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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 9 September 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf World History Shelf
Biography Shelf Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Audiobook Shelf
Music CD Shelf DVD Shelf Picturebook Shelf
Board Book Shelf LGBT Shelf Poetry Shelf
Sports Shelf Crafts Shelf Travel Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice

Food Fight!
Tanya Steel
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426331626, $19.99, HC, 160pp, www.amazon.com

Christopher Columbus set out on his most famous voyage in search not of the new world, but cinnamon. Rich people in the Middle Ages served flaming peacocks and spun sugar castles to their lucky dinner party guests. When M&Ms were invented their candy coating wasn't just for decoration. The quest for food has inspired all kinds of adventures and misadventures around the world, and "Food Fight!: A Mouthwatering History of Who Ate What and Why Through the Ages" by Tanya Steel explores the wildest and wackiest of them all, from prehistoric times through modern day. Hungry young readers ages 10 to 12 can go on a finger-licking romp through the ages to discover the origins of today's common foods, yucky habits of yore, marvelous inventions that changed the way we ate and cooked, and the weirdest menus on record. Amazing stats and fast food facts are featured throughout, along with 30 original recipes, each specific to a particular time and place. As informative as it is entertaining, "Food Fight!" is a thoroughly kid friendly and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! A Century of Strange
Ripley Publishing
www.ripleys.com/books
9781609912178 $28.95 amazon.com

Filled cover-to-cover with eye-popping color photography, Ripley's Believe It or Not! A Century of Strange is an all-new compendium of wild, weird, and crazy things worldwide. From the Danish music group AquaSonic that performs music underwater (without breathing apparatuses - members must resurface frequently to breathe) to the beautiful "hummingbird moth" (an insect that flies, moves and sounds just like a hummingbird) to the astonishing Chand Baori stepwell in Rajasthan, India (built more than 1,000 years ago to collect precious water during monsoons) and much more, Ripley's Believe It or Not! A Century of Strange will thrill and amaze readers of all ages. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library collections.

Happy Papas
Kathleen T. Pelley, author
Mariya Prytula, illustrator
CWLA Press
9781587601682, $14.95, 30 pages, www.cwla.org

"Happy Papas" is the companion title to an earlier work by the same author and illustrator, "Happy Mamas." Splashed throughout with warm, multi- tinted portraits of many different species' examples of fathers with their young, "Happy Papas" is a verse and response song celebration of patriarchal love and devotion. What do Papa hippos, tigers, otters, parrots, dolphins, geese, seahorses, goldfish, manta rays and humans have in common? Each Papa shows caring devotion to the happiness, health, and well being of his offspring. What makes happy Papas happiest, throughout the long day and night? "But as the moon blooms and fireflies flicker, what makes all Papas, from earth to air, from sea to sky, from tree to tunnel, happiest by far? Telling their little ones, with a nudge or a nuzzle, with a cuddle or a snuggle, with a wink or a whisper - "Papa's here. All is well." That's a -my baby's safe and snug and happy and loved kind of Happy Papa!" Enchanting watercolor portraits of sleepy tiger papas and sleepy human papas with their babies lull the reader to a contented sleep filled with dreams of love. As a bonus to caring fathers and families of all kinds everywhere, all proceeds from the sale of "Happy Papas" support CWLA (Child Welfare League of America) programs on behalf of children and families.


The Social Issues Shelf

Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying
James M. Foley, author
Shirley Ng-Benitez, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
www.maginationpress.com
9781433828188 $16.95, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-8, www.amazon.com

"Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying" is a helpful animal fable for children who experience bullying behavior. Baxter Bunny and Danny Bear are happy forest animals until some noisy blue Jays, led by Buford Blue Jay, begin to taunt them and make fun of them in loud screeches. Buford and the blue jays screech nasty names, taunts and insults at all the forest animals, making them feel angry and sad. Baxter and Danny talk to Queen Beth of the Bees, and she teaches them a song that helps friends feel good and stick together: "I am great and so are you!/ Together we can make it through,/ Working hard, helping out:/ That's what bees are all about." Queen Beth encourages Baxter and Danny to stick together and sing their feel good song and they find this simple strategy works! They spread the word among all the other forest animals who have also been bullied into feeling bad by Buford and the jays. finally the animals all banded together and sang their song to Buford, who stopped bullying and lost his power. "I am great and so are you!/ Together we can make it through./ Working hard, helping out: That's what we are all about!"
At the end of "Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying" is a helpful Note to Parents and Other Caregivers that offers the following coping strategies for standing up to bullying: Identify bullying behavior. Teach assertiveness at home. Listen and problem solve. Brainstorm coping strategies. Talk about social support. Build self-esteem. Use positive affirmations. Emphasize telling an adult. "Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying" is a charming fable about coping with bullying. the delicate animal characters in sensitive pastel illustrations are good role models for kids learning to deal with bullying behaviors. This imaginative book is also a helpful tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers.


The World History Shelf

Cook's Cook
Gavin Bishop, author/illustrator
Gecko Press
www.geckopress.com
9781776572045, $17.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Deftly written and beautifully illustrated by Gavin Bishop, "Cook's Cook: The Cook Who Cooked for Captain Cook" follows the 1768 journey of James Cook's H.M.S. Endeavour with his ship's cook, the one-handed John Thompson, as story teller. Through real recipes from the ship's galley, events on board, and the places the ship traveled on its way to the Pacific, "Cook's Cook" tells stories of social class, hierarchy and race; stories of explorers and the people of the land; and the story of one of the world's most famous explorers told through a fresh new lens. As entertaining as it is solidly informative, "Cook's Cook" is an exceptional and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book history collections for young readers ages 7 to 11.


The Biography Shelf

Nature's Friend
Lindsey McDivitt, author
Eileen Ryan Ewen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585364053, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

The art and writing of Gwen Frostic are well known in her home state of Michigan and around the world. "Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story" is a picture book biography by author Lindsey McDivitt and illustrator Eileen Ryan Ewen that tells the story behind Gwen's famous work. After a debilitating illness as a child, Gwen sought solace in art and nature. She learned to be persistent and independent -- never taking no for an answer or letting her disabilities define her. After creating artwork for famous Detroiters and for display at the World's Fair and helping to build WWII bombers, Gwen moved her printmaking business to northern Michigan. She dedicated her work and her life to reminding people of the wonder and beauty in nature. An extraordinary and exceptional read from beginning to end, "Nature's Friend" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections for young readers ages 6 to 9. It should be noted that "Nature's Friend" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren
Elizabeth Raum
Chicago Review Press
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
www.chicagoreviewpress.com
9780912777504, $17.99, HC, 176pp, www.amazon.com

Lavinia Warren never let her height (or the lack of it) prevent her from leading a full and adventurous life. Although she never grew more than three feet tall, she became a beloved teacher, a world traveler, an entertainer and the friend of many powerful figures. Lavinia was teaching at a local school when she heard about an opportunity to travel doing shows as a "human curiosity" on a Mississippi River boat. Eventually she met P. T. Barnum and worked at his American Museum. It was there that she met Charles Stratton, a little person known to the world as "Tom Thumb". Their wedding, which took place on February 10, 1863, brought joy to a nation at war. President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln held a reception for the couple at the White House. The newlyweds later toured the United States and the world. Lavinia faced several tragedies but always found the strength to go on. Lavinia's extraordinary story also provides a social history of one of the most devastating periods in American history. With additional material on Tom Thumb Weddings, readers' questions, time line, and notes and bibliography, "The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren" by Elizabeth Raum is an unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library biography collections for young readers ages 8 to 12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Big, Bold, Adventurous Life of Lavinia Warren" is also available in a paperback edition (9780912777511, $11.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).


The Christian Shelf

Mary Mother of Jesus
Marilyn Evangelina Monge, FSP, author
Mary Rojas, illustrator
Pauline Kids
c/o Pauline Books & Media
50 Saint Pauls Avenue, Boston, MA 02130
9780819848700, $11.95, www.pauline.org

"Mary Mother of Jesus" is a preschool board book story of the mother of Jesus. Young children will love turning sturdy pages filled with pleasant portraits of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and their friends. An angel tells Mary she is to bear God's Son, Jesus. Joseph will help her care for him. They both love God and Jesus very much. Growing up, Jesus teaches his mother and his father as well as others about God's love. Mary witnesses the cruel death of Jesus, and hears him ask his friends to care for her. Mary was very sad, but she knows her son died to save all people. Jesus rises from death, and Mary is so happy. They all receive God's holy Spirit, and after Mary lived out her life, she went to heaven to be with her Son.

Staircase for the Sisters
Pamela Love, author
John Joseph, illustrator
Pauline Kids
c/o Pauline Books & Media
50 St. Paul's Avenue, Boston, MA 02130-3433
www.pauline.org
9780819890979, $12.97, PB, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Engagingly written by Pamela Love and charmingly illustrated by John Joseph, "Staircase for the Sisters" is an engaging picture book for children ages 4 to 7 about the miraculous staircase built for the Sisters of Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico, through the intercession of Saint Joseph. Of special note is the inclusion of a novena through a saint's intercession that will help teach young children how to prayer. "Staircase for the Sisters" is particularly recommended to the attention of the Roman Catholic community.


The Judaic Shelf

Hannah's Hanukkah Hiccups
Shanna Silva, author
Bob McMahon, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Publishers
11 Edison Place, Springfield, New Jersey 07081
www.applesandhoneypress.com
9781681153 $17.95, HC, 32 pages, www.amazon.com

Written by a twice nominated Tony producer for children ages 4-8, "Hannah's Hanukkah Hiccups" is a twinkling story about a good Jewish girl named Hannah who looks forward to performing a song about her dreidl on Hanukkah. Unfortunately she gets an incurable case of hiccups that continue day and night, for eight days. Remedies are suggested by family, neighbors, and her Dr., but nothing stops her hiccups. Hannah is at her wits' end the night of her Hanukkah performance, when she gets an idea while dressing for the show. Putting on her sequined dress and red tap shoes, she chooses to tap dance her Hanukkah solo instead of singing, and the tapping sound drowns out the sound of hiccuping! It is an ingenious solution, and magically, after the Hanukkah celebration and party, Hannah's hiccups finally stop. "Hannah's Hanukkah Hiccups" is a gentle multi ethnic holiday tale, with pokes of fun interspersed with traditions of comfort and faith. The humorous, limited palette illustrations in black, white, gray and red underline the caring thoughts of all who try to help Hannah with her hiccups. At the end of the story a Note for Families suggests ideas to discuss with young readers to encourage further interest and growth.


