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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 34, Number 2 February 2024 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Easter Shelf Wildlife Shelf
Biography Shelf Multicultural Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf Middle Grade Fiction Shelf
Young Adult Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Islamic Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf Gardening Shelf
Money/Finance Shelf Books in Series Suzie Housley's Bookshelf


Reviewer's Choice

Bobby and Mandee's Good Touch, Bad Touch
Robert Kahn, author
Chris Hardie, illustrator
Future Horizons, Inc.
www.fhautism.com
9781949177954, $11.95, PB, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Bobby-Mandees-Good-Touch-Bad/dp/1949177955

Synopsis: When it comes to bad touches, Bobby advises children, "Whether it is a stranger, or someone you know well, the rules to be safe are always the same: Say no! Run away! And find a grown-up friend to tell!"

"Bobby and Mandee's Good Touch, Bad Touch" is specifically designed for parents and caregivers, to read with their children, and for teachers to share with their classes on how children can empower themselves in order to keep safe!

Of special note is the inclusion of: Bobby and Mandee's Touch Test a quiz along with page numbers for each answer; 911 Tips for Parents a guide for teaching kids when and how to dial 911; My List of Safe Grown-ups to Call a blank form that parents and children can fill out together; Secrets and Surprises -- There's a Big Difference!

Critique: A children's safety book for use with ages 5-11, "Bobby and Mandee's Good Touch, Bad Touch" by author/storyteller Robert Kahn and artist/illustrator Chris Hardie is essential reader for all parents caregivers and teachers who want children to learn to how to effective advocate for their own safety and personal boundaries. "Bobby and Mandee's Good Touch, Bad Touch" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49) and unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, as well as family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Child Safety collections

Editorial Note #1: Robert Kahn has a Master's Degree in Education. It was during Kahn's tenure as a sixth grade teacher that he became concerned about the safety issues that involve children and decided to become a Deputy Sheriff to help educate and protect our youth from harm. He started a Stranger Danger program in local schools and community service organizations. Local law enforcement credits this program in foiling over 40 attempted abductions by strangers.

To-date, Robert has given over 20,000 presentations covering 15 different topics on children's safety issues. His first book, "Bobby and Mandee's Too Safe for Strangers, is based on his program. His other safety books help children learn how to deal with today's problems.

The main age when something happens to a child is second grade through young adult. As kids start doing more things alone, it is imperative that they know how to help themselves to stay safe. The goal of the Bobby and Mandee Safety Series is to provide parents, educators and other trusted adults with essential information to share with our precious children to keep them safe in today's world.

Editorial Note #2: Chris Hardie (https://chrishardie.com/projects) is a journalist, newspaper publisher, software developer, internet technologist and engineer with over twenty-five years of professional experience. He is an excellent communicator with full-stack development, management and founder experience, ranging from creating and growing a boutique web application development firm to launching and supporting high-profile projects for some of the biggest names on the web. For more information, visit www.bobbyandmandee.com

Dear Dad: Love, Nelson
Margarett McBride, author
David Wilkerson, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
www.freespirit.com
9781631986819, $17.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Dad-Nelson-Incarcerated-Father/dp/1631986813

Synopsis: "Dear Dad: Love, Nelson: The Story of One Boy and His Incarcerated Father" offers a glimpse into the life, family, struggles, hopes, and questions of a young boy named Nelson who, along with the more than five million other children in the US who have experienced parental incarceration.

"Dear Dad: Love Nelson" is told through letters he writes his father. It's in them that Nelson shares his feelings, thoughts, wishes, and happenings, from the celebrations they've had to the progress Nelson has made on the car they were fixing to how excited he is to have Dad coming home.

The author, Margarett McBride has had several of her own family members impacted by the criminal legal system. That is what has inspired her to write this warm and inviting story to build awareness of parental incarceration and increase empathy for people who have an incarcerated loved one.

"Dear Dad: Love, Nelson" is told in Nelson's vibrant, curious, and compassionate voice, with his love for his dad and his family shining through. This brilliantly written and artfully illustrated children's picture book can open doors of conversation about many significant topics, including: Different emotional responses to parental incarceration; The school-to-prison pipeline; Differences in celebrations without a parent; The importance of keeping in contact; The expectations of the court and the experience of visitation; The anticipation of reentry of the incarcerated parent back into the family and community.

Of special note is a section at the back of the book that offers discussion questions for exploring the story and the topic with children, along with more information on guiding children to write letters as a way of staying in touch with an incarcerated loved one.

Critique: Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in style, tone, organization, and presentation, "Dear Dad: Love, Nelson: The Story of One Boy and His Incarcerated Father" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Social Issues picture book collections for young readers ages 5-10.

Editorial Note #1: Margarett McBride (https://margarettmcbride.com) is a Developmental Psychology Ph.D. candidate who resides in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas. Margarett has had several family members impacted by the criminal legal system and uses her work to uplift the experiences of marginalized people. During her undergraduate experience, she co-facilitated arts-based workshops for formerly incarcerated people through the Prison Creative Arts Project in Michigan. Currently, she is an instructor for an "Introduction to Psychology" college course where she teaches people who are incarcerated through the UNC Correctional Education Program. Through her research, she studies how neighborhood experiences influence Black youth and family well-being and development.

Editorial Note #2: David Wilkerson (https://www.theartofdlw.com) is an art director and illustrator based in the US. Interested in storytelling, community, and technology. With clients that have included Disney, Fox, Lebron James, PBS Kids, The CDC, Hulu, and many more, He collaborate with agencies and brands worldwide. Whether working independently or leading a small to mid-sized team, He offers a collegial, creative, problem-solving approach to each project from concept to final delivery.

Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem
Gary Golio, author
E. B. Lewis, illustrator
Calkins Creek
c/o Astra Publishing House
https://astrapublishinghouse.com/imprints/calkins-creek
9781662680557, $18.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Everywhere-Beauty-Harlem-Photographer-DeCarava/dp/1662680554

Synopsis: "Life is how you look at it." And for Black photographer Roy DeCarava, life in his New York City neighborhood of Harlem was beautiful.

With the publication of "Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem: The Vision of Photographer Roy DeCarava" by author/storyteller Gary Golio and artist/illustrator E. B. Lewis, young readers will enjoy this elegant picture book that follows Roy through 1940s Harlem, as he takes out his camera, pops in a roll of film, and opens his eyes to the beauty all around him.

There's a little boy drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. SNAP! A young man at the bus stop with a baby in his arms. SNAP! Kids playing in an open fire hydrant. SNAP! Looking at them all, Roy sees beauty everywhere in Harlem, and so do the people who look at his photos.

Critique: A welcome and recommended addition to elementary school and community library African-American Biography picture book collections for children ages 7-10, "Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem: The Vision of Photographer Roy DeCarava" is an impressively researched picture book that also features additional information on DeCarava, a list of places to view his photos, a bibliography, and illustrative photos. It should be noted that "Everywhere Beauty Is Harlem: The Vision of Photographer Roy DeCarava" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.99).

Editorial Note #1: A visual artist, musician, and psychotherapist, Gary Golio is the author of the picture book "Jimi: Sounds Like A Rainbow", which received the 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. His other books, most of which profile important artists, include When Bob Met Woody, Strange Fruit, and most recently Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge. He has a personal/professional website at www.garygolio.com.

Editorial Note #2: The recipient of a Caldecott Honor and an Orbis Pictus Award, along with many others, E. B. Lewis (https://eblewis.com) is the illustrator of more than seventy books for children. His Calkins Creek titles include Seeking Freedom by Selene Castrovilla and Lizzie Demands a Seat by Beth Anderson, which won Bank Street College of Education's Flora Stieglitz Straus Award for excellence in fiction, along with many other literary honors.

Big Ideas from Literature
Alain de Bolton, series editor
Anna Doherty, illustrator
The School of Life
https://www.theschooloflife.com
9781915087485, $29.99, HC, 168pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Ideas-Literature-Life-School/dp/1915087481

Synopsis: Great stories are often universal: our very souls shine with new ideas when we read them. Books can be so powerful, helping us through tricky times, offering us wisdom we haven't learnt yet, showing us that there are people like us, or showing us the opposite, that other people live very different lives. Books can be a friend when you need one the most and you can use them to help and inspire others, too.

