. Her story will begin a saga affecting generations, and is gripping reading for girls interested in family ties. Dan Poblocki's THE HAUNTING OF GABRIEL ASHE (9780545402706, $16.99) tells of a sinister shadow that watches Gabe's house from the forest with glowing eyes. Gabe's new friend Seth relishes the forest and the privacy and opportunity for imaginative games that it holds - but Gabe faces increasingly frightening events from the forest. Is Seth teasing him, or are more sinister forces at work? A fine supernatural thriller evolves, perfect for teen leisure readers.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Striker Jones and the Midnight Archer
Maggie M. Larche, author
Nilah Magruder and Melissa Bailey, artists
4900 LaCross Rd
North Charleston, SC 29406
9781484016909, $6.99,

"Striker Jones and the Midnight Archer" is the latest title in a middle grade mystery/econ -short story- collection series. Here are ten absolutely riveting chapter mysteries with economics related themes about Striker, Bill, Sheila, and Amy as they throw down an exciting series of mysterious challenges at summer camp. At the end of every action packed chapter, there is a telling question which summarizes the economic and mystery-related implications in the story. In case of brain drain or brain freeze, a handy solution summary follows, with, generally, a happy ending. Once again creative author Maggie Larche proves that middle grade readers (and younger) are up to solving mysteries, analyzing economics, and picking up on clues in a fun and rollicking series that has some heart and group ethics at the core of the story. "Striker Jones and the Midnight Archer" is a candidate for further awards in its effortless teaching of both excellent cooperation values and basic economics. It is also ideal summer reading for young adults, since the separate but related chapter mysteries stand alone as well as together.

Mystery at the Museum
Karen Kaufmann Orloff, author
Jamie Smith, illustrator
Peter Pauper Press
202 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10601
9781441312280, $12.99,

"Mystery at the Museum" is an exciting interactive mystery for children ages 4-9 from the Nightlife Detective Book series. Young readers can use a paper flashlight under the nightlife scene acetate page illustrations to follow hidden red clues to help solve the mystery of the stolen dinosaur bones. Sergeant Sally needs the assistance of junior detectives and sleuths to finally unravel this fun museum mystery and put Herman the dinosaur skeleton back together in time for his whirlwind tour. The fast paced narrative and amusing illustrations plus the excitement of detecting hidden clues through use of the Nightlight Detective paper flashlight keep interest high and pages turning. The spiral wire-o binding makes the pages lie flat and assists young sleuths in helpful detecting, while a handy book pocket in the front cover keeps the paper flashlights safe between readings. A lighthearted tone sets the pace and young readers will enjoy the logical process of unraveling just who the dinosaur bone thief is. "Mystery at the Museum" is a very forgiving junior mystery which will encourage close reading and visual examination to solve the mystery. Also highly recommended is another title by the same author/illustrator team from the Nightlife Detective Book series, "The Big Top Circus Mystery (9781441312273, $12.99)."

Jasper Has Left the Building!
Donald W. Kruse, author
Donny Crank, illustrator
Castle Keep Press
c/o James A. Rock & Co. Publishers
900 South Irby St., #508, Florence, SC 29501
9781596638631, $12.95,

"Jasper Has Left the Building!" is a very funny mystery about a disappearing dinosaur skeleton, in narrative verse with charming dark and spooky illustrations. Readers age 5 and up will grab their sides and tear through the humorous pages at prehistoric speed (hopefully not slow). What thief would take an old, valuable dinosaur's bone from the museum? The Jasper adventure series for young readers stars a clever but unscrupulous canine with a taste for dog biscuits and dinosaur bones (evidently). The real question is, how does Jasper manage to convince the mayor to pay him, $5000 in advance for finding the burglar and solving the mystery? When it comes to con men (or con canines), there is no one like Jasper, is the only conclusion. However crafty Mayor Piddlewicks (who happens to be an elderly woman) is up to the challenge of setting a trap to catch the real bone thief. Follow all the action with lots of breathlessly laughing kids in "Jasper Has Left the Building!" and hold on to your hat, while impatiently awaiting the next Jasper title in the series.

Mystery on Pine Lake
Tamra Wight, author
Carl DiRocco, illustrator
Islandport Press
PO Box 10
Yarmouth, ME 04096
9781934031865 $16.95

Mystery on Pine Lake is a middle-grade novel about two friends, Cooper and Packrat, confronted with a dilemma - who or what is wantonly destroying loon nests? Their family campground is at stake, in this high-spirited summer saga (if only the bathrooms campground bathrooms didn't need to be cleaned so often)! An enticing mystery-adventure unfolds. Also highly recommended is the Islandport Press title "Nic and Nellie" by Astrid Sheckels (9781934031520, $17.95), a beautiful picturebook with a fairly involved text story about a young girl and her faithful dog learning to enjoy themselves and make friends during their family's vacation on an island.

The Fiction Shelf

Middle School Millionaires
Roderick J. Robison
100 Enterprise Way, Suite A200
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
9781481892803 $8.99

Middle School Millionaires is an adventurous novel for middle school and junior high readers, about daring to become an entrepreneur! Thirteen-year-old Kirk and Tommy start placing recycling barrels in the school cafeteria with the janitor's permission, hoping to make a little spare pocket money. But as their idea becomes popular with other schools, they begin to make more money than either of them could have managed. With great money comes great trouble! The eighth grade bully tries to extort them, the principle suspects them of wrongdoing, and the local recycling contractor tries to shut their business down! Worst of all, the principal, superintendent of schools, and mayor accuse Kirk and Tommy of misleading them, and initiate a suspension hearing. Can the two friends defend their right to own a business? Will they be forced out of school, or could they possibly become... Middle School Millionaires? Lighthearted and with a positive message about working hard to pursue one's dream, Middle School Millionaires is an excellent pick for grade school and public library children's fiction collections.