The Fiction Shelf

Safe in a Beehive
Judith Petres Balogh
Independently Published
9781983151828, $6.59 Paperback/$5.18 Kindle, www.amazon.com

Safe in a Beehive introduces student Mike, a 'bad boy' who can't seem to please anyone. Life isn't much better at home, either: he's always in trouble for mischief. With this setting in mind, readers won't expect that the bully and young failure would next encounter an elf in his own garden - but that's what happens. As Mike embarks on an unexpected journey, his 'bad' habits and ways, as well as the lessons others have been trying to teach him, begin to haunt him with experiences that reinforce basic ideas about handling life itself. More so than most middle grade stories about bad boys, bullies, and temperamental kids, Safe in a Beehive offers a close inspection of the process through which misfits begin to change. Well-crafted and delightfully original, Safe in a Beehive is as much about growth and taking chances as it is about safety. The evolution of a bully and failure into something greater is portrayed as a realistic, rocky path that isn't always linear, but is always challenging and engrossing, and young readers who hold a special affection for life-affirming fantasy tales of self-help and growth will discover in Mike a powerfully evocative character.

This Story Is A Lie
Tom Pollock
Soho Press
853 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
www.sohopress.com
9781616959111, $18.99, HC, 336pp, www.amazon.com

Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a math genius. He also suffers from devastating panic attacks. Pete gets through each day with the help of his famous scientist mother and his beloved twin sister, Bel. But when his mom is nearly assassinated in front of his eyes and Bel disappears, Pete finds himself on the run. Dragged into a world where state and family secrets intertwine, Pete must use his extraordinary analytical skills to find his missing sister and track down the people who attacked his mother. But his greatest battle will be with the enemy inside: the constant terror that threatens to overwhelm him. Weaving between Pete's past and present, "This Story Is a Lie" is a testimony from a protagonist who is brilliant, broken and trying to be brave. An exceptional and deftly crafted thriller of a read from beginning to end, "This Story Is A Lie" showcases author Tom Pollock's genuine flair for character and narrative driven storytelling, making it an ideal and popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists, "This Story Is A Lie" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Welcome to 4B
Brynn Kelly
West 44 Books
c/o The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010
www.rosenpublishing.com
9781538382226, $18.95, HC, 88pp, www.amazon.com

Mila is sent to 4B after a bad first week of school. So far, she already made her teacher cry, and it's only Wednesday. Classroom 4B is full of angry, tough kids who are nothing like her. Mila used to be a happy-go-lucky, popular cheerleader, but that was before she was taken away from her mom and placed with her aunt. That was before moving to a whole new town and whole new school. That was before not being able to talk to her mom while she's in treatment. Mila doesn't want anything to do with the kids in 4B, until she realizes that maybe they all have problems, just like her. Mila may have just found her new friends. "Welcome to 4B" by Brynn Kelly is one of those impressive fictional stories that is exceptionally entertaining while dealing with what is basically serious subject matter. As a result, "Welcome to 4B" is unreservedly recommended for family, school and community library fiction collections for young readers ages 10 to 13. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Welcome to 4B" is also available in a paperback edition ($11.70).

Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels
Al Cassidy
Privately Published
9780692138649, $11.99, PB, 296pp, www.amazon.com

The sequel to "Freeing Linhurst" and continuing the adventures of Jack Alexander and his best friend Celia, "Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels" finds that two years have passed since the two of them slipped inside Linhurst State School and Hospital to uncover the truth beyond the abandoned walls. But just when it seems that life might be returning to normal, the Linhurst campus begins experiencing strange phenomena once again. Severely injured staff, mysterious writings on the wall, and the return of green flashes of light have Dr. Moseley on high alert. Certain this is not the work of mere trespassing vandals, Mose hires a team of paranormal investigators to find the source of the disturbances. Jack and Celia are thrown back into the world of ghosts and spirits, and must face a dark curse that has gripped the former asylum. After Celia is taken into the tunnels by a menacing force, it's a race against the clock to free her and cage the energy that threatens the future of Linhurst. Another original, deftly written, and inherently riveting read by an author with a genuine flair for solidly entertaining, character and narrative driven storytelling, Al Cassidy's "Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels" is very highly recommended for school and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists the 'Freeing Linhurst: Into the Tunnels" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Unearthing Christmas
Anthea T. Piscarik
Canterbury House Publishing
6928 W Country Club Drive N, Sarasota, FL 34243
http://www.canterburyhousepublishing.com
9781945401039 $15.95 amazon.com

In 1955, fourteen-year-old Lori creates a Christmas room in her father's bomb shelter. Sixty years later, fourteen-year-old Peggy and her friends discover the abandoned shelter, fully preserved. Peggy returns alone. As Peggy reaches for a prized object, Lori appears and the past and present collide into a fate-filled adventure. A deftly crafted novel that arguably falls into the YA Fiction category, "Unearthing Christmas" showcases author Anthea T. Piscarik's genuine flair for originality, character development, and narrative driven storytelling that will appeal to all readers ages 13 to 83 -- making it unreservedly recommended for school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections.

Thief of Happy Endings
Kristen Chandler
Viking
9780425290477, $18.99, www.penguinteen.com

Thief of Happy Endings tells of Cassidy, who is attending summer camp in Wyoming after her parents separate and she loses her best friend. The change of scenery doesn't bring with it respite alone; because unexpected romance, horses, and the atmosphere and lure of an unfamiliar Wyoming summer lead her to some personal revelations that could change everything. Mature teens who enjoy stories of growth, recovery, and romance will find this an evocative tale of a summer experience that holds much promise for Cassidy's future.

Max's Story
W. Bruce Cameron
Starscape/Tom Doherty
c/o Tor/Forge
9780765395016, $16.99, www.tor-forge.com

Max's Story: A Dog's Purpose Puppy Tale offers a stand-alone novel in the Puppy Tales collection for middle school readers, crafting a novel about a little dog in a big city. Max knows that CJ is the girl for him; the one who is destined to be his owner. But CJ is struggling with being a small-town girl in a big city. As a native to New York, Max is in the perfect position to help her; if she'll let him. In turn, she has a thing or two to teach him, as well. A winning, involving story evolves, perfect for middle school kids who love dogs.

Not So Normal Norbert
James Patterson and Joey Green
Little, Brown
9780316465410, $13.99, www.littlebrown.com

Not So Normal Norbert provides middle school readers with a fun future world in which Norbert Riddle lives in the U.S. of Earth in a world where normal means being ordinary. When an impulsive imitation of the country's dictator leads to trouble, Norbert is banished to the Astro-Nuts camp on Zorquat 3, a world for kid who have been exiled from the norm. How can he get along with others if he's the only normal kid in a crazy world? Middle school readers will appreciate this zany tale of off-world antics.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

#Murdertrending
Gretchen McNeil
Freeform
9781368010023, $17.99, www.freeform.com/books

#Murdertrending is set in a future akin to The Hunger Games when teen Dee is convicted and sent to a prison island where government-sanctioned killers hunt down convicts and stream their deaths on social media. It's a deadly game in which otherwise-decent citizens enjoy watching convicted felons get their just desserts. The only problem is: Dee is innocent. And her persistence and struggle to survive may prove the only thing standing between life, death, and an app gone wrong. An engrossing, charged story line will keep mature teens involved and immersed in Dee's efforts.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Cecilia
Sandra L. Rostirolla
www.slrostirolla.com
Pinkus Books
www.pinkusbooks.com
9780999189108 $16.95 pbk / $3.99 Kindle amazon.com

Cecilia is a fantasy novel for young adults, featuring a determined eighteen-year-old young woman in a disastrous situation. The corrupt Senators of Vitus sent forces to destroy her home village and enslave all the men. With little more than her wits and her ancestral Freedom Tree pendant, Cecilia sets out to rescue her captive brothers. An assassin working for Vitus cannot bring himself to kill Cecilia, an instead takes her prisoner. This is only the beginning of Cecilia's ordeal and odyssey, for the Goddess of Light is dying, and if Cecilia cannot find a way to defeat the Senators' ruthless rule then death will be all that remains for the entire world. Vivid and captivating, Cecilia will appeal to connoisseurs of high fantasy of all ages and backgrounds. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Cecilia is also available in a Kindle edition ($3.99).

Mega Bat
Anna Humphrey
Tundra
9780735262577, $12.99, www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

Mega Bat for ages 7-10 is illustrated by Kass Reich in black and white throughout as it tells of Daniel's move to a big, remote new house which might possibly be haunted. On the other side of the boards, Megabat is shipped around the world and finds himself living in a strange old house. Megabat can talk. Daniel becomes less afraid of him. And the two form a friendship that proves helpful and unique in this gentle story of a talented bat and a lonely boy who each find themselves far from what is familiar, trying to make the best of their new lives.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Squirrels' Busy Year
Martin Jenkins, author
Richard Jones, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763696009, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

It's winter. It's cold! The squirrels are digging up acorns to eat. But what will they eat in the spring, when the acorns are gone? As the bushy-tailed creatures weather snowstorms, thunderstorms, and hot summer days, "The Squirrels' Busy Year: A First Science Storybook" is gentle story by Martin Jenkins that uses simple, clear language and the beautiful illustrations of Richard Jones to introduce very young readers ages 4 to 6 to the seasons and the changing weather they bring. Basic questions at the end help children remember and expand on what they've learned, and back matter includes an index. As fun as it is informative, "The Squirrels' Busy Year" is an exceptional and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library wild life picture book collections.