"Big Ideas from Literature: How Books Can Change Your World" helps children ages 9-12 to discover key ideas that lots of different books are trying to teach through the stories they tell -- and helps the growing child develop empathy and resilience.

"Big Ideas from Literature" teaches children (and adults!) about the history of literature, from the first ever story that was written down to the invention of books just for children. The best children's books become our dearest friends and companions.

Children discover characters from a diverse range of books that include J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe -- and learn how these stories can help them better understand the world around them.

Critique: "Big Ideas from Literature" is the third volume in the Big Ideas series ("Big Ideas for Curious Minds" and "Big Ideas from History") from The School of Life and introduces young readers to the classics, as well as modern children's fiction. Nicely illustrated throughout by the artistry of Anna Doherty, "Big Ideas from Literature" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as a core acquisition for family, middle school, and community library collections.

Editorial Note #1: The School of Life (https://www.theschooloflife.com) is a global organization helping people lead more fulfilled lives.

Editorial Note #2: Alain de Botton FRSL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_de_Botton) is a Swiss-born British author and public speaker. His books discuss various contemporary subjects and themes, emphasizing philosophy's relevance to everyday life. He published Essays in Love (1993), which went on to sell two million copies. Other bestsellers include How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997), Status Anxiety (2004), and The Architecture of Happiness (2006). He co-founded The School of Life in 2008 and Living Architecture in 2009. In 2015, he was awarded "The Fellowship of Schopenhauer", an annual writers' award from the Melbourne Writers Festival, for that work.

Editorial Note #2: Anna Doheny (https://annadohertyillustration.com) is an illustrator and author from Edinburgh and based in Cambridge, U.K. Besides book illustration, she also works in science communication illustration. She is graduate of Children's Books Illustration MA, the Cambridge School of Art and Illustration BDes, DJCAD.


The Easter Shelf

The Most Glorious Easter Morning
Harvest Kids
Harvest House Publishers
www.harvesthousepublishers.com
9780736986830, $9.99, Board Book, 20pp

https://www.amazon.com/Glorious-Easter-Morning-Infographics-Little/dp/0736986839

Synopsis: "The Most Glorious Easter Morning" is an extraordinary retelling the events surrounding Jesus's last days and resurrection in the Harvest House Publishers craze-mazing Bible Infographics for Little Ones style showcasing fascinating and informative faith-building facts for very young children ages 1-4.

This colorful board book will delight in little ones with refrains of "He is Risen" as they learn about the miraculous events of Jesus's last days and the good news of Easter.

Packed with fascinating faith-building facts, poetic prose, and illuminating illustrations, this uniquely creative board book will be a go-to Easter resource for kids of all ages year after year.

Critique: "The Most Glorious Easter Morning" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, Sunday School, and community library Easter themed board book collections. Parents, caregivers, and librarians are urged to look for more Bible Infographics for Little Ones brand books at www.bibleinfographics.com.

Editorial Note: Beginning in 1974, Harvest House Publishers has been impacting the hearts of people with books that point toward Jesus. That focus continues with fresh, innovative products that inspire creativity, encourage families, and enrich lives. With an emphasis on addressing the spiritual and practical needs of men, women, and children, Harvest House seeks to serve God and those who need Him through the books it publishes.

Bluey: Hooray, It's Easter!: A Lift-the-Flap Book
Penguin Young Readers Licenses
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593750841, $9.99, Board Book, 12pp

https://www.amazon.com/Bluey-Hooray-Easter-Lift-Flap/dp/0593750845

Synopsis: Bluey and Bingo go on an egg hunt by following clues the Easter bunny left behind. Will they find their Easter eggs?

Critique: "Bluey Hooray, It's Easter! is a fun lift-the-flap board book is especially and unreservedly recommended for all Bluey fans ages 1-3! It is an ideal addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library Easter Themed board book and lift-the-flap book collections.

Editorial Note: Penguin Young Readers Licenses offer the strongest collection of brands across TV, toy, online, gaming, and film. Their books celebrate the new and the nerdy, the retro and the reimagined; from pop culture to preschool. They craft books that reinforce our identity, lead with innovation, and resonate with readers. Penguin Young Readers Licenses offers a book for every child. (https://www.penguin.com/penguin-young-readers-licenses-overview)

I Am NOT the Easter Bunny!
T. L. McBeth
Flamingo Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593528457, $12.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/I-Am-NOT-Easter-Bunny/dp/059352845X

Synopsis: Everyone, look! It's the Easter Bunny!

He says he's just a regular ol' fluffy white bunny, but he's got a vest and a bow tie, and a big basket full of painted eggs and candy!

He MUST be the Easter Bunny! Right? Is this the REAL Easter Bunny?

Critique: A fun and original read from start to finish by author/illustrator T. L. McBeth, "I Am NOT the Easter Bunny!" is a funny and clever picture book told through bold, vivid art that makes it the perfect Easter basket stuffer! While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99), "I Am NOT the Easter Bunny!" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Holiday themed picture book collections for children ages 3-7.

Editorial Note: T. L. McBeth (http://www.tlmcbeth.com) is a children's book author and illustrator who lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the creator of Randy, the Badly Drawn Horse and Robot in Love. He is the illustrator of Ogilvy, Ducks!, Steothesaurus, and more! His work has been featured by Macmillan, Scholastic, Threadless, McDonald's, TODAY, Wall Street Journal and displayed at the Society of Illustrators.


The Wildlife Shelf

Hawk Mother Returns
Kara Hagedorn, author
Marlo Garnsworthy, photographer
Web of Life Children's Books
https://weboflifebooks.com
9781970039085, $18.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hawk-Mother-Returns-Interspecies-Adoption/dp/1970039086

Synopsis: When someone cuts down a tree containing a nest, two hawk eggs are in desperate need of help. Sunshine the hawk mother to the rescue!

Sunshine is a red-tailed hawk who can no longer fly. Her mothering instinct is so strong that she once successfully raised two chicken eggs to adulthood. She seems like the perfect choice to adopt these eggs. But there is a problem: The eggs are red-shouldered hawks, not red-tailed hawks, and one of them has already hatched.

Will Sunshine accept an egg and newly hatched chick of a competing hawk species? Will Sunshine be a mother again? Find out in this uplifting sequel about interspecies adoption and the deep trust and understanding between Sunshine and zoologist Kara Hagedorn.

Critique: Informative, fascinating, featuring a Glossary, three links to on-line websites of organizations dedicated to birds (including hawks), and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Hawk Mother Returns: A Story of Interspecies Adoption" is the newest addition to a wildlife series that also includes "Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens". A fun and memorable read from start to finish, "Hawk Mother Returns" will prove a welcome and popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Wildlife themed picture book collections for children ages 5-9.

Editorial Note #1: Kara Hagedorn's first book, Hawk Mother: The Story of a Red-tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens chronicled her experience co-raising two chickens with Sunshine the hawk. Kara has a degree in zoology, and has worked as a wildlife biologist for Cornell University, Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Topaz Solar Farm and New York State Parks, where she was also a naturalist and environmental educator. To learn more about Kara and Sunshine, visit www.sunshinehawk.com

Editorial Note #2: Marlo Garnsworthy is an Australian-American author, illustrator, editor, and science communicator. Her published works include fiction and nonfiction. Her recent books include Bristlecone: The Secret Life of the World's Oldest Tree, which she illustrated, and Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World, which she coauthored. Marlo is the veteran of two scientific research expeditions in Antarctica and is a passionate advocate for polar and ocean science. To find out more about Marlo and her books, visit www.IcebirdStudio.com

Mammals Unlocked
Dia L. Michels, author
Sarah Cox, editor
Bonnie Hofkin, illustrator
Science, Naturally!
https://www.sciencenaturally.com
9781958629291, $18.95, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mammals-Unlocked-Open-Earth-Michels/dp/1958629294

Synopsis: There are so many questions arising from the wild world of mammals! How does a platypus fight? Where does a marmot spend the winter? When does a camel need water? "Mammals Unlocked" reveals the answers to all these secrets and more in an illustrated guide format to some of the world's most interesting mammals.