A Box of Fortune Cookies
Carmen J. Glatt, author
Kristoffer Lloyd U. Valera, cover design
Dorrance Publishing Company
701 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
9781434918406, $13.00,

"A Box of Fortune Cookies" is a story about nearly 12 year old Nathan Tyler Schmidt who has just started liking girls, a little. Nathan is experiencing end of summer blues when he finds he will be sitting next to the school bully in class, while his 2 closest friends are going to another class. He also is glum about having to wear thrift store threads because his family is being forced to economize. However, a stranger offers Nathan a box of fortune cookies that turn out to be much more than just fortune cookies. The messages inside the cookies tell the reader what will happen soon in their lives, and the owner is empowered to discover a way of having his dearest wish granted, within limits. "A Box of Fortune Cookies" is an excellent early chapter book for middle grade students, teaching compassion, faith in oneself and God, and learning the value of working to help others.

The Truth of Me
Patricia MacLachlan
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780061998591, $16.99,

The Truth of Me tells of Robbie and his dog, Ellie, who spend the summer at his grandmother's house. Robbie has long realized that his grandmother makes his parents nervous, but he likes her, from her stories to her affection for wild animals. What ever happened between her and his parents happened a long time ago and shouldn't affect his life; but it does, and Robbie's summer with her uncovers not only secrets but revelations in a gentle story of love and changes for kids in grades 4-6.

The Cruisers: Oh, Snap!
Walter Dean Myers
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780439916295, $17.99,

The Cruisers: Oh, Snap tells of a group of teens who publish their own school newspaper - which has become a sensation while it takes advantage of freedom of expression laws. The articles are written by kids - but when stories and pictures involve the police and Scotland Yard, The Cruisers are in trouble once more: this time for something they have instigated and can't control. Kids in grades 4-6 will find this an absorbing tale; particularly kids interested in writing and school activities who want a fun account based on sleuthing and mystery.

High School High
Shannon Freeman
Saddleback Publishing Inc.
3120 Pullman Street
Cosa Mesa, CA 92626-4564
9781622500376, $9.95,

When Brandi, Marisa, and Shane arrive as freshmen at Port City High they are enjoying themselves immensely. All three know show to present themselves to their best effect. But things begin to go wrong when Marisa becomes involved with Brandi's ex-boyfriend, Brandi finds that dating is problematic in ways she didn't expect, and Shane tries to balance one drug addiction with another as he seeks a different kind of high. Because author Shannon Freeman has written "High School High" with a 3.5 reading level, it is an ideal novel for young adults with a need for remedial reading material that will fully engage them with an appropriate and contemporary storyline and subject matter. Highly recommended, it should also be noted that "High School High" is available in a Kindle edition ($7.55).

D.J. MacHale
c/o Penguin Group (USA)
375 Hudson Street, 4th floor, NY, NY 10014
9781595146656, $17.99,

SYLO tells of one Tucker, who finds his hometown invaded by mysterious military helicopters who invade the Maine town with a force called SYLO, a secret branch of the Navy. SYLO informs the town residents that they have been infected and must be quarantined, yet Tucker suspects there's more to the story - something that involves far more than a military or health operation. His resulting investigation holds powerful implications in this fast-paced novel replete with elements of strange forces at work - most satisfying for teens looking for something different.

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

Sarah Zettel's Dust Girl (Bluefire, 9780375873812, $9.99) provides Book One of the American Fairy Trilogy, is set in America's Dust Bowl of 1935, and tells of one Callie, a girl half fairy and half human who has spent all her life in small town Kansas but finds out much more during the biggest dust storm in history. Secrets and magic blend with gripping forces of nature in a whirlwind of activity and drama that will prove hard to put down, and perfect for leisure readers looking for a blend of fantasy and a strong historical backdrop. Kathi Appelt's THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP (9781442421059, $16.99) provides a fine animal adventure saga for ages 8-12 and tells of raccoon brothers Bingo and J'Miah, the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts who relish the opportunity to serve the Sugar Man, a creature who loves sugar cane and rules the swamp. Preteen Chap isn't a member of any group - but he also loves the swamp. The group joins forces against a gang of wicked feral hogs and dangerous developers in this fine saga. Amber Kizer's A MATTER OF DAYS (9780385739733, $16.99) provides a gripping post-apocalyptic novel for ages 12 and up as it tells of a killer virus that has devastated humanity. On the 56th day teen Nadia's mother dies, leaving her in charge of a younger brother and making the most of survival lessons as they trek through a changed world of destruction. Any who relish apocalypse tales will find this absorbing. A.J. Paquette's PARADOX (9780375869624, $17.99) tells of Ana, who wakes up in a rocket ship without her memory, to discover that she's landed on an alien world. Instructions in her pocket tell her to observe and survive: other than this, she has no name, no other purpose, and no clue. Her encounters with others on the planet lead to uncertain answers in this fine story. Kate Klimo's A GATHERING OF WINGS (9780375869761, $18.99) is set on our world in the far future where humans are obsolete. Malora dreams of a stallion that is a prisoner somewhere: one who needs her help. Her dreams forces her to leave her home and all she loves to undertake a dangerous journey to help the stallion - and will lead her to encounter a strange being who could help her find her place in the world. Both are fine picks for any advanced teen reader.

Tor Teen
c/o Tor/Forge Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

David Lubar's EXTREMITIES: STORIES OF DEATH, MURDER AND REVENGE (9780765334602, $15.99) clearly states that these dark, twisted tales are "not for children" - but they are packaged her for teens. These are stories considered too dark for his six Weenies collections, and create short stories for a higher age group. The macabre twists center around revenge, murder and death - and come from a fine storyteller who creates absorbing if not somber scenes that will appeal to the darker sides of teen readers. Jenna Black's REPLICA (9780765333711, $9.99) is a top recommendation for adult science fiction readers and advanced teen readers alike, and teens of sixteen-year-old Nadia, a privileged girl living in a future world where she faces an arranged marriage and an assured future even though her husband-to-be is a playboy with a dark secret. When he is murdered, he has enough money to be replicated - and Nadia is drawn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game which challenges all her thoughts about her society and her place in it. Teens who enjoy science fiction blended with mystery will find this a satisfyingly unpredictable thriller.