I Like Malamutes!
Linda Bozzo
Enslow Publishing LLC
101 West 23rd Street, Suite #240, New York, NY 10011
www.enslow.com
9780766096677, $22.60 List/$16.95 S&L, Library Binding, 24pp, www.amazon.com

The Alaskan malamute is one of the oldest breeds of Arctic sled dogs, built to pull heavy loads over long distances. Students will discover these fascinating facts and more as author Linda Bozzo and the American Canine Association teach readers all about malamutes, including how to take care of one and what needs are specific to the breed. Also included are a Note to Parents that stresses the importance of spaying or neutering and microchipping pets, a Words to Know section to help young readers learn new vocabulary, and a Read About Dogs section to encourage further exploration. Other new releases comprising this simply outstanding 'Discover Dogs With the American Canine Association' series include: I Like Corgis! (9780766096752); I Like Shetland Sheepdogs! (9780766096790); I Like Weimaraners! (9780765096875); I Like Shih Tzu! (9780766095837); I Like Norwich Terriers! (9780766096714). While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for children ages 5 to 8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that all the books in this canine series are also available in a paperback edition ($9.35 each).

Bat Citizens
Rob Laidlaw
Pajama Press
9781772780390, $18.95, www.pajamapress.ca

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night holds a life-size bat gatefold and comes from an animal activist and biologist who focuses on bat biology for elementary-age readers. Bat facts accompany advice to young readers to become "Bat Citizens" educating others about their importance. Many picture book bat books are on the market today in comparison to decades ago; but what makes Bat Citizens such a standout is its colorful photos, informational sidebars, and approach designed to both instruct and empower young bat enthusiasts.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Bridge Over the Mississippi
Jean Leturgie, author
Morris, artist
Xavier Fauche, contributor
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
National Book Network (dist.)
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849183901, $11.99, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

The latest addition to the outstanding 'Lucky Luke" graphic novel series for young readers ages 8 to 10, "Bridge Over the Mississippi" draws directly from American history. In 1874, President Grant authorised the construction of a bridge over the Mississippi. Until then, passage between St. Louis and East St. Louis was only possible on ferries. But the ferry company is owned by two notorious brothers who have been getting rich by forcing passengers to wait in the hotels, gambling halls, and restaurants they own on both sides of the river and the ferry traffic. The reason for stalling travelers is that's where and how they routinely fleece travelers for every dollar they have. That's also why the two crooks are doing everything in their power to prevent the bridge from being built - until Lucky Luke arrives, of course! Of special note is the historical information at the back of the book about the bridge and the bridge builder James Buchanan Eads. "Bridge Over the Mississippi" is a thoroughly 'kid friendly' and entertaining graphic novel that is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Sir Jason
Bob de Groot, author
Turk, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
www.cinebook.com
National Book Network (dist.)
www.nbnbooks.com
9781849184076, $11.95, PB, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Holidaying in the country, Clifton receives the unexpected (and unwelcome) visit of a MI5 bigwig. He finds himself reinstated against his will, and tasked with finalizing the training of a promising new recruit of the Intelligence Service: Sir Jason. The young man is sharp, well-educated, knows both techniques and theory like the back of his hand. The problem, as Clifton soon discovers, is that when the time for action comes, he is inevitably paralyzed by fear! Another wonderfully entertaining and lively story from the team of author Bob de Groot and artist/illustrator Turk, "Sir Jason" is an especially recommended addition to personal, school, and community library graphic novel collections for young readers ages 8 to 18.

That Night a Monster
Marzena Sowa and Berenika Kolomycka
ODOD Books
2854 Columbus Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55407
https://uncivilizedbooks.com/odod
9781941250303 $12.95 amazon.com

That Night a Monster is a frightfully charming, full-color graphic novel for all ages. One morning, young plant-lover Thomas awakens to find that a gigantic, monstrous fern has replaced his mother! Who will cook and care for Thomas now? Why doesn't his father seem concerned? Or... could the fern truly be his mother after all? That Night a Monster deliberately leaves ambiguous whether Thomas' imagination has run wild, or whether his mother's resemblance to a fern is just that strong. Perhaps a little bit of both are true? That Night a Monster is delightful from cover to cover, highly recommended especially for school and public library children's graphic novel collections.


The Audiobook Shelf

Ernestine Catastrophe Queen
Merrill Wyatt, author
Read by Caitlin Davies
Hachette Audio
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.HachetteAudio.com
9781478994695 $25.00

Ernestine Catastrophe Queen is the unabridged rendition of a delightfully adventurous novel especially for young adults. Ernestine Montgomery is a young woman dedicated to success at anything to which she tries her hand. Then, there is an attempt on the life of her inordinately wealthy landlady. Ernestine never does anything by halves - she gives her all to solving this dastardly mystery. But no one can dig up long-buried secrets without leaving a mess! Fun, funny, and featuring a plucky heroine, Ernestine Catastrophe Queen is enthusiastically recommended for public and school library audiobook collections. 7 CDs, 7 hours.


The Music CD Shelf

Shoebox Town
Tracy Newman
Run Along Home
www.RunAlongHome.com
$14.98 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

Second in Tracy Newman's "Run Along Home" children's music series, Shoebox Town celebrates the idea of "unhurried childhood" with time-honored children's classics. Newman's down-to-earth guitar playing and engaging vocals infuse these beloved songs with vibrant joy. Shoebox Town is an excellent gift for families, and highly recommended for school and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Hide and Seek", "Little Bitty Fish", "Shoebox Town", "I Love a Carousel", "I'm Not Small", "Dance Like a Lady", "Aren't You Glad You've Got a Friend", "Sticky Little Lollipop", "Don't Let Time Catch Me", "Magic Penny", "Zilli Billionaire", "Sing Along With Me", "Here in Hawaii", "In Stillness Watch", and "Sleep, Sleep, Sleep". 43 min. 28 sec.

All the Sounds
Lucy Kalantari and the Jazz Cats
www.LucyKalantari.com
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

All The Sounds is an original album of jazzy, family-friendly songs. Lively and exuberant, the songs by Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award-winning children's music artist Lucy Kalantari draw upon the jazz age for inspiration, in this delightful collection sure to brighten any rainy day. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Sounds of Summer", "La Cosecha", "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?", "Ain't No Dog Like Mister", "I Know A Little Fellow", "Howl To The Moon", "Bunny Hop", "The Peace Song", "Travelin' All Around", and "All The Sounds".

Happy Land is Tierra Feliz
Mi Amigo Hamlet (Hamlet Meneses)
Meneses Music
www.miamigohamlet.com
$15.00 CD / $9.99 digital cdbaby.com

Happy Land is Tierra Feliz is a bilingual English/Spanish music CD for children of all ages. Music artist Mi Amigo Hamlet (Hamlet Meneses) is a strong proponent of bilingual education, and the songs encourage young listeners (especially those ages 0-6) to expand their language skills. Many songs are ideal for building vocabulary, as they cover common words like colors, modes of transportation, and months of the year. Lively, educational, and just plain fun, Happy Land is Tierra Feliz is highly recommended especially for public and school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Happy Land", "Dias De La Semana", "Azul", "Go Go Go", "Pajarito", "Laila", "Hola", "Cara Cabeza", "Rock Paper Scissors", "How Much I Love You", "Los Instrumentos", "Months Of The Year", "La Lluvia", "Love", "Thankful", and "Little Fish". 55 min.

In Our World There Are No Strangers / En Nuestro Mundo No Hay Extranjeros
Evan and Vanessa
evanandvanessa.com
Banyan Records
$12.00 CD / $12.00 digital amazon.com

In Our World There Are No Strangers / En Nuestro Mundo No Hay Extranjeros is a bilingual English/Spanish music CD created especially for young people ages 2-10. Husband-and-wife duo Evan and Vanessa infuse their music with cross-cultural elements to promote education, empathy, and tolerance. Evan is a master of over 20 different instruments, while Vanessa's vocals are a mellifluous joy (she is also a native Spanish speaker, who lived in Ecuador as a child). Highly recommended, especially for public library and personal bilingual children's music collections. The tracks are "Welcome to Our Album", "Sun Sun Sun", "Any Dream Will Do", "Edelweiss", "Los Pollitos", "Somewhere Out There", "The Traveler", "Tu Tu Teshcote", "Coloring Book", "I Know Of A Special Place", "In Our World There Are No Strangers", "Goodbye Friends", and "Intermission", "Bienvenido A Nuestro Album", "Sol Sol Sol", "Cual Sueno Ayudera" "Edelweiss", "Los Pollitos", "Alla Afuera", "Libro De Colorear", "Tu Tu Teshcote", "Se De un Lugar Especial", "En Nuestro Mundo No Hay Extranjeros", and "Adios Amigos". 61 min.

Ready or Not!
The Not-Its!
http://wearethenot-its.com
Little Loopy Records
$TBA CD / $7.00 digital https://bandcamp.com

Award-winning "kindie" rock band The Not-Its! presents Ready or Not!, a delightful album of lively, kid-friendly songs. Parents and caretakers will also smile to the sharp, witty lyrics accompanying the rousing tunes. Ready or Not! is just plain fun for sing-alongs, car-trips, or children's parties, highly recommended. The tracks are "Hide & Seek", "Little Bug", "Staring Contest", "Heading Home", "Tiger Moth", "The Battle of Curriculum Night", "A Lie is a Lie", "Runaway Bike", "Potty Mouth", "Let the Games Begin", "Daddy Long Legs", and "What Will I Be?"