Fuzzy, scaly, clawed, and finned, mammals can be found in the depths of the ocean and the heights of the mountains. "Mammals Unlocked" introduces young readers to the vastness of the world around them in an easy-to-understand interactive question and answer format.

From the humble rat to the mighty mountain lion, every mammal shares three special characteristics. But the similarities aren't always as easy to identify as they seem, and sharing a habitat doesn't mean that mammals will look or act the same. "Mammals Unlocked" features everyday favorite animals like dogs, whales, and llamas, as well as some you've never heard of -- such as the delights of the honey possum and the mysteries of the saola await!

This first book in the 'Unlocked' series provides a dynamic introduction to the rest of our class and is sure to impress its young readers. "Unlocked Mammals" is a comprehensive guide that has all the facts a young reader who is awed and fascinated by the wonderful world of mammals.

Critique: Because it is a 'consumable' in that the young reader must write in answers to questions, 'Mammals Unlocked' must be carefully considered for elementary school, middle school, and community library Wildlife collections for children ages 8-12. But it is especially and unreservedly recommended for family collections and home schooling parents. For personal reading lists it should be noted that ""Mammals Unlocked" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781958629130, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note #1: Dia L. Michels is an award-winning internationally published science and parenting writer. She is also the author or editor of over a dozen books for both children and adults. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, Hebrew, Chinese, and Korean.

Editorial Note #2: Bonnie Hofkin (http://hofkin.com) received her bachelor of arts from the University of California at Berkeley and continued her study of illustration at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. With a passion for human anatomy she went on to obtain her Masters of Arts in medical illustration from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. After decades freelancing out of New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area she continues to freelance in both medical and commercial illustration and is also a painter of Celtic art.


The Biography Shelf

Susie Clark: The Bravest Girl You've Ever Seen
Joshalyn Hickey-Johnson, author
Hayle Calvin, illustrator
Book Baby Publishers
www.bookbaby.com
9798350923667, $36.56, HC, 72pp

https://www.amazon.com/Susie-Clark-Bravest-Girl-Youve/dp/B0CH4KHSF3

Synopsis: Susan Clark was just 13 when she became the first Black student in the United States to integrate a public school through a court order. Her lawsuit, decided by the Iowa Supreme Court in 1868, gave all Iowa children the right to attend public school regardless of race, religion, nationality, or any other distinction. Segregated schools were the norm in many states until the 1954 US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Susan's case contributed to that landmark decision.

Critique: Fully appropriate for young readers ages 3-10, "Susie Clark: The Bravest Girl You've Ever Seen" by author/storyteller Joshalyn Hickey-Johnson and artist/illustrator Hayle Calvin is a fascinating and informative contribution to the history of school integration with the goal of ending racial segregation in America's public school systems. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Historical American Biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Susie Clark: The Bravest Girl You've Ever Seen" is also available in a paperback edition (9798350923650, $23.49).

Editorial Note #1: Joshalyn Hickey-Johnson began writing books featuring real-life experiences from her children's lives as they were growing up.

Editorial Note #2: Hayle Calvin is an artist/graphic designer based in her hometown of Clinton, Iowa. She graduated from Clinton Community College with an associate of arts degree in 2019. She graduated two years later from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor of arts in graphic design. Currently, Hayle works as an associate graphic designer for a non-profit organization and dabbles in many areas of fine arts, including digital illustration.


The Multicultural Shelf

Mai and the Missing Melon
Sonoko Sakai, author
Keiko Brodeur, illustrator
Bala Kids
c/o Shambhala Publications, Inc.
www.shambhala.com
9781645471240, $18.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mai-Missing-Melon-Sonoko-Sakai/dp/1645471241

Synopsis: Mai wishes to share the gift of a sweet muskmelon with her grandmother but loses it on the train along the way. Obachama shares the Japanese folktale of The Stone Buddhas as an example of the power of good intentions to cheer Mai up.

After the story, Mai hears from the train station master that the melon has been found, and she and her obachama are able to enjoy the sweet muskmelon together.

Critique: "Mai and the Missing Melon" is an original and charming picture book story that is loosely based on an event in author/storyteller Sonoko Sakai's childhood and invites children on a journey through rural 1960s Japan following a little girl named Mai on the Enoden train, past the oceanside populated with fishers, and to the classic shrine-like home of her grandmother, or obachama. A sweet story that explores the cherished relationship between a young girl and her grandmother, the expressive artwork by illustrator Keiko Brodeur presents the Japanese countryside, and past the sea, bamboo forests, and temples drawn from the Sonoko Sakai's own childhood memories. Also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99), "Mai and the Missing Melon" will prove a welcome and popular pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-7.

Editorial Note #1: Sonoko Sakai (https://www.sonokosakai.com/about) was born in New York and raised by Japanese parents. She lived in many places as a child, including San Francisco, Kamakura, Mexico City, and Tokyo. She is the author of Rice Craft (Chronicle, 2016) and Japanese Home Cooking (Shambhala, 2019). She has worked as a recipe developer, producer, creative director, cooking teacher, and lecturer. She is also a grain activist. Sonoko currently lives in Los Angeles and Tehachapi, California, with her sculptor husband, Katsuhisa Sakai.

Editorial Note #2: Keiko Brodeur began making illustrated paper goods under the name Small Adventure in 2009 in order to explore being a self-taught illustrator after having graduated with a graphic design degree and working in a few different fields. She soon fell in love with creating illustrations for greeting cards and other products for her own small business. (https://creativeladycollective.com/interviews/2017/4/23/keiko-brodeur)


The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children
David Seow, author
L. K. Tay-Audouard, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
www.tuttlepublishing.com
9780804857642, $9.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Monkey-King-Classic-Chinese-Children/dp/0804848408

Synopsis: "The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children" is inspired by Chinese folktales and legends about Monkey, King of the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit, Great Sage Equal to Heaven. But his friends just call him Monkey! Hilariously mischievous and full of energy, Monkey has uniquely incredible magical powers.

Long ago, the Jade Emperor, the ruler of the Heavens, was so unhappy that China was in great turmoil that he even considered destroying its people. The Goddess of Mercy, Guan Yin, suggested another way -- find Lord Buddha's scriptures in India and bring them back to China. This would help the Chinese to become peaceful and kind.

This Chinese children's story by the team of author/storyteller David Seow and artist/illustrator L. K. Tay-Audouard is about the beginnings of this epic journey, and how Monkey, Pigsy, and Sandy join this quest.

Critique: Featuring museum quality artwork throughout, "The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children" from Tuttle Publishing is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Folklore/Fairytale picture book collections for children ages 3-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Monkey King: A Classic Chinese Tale for Children" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.49).

Editorial Note #1: David Seow was born and raised in Singapore. He studied at Anglo-Chinese School, Oregon Episcopal School, and subsequently the University of Portland, Oregon. After a stint as a sitcom writer with an award-winning television series, he embarked on a career in children's literature. David is the author of twenty-three well-received children's books, including The Littlest Emperor.

Editorial Note #2: L. K. Tay-Audouard continues her quest, after Singapore Children's Favourite Stories, to recapture the sense of wonder and naivete that most of us lose in the process of growing up. The genuine desire to engage the reader remains the driving force of her inspiration. To portray the mythological characters of this popular legend, these whimsical illustrations have been given an antique look. Lak-Khee is also the author of Adventures of the Treasure Fleet.


The Board Book Shelf

Goodnight Nose Goodnight Toes
Kirk Fernandez, author
Matt Drouhard, illustrator
Sweetgrass Books
c/o Farcountry Press
www.farcountrypress.com
9781591523185, $8.95, Board Book, 12pp

https://www.amazon.com/Goodnight-Nose-Toes-Kirk-Fernandez/dp/1591523184

Synopsis: With the publication of this board book edition of "Goodnight Nose Goodnight Toes", parents and their children ages 1-4 are invited to come read along as the narrator tucks his little one in while bidding goodnight to fears, teddy bears, and many things in between.