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

OBI: Gerbil on a School Trip! by M.C. Delaney (9780803738546, $16.99) tells of Obi, the gerbil who is Rachel's favorite pet, and who has to go to school to confirm who Rachel loves best. For Rachel has two other pets and her homework assignment is to write about her favorite pet - and Obi must prove to herself that she still holds this position. Intrigue, adventure, and silly fun make this a fun animal story for grades 2-4. Richard Peck's The Mouse With The Question Mark Tail (9780803738386, $16.99) tells of the smallest mouse in Buckingham Palace, who has no name or parent. His aunt sews him a fine uniform to wear to the Royal Mews Mouse Academy but when he breaks the rules, he finds himself on the run - and in search of a new identity. A zany and whimsical story evolves for any in grades 3-5.

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

Uma Krishnaswami's THE PROBLEM WITH BEING SLIGHTLY HEROIC (9781442423282, $16.99) tells of best friends who are back in the same country at the same time. Bollywood star Dolly and friend Dini, newly returned from India, are resuming a friendship after a time apart - but being with a big star like Dolly is a challenge, and her special needs seem impossible at times - from a passport to an elephant. Encounters between the two threaten disaster in this engrossing story of an evolving friendship, cultural differences, and the essence of India which overlays everything.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Epsilon: A Yellowstone Wolf Story
Ted Rechlin, artist/author
Riverbend Publishing
PO Box 5833, Helena, Montana 59604
9781606390641, $9.95,

"Epsilon: A Yellowstone Wolf Story" is a magnificent graphic novel telling the story of the leader and 12 wolves of the Noble wolf pack in the Lamar Valley. It begins by telling how Epsilon and two yearling siblings, Theta and Beta, were the sole orphaned survivors of a wolf pack coup, losing their Lamar Valley territory to the Thunderer pack, a rival wolf pack. The fledgling wolf siblings are forced to sharpen hunting skills alone together to survive. Gradually Epsilon emerges as the leader of the exile remnants of the Noble wolf pack. Surviving their first winter alone despite skirmishes with the Thunderer pack, the three wolves separated at age two to find mates. Epsilon found a mate, Accalia, and eventually Beta returned to the siblings' Noble pack. Six wolf cubs come to increase Epsilon's family. Eventually Epsilon takes his Noble pack against the Thunderer pack to reclaim the Lamar valley, their traditional territory. Alph wolf Epsilon must defeat the Alpha wolf of the Thunderer for the Noble pack to return, and he achieves this. The visual details of "Epsilon, A Yellowstone Wolf Story" are beautifully represented in graphic novel style, and the underlying role of observing humans is also included in this true life wolf adventure history.

Saint Francis of Assisi, Messenger of Peace
Toni Matas, author
Picanyol, illustrator
Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819872975, $8.95,

"Saint Francis of Assisi, Messenger of Peace" is a color illustrated, graphic novel hagiography of the life of Saint Francis of Assisi for youth ages 8-10. Francis is born in 1181 to a wealthy merchant and wife in Assisi, Italy. Raised in comparative luxury, Frances joins the military when war erupts between Assisi and Perugia. Subsequently he is taken prisoner and becomes extremely ill, and his life takes a new meaning to him. The rest of the known events of St. Francis' life are related, including many miraculous happenings. At the end of the book is an illustrated illumination of St. Francis' Prayer for Peace. From an educational graphic novel series of lives of the (Catholic) saints, "Saint Francis of Assisi, Messenger of Peace" is a beautiful retelling of the well-known biography of the beloved saint for children ages 8-10. Also highly recommended from this graphic novel series is "Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Leading the Way (9780819872989, $8.95)."

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Aesop's Fables
Michael Rosen, author
Talleen Hacikyan, illustrator
Tradewind Books
202-1807 Maritime Mews, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3W7
Orca Book Publishers (distributors)
P.O. Box 468, Custer, WA 98240
9781896580814, $16.95,

Here are modern idiomatic, fantastically illustrated retellings of familiar fables like Dog and Wolf, Fox and Grapes, Crow and Fox, Lion, Fox and Wolf, Wolf and Lamb, Mouse and Lion, Frog and Bull, Cockerel, Dog and Fox, Mosquito, Lion and Spider, fir Tree and Thornbush, The Axe and the Trees, Partridge and the Fighting Cocks, and the Town Mouse and Country Mouse. Each tale and moral is retold in a refreshing vernacular that allows the good old bones of the tale to shine directly through. The stunning, vivid portraits on dark backgrounds persuade the animal character teachers to new life. Perfect for children age 9-11, "Aesop's Fables" is a modern revisitation of a beloved classic for generations to come.

Just So Stories Volume 1
Rudyard Kipling, author
Ian Wallace, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o Douglas & McIntyre Ltd.
110 Spadina Avenue, Suite 801
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2K4
9781554982127 $19.95

Just So Stories For Little Children Volume 1 gathers Rudyard Kipling's timeless, animal-themed parables into a hardcover volume, adding a brilliantly colorful touch in the form of beautiful illustrations every few pages. The folksy tales in Volume 1 are "How the Whale Got His Throat", "How the Camel Got His Hump", "How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin", "How the Leopard Got His Spots", "The Elephant's Child", and "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo". At turns uproarious, ingenious, whimsical, and somber, Kipling's Just So Stories are a rightfully beloved treasure deserving of their classic status. Highly recommended, especially for public library children's collections.

Jungle Tales
Horacio Quiroga, author
Jeff Zorrilla, translator
Bert van Wijk, illustrator
McNaughton & Gunn, Inc.
9780615708072, $14.00,

"Jungle Tales" is a collection of 8 short stories about South American jungle animals, each a classic enjoyed by children since their first publication in 1918. Full of humor, delight, and survival tips straight from the jungle, each tale has a gentle moral or three to learn, along with a lifelike description of jungle creatures, settings, and habits. Stories include The Giant Tortoise, The Flamingos' Stockings, The Bald Parrot, The Alligator War, The Blind Doe, The Story of Two Coati Cubs and Two Man Cubs, The Yabebiri Ford, and the Lazy Bee. Because all children are not familiar with the animals of the jungles of Argentina, a Glossary lists nine exotic species with a stylized illustration of each animal, and an artist's map of parts of Argentina helps show the location of many animals in the stories. In the story of the Blind Doe, a little doe becomes blinded by bees because she is too eager to taste their honey. Her mother is determined to help her find a cure, and this leads them to a strange healer, a man who is also a hunter of does. To help keep them safe, the doe requests a letter of safe passage from an anteater. The anteater grants her a skeleton of a snake's head, with teeth still containing venom, for her safe passage letter. Many adventures later, the doe is able to cure her child's blindness, and in gratitude, the little doe decides to take the hunter heron feathers, for a duster. After a few funny laughs, they settle into a comfortable friendship, sharing honey and companionship and heron feathers by the fire. All the stories have wonderful gleams of life's surprises in them, and the inspired brightly colored illustrations add to the piquant, exotic charm of "Jungle Tales."