If You Want To Be a Pirate
Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers
www.tommason.net
Privately Published
$15.00 CD / $9.49 MP3 amazon.com

If You Want To Be a Pirate is the fifth rousing children's album from pirate-themed band Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers. Celebrating the Golden Age of Piracy with Afro-Cuban ballads, Cajun sea shanties, Irish jigs and more, the music of If You Want To Be a Pirate is all about being boisterous, adventurous, and breaking out of one's shell! The tracks are "If You Want To Be a Pirate", "A Lot of Work To Be a Pirate", "Kristofer the Kindly Kraken", "My Invisible Crew", "In the Drink (Kids' Version)", "Treasure through the Trash", "The Parrot of a Pirate", "Treasure the Sea", "Talk Like a Pirate", and "Sailing On".


The DVD Shelf

Election Day Stories
Weston Woods
90 Old Sherman Turnpike, Danbury, CT 06816
www.scholastic.com/westonwoods
9781338091106 $59.95

Ideal for young viewers ages 6-12, Election Day Stories is a delightful, educational children's DVD featuring two different stories about Election Day. "So You Want To Be President?" (27 min.) is an award-winning short celebrating the public and private lives of forty-two American presidents. "I Could Do That! Esther Morris Gets Women The Vote" (17 min.) is the true story of Esther Morris, the first female Justice of the Peace in the United States, who accepted the position after the previous Justice of the Peace resigned in protest of Wyoming Territory's passage of the women's suffrage amendment in December 1869. Both videos are excellent for homeroom viewing or school library collections, and highly recommended.


The Picturebook Shelf

That Bear Can't Babysit
Ruth Quayle, author
Alison Friend, illustrator
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763699529, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When Mr. and Mrs. Burrow need a babysitter, they are not expecting Bear. But Bear is the only one who shows up, so Bear gets the job of babysitting seven little bunnies who are full of mischief. Together, the bunnies persuade Bear to read a scary book, give them chocolate for dinner, and go crazy with the garden hose! But when the bunnies find Bear sailing the high seas in a make-believe ship, suddenly he isn't such a bad babysitter after all! A wonderfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 3 to 7 by the team of author Ruth Quayle and illustrator Alison Friend, "That Bear Can't Babysit" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Scaredy Bear
Steve Smallman, author
Caroline Pedler, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781680101003, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Bear's truck is stuck in the mud! His animal friends all try to help him, but none of them can move the truck. Then they come up with an idea that just might work. By lifting a flap or turning the page watch the illustrations change throughout the story with the amazing changing pictures feature! An impressively unique and wonderfully entertaining picture book for children ages 5 to 8 by the team of writer Steve Smallman and illustrator Caroline Pedler, "Scaredy Bear" is certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Knock Knock
Tammi Sauer, author
Guy Francis, illustrator
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338116946, $16.99, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

Charmingly illustrated by Guy Francis and an wonderfully entertaining tale by Tammi Sauer, "Knock Knock" is a fresh and innovative method of humorous storytelling that uses knock-knock jokes to tell the story of Bear and his woodland friends Raccoon, Rabbit, Turtle, and others. With each new visitor, Bear grows increasingly frustrated at his lack of peace and quiet. Little does Bear know that his friends have a surprise in store for him -- a happy hibernation party! Original and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Knock Knock" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 5.

Ardie's Big Secret
Rosilyn Seay
PicBooks Publishing
http://picbokspub.com
9780998557649, $16.95, HC, 40pp, www.amazon.com

When Ardie promised that he would not give away what he knew about an upcoming family surprise, it seemed so easy. But protecting the secret got harder and harder. Everything he tried seemed to backfire. Luckily, with help from his teacher, he came up with the perfect plan. Now, to execute it, all he has to do is collect an odd list of supplies, work around his two very observant parents, and make sure that his little brother doesn't do anything to ruin it all. Piece of cake. Written and illustrated by Rosilyn Seay, "Ardie's Big Secret" is an engaging picture book story about a young boy who goes out of his way to do something special to make his family happy. Young readers ages 6 to 9 will relate to Ardie as he works through issues like keeping promises, sibling conflicts, and sharing. They will see that, even when things don't work out the way you expect, you can still succeed. It just takes determination, logical thinking, imagination, and knowing when to ask for help. Original, entertaining, and with deftly embedded ethical messages, "Ardie's Big Secret" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

My Magic Hat Rules!
Debi Novotny, author
Thea Schaeffer, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
560 Herndon Parkway, #120, Herndon, VA 20170
http://mascotbooks.com
https://mymagichatrules.com
9781684014491, $14.95, HC, 38pp, www.amazon.com

The collaborative work of author Debi Novotny and illustrator Thea Schaeffer, "My Magic Hat Rules!" is an entertaining picture book charms and delights with its rhythmic narration and whimsical images that are perfect for early readers ages 5 to 6. The children (and their parents!) will be inspired to use their own magic hat to create and read new words together. "My Magic hat Rules!" is certain to become an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Perfect Stone
Matthew Leatherwood, author
Daryl Wills, illustrator
Perfect Stone Enterprises
c/o Concierge Marketing
9781949067019, $9.95, www.ThePerfectStoneBook.com

"The Perfect Stone" is a beautiful example of storytelling to illustrate positive values and virtues. Filled with delicate, realistic black and white drawings that beg to be colored, "The Perfect Stone" traces a young boy's endless search for the perfect stone, as he collects and appreciates all kinds of different stones. One day his brother explains to him that all stones are different, and that they are all beautiful and perfect in their own way. The boy finally learned that there was no perfect stone, but there was only the treasure that was perfect for him. "The Perfect Stone" is a beautiful children's story with a universal moral.

Stone Underpants
Rebecca Lisle, author
Richard Watson, illustrator
Maverick Children's Books
http://www.maverickbooks.co.uk
9781848863118, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Pod is a young boy who lives in the Stone Age and finds that he often has a cold bottom! So he invents underpants! Unfortunately his choice of material is not always practical. Will he find something that is both warm and flexible, so he can play with his friends? Charmingly written by Rebecca Lisle and featuring the lively illustrations of Richard Watson, "Sone Underpants" is an original, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book the is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 9.

I Was Made For You
David Lucas
Andersen Press
9781541535596, $17.99, HC, 32pp, www.andersenpress.co.uk

Cat was knitted out of the softest, fluffiest wool and wrapped in shiny paper and a big pink ribbon, but why was he made? In order to find out, he embarks on a journey that unravels him bit by bit. Entertainingly written and charmingly illustrated by David Lucas, "I Was Made For You" will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library original picture book collections for children ages 4 to 9. It should be noted that "I Was Made For You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99, www.amazon.com).

Porcupine's Pie
Laura Renauld, author
Jennie Poh, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
https://www.beamingbooks.com
9781506431802, $16.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Porcupine can't wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition. A delightfully entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 8, "Porcupine's Pie" by author Laura Renauld and illustrator Jennie Pho is about generosity -- and even includes a recipe for 'friendship pie'! "Porcupine's Pie" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Sir Salmon
Cale Atkinson
Tundra
9781101919095, $17.99, www.penguinrandomhouse.ca

Sir Salmon is a Super Scarer, a professional ghost who has his first house assignment. Regulated to bus stops and forests, Sir Salmon is excited about his first professional job; especially since the old house comes with an easily-impressionable old lady. Or, so he thinks. When things get complicated, trouble emerges in this fun story for ages 4-8.

Beyond the Fence
Maria Gulermetova
Child's Play
9781846439315, $16.99, www.childs-play.com

Beyond the Fence comes from an author who explores the experiences of Piggy and Thomas, human and animal friends who suffer from one thing: Thomas likes to hog the conversation, and always knows what's best for Piggy. Or, does he? When Piggy meets Wild Pig and learns some shocking truths, he ventures well beyond his comfort zone in a gentle story of new experiences, new thoughts, and new friendships that new readers will find delightfully fun.

Max Goes to Jupiter
Jeffrey Bennett, Nick Schneider, and Erica Ellingson
Big Kid Science
c/o Independent Publishers Group (dist.)
9781937548827, $15.00, www.bigkidscience.com

Max Goes to Jupiter appears in its second updated edition to cover a space dog and his friends who embark on a journey to Jupiter. Couched in the guise of a picture book tale is a host of facts explaining the science behind the story, supplementing the exceptionally vivid, color-packed illustrations by Michael Carroll with space science insights suitable for reports. Parents and teachers who want eye-catching stories for kids who have rudimentary reading skills should place Max Goes to Jupiter at the top of the list.

Nubeocho
www.nubeocho.com

An oversized presentation makes the fun drawings in Emiio Urberuaga's Gilda the Giant Sheep (9788417123246, $17.95) come alive as they embellish a simple tale of a giant sheep who requires twenty shepherds to help her. Twenty shepherds who are sick of sheering, milking, and selling wool. A gruesome solution (perhaps too gruesome for some young readers) evolves, but clever Gilda gets wind of the plan thanks to her giant sheep ears, and makes her own decision about her future. Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to this fun story of a sheep who makes the most of her size. Dolores Brown and Sonja Wimmer's Las Princesas Mas Valientes (9788417123376, $17.95) is entirely in Spanish and tells of a firefighter, a supermarket cashier, a girl in a wheelchair and one retired. Their connection? All are princesses. Not everyone can be a princess, and they come in all colors and styles. This colorful survey will delight princess fans who want a different approach to the subject. Susanna Isern and Gomez's Daniela the Pirate (9788417123123, $16.95) requires good reading skills and will attract kids with a passion for pirates as it tells of a particularly dreaded pirate vessel and a girl with a small sailboat who is actually searching for the legendary, terrible ship. Can she pass the most stringent tests to become a pirate herself? A fun story emerges which differs from the usual pirate story in many satisfying ways.