Settling into bed has never been nicer.!

Critique: "Goodnight Nose Goodnight Toes", features full-color illustrations by artist Matt Drouhard in support of a charming rhyming text by author/storyteller Kirk Fernandez. The result is an easy-to-follow love letter to parents reading to their children before it's time for bed. Simply stated, "Goodnight Nose Goodnight Toes" will prove to be a delightful and popular pick for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library Board Book collections.

My Heart Would Like Some More, Please!
Geshu Sugandh, author
Lovyaa Garg, illustrator
BrooklynBiharn
https://brooklynbiharn.com
9798988264903, $20.00, Board Book, (Large Format)

https://brooklynbiharn.com/products/board-book-my-heart-would-like-some-more-please

Synopsis: With the publication of "My Heart Would Like Some More, Please", author/storyteller Geshu Sugandh and artist/illustrator Lovyaa Garg delights young readers of all ages with a large format board book story about a foodie brown bear and his generous yet mindful host on a one-of-a-kind tea-party adventure, skillfully introducing educational, cultural, and linguistic themes in an engaging and memorable way.

Critique: Unique, informative, kid-friendly, and a fun read from start to finish, "My Heart Would Like Some More, Please!" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, Kindergarten, and community library board book collections for children ages 0-5.

Editorial Note #1: Geshu Sugandh is the founder of BrooklynBiharn, an independent boutique publishing platform. Geshu is also a trailblazer in crafting stories that bridge linguistic and cultural gaps. Specializing in works in English and the Devanagari script applied to the Hindi language, her storytelling is deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of her family's linguistic and cultural experiences.

Editorial Note #2: As an artist and illustrator, Lovyaa Garg is always experimenting, and harboring a love for painting. She developed an interest in stories after she entered college. Soon, she began illustrating children's books and started her page @makeitmini_comics for fun.

P Is for Pastrami: The ABCs of Jewish Food
Alan Silverberg
Viking Books for Young Readers
https://www.penguin.com
9780593623190, $7.99 Board Book, $7.99 Kindle, 20pp

https://www.amazon.com/P-Pastrami-ABCs-Jewish-Food/dp/0593623193

Synopsis: From apples and honey all the way to zhug, with "P is for Pastrami", author/illustrator Alan Silberberg brings his signature wacky humor to this alphabet of Jewish food. It's perfect for board book readers with a funny bone, and anyone who wants to celebrate the wide range of delicious bites Jews eat all over the world!

Critique: Colorful and fun, "P Is for Pastrami: The ABCs of Jewish Food" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library board book collections for children ages 1-3.

Editorial Note: Alan Silberberg (silberbooks.com) is an award-winning author, cartoonist, and children's TV creator who has worked with Nickelodeon and Disney. Though he messed up at his bar mitzvah, he's made up for it by celebrating Hanukkah, Passover, and Purim in his trilogy of board books that combines food with funny beginning with "Latke's First Hanukkah".

Lionel Is Just Like Dad
Eric Veille, author
Daniel Hahn, translator
Gecko Press
https://geckopress.com
9781776574650, $9.99, Board Book, 26pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lionel-Just-Like-%C3%89ric-Veill%C3%A9/dp/1776574656

Synopsis: Lionel can do everything Dad does: Dad combs his hair. So does Lionel. Dad scratches his arm. So does Lionel. Dad sings very, very loud. So does Lionel.

But when Lionel throws all the toys in the air and they come down THUNK on Dad's head . . . Dad yells! Ow! So does Lionel! Dad takes a break and has a think. Then comes rushing back for a big hug -- Dad is very, very happy, and so is Lionel!

Critique: Ably translated into English from the French original by Daniel Halan, "Lionel is just like Dad" is a fun board book by author /illustrator Eric Veille. This small (5 x 0.5 x 5.25 inches) and sturdy board book from Gecko Press is a perfect fit for toddlers' and preschoolers' small hands -- making it ideal for parents and caregivers to read alongside a child ages 1-3. A fun and original story, "Lionel is just like Dad" is an effective discussion tool for emotional learning (such as being overly enthusiasm, making mistakes, feeling upset, seeking reconciliation and demonstrating love) about a father and son relationship rarely seen in board books. This edition of "Lionel is just like Dad" is highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library Board Book collections.

Editorial Note: "Lionel Is just like Dad" is the third book in this pithy board book series, designed to be read as standalone stories that introduce developmental milestones with humor, mischief, and gentle guidance. The series includes "Lionel Eats All By Himself" and "Lionel Poops".

Flowerpot Press
www.FlowerpotPress.com

Flowerpot Press is a premier publisher of board books for young children. They have now released a number of board book titles that are original, fun, and ideal acquisitions for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

https://www.amazon.com/Quack-Joe-Fitzpatrick/dp/1486713858

"Quack!" by author Joe Fitzpatrick and illustrator Paul Nicholls (9781486713851, $12.99, 20pp, Ages 2-6) Ducks will be ducks in this silly story that encourages little ones to march to their own beat and be true to themselves. Readers will love to giggle and count along as our little duck friend encounters a growing number of silly animals in this hilarious read that also teaches counting from one to eleven.

https://www.amazon.com/Itsy-Bitsy-Spider-Record-Spins/dp/148670865X

"The Itsy Bitsy Spider" by author Lucy Bell and illustrator Sachin Gupta (9781486708659, $9.99, 20pp, (Ages 6-8) The classic song about a determined little spider is spun into an inspiring tale in this fun addition to the Record Spins series. Adorable illustrations combined with encouraging words will teach your little one to never give up, no matter what!

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Go-Baby-Firsts/dp/1486724078

"Let's Go Baby!" is written and illustrated by Flowerpot Press (9781486724079, $8.99, 20pp, Ages Baby - 2) Your baby will love to see other babies as they go about their day! The bright photos feature a diverse group of babies doing the daily activities they love including going for a walk, taking a bath, and so much more!

https://www.amazon.com/Babys-Firsts-Baby-Flowerpot-Press/dp/1486724124

"Baby's Firsts" is written and illustrated by Flowerpot Press (9781486724123, $8.99, 20pp, Ages Baby - 2) As babies grow up, they experience many firsts. From their first bath to their first haircut, this book captures the joy in each one with charming photographs and sweet smiles sure to make each milestone memorable for baby.

https://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Parade-Animal-Lovers-Roberts/dp/1486729142

"Penguin Parade" by photographer James Roberts (9781486729135, $8.99, 20pp, Ages 3-6) Parents and children can read along as they armchair travel to icy places and meet all kinds of penguins. They will learn how penguins swim like fish, see how they take care of their babies, and find out what to call a bunch of penguins hanging out together -- whether they're on land or in the water!

https://www.amazon.com/Bird-Buddies-Animal-Lovers-Curt/dp/1486729169

"Bird Buddies" by photographer Curt Hart (9781486729159, $8.99, 20pp, Ages 3-6) Discover some of the coolest birds in North America. Learn super cool stuff about birds like the Carolina wren, the Indigo Bunting, the Spotted Towhee, and more! Get ready to be amazed by their colors and songs. Imagine getting up close to birds without leaving your chair. Curt Hart's photos are like windows into the birds' lives. Perfect of budding bird watchers, they will see bird colors, their nests, and maybe even catch a glimpse of them in action!

https://www.amazon.com/Animal-Yoga-Jungle-Flowerpot-Press/dp/148672972X

"Animal Yoga" by illustrator Brian Fitzgerald (9781486729722, $8.99, 24pp, Ages 2-6) Teach your little one the power of moving their body each day with these fun yoga-inspired stretches made just for little kids. Each workout is explained on the left side of the page and the corresponding illustrations show kids just what to do. Pretty soon your child will learn the movements and enjoy coming back to them time and time again!

https://www.amazon.com/Animal-Exercises-Jungle-Flowerpot-Press/dp/1486729711

"Animal Exercises" by illustrator Brian Fitzerald (9781486729715, $8.99, 24pp, Ages 2-6) Teach your little one the power of moving their body each day with these fun High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)-inspired workouts made just for little kids. Each workout is explained on the left side of the page and the corresponding illustrations show kids just what to do. Pretty soon your child will learn the movements and enjoy coming back to them time and time again!