Grumbles Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist
Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, authors
Matt Mahurin, illustrator
WordSong, and imprint of Highlights, Honesdale, PA
Boyd Mills Press
P.O. Box 164419, Columbus, OH 43216
9781590788677, $16.95,

Here is an unusual, creative collection of fairy-tale poems written from a slightly altered perspective on the traditional fairy tale. Here are original poems by two well known children's authors inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, the Little Mermaid, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, and more. Each pair of eye opening fairy tale reflections is accompanied by a lovely two page illustration of fantastic proportions and darkened color tones. Here's a favorite poem titled The Three Bears, Three Bears, Five Voices: HOT,/ Cold,/ Just right./ WALK,/ Talk,/ Home for a bite?/ Taste,/ Touch,/ Stop to play./ Eat,/ Sit,/ Snore away./ BACK,/ Now!/ Baby howl./ UP.../ Stairs,/ Little growl./ Uh-oh,/ Better/ Run./ JUST/ Call/ 911./ Officer Bruin/ To view/ The ruin./ We'll/ Get her/ Fast,/ She/ Has/ A past./" ""Grumbles Forest" is a delightful fresh take on ancient fairy tales with new peeks into beloved characters for kids age 4 and up.

The Multimedia Shelf

Green Golly & Her Golden Flute
Keith Torgan & Barbara Siesel, authors and performers
Suzanne Langelier Lebeda, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing LLC
PO Box 66, Lemont, PA 16851
9781936172610, $19.99,

"Green Golly & Her Golden Flute" is an extremely imaginative reimagining of a familiar fairy tale about Rapunzel. Except nothing comes out quite the same this time. Green Golly is traded to a witch by her real parents (as a baby) for a bowl of salad. But her life's adventures have only begun. She progresses to a young beauty of uncertain talents, which the witch resolves to protect and nurture. Luckily, flute playing develops as one of her life skills, and she is introduced to the incredible beauty of flute music, learning to play many famous composers' works. The ending of "Green Golly & Her Golden Flute" is one more hilarious surprise, and listening to the lovely music of the CD is sure to enchant young listeners in a new reframing of this teaching fairy tale. "Green Golly & Her Golden Flute" is a Parents' Choice Gold Award wiinner, and can be enjoyed on a mobile device or computer as well as read and played on a CD player. Touches of colorful whimsey and charm complete the story and illustrations, making "Green Golly & Her Golden Flute"" an unforgettable childhood experience.

The Biggest and Brightest Light
Marilyn Perlyn, author
Amanda Perlyn, illustrator
Muhammad Ali, foreword
Lee Knight, CD music and lyrics
Robert D. Reed Publishers
P.O. Box 1992, Bandon, OR 97411
9781934759752, $17.95,

"The Biggest and Brightest Light: the Magic of Helping Others" is an award-winning inspirational book about the real experiences of six year old Amanda (illustrator) Perlyn and her teacher, Dr. Malko. When Amanda began attending school with Dr. Malko, she loved her class and her teacher. After many exciting learning experiences, Amanda discovered that Dr. Malko was very sad because her grown daughter was very ill with cancer. Amanda decided to try to help Dr. Malko by making reindeer Christmas decorations for sale, to raise money for Dr. Malko to help pay for her daughter's medical expenses. With the help of others, Amanda was able to raise, $1000 to give Dr. Malko. Later Amanda helped Dr. Malko care for her daughter by baking cookies for the nurses with a note saying, "Please enjoy some cookies and be a mom to Elena until Dr. Malko returns." Amanda had learned that the biggest and brightest light comes from within, from showing the growing compassion for others inside. She treasured a pair of teddy bears given to her by Dr. Malko that carried the message: "Happy, happy is the day when you help someone in a special way." "The Biggest and Brightest Light" is a wonderful, soul-enlarging true story, told in simple narrative prose, illustrated with light-filled colorful paintings of a little girl who learned to care for others and make a difference. The CD included has 8 original songs by Lee Knight about Amanda's biggest, brightest light and all her wishes.

The Ant and the Grasshopper
Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley, illustrators
Neal Porter, author
Roaring Brook Press
175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781596434936, $16.99,

"The Ant and the Grasshopper" is a delightful Cajun-flavored re imagining of the familiar tale, with a read-along CD included. Huge, vibrant colored illustrations show a weary ant in a jungle of grass, who is reinvigorated by the thrilling Cajun music of a grasshopper fiddling with his buggy band. The band is so happy to have the weary but inspired ant for an audience that the grasshopper decides to take the buggy band on the road to play the ant home with her burden. In gratitude, the ant invites the grasshopper bug band to visit their cool, underground colony for a party. "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" A magical foldout page of illustrations leads hearts to dance. "The Ant and the Grasshopper" is a magical experience for young readers age 2 and up.

A Porcupine Named Fluffy
Helen Lester, author
Lynn Munsinger, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
215 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
9780544003194 $8.99

A Porcupine Named Fluffy is a children's picturebook that comes with a free downloadable audio version. The story follows an anthropomorphic young porcupine who is decidedly not fluffy, and wishes he could change his name. But when he befriends a most unusual rhinoceros, he learns a valuable lesson about loving and accepting oneself! Gentle and heartwarming, A Porcupine Named Fluffy is highly recommended.