Maverick Children's Books
www.maverickbooks.co.uk

Two fine new picture book stories are recommended picks from Maverick Books and provide different tales and refreshingly new perspectives. Jessie Miller and Barbara Bakos' Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans (9781848862821, L7.99) tells of a rooster excited by his new dazzling blue jeans. It's always a risk trying out a new style, though; particularly when barnyard animals aren't used to dressing up. Cath Jones is also a fun new author offering Bonkers: About Beetroot (9781848862814, L7.99), the story of an endangered safari park whose resident animals are determined to save it. They have to think out of the zoo box to do so, however, and the most bonkers idea, involving a giant beet, may just be the ticket to success. Both are whimsical, fun stories kids will relish.


The Board Book Shelf

Us
Frank Boylan, author
Mary Manning, illustrated
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
www.FlowerpotPress.com
9781486715459, $7.99, HC, Board Book, 20pp, www.amazon.com

The story of "Us" by the team of author Frank Boylan and illustrator Mary Manning is one full of hugging, laughing, dancing, and most of all love. This endearing bedtime story reminds children ages 3 to 5 that love shines through all the things we do each and every day and no matter the distance between us, we carry that love with us in the memories of our special moments together. An utterly charming little board book, "Us" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections!

The Hungry Monster
Kate Bucknell, author
Julia Seal, illustrator
Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064
www.FlowerpotPress.com
9781486715206, $17.99, HC, Board Book, 14pp, www.amazon.com

The first of a four volume series of board books by author Kate Bucknell and illustrator Julia Seal for children ages 2 to 4, "The Hungry Monster" is all about how when children turn into little monsters because they become hungry, their parents know exactly what to do! The other four titles in this simply outstandingly fun and 'kid friendly' board book series are about the common causes for 'bumps' in the day and showing just how to accept a gentle nudge which can help children get back to their real selves. The other four titles in this exceptional series that is particularly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections are: The Sleepy Monster (9781486715220, $7.99); The Lazy Monster (9781486715213, $7.99); and The Silly Monster (9781486715190, 7.99).

Rosa Rides Her Scooter
Jessica Spanyol, author/illustrator
Child's Play (International) Ltd.
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
www.childs-play.com
9781786281234 $4.99, 14pp, Ages 5-6, www.childs-play.com

"Rosa Rides Her Scooter" is a new board book series title for preschool children and very early readers. This exciting new series for young children promotes gender equality and celebrates diversity plus the uniqueness of every child. Rosa is an active young Afro American girl who loves playing with her scooter. Her little white dog, Snowy Dog, excitedly accompanies her on her adventures. Colorful, specific illustrations show Rosa preparing for her scooter play by wearing a protective vest and helmet, packing a lunch, and tools to fix minor scooter mishaps. Rosa has fun riding fast on her scooter. When she falls, she says "I'm glad I wore my helmet," and gets up to check and fix her scooter wheels. She plays nicely with other children on their scooters until she is tired, then takes a much needed rest and eats her sandwich, while giving her pet dog a drink of water. "Rosa Rides Her Scooter" is a perfect board book story for young prereaders, with multiple messages of fun, safety precautions, getting along with others, and taking care of yourself and pets and toys. This will definitely be a beloved series for the boardbook set. Other highly recommended titles by the same author illustrator in the Rosa series include: "Rosa Loves Cars" (9781786281258, $4.99), "Rosa Loves Dinosaurs" (9781786281241, $4.99), and "Rosa Plays Ball" (9781786281265, $4.99).


The LGBT Shelf

Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill
Lee Wind
https://www.leewind.org
Book Baby Publishers
www.bookbaby.com
9781732228108, $25.99, HC, 300pp, www.amazon.com

Wyatt is fifteen, and nobody in his homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon, knows that he's Gay. Not even his best friend (and accidental girlfriend) Mackenzie. Then he discovers a secret from actual history: Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy! Since everyone loves Lincoln, Wyatt's sure that if the world knew about it, they would treat Gay people differently and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online, triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about-and he has to pretend more than ever that he's straight. Only then he meets Martin, who is openly Gay and who just might be the guy Wyatt's been hoping to find. Inspired by real historical evidence that Abraham Lincoln was in love-romantic love-with another man, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is all the more impressive when considering that it is author Lee Wind's debut as a novelist. Entertaining, thought- provoking, "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is recommended for school and community library YA fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" is also available in a paperback edition (9781732228115, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).


The Poetry Shelf

The Love of a Bingle Lancer
Paul Gullen, author
Rachel Korsen, illustrator
Polar Press
Golden Bell Studios
www.GoldenBellStudios.com
9781946185068 $17.95, HC, www.amazon.com

"The Love of a Bingle Lancer" is a fantastic fairy tale in prose poetry, with a dashing hero, Babaloo Bandini, and a sultry beauty, Hoochie Coochie Smoocherini, the Spanish fancy dancer, and a grumpy father King who interferes with their love by banishing Hoochie Coochie Smoocherini to Fettucini. Filled with irresistible rhymes and fantastic images of Hoochie Coochie Smoocherini and her dashing Bingle Lancer Babaloo Bandini, the captivating lyrics of this song tale tell of a true love that triumphs over obstacles of distance and food (the secret star is Fettuccine Alfredo). The final chorus resolves all differences and finds a moral: "The King only wanted the best for his son,/ And this he had when all was said and done,/ A fact he saw and didn't mind admitting,/ For many a King is good at sitting and forbidding/ And many a prince is good at prancing and romancing/ But when it comes to Spanish Fancy Dancing,/ There's no one like Hoochie Coochie Smoocherini." Originally conceived by the author for his own daughter when she was growing up, "The Love of a Bingle Lancer" is sure to enchant children ages 3-8 and older!

Every Month Is a New Year
Marilyn Singer, author
Susan L. Roth, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
www.leeandlow.com
9781620141625, $20.95, HC, 56pp, www.amazon.com

In many places around the globe, the new year starts on January 1. But not everywhere! Chinese New Year is celebrated in January or February. Iranians observe Nowruz in March. For Thai people, Songkran occurs in April. Ethiopians greet the new year at Enkutatash in September. All these diverse cultural, regional, and religious observances, and many others, have deep-rooted traditions and treasured customs. Acclaimed poet Marilyn Singer has created a lively poetry collection that highlights sixteen of these fascinating festivities, some well-known and some less familiar. Together with Susan L. Roth's captivating collage illustrations, the poems take young readers ages 7 to 10 into the heart of these beloved holidays. Every month of the year, somewhere in the world people celebrate with joy and good wishes for a happy new year. As informative as it is entertaining, "Every Month Is a New Year: Celebrations Around the World" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Smidgeons and the Glugs
J. E. Raven, author/illustrator
Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.
9781640287334, $13.95, www.christianfaithpublishing.com

"The Smidgeons and the Glugs" is a morality fable in verse, with slightly grim green and brown illustrations of giant, tree-like Glugs and tiny humanoid Smidgeons having a mysterious encounter. Told in rambling rhyme, the story of "The Smidgeons and the Glugs" is a conflict between good and evil, or greed vs. fair sharing practices. Despite the scary appearance and nasty plan of the Glugs, the wise Smidgeons have an effective defense and counter attack that is surprisingly effective. Children will be quick to tumble to the moral or morals, which might boil down to the Golden Rule, or what happens when folk forget it. Perhaps the audience appeal might be for children over age 7, due to the slightly fearful undertones.


The Sports Shelf

Incredible Cardinals
Ed Wheatley, author
Ed Koehler, illustrator
Reedy Press
PO Box 5131, St. Louis, MO 63139
www.reedypress.com
9781681061399, $19.99, HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

Deep in Busch Stadium's left field, there is a wall of heroes. The greatest Cardinals of all time are painted there, reminding us that dreams do come true. On this wall, Dizzy Dean still throws his flaming fastball. Lou Brock flashes his supersonic speed around the bases. Ozzie Smith puts on a show with his fielding magic. Just like players today, young Cardinal fans dream of joining their heroes on the wall. Written by baseball enthusiast and Cardinals fan Ed Wheatley, and charmingly illustrated by Ed Koehler, "Incredible Cardinals" is a unique and extraordinary picture book for children ages 5-6 based on that 'Wall of Heroes" and a highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for all young readers -- and especially young Cardinal baseball team fans!


The Crafts Shelf

Origami Activities for Kids
Michael G. LaFosse
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804849432, $10.99, HC, 48pp, www.amazon.com

Michael G. LaFosse is considered a leading authority and master of the art of Origami. LaFosse is cofounder of the Origamido Studio and author of many books and videotapes about paperfolding and papermaking. In "Origami Activities for Kids: Discover the Magic of Japanese Paper Folding, Learn to Fold Your Own Origami Models" he draws upon his more than 40 years of experience and expertise to create a 'how to' origami book for kids ages 8 to 12. This new edition has been revised and reformatted, becoming an ideal and thoroughly 'kid friendly' introduction to Japanese culture and crafts. With full-color photos, step-by-step instructions, and 8 sheets of origami paper, beginning folders can master the straightforward designs ranging from Lotus Flower; Japanese Fan; Chopstick Wrapper; and Dollar-Bill Dragon; to Chinese Zodiac; Traditional Crane; Japanese Daruma Doll; and twelve more. Children will learning how to fold two-dimensional paper squares into three-dimensional objects that are not only fun, but help to develop hand-eye coordination and spatial skills by engaging the child's whole brain. Each paper model explores an important aspects of Asian culture, thereby creating an appreciation and awareness of cultural differences in children. While "Origami Activities for Kids" is wholeheartedly recommended for community library collections, it should be noted that it is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.44).


The Travel Shelf

Come Travel with Me: Chicago
Michele Fisher, author
Joy Lin Kulp, illustrator
Momosa Publishing
www.momosapublishing.com
9780998653174, $6.95, PB, 64pp, www.amazon.com

Informatively written by Michele Fisher and featuring charming picture book style illustrations by Joy Lin Kulp, "Come Travel with Me: Chicago" is part of a new book series that offers a kids' eye view of major US travel destinations, including a special "where's the puppy" feature on every spread! A slender and easily carried paperback, "Come Travel with Me: Chicago" also features helpful travel tips for parent!. An ideal travel guide designed specifically for children ages 5 to 18, "Come Travel with Me: Chicago" will insure a fun-filled trip to Chicago.