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Learn-Numbers-Olga-Utchenko/dp/1486729886

"Let's Learn Numbers" by artist/illustrator Olga Utchenko (9781486729883, $8.99, 20pp, Ages 3-6) Practice counting one through ten with fun creatures and objects unique to the sea. One-of-a-kind colorful illustrations, sturdy board pages, and no moveable parts make this a perfect addition to an early learning collection.

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Learn-Letters-Olga-Utchenko/dp/1486729878

"Let's Learn Letters" by artist/illustrator Olga Utchenko (9781486729876, $8.99, 20pp, Ages 3-6) Practice the alphabet with engaging animals and items in one-of-a-kind colorful illustrations, sturdy board pages, and no moveable parts that make this a perfect addition to an early learning collection.

Critique: Each one of these new and fun board books for children from Flowerpot Press is a solid and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library board book collections for children.

Editorial Note: Flowerpot Press has been planting the seeds that help young minds grow by offering a broad range of titles developed to entertain, educate, and inspire children. They are dedicated to creating fun, high-quality children's books for young readers and creating stories that foster a sense of curiosity, a passion for adventure, a desire to learn, and most importantly, a love of reading.


The Picturebook Shelf

Be My Valenslime
Kris Tarantino, author
Cori Doerrfeld, illustrator
WaterBrook Press
c/o WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
https://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780593579459, $13.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Be-My-Valenslime-Kris-Tarantino/dp/0593579453

Synopsis: Snoodle is an unusual monster. She loves candy hearts, fun parties, fuzzy kittens, fancy hats, sparkly stickers, and valentines! But there is just one problem -- Monsters don't do Valentine's Day!

When Snoodle tries to throw a Valentine's Day party for her monster friends, nothing goes right. Every attempt to show them what love looks like turns into monster mayhem! With each disaster, Snoodle tries to be patient and kind, and to not be rude or get easily angered. But if the party isn't perfect, how can Snoodle convince the other monsters to be her Valenslime?

Critique: As a picture book for children ages 3-7, "Be My Valenslime" is all the more impressive when considering that it is the debut title of author and storyteller Kris Tarantino. With lively and charming illustrations by Cori Doerrfeld, "Be My Valenslime" showcases a wonderfully memorable cast of characters in ta laugh-out-loud picture book exploration of the true meaning of love for young children. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Holiday Themed picture book collections, it should be noted that "Be My Valenslime" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note #1: Kris Tarantino (https://kristarantino.com) loves Valentine's Day cupcakes and cards -- almost as much as she loves writing humorous, heartfelt stories for kids. Before becoming an author, she worked in marketing for companies that make fun products like toys, books, and balloons.

Editorial Note #2: Cori Doerrfeld (https://www.coridoerrfeld.com) is also the author and illustrator of The Rabbit Listened and numerous other children's books.

Only You Can Be You: A Blue Penguin Tale
Judy Petersen-Fleming, author
Suzy Spafford, author/illustrator
San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Press
9781943198184, $17.99, HC, 36pp

https://www.amazon.com/Only-You-Can-Be-Penguin/dp/1943198187

Synopsis: It's spring in Australia when Periwinkle, the little blue penguin, gets a special invitation in the mail. It's to her cousin Crystal's birthday party in Antarctica! Periwinkle is excited to meet all of her penguin cousins, but she soon realizes that she is different from the rest.

The smallest penguin of all, Periwinkle is not only shorter than her cousins, but she is also the only penguin that is blue. All the others are black-and-white. Will she fit in?

With the help of her animal friends and a special gift from her mother, Periwinkle begins her journey to Antarctica. Along the way she learns to be brave and realizes that being different is what makes her special.

Critique: A thoroughly charming and engagingly illustrated picture book co-authored by Judy Petersen-Fleming and Suzy Spaffored, "Only You Can Be You: A Blue Penguin Tale", with its theme of self-esteem combined with humor and penguins, is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

Squirrels! This is Not a Book about Dinosaurs
Melina Shoenborn, author
Felipe Arriagada-Nunez, illustrator
Jeffrey K. Butt, translator
Helvetiq
https://helvetiq.com/us
9783039640355, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Squirrels-This-Book-about-Dinosaurs/dp/3039640356

Synopsis: Squirrels are amazing! But look out, this dinosaur wants to steal the show! Every time the squirrel tries to tell us amazing things about squirrels (There are flying squirrels! The largest squirrels are as big as dogs!) the rude dinosaur barges in.

But the adorable and clever squirrel has lots of tricks to make sure we hear all we want to know (Squirrels use their tails like blankets, and also to communicate!). It's a book for anyone who loves squirrels or dinosaurs, and teaches us that if only we persevere, we will find a way to get our story heard.

Critique: When a loud-mouthed dinosaur meets a brainy squirrel in the award-winning picture book, "Squirrels! This is Not a Book about Dinosaurs" children ages 4-8 will understand and enjoy the message that everyone has a story to tell. Collaborative created by author/storyteller Melina Shoenborn and artist/illustrator Felipe Arriagada-Nunez, "Squirrels! This is Not a Book about Dinosaurs" is ably translated into English by Jeffrey K. Butt. This hard cover edition from Helvetiq is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Ten Little Rabbits
Maurice Sendak
HarperCollins Children's Books
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780062644671, $19.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ten-Little-Rabbits-Maurice-Sendak/dp/006264467X

Synopsis: The legendary children's author Maurice Sendak's legacy continues with the publication of "Ten Little Rabbits". A playful counting extravaganza for children ages 4-8.

Children will be amazed, dazzled, and mesmerized by Mino's magic show, as "Ten Little Rabbits becomes a small reader's introduction to the magic of Maurice Sendak's books.

Critique: A fun read from start to finish, "Ten Little Rabbits" is a novel, humorous, and truly effective approach for introducing children to numbers. This hardcover picture book edition of "Ten Little Rabbits" from HarperCollins is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note: For more than forty years, the books Maurice Sendak has written and illustrated have nurtured children and adults alike and have challenged established ideas about what children's literature is and should be. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Sendak)

Fix and Stitch
Barbara Nass, author
Liza Woodruff, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
https://sleepingbearpress.com
9781534111707, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Fix-Stitch-Barbara-Nass/dp/1534111700

Synopsis: Squirrel is busy running his tailoring shop, Fix and Stitch: Tailor for all Needs. He can thread a needle and mend a tear in the wink of an eye. But now that the leaves have fallen and the birds have flown south, it's time for Squirrel to close the shop. He must prepare his winter home before the snow comes.

But just as Squirrel goes to collect materials for his winter home, neighbors arrive, needing his special talents and attention. And Squirrel just can't say no to someone asking for help, whether it's fixing a rip in a favorite coat to problem-solving a stinky situation. He is always there for his friends.

But what happens if Squirrel doesn't take time to care of himself and what he needs to do? Who will be there to help him? "Fix and Stitch" offers a gentle reminder that while taking care of others is important, one still needs to make time for oneself.

Critique: "Fix and Stitch" by author/storyteller Barbara Nass and artist/illustrator Liza Woodruff is a fun and original picture book for children ages 5-8. The kind of animal story that fans of Beatrix Potter would enjoy, "Fix and Stitch" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Fix and Stitch" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.91) as well.

Editorial Note #1: Barbara Nass (https://www.barbaranass.com) grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but she raised her son in Monmouth County, New Jersey, where she now lives. The family enjoyed hiking the trails of New Jersey's scenic parks. A woodland habitat that she came to appreciate serves as the setting for Fix and Stitch, her debut picture book. Barbara is a former tech executive, but her career roots began in early childhood education, in which she holds a master's degree, and where she will forever treasure those moments when her students first learned to read.