The Bilingual Shelf

The Golden Feather, A Jakarta Tale
Retold by Bhikshuni Jin Rou
Translated by Echo Hsueh and YC Liang
Illustrations by Komarudin
Illustrations of Activity Pages by Katerine Lam and Alisha Pegan
Buddhist Text Translation Society
3106 Crescent Avenue, Unit 7, Marina, CA 93933
9781601030085, $5.00,

"The Golden Feather, A Jakarta Tale" is a Chinese/English translation of a famous Buddhist tale that teaches kindness and respect for animals and even more important, the Moral: One who wants everything loses everything. The danger of greed is beautifully demonstrated in this lovely Buddhist children's tale about two poor children and a magic golden goose, who is their dead father returned to care for them as they care for him. He allows them to pluck one golden feather a day and they are filled with gratitude and plenty of gold for worldly goods, as they feed and care for the golden goose. However, their greedy mother, who is unaware that the golden goose is their father reborn and returned, decides to intervene and pluck all the goose's golden feathers at once, for fear of losing the goose and future golden feathers. This changes the enchantment and the goose becomes a regular goose, no more golden feathers. The mother is heart broken when the children, formerly under a promise of silence, tell her the goose was their father. She decides that they have plenty of gold after all, and they should spend the rest of their fortune and lives in helping others. The children agree happily and all listen to the mother's "advice to be kind to all creatures, for you never know who your helper is." In addition to the lovely Buddhist tale, "The Golden Feather" is a bilingual black and white coloring and activity book for children, with parent teacher pages, questions and answers, and special fun suggested activities such as putting on shadow puppet play. ""The Golden Feather" is suitable for children age 7 and up. It has great value in teaching children compassion towards animals.

Daddy, My Favorite Boy/ Papa, Mi Companero Favorito
Icy Smith & Crystal Smith, authors
Octavio Oliva, illustrator
East West Discovery Press
592 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
9780985623777, $16.95,

"Daddy, My Favorite Boy" is an illustrated, Spanish/English rhyming story about a father's unconditional love. Pictures and verse show Daddy having tea with daughter and dolls, climbing a hill and camping with his son, cooking food, reading books, playing in a blanket fort, and tenderly loving his children. "Daddy, My Favorite Boy" is written in both Spanish and English verse on each page to enhance bilingual skills. The warm, tender illustrations reveal a father's heart full of love for his two children.

Bonnwit Kabrit
Elizabeth Turnbull, author
Erin Vaganos, illustrator
Light Messages publisher
5216 Tahoe Drive, Durham, NC 27713
9781611530643, $14.95,

"Bonnwit Kabrit" is a beautiful illustrated rhyming bedtime story written in English and Creole, set in Haiti. "Bonnwit Kabrit" means ""Good night, goat" and becomes a template for a sleepy Haitian child who is saying a reluctant goodnight to his soccer ball, the bougainvilleas, a crab, his grandfather, a cat, and other familiar island scenes and friends. French Creole terms are integrated into the story, with a vocabulary list at the end. Beautiful illustrations show tints from blues to browns and reds gradually darkening into the night, inviting sleep. "Bonnwit Kabrit" is a lovely bicultural bedtime story for young children everywhere.

The Rain Forest Party
Lorraine Day
Raven Tree Press
c/o Delta Publishing Company
1400 Miller Parkway
Mc Henry IL 60050-7030
9781936299287 $16.95

Winner of a Mom's Choice Award, The Rain Forest Party is a bilingual English/Spanish picturebook about a young armadillo trying to find his own special talent for the upcoming rain forest party. He isn't fast or tall like his friends, but when he curls up to hide, he discovers he had a unique ability to roll about! Playful color illustrations add a charming touch to this delightful read-aloud tale, ideal for storytime or bedtime.

The Education Shelf

Mackenzie and Blankie
Robin Lynne Gordon, author
Julie Leiman Weaver, illustrator
Peaceful Thoughts Press
9780972511865, $12.95,

Sophia is ready to begin kindergarten and she wants to take her special stuffed puppy, Mackenzie, with her. Her mother encourages her to leave her puppy at home, wrapped up in Blankie, her old blanket filled with holes. To leave Mackenzie and Blankie behind together at home is very hard for Sophia, and she tearfully kisses them goodbye. Sophie goes bravely off to school and makes it successfully through the initial routine. When it is time for naps, she again remembers Blankie and Mackenzie and has tears. But her teacher surprises her with a mysterious package, which she is allowed to keep during nap time, with the bag closed. Sophia discovers her own beloved Mackenzie and Blankie in the bag, and she knows all will be well. The gentle lulling verse narrative and softly colored illustrations present the story of ""Mackenzie and Blankie" with warmth and compassion for 4 and 5 year-olds everywhere coping with attending school for the first time.

The Autism Shelf

Owen Has Burgers and Drum
Christine M. Shells with Frank R. Pane,MAE, BGBA, authors
Anita DuFalla, illustrator
New Horizon Press
P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ 07931
9780882824345, $9.95,

"Owen Has Burgers and Drum" is a colorfully illustrated explanatory guidebook for kids to understanding children with Asperger's Syndrome ("has burgers and drum"). Also known as an autism spectrum disorder, Asperger's Syndrome affects children in their social interactions and communications with others. "Owen Has Burgers and Drum" tells about Owen's relationship with Cal and other seven-year-olds at his new school. What Cal learns is that Owen is a very neat individual with some specific challenges in his life. Cal learns that Owen needs notes on his desk to remind him how to behave in class. Also, rules are very important to Owen. Finally, Cal learns that Owen's being a stickler for rules may have saved his life, and the life of his friend. "Owen Has Burgers and Drum" is a great kids' guidebook to enlarging understanding and compassion for children with autism spectrum disorders.

The Holiday Shelf

Click, Clack, Boo!
Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Simon and Schuster
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, NY, NY 10020
9781442465534, $16.99,

Click, Clack, Boo! provides a different kind of Halloween saga; this one revolving around barnyard animals who seek to get around Farmer Brown's hatred of Halloween. Farmer Brown locks the door and hides - but in the barn, a Halloween party has begun. The sounds of the Halloween night are hitting a little too close to home - and may involve supernatural creatures as well. Can Farmer Brown overcome his hatred of the holiday? A whimsical and different Halloween tale will delight kids looking beyond the usual scenarios.