Books in Series

Gareth's Guide to Writing a Best Seller
Kristen Rajczak Nelson
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
www.garethstevens.com
9781538220634, $27.93 List/S&L $20.95 HC, 32pp, www.amazon.com

When it's time to book the talk shows and literary journals, everyone wants to know how a best-selling author gets their ideas and crafts a masterpiece! A part of the simply outstanding 'Gareth Guides to an Extraordinary Life' series for children ages 9 to 12, "Gareth's Guide to Writing a Best Seller" is engrossing instructional manual for becoming a successful writer as author Kristen Nelson deftly explains the painstaking work behind beloved books. Young readers will discover what they can do now to prepare for a literary triumph as well as how some of their favorite authors broke into the scene. The appealing design includes illustrations, sidebars, fact boxes, infographics, and a graphic organizer to better organize young aspiring authors the path to literary fame and fortune. Very highly recommended for both school and community library collections, the "Gareth Guides to an Extraordinary Life' series also includes: Gareth's Guide to Saving The Environment (9781538220597, $27.93 List/S&L $20.95 HC, 32pp); Gareth's Guide to Building A Skyscraper (9781538220559, $27.93 List/S&L $20.95 HC, 32pp); Gareth's Guide to Building A Robot (9781538220511, $27.93 List/S&L $20.95 HC, 32pp); and Gareth's Guide to Becoming a World-Renowned Chef (9781538220474, $27.93 List/S&L $20.95 HC, 32pp).

Be a Citizen Scientist!
Michael Rajczak, author
Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003
www.garethstevens.com
9781538219959, $26.60 School /$19.95 Library, 32 pages, www.amazon.com

"Be a Citizen Scientist!" is an excellent resource for students in grades 3-6 to investigate ways to become involved in objective observation of the natural world through observations and experiments. Twelve chapters lavishly illustrated with color photographs offer ideas for making group efforts, playing games with science, studying insects, observing/recording the solar eclipse, making space discoveries, tracking animal populations, testing for pollution, pet projects, weather spotters, and climate change. Helpful informative sidebars highlight exciting information and suggest special ways for students to become involved (orange sidebars labeled Your Turn!). Finished with a glossary of terms and list of books and websites for more information, "Be a Citizen Scientist!" is an engaging, up to date resource with stimulating ideas for further observation and research doable by kids. An example of the game playing chapter is the suggestion that students can contribute to brain research by playing games at testmybrain.org, where data gathered helps scientists understand how the human mind works and how people think about the world around them. Additional titles from the Be the Change! series that are also highly recommended include the following: "Be an Activist! (9781538220115, $19.95)," by Jill Keppeler, "Be a Conservationist!(9781538220030, $19.95)," by Matt Jankowski, and "Spread Your Message! (9781538220153, $19.95)," by Heather Leaderstorf.

My Book of Words
Susan Purcell, author
Heather Heyworth, illustrator
Windmill Books
c/o Rosen Publishing
29 East 21st St., New York, NY 10010
www.windmillbook.com
9781508196570 $18.45, HC, Schools/Libraries, 24pages www.amazon.com

"My Book of Words" is a fun, imaginatively illustrated, vocabulary enhancing book for children grades K-2. From the My Book Of Series, it presents page after page of bright colored pictures of objects in different locations with written nametags and related questions about the objects and words in the pictures at the bottom of the pages. Places are grouped in categories such as At Home, In the Home, In the Garden, In the Family. My Body, On the Street, Things that Go, At the Park, Picnic Food, and On the Beach. There are also general categories including Clothes, Colors, Shapes, and Numbers. "My Book of Words" is a fun vocabulary book for young readers that invites them to investigate words and experiences objectively. At the end a page titled Can you find? tests recall and observation skills further in a fun little recall game. "My Book of Words" is a cheerful, pleasant illustrated vocabulary book that encourages young readers to explore the wonderful world of words. Other books in the My Book of Series that are also highly recommended include the following titles: "My Book of Letters (9781508195993, $18.45)," by Susan Purcell, illustrated by Richard Watson, "My Book of Colors and Shapes (9781508195955, $18.45)," by Rosie Neave, illustrated by Sharon Harmer, and "My Book of Animals (9781508196471, $18.45)," by Susan Purcell, illustrated by Nik Afia.

My First Fairy Tales: The Three Little Pigs
Laura Levy, editor
Gwe, illustrator
Auzou Books
9782733861509 $9.99

Created and designed to appeal to children age 2 and up, "My First Fairy Tales: The Three Little Pigs" is an imaginative interactive board book from a series of fairy tales. Illustrated in charming scenes lit with bright primary colors, every pair of pages has one interactive feature such as a wheel that turns showing the three little pigs leaving home, or a door that opens to show the pigs hiding from the wolf, or the three piles of materials which the little pigs transformed into their three little homes. Little fingers will enjoy sliding the pictures into place, and watching the scene unfold. A favorite page shows the wolf huffing and puffing to blow the straw house down: The sliding feature shows the wolf's belly blow up as he gets ready to blow and then the puffs of air coming out to blow the straw house down. "My First Fairy Tales: The Three Little Pigs" will enchant young readers and invite them into the happy world of reading. Also highly recommended is another interactive board book in the series, "My First Fairy Tales: Goldilocks and the Three Bears (9782733861493, $10.99)," with illustrations by Marion Cocklico.

Zach Stands Up
William Mulcahy, author
Darren McKee, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
www.freespirit.com
9781631982934, $12.99, HC, 36pp, www.amazon.com

The newest addition to author William Mulcahy and illustrator Darren McKee's outstanding 'Zach Rules' series for young readers ages 5 to 8, "Zach Stands Up" is about bullying. When Zach sees his friend Sonya being bullied at school, he doesn't know what to do. The kids who are being mean are popular -- it's scary to think about getting involved. After talking with his brother and remembering what his teacher taught the class about bullying prevention, Zach creates the stand-up-to-bullying STAR: speak up by talking to the people being bullied, take off by helping them leave the area, ask questions about how they are feeling and actively listen to the answers, report what happened to an adult as soon as you can. The next day when Zach stands up for Sonya, he realizes it feels great to be an upstander. Very highly recommended for school and community library collections, the other titles in this exceptional series include: Zack Hangs In There; Zack Makes Mistakes; Zach Apologizes; and Zach Gets Frustrated.

Over on a Desert Somewhere In the World
Marianne Berkes, author
Jill Dubin, illustrator
Dawn Publications
12402 Bitney Springs Rd., Nevada City, CA 95959
www.dawnpub.com
9781584696292 $16.95 HC, $8.95 PB, $6.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 4-7

Eighth title in the award winning "Over" series, "Over on a Desert Somewhere in the World" presents portraits of more than 20 species of animals that inhabit different desert terrains throughout the world. Part fiction, part nonfiction, the singing verse lyrics describe habits and activities of different desert dwellers portrayed. Counting to ten, there are ten different major species featured in six of the seven continents of the world. At the end of the song there is a color coded map of the world showing the locations of the ten deserts on the six continents of North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. In addition to the ten featured desert animals, there are more than ten additional "hidden" desert animals, who are repeated in miniature portraits at the end, with additional information about each species. Haunting, beautiful desert illustrations filled with authentic details cover each page of "Over on a Desert," while additional learning activities are suggested by the author, including Act It Out, Fun with Words, Construct an Attribute Chart, A Closer Look at Deserts Around the World, Design a Desert Animal, Create a Cacti Garden, and Discover More About Deserts. The musical score for the song of over on a Desert is offered in the book and also on line, with lyrics for all ten verses. From desert hedgehogs to Gobi jerboas, the many species of desert animals in "Over on a Desert Somewhere in the World" combine to tell a true story of life as it is found in the deserts of the world.

Ice Cream Kitchen Experiment
Meg Gaertner, author
The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003
www.childsworld.com
9781503825390, $27.07 List; $18.95 Library; HC, 24pp

"Ice Cream" is a hardback title from the Kitchen Experiment series for readers at a grade 1 reading level, of interest to children from kindergarten up to 3rd grade level. Illustrated with large, cheery color photos of children enjoying cold and hot foods, the first two chapters of "Ice Cream" explain concepts of hot and cold and principles underlying the process of making ice cream. The third chapter is titled The Experiment Let's Make Ice Cream! Beginning with a list of materials needed, including utensils and ingredients, numbered step by step instructions accompanied with action photos guide students through the process of making their own homemade ice cream. Sidebars include handy tips outlined in blue test tubes and flasks, while a small clock shows the time to finish, estimated at 15-20 minutes. At the end, a delicious treat awaits the eager kitchen experimenter. A handy test tube blue tip sidebar informs readers that people who are allergic to dairy milk can eat ice cram made from other types of milk, such as soy milk or almond milk. Final pages include a handy glossary and reference section giving added resource information including books and related web sites. "Ice Cream" is an ideal kitchen experiment for children age 5 and up, or even older! Other highly recommended titles from the Kitchen Experiment Series by the same author include the following: "Invisible Message Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825352), "Rubber Egg Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825376), "Slime Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825338), "Super Bouncy Ball Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825406), "Volcano Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825345), "Water Fireworks Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825383), and "Cave Crystals Kitchen Experiment" (9781503825369).