Editorial Note #2: Liza Woodruff (www.LizaWoodruff.com) is the illustrator of over twenty books for young readers, including If It's Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws by Kim Norman and The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Elizabeth Bennett. She lives in an old farmhouse in Vermont with her family and their two dogs. Emerson Barks is the first book that she has both written and illustrated and will be available in bookstores in August of 2016.

More Than You Imagine
Thelia Hutchinson, author
Adriana Predoi, illustrator
Soaring Kite Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
www.lernerbooks.com
9781958372364, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Imagine-Thelia-Hutchinson/dp/1958372366

Synopsis: "More Than You Imagine" by author/storyteller Thelia Hutchinson and artist/illustrator Adriana Predoi is a picture book collection of parents' hopes, dreams, and promises of unconditional love that empowers children to build a strong foundation and become more than they ever imagined.

The charming illustrations represent multiple families and those of diverse family structures, including interracial, same-sex, adoptive, and single parent families, making "More Than You Imagine" an inevitably cherished picture book for young readers ages 5-9 about parent and child bonding for any child and any family.

Critique: All the more impressive when considering that "More Than You Imagine"is Thelia Hutchinson debut as a picture book author. Her heartfelt words, so effectively supported by Adriana Predoi's whimsical art make "More Than You Imagine" an unreservedly recommended pick for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists for students Kindergarten through third grade that "More Than You Imagine" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) as well.

Editorial Note #1: Thelia Hutchinson (https://www.theliahutchinson.com) was born in Jamaica and raised in The Bronx, New York. She is a registered nurse, mom, and debut author who discovered her love of writing from a poetry assignment.

Editorial Note #2: Adriana Predoi (https://astound.us/adriana-predoi) grew up in Romania. After earning a B.A. in Fine Art, she started working as a freelance illustrator. Adriana's style is whimsical with a touch of magic.

Lola and the Troll
Connie Shultz, author
Sandy Rodriguez, illustrator
Razorbill
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593527634, $18.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lola-Troll-Connie-Schultz/dp/0593527631

Synopsis: Lola is a happy kid who loves recess and her imaginary dog, Tank. There's just one problem: the neighborhood bully. He hides behind a troll costume and says mean things to everyone who walks by, including Lola. Soon she starts wearing her hair differently, walking on her tippy toes to add a few extra inches to her height, and even putting cornstarch in her shoes because he said her feet stink!

But when Lola's mom takes her to her favorite place, The Bee's Sneeze bookstore, the owner, Ms. Sneesby, reminds Lola that she LOVES her curly hair, her bright smile, and her big eyes. And most importantly, Ms. Sneesby reminds Lola that she is brave.

Critique: With its important underlying message about remembering how to be brave, even when it's hard, and realizing that some-times all a bully really needs is a little kindness, "Lola and the Troll" by author/storyteller Connie Schultz and artist/illustrator Sandy Rodriguez is a fun and important picture book read for children ages 4-8. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99), "Lola and the Troll" is a welcome and recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschol, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and Professor of Practice in Journalism at Denison University. Her favorite job title is Grandma. She is the author of a collection of essays, Life Happens, and a political memoir, ...and His Lovely Wife. Her first novel, The Daughters of Erietown, was a New York Times bestseller in 2020.

Editorial Note #2: Sandy Rodriguez (https://www.studiosandyrodriguez.com) is a self-taught artist and illustrator. She grew up in Mexico surrounded by lots of family. (She has more than 30 cousins!) Inspired by everyday moments, Sandy loves creating playful characters with quirky personalities. Her favorite medium is watercolor and ink, but she also experiments with colored paper, gouache, and some digital magic. Sandy lives in London with her husband and two fantastic daughters. She is also the illustrator for Perla, the Mighty Dog! by Isabel Allende.

Garmann's Summer
Stian Hole, author/illustrator
Don Bartlett, translator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
www.eerdmans.com/youngreaders
9780802856289, $10.99, PB, 44pp

https://www.amazon.com/Garmanns-Summer-Stian-Hole/dp/0802856284

Synopsis: An intergenerational story about facing our fears ranging from going to school for the first time, to performing onstage with an orchestra, to learning to use a walker in the winter, "Garmann's Summer" introduces children ages 5-8 to a young boy who is afraid of starting school.

Summer is nearly over. The old aunts have come to visit, and autumn is in the air. Everything is ready for Garmann's first day of school, but he is still afraid. And (despite his best efforts) he hasn't lost a single tooth yet!

With the publication of "Garmann's Summer", Norwegian author/illustrator Stian Hole has created a memorable and endearing character in Garmann, a young boy whose musings about fear and courage, life and death, beginnings and endings, help him understand that everyone is scared of something.

Critique: Ably translated into English by Don Bartlett, "Garmann's Summer" is published in more than twenty countries and has received honors across the globe, including the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, a Batchelder Honor, and the BolognaRagazzi Award. With an important underlying message about overcoming fear, "Garmann's Summer" is especially and unreservedly recommended addition for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Stian Hole is an acclaimed Norwegian author and artist. His children's books include Anna's Heaven and Night Guard (both Eerdmans), and he has also created book covers for readers of all ages. One summer evening, Stian saw a familiar fear in his oldest son's eyes: he was afraid of starting school. Soon Stian began writing the story that became "Garmann's Summer".

Editorial Note #2: Don Bartlett has translated many books by Scandinavian authors, including crime novels by Jo Nesbo and picture books like Anna's Heaven, Samira and the Skeletons, and John Jensen Feels Different (all Eerdmans). In 2016, he was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit in rank of Knight, Class I, for his work as a translator of Norwegian literature. Don lives in Norfolk, England.

Harriet's Reflections
Marion Kadi
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
www.eerdmans.com/youngreaders
9780802856210, $18.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Harriets-Reflections-Marion-Kadi/dp/0802856217

Synopsis: One day the reflection of a lion decides to reflect someone different. He picks a little girl named Harriet, who eagerly accepts the new face staring back at her. Harriet loves how ferocious she is now at school: she's not afraid to speak up in class, and she can romp around the playground like a wild beast. But soon Harriet starts to miss the reflection she had before, the one who looked like her. Can Harriet find a way to balance her old reflection and her new one?

Critique: "Harriet's Reflections" by author/illustrator Marion Kai is a whimsical picture book story that explores themes of confidence and identity with colorful illustrations and a sly sense of humor. Delightful and unconventional, "Harriet's Reflections" is the perfect read-aloud for anyone who's ever wondered about the face on the other side of the mirror -- and what they might do next. Original, fun, and with a thoughtful underlying message for children ages 4-8, "Harriet's Reflections" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library self-esteem themed picture book collections.

Editorial Note: Marion Kadi (www.marionkadi.com) is an author, illustrator, and visual artist whose clients include Gucci, the New York Times, and Poetry Magazine. The original version of Harriet's Reflection was awarded the BolognaRagazzi Opera Prima in 2021. Harriet's Reflections is Marion's first picture book and her English-language debut. She can be followed on Instagram @marionkadi

A Hat Full of Sea
Maudie Smith, author
Jen Khatun, illustrator
Lantana
9781915244666, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hat-Full-Sea-Maudie-Smith/dp/1915244668

Synopsis: Grandpa Jim can only see a small square of blue sky from his hospital window, so Cora decides there's only one thing to do -- she will bring him some sea to go with it!

First, she brings him a hat full of sea. Then she brings him a hat full of countryside. She even brings him the moon, the black velvet night, and the shimmering, glimmering stars. She empties them all out onto the hospital bed for her beloved Grandpa Jim to share.

Can Cora bring the hospital ward to magical life until her grandpa is ready to go outside and play with her once more?

Critique: An original and deftly crafted heartwarming picture book story by the team of author/storyteller Maudie Smith and artist/illustrator Jen Khatun, about one very special hat and one very special little girl and her Grandpa Jim. A fun read with a significant underlying message about caring for others in unorthodox ways, "A Hat Full of Sea" is a perfect pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-9.

Editorial Note #1: Maudie Smith is a British author who writes humorous and touching stories for children, including much-loved picture book :My Must-Have Mom". She has an MA in Writing for Young People and lives in Bath, UK.