Independence Day
Ann Heinrichs, author
Robert Squier, illustrator
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
9781623235086, $25.64,

"Independence Day" is a handy holiday guidebook for middle grade students with background history and traditional ways of celebrating the Fourth of July, The United States of America's birthday (July 4, 1776). Part of a series titled Holidays and Celebrations, "Independence Day" begins with an introductory chapter on celebrating America's birthday. It continues with background history of the Declaration of Independence, favored celebration activities including parades, songs, marches, flags and fireworks. Lyrics of favorite patriotic songs are included, along with a recipe for healthy Patriotic Fruit Salad and directions for making a flag fan for a Fourth craft activity. Final pages include a listing of web sites and bibliography, a handy glossary of terms, and an index. All pages are tastefully illustrated with water color, ink and pencil art works of favored Independence Day activities and events. "Independence Day"" is an appropriate educational resource for students age 7-11, along with other titles from the same Holidays and Celebrations series.

The Music CD Shelf

Kimbo Educational
PO Box 477
Long Branch, NJ 07740-0477

Three music CDs from Kimbo Educational are designed especially to help young children' develop a healthy passion for exercise. "Toddler Gym" is structured especially for the motor skills of children 1-3 years old, who may have only recently learned to walk, with a focus on building muscle control, flexibility, and balance, all while having fun. "Preschool Gym" is designed to help get 3-5 year olds excited about exercise, with lively dances and a medley of both gross and fine motor activities. "School Gym" is intended for 5-9 year olds, and encourages young people to develop their memory and concentration skills as well as enjoy physical activity. All three CDs come with liner notes offering a basic guide for parents/babysitters/teachers, and are enthusiastically recommended an "up-and-moving" antidote to the modern-day saturation of sedentary pastimes such as TV, social media, and video games.

Block Party!
Train Rolls On Productions
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

Chicago-based children's band Poochamunga's celebrates their love of "diverse, rockin', angst-free music" with Block Party!, an album that's all about excitement and fun. The lively, joyous songs are perfect for lifting little ones out of the doldrums, or playing at children's parties. The tracks are "Around the World", "Till the Sun Goes Down", "My Favorite Summer Day (Block Party)", "Bah Humbug Halloween", "Games We Played (featuring Emily Hurd)", "Little King", "Big Red", "Valentine's Day", "Places You Go", "Refrigerator Box", "My Little Ballerina" "End of the Day", and bonus track "Imagination Train (special guest Anna Fermin)". Also highly recommended is Poochamungas' NAPPA award-winning, debut album "Mud, Mommies, and Mayhem".

The Best in Me
Dave Kinnoin
Song Wizard Records
PO Box 3890, South Pasadena, CA 91031
To Market Kids
4136 Lamson Avenue, Spring Hill, FL 34608

A booklet of lyrics and chord charts comes with The Best in Me, a children's music CD with a strong positive message. The Best in Me is by Parent's Choice Gold and NAPPA Gold recipient Dave Kinnoin, a veteran songwriter whose credentials include work for Jim Henson TV, Disney Audio, and Sesame Workshop. Valuable lessons in each song's title come to life through catchy lyrics and rhythmic melodies that encouraging young people to groove to the music. The Best in Me is an excellent choice particularly for public library children's music collections. The tracks are "A Lot of Good in There" (3:06), "Enormously Inconvenient" (3:24), "Happy for Myself" (3:45), "Things Kids Figure Out" (2:50), "It's Good to Love Somebody" (3:51), "Person of Character" (3:28), "I'll Be Me" (3:52), "Lemonade Stand" (3:33), "Place of Character" (3:06), "What You Do" (4:12), "High Achiever" (3:28), "Give Us a Chance" (3:31), "Greater Than Our Fears" (3:28), "It Could've Been Me" (2:51), "Everywhere All the Time" (3:22), "I Don't Want an Easy Life" (3:21), "My Dog Brings Out the Best in Me" (2:59), and six music tracks of choice songs. 1 hour, 18 min.

Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers
Trout Fishing in America
Trout Records
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$14.98 CD / $9.99 digital

Grammy-nominated music group Trout Fishing in America presents Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers, a family-friendly album of zany songs with silly lyrics and catchy tunes. Playful and energetic, Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers has a strong cross-generational appeal; kids will love it, while adults just might also find themselves humming along! The tracks are "Rubber Baby Buggy Bumpers" (3:07), "My Sister Kissed Her Boyfriend" (2:54), "Zoo Wacky Zoo" (2:31), "The Late, Great, Nate McTate" (3:21), "Slow" (3:33), "It's Not Mud" (3:04), "Boo!" (3:15), "Creepy Dead Bug" (3:21), "Don't Touch My Stuff!" (2:34), "C-C-C-Cold Outside" (2:38), "To Be a Wood Bee" (3:04), and "Meow, Meow, Meow" (2:16).

The Incredible Flexible You
Tom Chapin & Phil Galdston
Privately Published
c/o To Market Kids (publicity)
4136 Lamson Ave.
Spring Hill, FL 34608

Performer Tom Chapin and Grammy Award-nominated songwriter and producer Phil Galdston have created The Incredible Flexible You: A Songbag of Social Clues, a children's album with a valuable purpose - to help young people learn more about social skills and concepts, in a fun and inviting manner. The songs offer a thoughtful tour through the not-so-obvious rules and norms of social behavior, with a strong message of respect and self-empowerment. Each musical theme has been created specifically to accompany a lesson in "The Incredible Flexible You: A Social Thinking Curriculum for the Preschool and Elementary Years, a curriculum, parent's guide, and book series intended to instruct young people ages 4-7; however, The Incredible Flexible You also works great as an educational stand-alone song collection. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library children's music collections.