Wet Hen
Molly Coxe, author/illustrator
Bright Owl Books
c/o Kane Press, Inc.
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
9781575659763, $5.99, PR, 40pp, www.kanepress.com

"Wet Hen" is a delightful story for early readers told in short "e" vowel sounds, filled with verse, colorful fantasy photos, and a fascinating story. Here is a sample: "Hen is wet. Hen's eggs are wet. "Help!" says Hen. "I Can Help," says Hen's friend Ben. "I have an umbrella." The story proceeds, with wonderful posed photos of a comical wet stuffed hen and her friend Ben, who rescues Hen and her eggs heroically from floods of water. In addition to the story, there are a couple of Story Starter pages to encourage children to create their own stories. The adorable animal characters are created and posed and photographed by the author, Molly Coxe. Young children and early readers will delight in learning to read these wonderful stories, while being encouraged to create more stories of their own. Other highly recommended titles by the same author/illustrator in the Bright Owl Books vowel series for early readers include: "Rat Attack" (short vowel a) (9781575659732, $5.99), "Princess Pig" (short vowel i) (9781575659794, $5.99), "Hop Frog" (short vowel o) (9781575659824, $5.99), and "Cubs in a Tub" (short vowel u) (9781575659855, $5.99).

Astro the Alien Visits Desert Animals
Emily Sohn, author
Carlos Aon, illustrator
Norwood House Press
PO Box 316598, Chicago, IL 60631
9781599539201 $22.60 www.norwoodhousepress.com

"Astro the Alien Visits Desert Animals" is a Beginning-to-Read series title in which Ben and Eva take Astro the Alien on a camping tour to meet desert animals. This entertaining series encourages emerging readers to build on earlier skills such as those developed in the "Dear Dragon" series. A list of 135 vocabulary words are introduced in "Astro the Alien Visits Desert Animals," supplementing a list of Reading Reinforcement strategies and techniques, including comprehension strategy, vocabulary lesson, close reading, foundational skills, and fluency. Astro the Alien has landed on earth and lives in Ben and Eva's backyard in a space pod. They take fun trips together to introduce Astro to more species and habitats of living creatures on this planet. Notes to caregivers suggest activities and techniques to encourage reading success in early readers. Astro and Ben and Eva leave in the space pod to go camping in the desert. Astro sees desert creatures while on a hike with Ben and Eva, including a Gila monster, a rattlesnake, dung beetles, a cactus wren, a toad and a tortoise. They also see a packrat, a roadrunner, a bobcat, a jackrabbit, a cottontail and a mule deer, some animals that come out after dark. Later, after dark, they hear a coyote and an owl, who are also night hunters. The fearful Astro even spotted a tarantula spider, which Ben and Eva reassure him is not harmful to him. Bright, colorful illustrations portray the three explorers in a desert habitat, meeting other natural desert dwellers on their hikes. Beginning readers will love this series with its attention to detail, inviting narratives, and attention to development of excellent reading skills. Also highly recommended are the following titles by Emily Sohn, illustrated by Carlos Aon, from the "Astro the Alien" series: "Astro the Alien Visits Polar Animals (9781599539157)," "Astro the Alien Visits ocean Animals (9781599539164)," "Astro the Alien Visits Farm Animals (9781599539188)," "Astro the Alien Visits Forest Animals (9781599539195)," and "Astro the Alien Visits Pond Animals (9781599539171)."


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Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

Bear Moves
Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyuz
Candlewick Entertainment
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9780763698317, $15.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 2-5, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

Well, put on the music and move over, cause Bear's got some moves and he doesn't mind sharing them. This is a fun, feel-good read. Bear introduces the reader to music and dance, and the illustrations are sure to add laughter to the beat. (Ages 2-5).

Stick
Irene Dickson
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9781536200164, $14.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 2-5, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

The simplest of things can often bring the greatest rewards. Following all the joys a boy and his dog can share with a simple stick. You can throw it, balance with it, float it down a stream, and draw pictures in the sand. And we agree, building friendships is the very best of all. (Ages 2-5).

My First Book Of Quantum Physics
Kaid-Sala Ferron Sheddad, author
Eduard Altarriba, illustrator
Button Books
www.buttonbooks.co.uk
9781787080133, $17.99, HC, 48pp, Ages 8+, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

When I hear terms like elementary particles, my mind runs to the massive crumbs left in the middle school lunchroom. Or quantum entanglements fills my mind with visions of playground altercations needing attention. But, what if the concepts of quantum physics were introduced in an easier and more entertaining way? These authors have lifted the gray haze, and brought the quantum world to our fingertips. Children (and adults) will enjoy pushing the boundaries of what we call reality, and stepping into the quantum world! (Ages 8+).

Try a Little Kindness
Henry Cole
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338256413, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-5, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

The sweet, rhythmic flow of the text, and soft, easy appeal of the illustrations make this a great feel-good reading experience that can linger for a lifetime. Each page features a different way to be a good person, like using proper manners, telling someone they are special, or sharing a treat! The opening page will catch the heart and quickly become a childhood mantra. (Ages 3-5).

Mae's First Day Of School
Kate Berube
Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
www.abramsyoungreaders.com
9781419723254, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-7, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

I bet we all remember our first day of school. Oh, we may not remember the details, but that cold clammy feeling that stirs every time we face a new venture, reminds us. Life is never as hard when we encounter it with a friend. Mae is afraid to go to school. Riddled by the monstrous "what if" thoughts, she hides and determines not to go. But, lucky for Mae, she meets others who are just as frightened as she is. And together, they are able to overcome. A great reminder for all of us. Let's grab a hand and do all those wonderful things we wish we could do! The illustrations are simple and sweet, and capture the heart. (Ages 3-7).

Storm
Sam Usher
Templar Publishing
https://www.templarco.co.uk
9781536202823, $16.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 3-7, www.amazon.com

Larissa Juliano
Reviewer

Wind and thunderstorms can be cozy, exciting, and evoke lots of adventures - inside and outside of the house! A little boy and his grandpa go searching for a kite to fly on a windy, stormy day and throughout their search, reminisce about other experiences they had together as they bump into special mementos. A beautiful story that will inspire children to look for adventures in nooks and crannies, and most importantly, with their families.

I Am Actually a Penguin
Sean Taylor, author
Kasia Matyjaszek, illustrator
Templar Publishing
https://www.templarco.co.uk
9781536202786, $16.99 HC, $9.98 PB, $4.24 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-7, www.amazon.com

Larissa Juliano
Reviewer

Playing dress-up is a childhood experience that will never get old and this is a funny, sweet, and completely relatable story about a little girl who loves this pastime. Her imagination, creativity, and perseverance is adorable (and admirable) as she really embraces becoming her costume - in this case, a penguin. The illustrations are vibrant, fun, and different with the use of mixed media and multiple picture and plot points on each page. Readers will enjoy reading this delightful story and then quickly running to their own dress-up box.

Duck Gets a Job
Sonny Ross
Templar Publishing
https://www.templarco.co.uk
9780763698966, $16.99 HC, 32pp, Ages 3-7, www.amazon.com

Sherry L. Hoffman
Reviewer

This is a story about being yourself and not a carbon copy of the vast majority. Sonny Ross creates a combo of creative words and illustrations to entertain young readers with his tale. Children will delight in the silliness of Duck as he takes readers through the steps of getting a job in a big city. Duck soon discovers that spreadsheets are not his cup of tea, so he opts for a job that fits his special gifts and passion. A perfect read-aloud for discussing sequencing and introducing job skills and goals, this picture book really fits the bill!

Little Robot Alone
Patricia MacLachlan, author
Emily MacLachlan Charest, author
Matt Phelan, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com
9780544442801, $17.99 HC, $12.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-7, www.amazon.com

Sherry L. Hoffman
Reviewer

Little Robot Alone is a story about a robot curing boredom by using his imagination, technical skills, and some elbow grease. The authors and illustrator have created a story that showcases the importance of friendship. The occasional rhyming text intermixed with the imagery produced from the descriptive wording allows readers to purely enjoy the robot's surroundings and appreciate the soft, dreamlike illustrations. What a wonderful text to use with young children to bring up the topic of befriending others and discussing what it feels like to be alone. This profound story is more than the superficial idea of a robot creating a friend; digging deeper, teachers and parents can easily help readers have text connections by incorporating this story into lessons about having positive character traits and finding them in others. (Ages 3-7).

Rock What Ya Got
Samantha Berger, author
Kerascoet, illustrator
Little, Brown Children's Books
c/o Hachette Book Group USA
1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104
www.hachettebookgroup.com/kids
9780316561501, $17.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 4-8, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

I love the opening of this story! It opens wide the imagination and excitement rushes in. Carrying a powerful message, each page delights with its endearing illustrations. For anyone who has ever whispered, or shouted, "If only...." Happiness comes when we own who we are, and success follows when you can rock what ya got. This is a fun presentation for kids who are finding, and claiming their own unique spot in this iffy world.

Snail Mail
Samantha Berger, author
Julia Patton, illustrator
Running Press Kids
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
www.runningpress.com
9780762462513, $17.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 4-8, www.amazon.com

Larissa Juliano
Reviewer

We've all heard and used the term "snail mail" for ages now, but Samantha Berger and Julia Patton have adorably and brilliantly put pictures and a story to this cute term. Snails actually delivering mail! Berger captures our heart from the beginning with a little girl mailing a letter across the country, and the long and exhausting trek the determined snails must make to get it to her recipient. The story also takes the reader on a journey through special landmarks of America with sunsets and rainbows in every backdrop. Snail Mail will teach many, and remind more, of how exciting it feels to run to the mailbox and have a special delivery waiting inside. (Ages 4-8).

Energy: Physical Science for Kids
Andi Diehn, author
Hui Li, illustrator
Nomad Press
https://nomadpress.net
9781619306394, $19.95 HC, $9.95 PB, 32pp, Ages 4-9, www.amazon.com

Dr. Dawn Menge
Reviewer

Energy, energy everywhere! This is an educational book to help young readers learn about the many forms of energy. The illustrations bring to life the concepts to engage visual learning and processing. The author has also included STEM activities to help further solidify the concepts. Energy races through your feet and is fueled by food and rest. What happens when your energy runs out? Do you get cranky, tired, or thrash about? Have a snack! Take a snooze! Keep your energy up and you'll never lose! Energy is everywhere, you just need to look. One thing for sure, you'll find it in this book.