Editorial Note #2: Jen Khatun is a British children's book illustrator of Bangladeshi/Indian heritage. Her work resonates with the hidden magic in everyday life and the close bonds between people, nature, and memories. She is also the illustrator of :My Must-Have Mom".

My Dad, My Rock
Victor D.O. Santos, author
Anna Forlati, illustrator
Scribble Books
9781957363646, $18.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.scribblekidsbooks.com/books/p/my-dad-my-rock

Synopsis: A little boy named Oliver has never met his grandpa, and neither has his dad. But he very much would like to! "My Dad, My Rock" is heartwarming picture book in which Oliver imagines telling his grandpa about the most important person in his life -- the man who teaches him to live with joy and feel deeply.

Critique: A thoroughly 'kid friendly' and engaging story celebrating parenthood and the bonds that parents share with their children, as well as the ways parents shape their children's lives, this new large format picture book edition of "My Dad, My Rock" by author/storyteller Victor Santos and artist/illustrator Anna Forlati is charmingly engaging, thought-provoking, thoroughly appealing, and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3-6

Editorial Note #1: Victor D.O. Santos is a professional linguist and the author of ten picture books. Originally from Brazil and raised by a single mother, he now lives in Iowa (USA) with his Ukrainian wife and two multicultural, trilingual children. "My Dad, My Rock" was inspired by a true question his son asked him one night, which can be found on the very first page of the book.

Editorial Note #2: Anna Forlati was born in Padua, Italy. After receiving a degree in contemporary art and a degree in film history at the IUAV University in Venice, she now teaches illustration at the prestigious Ars in Fabula School of Illustration in Macerata (Italy) and dedicates herself to the world of illustration for children. She has illustrated over 40 children's books and has taken part in many international exhibitions dedicated to illustration.

The Sunny Day Squad: The Quest for the Caringstone
Michael Panzner, author
Polly Mooney, illustrator
Twin Unicorn Publishing
https://twinunicornpublishing.com
9798218290818, $12.99, PB, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Sunny-Day-Squad-Quest-Caringstone/dp/B0CQ1PR3F2

Synopsis: In "The Quest for the Caringstone", The Sunny Day Squad (Ollie the monkey, Poppy the puppy, Daisy the rabbit, and Ted the horse) embark upon an heroic journey from Gaggle Grove to find the fabled Caringstone, a magical gem that can make the saddest child smile. Using their unique talents, the four friends work together to overcome obstacles, solve problems, and spread joy.

Critique: A wonderfully entertaining, original, heartwarming, and fun picture book story that is a celebration of the power of friendship, bravery, and perseverance, "The Sunny Day Squad: The Quest for the Caringstone" by author/storyteller Michael Panzner and artist/illustrator Polly Mooney is a welcome and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-7.

Editorial Note #1: Michael Panzner is a long-time freelance writer who's always been a child at heart. Inspired by the countless stories he's shared with his children and grandchildren, Michael crafts tales designed to entertain, spark the imagination, and instill values like kindness, courage, empathy and perseverance. Having lived and worked in various locales, including the U.S. Northeast, North Carolina, and London, England, Michael now resides in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, Catherine, and their loyal dog, Geoffrey.

Editorial Note #2: Polly Mooney (www.pollygoneillustration.com) is a freelance illustrator based in the UK, with a BA (Hons) and MA in Illustration and Animation. Creating mostly digital art on her iPad, she enjoys bringing adorable characters, especially cute animals, to life. She shares her artistic journey through her YouTube channel, "Pollygone Illustration".

My Grandfather's Song
Phung Nguyen Quang, author
Huynh Kim Lien, author
Make Me a World
https://www.penguin.com
9780593488614, $18.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Grandfathers-Song-Ph%C3%B9ng-Nguy%C3%AAn-Quang/dp/059348861X

Synopsis: Long ago, Grandfather came to a new land. Fish swam in the water, birds chirped in the sky, monkeys played in the trees. And in this wilderness, with his own two hands, Grandfather built a house.

It wasn't easy. But the land gave him what he needed. And it became his home. Decades later, his grandson will have all he needs: a head full of memories, two capable hands, and the heart to appreciate family, nature, and home.

Critique: The collaborative work of husband/wife team of co-authors Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien, "My Grandfather's Song" is a beautifully illustrated picture book the showcases the sacred bond between a grandfather and his grandson. and to their mutual connection to their land, their home, and each other. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99), "My Grandfather's Song" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

Editorial Note: Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien are married book creators who live and work in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Their first book in the United States, "My First Day", received five starred reviews and was selected as a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. They have a website at www.kaaillustration.com and can be followed at @kaaillustration

My Big Embarrassing Elephant
Angie Lucas, author
Pierre Collet-Derby, illustrator
Marble Press
https://marblepress.com
9781958325025, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Embarrassing-Elephant-Angie-Lucas/dp/1958325023

Synopsis: Maya and her family have a problem. They try ignoring it, dancing around it, even sweeping it under the rug. Yet the elephant in the room remains. And Maya is at her wit's end figuring out how to hide it from everyone. Then a new friend moves in next door, and Maya begins wondering if there might be a better way to deal with the whole situation?

Author/storyteller Angie Lucas's clever picture book story about friendship in the face of overwhelming problems is given hilarious visual life by artist/illustrator Pierre Collet-Derby.

Critique: A thoroughly 'kid friendly' and fun read-aloud picture book from start to finish, "My Big Embarrassing Elephant" is an empathetic, thoroughly entertaining, and unique story that is ideal for showing children how to deal with embarrassment. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "My Big Embarrassing Elephant" is a strongly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, Kindergarten, and community library Social/Emotional Learning picture book collections for children ages 2-5.

Editorial Note #1: Angie Lucas (https://www.angielucas.com) is a children's author and freelance marketing writer. She is passionate about reading, writing, journal keeping, pickleball, yoga, and pink-frosted sugar cookies. Above all, she's most proud of achieving the motherhood trifecta -- with one child through marriage, one through adoption, and one through birth.

Editorial Note #2: Pierre Collet-Derby (https://pierrecolletderby.com) is an illustrator, author, animator and character designer currently based in Montreal, Canada. Born and raised in France, Pierre spent most of his childhood doodling (particularly during math class) and always knew he would grow up to make his living as an artist. When he's not working with the beloved characters of Sesame Street or making books for children, Pierre loves playing jazz on his clarinet.

The Little Penguin
Sheri Fink, author
Bright Jungle Studios, illustrator
Whimsical World
https://whimsicalworldbooks.com
9781949213409, $24.95, HC, 28pp

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Penguin-First-Glitter-Cover/dp/1949213404

Synopsis: A little penguin loves to explore and collect colorful gems on her excursions. When finding her treasures becomes more important than spending time with her friends, she sets out on increasingly risky expeditions to acquire more and more. Once the gems crowd her out of her home, she realizes that having the freedom to utilize her space and being generous of heart are the best treasures of all.

Critique: "The Little Penguin" by author/storyteller Sheri Fink, is charmingly supported by illustrations from Bright Jungle Studios. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95), "The Little Penguin" from Whimsical World and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, is a thoroughly original, 'kid friendly', and social-emotional storybook that teaches children ages 5-8 to enjoy their toys and hobbies in moderation while appreciating the value of friendship and giving.

Editorial Note #1: Sheri Fink (www.SheriFink.com) is the author of the award-winning children's books, The Little Unicorn, The Little Monster, The Little Rose, The Little Gnome, The Little Firefly, The Little Seahorse, The Little Dragon, Exploring the Garden with the Little Rose, World of Whimsy with the Little Unicorn, and Counting Sea Life with the Little Seahorse. She and her husband, author Derek Taylor Kent, created the Whimsical World brand to inspire, delight, and educate kids of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem and high achievement.

Editorial Note #2: Bright Jungle Studios: (www.spittakestudios.com/bright-jungle-studios) Spit Take Studios was formed in 2016, and set its sights on creating short fiction films and live action commercial videos, and after several very successful entries into festivals, evolved their interests into 2D animation, graphic design and illustration work as well. Thus, Bright Jungle Studios was born! The focus of this new team is to create wondrous illustrations and animations for the younger audience. With a team of expert visual artists, they seek to push the boundaries of what can be done in every creative outlet.