Smiley Face Sticker
Mr. Palindrome
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$15.00 CD / $8.99 MP3

Australia-based musician and father Mr. Palindrome has created his first CD, Smiley Face Sticker, an album for kids that blends sing-out-loud fun with educational linguistic concepts such "alliteration", "anagrams", and "onomatopoeia". Filled with palindromes and puns, Smiley Face Sticker is an upbeat way to teach young ones more about their own language. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library youth music collections. The tracks are "Smiley Face Sticker", "Backwards Alphabet", "Mr. Balloon", "My Ability (The Pencil & Eraser Song)", "Alove Alliteration", "What Word Rhymes With One?", "Onomatopoeia (On-o-mat-a-pee-yah)", "The Real Adventures of Incy Wincy Spider", "The Palindrome Song", and "Who Folded the Moon in Half?".

Celeste Sings, Kids Dance
Produced, arranged, and sung by Dana Anton
Romantic Realist Records
264 South La Cienega Blvd., Suite 704
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Celeste Sings, Kids Dance is an album for young people, featuring Dana "Celeste" Anton's unique takes on widely beloved children's songs, pop melodies, and classical music, as well as one piece of original music. A charming, lively collection that encourages young ones to get up and move, Celeste Sings, Kids Dance is a delight to listen to - adults will find it easy on the ears as well! The tracks are "The Hug Song", "Waltzing With Bears", "Music Box Dancer", "For Baby", "Rubber Duckie", "The Marvelous Toy", "Scotty's Clock", "Pachelbel's Canon", "My Mommy Comes Back", "James, James, Morrison Morrison", "Catch Another Butterfly", "Freight Train", "Hugs and Kisses", "Zip A Dee Doo Dah", and "Octopus's Garden". Also highly recommended is Celeste's previous album, "Celeste Sings, Kids Dream", which has earned multiple awards including the NAPPA Gold Award and the national Parenting Center's Seal of Approval.

My Cup of Tea
Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band
Privately Published
c/o Beth Blenz-Clucas Publicity
5505 SW Illinois Street
Portland, OR 97221
$15.00 CD / $10.00 digital

Heidi Swedberg (well-known for her role as Susan on the television sitcom "Seinfeld") showcases her ukulele and vocal talents in My Cup of Tea, a lively, family-friendly music CD for all ages. A few tracks are based on classics tunes, while others are wryly original. All are a joy to to listen to, in this excellent pick for rainy day fun or family car trips. The tracks are "Cup of Tea", "The Owl and the Pussycat", "Little Birdie", "Al Tambor", "Duermete", "Hobo's Lullaby", "Istanbul", "Johnny Martin", "Wi Wa", "Boogie Man", "Turn the World Around", "Simple Gifts", and "Comin' Round the Mountain."

Desert Island Disc
Recess Monkey
Privately Published
c/o Waldmania!
130 Maywood Drive
San Francisco, CA 94127

The award-winning children's band Recess Monkey presents Desert Island Disc, a music CD especially for young listeners ages 3-8. Built around a tropical island theme, the songs are energetic, playful, and topped off with zany humor. Desert Island Disc is pure feel-good fun, ideal for family car trips! The tracks are "Coconut Radio", "Tallest Tree", "Trailblazer", "Hide and Seek", "Long Gone", "The Hermit", "Pearls of Wisdom", "The Cave", "My Treasure", "Getting a Sunburn", "Round the Campfire", "Dessert Island", "Smooth Sailing", and "Going Home".

The DVD Shelf

The Wheels on the Bus: Animal Adventure
Featuring the voice of Roger Daltrey
22 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
1417240342 $9.98

Roger Daltrey (well-known as a member of The Who) voices Argon the Dragon in The Wheels on the Bus: Animal Adventure (45 min.), a children's DVD that mixes live-action, animation, cheerful music, and fun educational facts. Animal Adventure is filled with amazing and amusing truths about reptiles, bugs, sharks, turtles, dolphins, elephants, zebras, and more; the main characters Papaya, Mango and Argon meet new friends and witness all sorts of unusual animals at the local zoo. A theme promoting the joy of making and helping friends runs through this playful, family-friendly pick. Also highly recommended for little ones is "The Wheels of the Bus: All Around Town" ($9.98, 35 min.)

Chihuahua Too!
Entertainment One
Entertainment One Film USA
22 Harbor Park Drive
Port Washington, NY 11050
1417240636 $9.98

The delightful sequel to "Chihuahua: The Movie" (and an homage to Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua", though not directly affiliated with that film or with Disney), Chihuahua Too! is a lighthearted, live-action movie on DVD that dog lovers young and old can enjoy. When the Fastener family investigate their newly inherited vacation home, they learn that's haunted by Sophie, a chihuahua owned by thier ancestors. The family's golden retrievier, Homer, gets close enough to Sophie to learn the truth - she just needs a new family to belong to. Can Homer and the Fastener kids persuade the Fastener parents not to sell the house or abandon Sophie? An uproarious comedy adventure with heartfelt lessons about the positive virtues of acceptance and honesty, Chihuahua Too! is an excellent pick for public library collections, or family movie night!

The Science Shelf

The Hot Air Balloon Book
Clive Catterall
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9781613740965, $14.95, 240 pp.,

We are all familiar with hot air balloons. Those majestic drifters in the sky that allow basket passengers to drift with the wind and serenely examine the slowly passing landscape below. But that's not the kind of hot air balloons featured in "The Hot Air Balloon Book: Build and Launch Kongming Lanterns, Solar Tetroons, and More", an impressive do-it-yourself instruction book for ages 9 to 99 showing how to construct and operate an impressive variety of eight different hot air balloon constructions. Along the way the readers learn to calculate the volume of a balloon, equip backyard launching stations, and follow recipes for homemade fire retardants. As fun as it is informational, "The Hot Air Balloon Book" is a highly recommended addition to personal, school, and community library Activity Book collections and would make an enduringly popular science class curriculum supplement. It should also be noted that "The Hot Air Balloon" is also available in a Kindle edition ($9.59).