Matter: Physical Science for Kids
Andi Diehn, author
Hui Li, illustrator
Nomad Press
https://nomadpress.net
9781619306424, $19.95 HC, $9.95 PB, 32pp, Ages 4-8, www.amazon.com

Dr. Dawn Menge
Reviewer

Let's begin to learn about matter in this science educational book. "Birds in the sky and rocks on the ground. Things made of matter are all around! Solids and liquids and gasses, too. Make up the world including you. Matter is everything, everywhere you look. Does matter, matter? Learn how important matter is as you read through this book. The illustrations are vibrant and will keep your child's attention as they take their first steps into science experiments. Be sure to try the STEM activities included to reinforce the learning of the science concepts.

Ted the Friendly Frog and the Tale of the Diamond
Scott Mcall, author
Autumn Brook, illustrator
Brown Books Kids
c/o Brown Books Publishing Group
16250 Knoll Trail, Suite 205, Dallas, Texas 75248
http://brownbookskids.com
9781612542751, $16.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-6, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

Learning can be tough, and some lessons can last a lifetime. We have much to learn growing up, and our parental guidance far outlasts that of the animal kingdom, but both share the wisdom of the aged and the benefit of a listening heart. Ted the frog learns the importance of obedience the hard way. And we the readers learn, the choice is always ours.

Bully
Jennifer Sattler
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
www.sleepingbearpress.com
9781585364169, $16.99 HC, $16.14 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-7, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

Bully's middle name might just be Greedy. He thinks the pond and its beautiful lilies are all for his own private enjoyment. Running off all those who pass by to share in the pond's beauty, Bully finds himself quite content all alone. Can anyone stop Bully and his bullying ways? Using humor and whimsy, author/illustrator Jennifer Sattler masterfully shows young readers that standing up together can make all the difference in the world.

Dino
Diego Vaisberg
Templar Publishing
https://www.templarco.co.uk
9781536202809, $15.99 HC, $7.45 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 5-8, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

This is a cute lighthearted story about a mysterious find. A large egg appears in the backyard. Is it a giant canary? A large lizard? A huge turtle? Life changes when the egg hatches. It's sure to bring giggles to little readers and maybe even secret hopes that they, too, might find such wondrous things in their own backyard.

Squiffy and the Vine Street Boys in Shiver Me Timbers
Steve Stinson
Muddy Boots
c/o The Globe Pequot Press
246 Goose Lane, Suite 200, Guilford, CT 06437
9781630763244, $15.95 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-8, www.amazon.com

Denise A. Bloomfield
Reviewer

This is a really fun story about Squiffy, who builds a pirate ship on a tree and invites the Vine Street boys to come aboard. The boys learn "Pirate talk" with a hilarious and predictable ending. I loved the characters, creativity, and imagination of this story. The illustrations bring the story to life. This is a fun and laugh-out-loud type of story.

Howl Like a Wolf!
Kathleen Yale, author
Kaley McKean, illustrator
Storey Kids
c/o Storey Publishing
210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams, MA 01247
www.storey.com
9781612129051, $18.95 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 80pp, Ages 6-9, www.amazon.com

Denise A. Bloomfield
Reviewer

This book has so many educational and fun activities for young children! They can learn to howl like a wolf, see like a bat, and even dance like a honey bee! You didn't know that a honey bee can dance? Well, you better get reading! This is a wonderful book for children and they will have lots of fun while learning. Also includes a link to download animal masks. A must-read!

Big Foot and Little Foot
Ellen Potter, author
Felicita Sala, illustrator
Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
www.abramsyoungreaders.com
9781419728594, $12.95 HC, $6.99 PB, $9.35 Kindle, 160pp, Ages 6-9, www.amazon.com

Olivia Amiri, age 11
Reviewer

Big Foot and Little Foot is a fun, adventurous book about seeing each other's differences and overcoming fear to become friends. Hugo, the main character, is a young curious Sasquatch who wants to adventure in the Big Wide World, but that's off limits. The most important Sasquatch rule is to never be seen by a human. But Hugo breaks that rule when he meets a human and they become pen pals.

Love for Logan
Lori DeMonia, author
Monique Turchan, illustrator
http://www.autismkidsbooks.com
Halo Publishing
http://www.halopublishing.com
9781612443621, $16.95 HC, $12.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 26pp, Ages 6-12, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

These two darling sisters return with another story of love and inspiration. Logan's older sister has trouble processing sensory signals, and that can make life challenging. When one member of a family struggles, it affects them all. Leah's family supports her with understanding and awareness and learning, but most of all with a love that can overcome those difficult obstacles most of us will never face. This story of love and compassion will inspire us all to become aware of the struggles of others, and be a positive influence with understanding.

Dr. E's Super Stellar Solar System
Bethany Ehlmann, author
Jennifer Swanson, illustrator
National Geographic Children's Books
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com
9781426327995, $22.90 Library Binding, $9.20 PB, 128pp, Ages 8-12, www.amazon.com

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

This one is sure to thrill any kid with their head in the clouds, and beyond! Packed with amazing facts, awesome photographs and diagrams, famous scientists, and so much more, it is sure to please. Whether just-for-fun reading, information for reports or projects, it will fill many interests. Science is fun!

24 Hours in Nowhere
Dusti Bowling
Sterling Children's Books
c/o Sterling Publishing Company
387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8810
www.sterlingpublishing.com
9781454929246, $14.95 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 272pp, Ages 8-12, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Welcome to Nowhere, Arizona, the least livable town in the United States. For Gus, a bright 13-year-old with dreams of getting out and going to college, life there is made even worse by Bo Taylor, Nowhere's biggest, baddest bully. When Bo tries to force Gus to eat a dangerously spiny cactus, Rossi Scott comes to his rescue by giving Bo her prized dirt bike. Determined to buy it back, Gus and his friends decide to go searching for gold in Dead Frenchman Mine. As they hunt for treasure, narrowly surviving one disaster after another, they realize this adventure just might lead them somewhere. A great, actionpacked story.

A Long Line of Cakes
Deborah Wiles
Scholastic
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
www.scholastic.com
9781338150490, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 288pp, Ages 8-12, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Emma Lane Cake has five brothers, four dogs, and a family that can't stay put. The Cake family travels from place to place, setting up bakeries in communities that need them. Then, just when Emma feels settled in with new friends... they move again. Now the Cakes have come to Aurora County, and Emma has vowed that this time she is NOT going to get attached to anyone. Why bother, if her father's only going to uproot her again? But fate has different plans. And so does Ruby Lavender, who is going to show Emma a thing or two about making friendships last. This is a perfect story for young readers with a very sweet ending.

Daring Dreamers Club: Milla Takes Charge
Erin Soderberg, author
Anoosha Syed, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
www.disneyhyperionbooks.com
9780736439244, $13.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 224pp, Ages 8-12, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Milla loves nothing more than imagining grand adventures in the great wide somewhere, just like Belle. She dreams of traveling the world and writing about her incredible discoveries. Unfortunately, there is nothing pretend about the fifth-grade overnight and Milla's fear that her moms won't let her go. Enter Piper, Mariana, Zahra, and Ruby. Together with Milla, they form the Daring Dreamers Club and become best friends. But can they help Milla believe she's ready for this real grand adventure? Kids will particularly love how the book ideally ends, then leads into a sample of the next book. I found this to be a perfect fifth grade story.

Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science Superstars
David Stabler, author
Anoosha Syed, illustrator
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
www.quirkbooks.com
9781683690740, $13.95 HC, $8.99 Kindle, 208pp, Ages 9-12, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

What a delightful way for young readers to take more of an interest in science - by learning about our famous scientists' childhoods. Did you know that there is one famous scientist who also invented the first pair of swim fins? Another scientist was also a genius mathematician whose calculations helped astronaut Neil Armstrong to be able to walk on the moon. Who are these people? You'll have to read the book to find out. This is a brilliant book that will inspire and enlighten our budding future scientists. It proves to young readers that they, too, should dare to reach for the stars.

Everything I Know About You
Barbara Dee
Aladdin Paperbacks
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781534405073, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 320pp, Ages 9-13, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

During a class trip to DC, 12-year-old Tally and her best friends, Sonnet and Caleb are less than thrilled when they are assigned roommates and are paired with kids who are essentially their sworn enemies. For Tally, rooming with "clonegirl" Ava Seely feels like punishment, rather than potential for fun, but Tally soon discovers several surprising things about her roommate -- including the possibility of an eating disorder. This is a must-read for parents and teachers and a perfect lesson on bullying and another less-talked-about problem facing young girls today.

The De La Cruz Diaries: Oops-A-Daisy
Melody Delgado
Clean Reads
http://cleanreads.com
9781621356998, $13.99 PB, $0.99 Kindle, 170pp, Ages 7-12, www.amazon.com

Olivia Amiri, age 11
Reviewer

The De La Cruz Diaries: Oops-A-Daisy is a fun and captivating book. Daisy De La Cruz is a 12-year-old girl with dreams of becoming a famous singer. I liked that the book dealt with real issues including family issues, bullies, and how hard you have to work to accomplish something. This is a good book for anyone facing these life challenges.

The Crow Child
Sherrie Todd-Beshore
https://www.facebook.com/sherrie.toddbeshore
CreateSpace
9781505318661, $7.97 PB, $1.97 Kindle, 164pp, Ages 12+, www.amazon.com

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Twelve-year-old Elijah Day Clearwater is not your average child. Since the death of his parents when he was three years old, he has been living with his paternal grandfather. He struggles every day with Cystic Fibrosis. What sets Elijah apart from everyone else is something... magical. Thirteen days before his 13th birthday, Elijah begins to have vivid dreams. Perhaps the dreams are just an outlet from the stress of a bully at school, or maybe they hint at a destiny that was foretold prior to his birth under the firesign. This story teaches young readers how their very lives today were formed by others who came before them. It is easy to bond with the well-developed characters. A great read.


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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