Remembering Creation From Mother Star to Babies
Gordon Hunter, author
Marvin Alonso, illustrator
Trafford Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
c/o Bohlsen Group (publicity)
9781466984707 $18.41 pbk. / $3.99 ebook

Also available as an inexpensive ebook, Remembering Creation From Mother Star to Babies is a softcover picturbook with black-and-white illustrations designed to teach inquisitive young minds about what modern science and technology tell us about the creation of the universe. "...the planets of our solar system began to form in the outer disc at the same time our sun was being born in the center. They too were made of bits and pieces of the mother star. Those bits and pieces in the disc were moving so fast that instead of falling toward the sun in the center of the disc, they fell into orbits around the sun. And the gravity from the sun kept them from flying off into space." Simple representations of atoms and cells are also touched upon. Remembering Creation is a solidly educational book, an excellent pick for parents to share with children, especially when answering difficult questions about how the Universe came to be!

The American History Shelf

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore
J. Scott Fuqua
Bancroft Press
3209 Bancroft Road, Baltimore, MD 21215
c/o Julia Drake PR
9781610880770 $17.99 hc
9781610880787 $7.99 pbk

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore is a colorful children's picturebook with an ingenious take on teaching young readers about American history. Daniel has a hard time paying attention in the history classroom, and he wonders why things that happened two hundred years ago are so important. Calvert the magical raven shows him the answer, taking him on a trip to witness a British invasion fleet that threatened Maryland in 1814; a pitched land battle, and the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Baltimore's repudiation of the invaders even sparked the creation of the patriotic ballad "The Star-Spangled Banner". Afterward, Calvert instructs Daniel to do his very best work when writing his homework paper about the brave people of Baltimore! Although Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore has a fantastic premise about a time-traveling journey, it's solidly grounded in Baltimore's proud history, and highly recommended for public and school library children's collections.

The Native American Shelf

First South Carolinians
Kate Salley Palmer & Jim Palmer, authors
James Palmer, Jr. Illustrator
Warbranch Press
329 Warbranch Road, Central, SC 29630
9780966711479, $14.95,

"First South Carolinians" is a professionally illustrated and presented resource book about the known tribes and groups of First Americans inhabiting the area of South Carolina from times beginning 40,000 years ago to the late 1600's and contact with European explorers. Groups under study include the Cherokee, divided into three groups of Lower Town, Middle Town and Upper Town, and Midlands region tribes such as Catawba, Cheraw, Congaree, Wateree, Waxhaw, Sugaree, and coastal groups such as the Cusabo, Sewee, Santee, Pee Dee, Waccamaw, Winyah, Wando and Sampit. Many more first South Carolinians existed, but not all their history is known due to European conquest and disease ravages of the initial colonial era. Initial descriptions of the first South Carolinians are taken from written records of early European explorers. Thus, accurate projected portraits of some of these people can be created, along with many representations of their accustomed games, weapons, farming and hunting practices, cultural celebrations, and more. ""First South Carolinians" is a fine missing puzzle piece to help present more accessible, accurate information about the daily lives of the first South Carolinians. A glossary and bibliography complete this excellent study which is recommended for students in grades 5 and up.

Custer's Last Battle
Paul Goble
Wisdom Tales
P.O. Box 2682
Bloomington, Indiana 47402-2682
9781937786113, $16.95,

CUSTER'S LAST BATTLE: RED HAWK'S ACCOUNT OF THE BATTLE OF THE LITTLE BIGHORN provides a fine new edition of Goble's first published book, and uses a fictional young Lakota warrior to explain and retell the Indian side of the battle. This edition features the original layout intended in the author's initial design, includes full digitized color for the first time, scanned from the original artwork housed among collections in the South Dakota Art Museum, and includes a revised, updated narrative and new introduction. The result is a top pick for any picturebook reader at grades 5-6 who holds good reading skills but retains an affection for the picturebook format.

The Agriculture Shelf

Kailey's Ag Adventures
Dr. Dan Yunk
Kansas Farm Bureau
2627 KFB Plaza
Manhattan, KS 66503
9780979765353 $25.00

Kailey's Ag Adventures is a hardcover anthology of child-friendly illustrations, some full-color photographs of farm animals, and friendly facts about agriculture. A young, redheaded girl named Kailey learns more about where her food comes from in "Milk Comes from a Cow?", "The Soil Neighborhood", "Farmers and Ranchers Care about their Animals!", "Celebrate What", and "Growing Up Strong", each of which have previously been individually published in paperback. "Most people think of golden fields of grain when they think of wheat. Actually, wheat is a green grassy color in the beginning. Sun and rain help it to grow taller with stems, leaves and heads. Over time the sun turns the wheat plants from green to gold." In today's increasingly urban society, picturebooks such as Kailey's Ag Adventures are excellent teaching tools to inform young people about where their dinner comes from! Highly recommended.

Books in Series

Burton's Harvest Party
V. A. Boeholt, author
Nathaniel P. Jensen, illustrator
Five Star Publications
P.O. Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246
9781589852082, $11.95,

"Burton's Harvest Party" is the third book of the Friendship Tales From the Farm, Burton the Scarecrow series, designed to teach values and ideals such as gratitude, service, cooperation, sharing, and problem-solving. It is the end of harvest time and Farmer Green and his family want to prepare for the fall Harvest Party. However, Aunt May is sick in bed and Grandma Green is away judging the State Quilting Contest. How will Farmer Green and his grandchildren cope with all the work of the Harvest Party? It's Burton the Scarecrow and friends to the amazing rescue in this heartwarming farm celebration tale. Further enhanced by endearing retro color illustrations of Burton, Ribbon, and all their animal friends, "Burton's Harvest Party" is a celebration of all that is good and helpful in the human spirit, or perhaps it should be communal spirit, for every creature has something to contribute in "Burton's Harvest Party." A happy exchange of favors rounds out the positive ending of this teaching tale, and children ages 5 and up will not fail to grasp the many messages of hope and helpfulness to others. A Resource Guide, Harvest Festival History, list of reader and listener tips, Ideas for Activities, Connecting Points, and Glossary are to be found at the end of "Burton's Harvest Party," as in other volumes in the series. Finally, Five Star Publications supports Feed the Children as a partner charity in the publishing of the Burton the Scarecrow Series, to continue its tradition of teaching and giving back. The Burton the Scarecrow series is a wonderful educational outreach effort, with sustainability, helping others, and creating adequate nourishment for all at its core.

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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