Be Your Own Bird
Russ Willms, author/illustrator
Beaming Books
https://www.beamingbooks.com
9781506487595, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Your-Own-Bird-Russ-Willms/dp/1506487599

Synopsis: Pickles is a bird of a different feather.

While the rest of the flock sticks together, Pickles does her own thing. They practice their downward spirals; Pickles practices her downward dog. They chatter away; Pickles meditates. But when danger arrives, Pickles is the only bird who isn't scared. Will the flock learn from Pickles, or will they all become hawk soup?

Critique: Packed full of humor (and even some bird yoga!), "Be Your Own Bird" by author/illustrator Russ Willms teaches kids ages 3-8 about mindfulness, self-confidence, and the importance of always being themselves. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.21), "Be Your Own Bird" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note: Russ Willms (http://russwillms.com) has always had a passion for art and fun. His work as an illustrator has been featured in hundreds of magazines, books, and ad campaigns throughout the world. Russ brings his humor to several picture books as both author and illustrator, including Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees (Orca Books, 2021) and Quiet, Please! (Orca Books, 2022). He created, wrote, and illustrated the app Zooper ABC Animals, and his work has won a Parents' Choice Award, a Mr. Christie Book Gold Award, and a Governor General Awards finalist rank. Russ lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Karma Cats to the Rescue
Kathleen Kastner, author
Coraline Tran, illustrator
Independently Published
www.kathleenkastner.com
9798986765006, $18.95, HC, 38pp

https://www.amazon.com/Karma-Cats-Rescue-Kathleen-Kastner/dp/B0BMW35RVZ

Synopsis: Abandoned and determined to be independent, Noah crosses paths with the caring Karma Cats, who extend a paw of friendship. But Noah resists their help, preferring to face the world alone.

Will Noah's defenses crumble as the Karma Cats persist in their efforts to find him a loving forever home? Discover the touching story of two feline companions who refuse to surrender their quest to help their newfound friend. Will Noah ultimately embrace their kindness and find the love and companionship he truly deserves?

Critique: With the publication of "Karma Cats to the Rescue" by the collaborative team of author/storyteller Kathleen Kastner and artist/illustrator Coraline Tran, children ages 2-7 will enjoy joining Noah, a cat yearning for freedom, on his remarkable journey of second chances. A thoroughly charming and fun picture book celebrating the joys of pet adoption, friendship, and the importance of giving back, "Karma Cats to the Rescue" is a picture book celebration of the power of resilience, friendship, and the transformative nature of second chances. While also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9798986765020, $12.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "Karma Cats to the Rescue" is a solid and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Kathleen Kastner (www.kathleenkastner.com) is the author of the Karma Cats book series: Karma Cats to the Rescue and Karma Cats to the Farm. Her books mirror her lifelong commitment to saving animals. She wrote the series in memory of her soul mate cats, Julian and Oliver, to teach kids to be kind and compassionate to all animals. She has written two non-fiction books for adults: Yoga's Path to Weight Loss: A Mind Body Spirit Guide to Loving Yourself Lean and The Cheerleader Speaks: What God Taught Me About Men and Myself.

Editorial Note #2: Coraline Tran (www.fiverr.com/coraline_tran) a leader of a team of illustrators with 3+ years of experience in Digital art for children book artwork. Her skills include proficiency with Adobe Photoshop; Character design; and Digital drawing.

Love Well My Precious One
Jill Roman Lord, author
Camila Carrossine, illustrator
End Game Press
https://www.endgamepress.com
9781637970836, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Well-My-Precious-One/dp/1637970838

Synopsis: Children have big hearts. They can make a difference in the world and in the lives of all they encounter. While it is good for children to know they are loved, "Love Well My Precious One" by author/storyteller Jill Roman Lord and artist/illustrator Camila Carrossine is an inspiring picture book that shows children how they may love others despite their differences and no matter their age. With all the violence, bullying, and hatred in today's world, it is important for children to learn how to love well in their own homes and at early ages. "Love Well My Precious One" teaches children that little acts of love can make a big impact in the world!

Critique: Charmingly illustrated and with a critically important message about doing good and how small acts of kindness can have enormous benefits, "Love Well My Precious One" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections about Christian values, emotions, feelings, and new experiences for children ages 4-8.

Editorial Note #1: Jill Roman Lord (www.jillromanlord.com) is a wife, mother of three amazing kids, runner, author, writer, nurse anesthetist and Jesus lover. Jill is the author of several award-winning books. It is her desire in her writing to draw children closer to Jesus and to provide books that parents (or grandparents or caregivers) can enjoy reading with the kids snuggled on their laps.

Editorial Note #2: Camila Carrossine (www.camilacarrossine.com) has drawn since she was a little girl. At first at the walls of her bedroom and today she draws on the pages of the books. Illustrating books (or magazines, or websites, or e-books) became her career. In a career of almost 15 years, she has done more than 80 books for publishers in Brazil and around the world. These publishers included Penguin Random House, Albert Whitman & Company, Scholastic Magazines, Panda Books, Global Editora, Zit, Lago de Historias, among others.

Love is in the Bear
Judith Henderson, author
Nahid Kazemi, illustrator
Owl Kids Books
www.owlkidsbooks.com
9781771475891 $18.95

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Bear-Judith-Henderson/dp/1771475897

Synopsis: Spring is here, and Bear is finally emerging from his hollow to greet his forest friends. Suddenly, he hears beautiful singing coming from above. Itís Bird, practicing for the forest Opera! When Bird tells Bear that sheís auditioning for a duet, Bear decides to try out as well, and asks if he can practice with her. Bird agrees, and as the pair rehearses their song, an unlikely friendship begins.

After the audition, Bird is cast in the opera - but Bear is not. Devastated, Bear returns to his hollow to hide. Bird comes to comfort him and insists that the pair are still a duet, with or without a stage to sing on. Reassured of their close bond, Bear celebrates Birdís success at the Opera, getting the best seat in the house and quietly singing along with his friend.

This tender celebration of loyalty, friendship, and song is brought to life with Judith Hendersonís lyrical text and the soft, magical illustrations of Nahid Kazemi. Together, Bird and Bear face the music and find that the strongest connections can weather the most difficult disappointments with empathy, resilience, and mutual support.

Critique: Featuring gentle, charming illustrations of Bear, Bird, and their forest home, Love is in the Bear is a delightful picturebook story about friendship and the joy of song. Although friends Bear and Bird rehearse together for the Forest Opera, only Bird is chosen to sing. Bear retreats to his hollow, until Bird comes to reassure him that they are still a duet. Bear celebrates Bird's success by attending the Forest Opera and quietly singing along with his friend. Portraying a valuable life lesson about accepting disappointment and maintaining the bonds of friendship, Love is in the Bear is highly recommended for public library, school library, and family picturebook collections.

Be More
Caroline Crowe and Carlos Velez
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782508328, $17.95, HC, 32pp (Ages 3-7)

https://www.amazon.com/Be-More-Dog-Caroline-Crowe/dp/1782508325

Be More: A Tail of Happiness tells of a happy dog who can find joy even in bad smells and muddy places. His young owner, however, feels sadness when his father leaves for work. Can Sam transmit an invaluable lesson to his young charge about feeling happy even when adversity seems big? This lovely picture book story holds inviting lessons about adaptation and joy that read-aloud adults will find perfect for discussions about life views and flexibility.

Brave Little Bear
Steve Small
Simon and Schuster
www.simonandschuster.com
9781665951104, $18.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 32pp (Ages 4-8)

Brave Little Bear tells of a bear family waking from their long winter nap, starting with Arlo, who is invited to follow his mother and sister on a journey. The only problem is: Arlo loves his cozy winter home and doesn't want to leave the cave. How can he be brave when all he wants to do is nestle back into the comfort zone he's enjoyed all winter? Steve Small gives readers 4-8 a lovely story about comfort, risk-taking, and discovery which will especially serve adults seeking to raise questions about tackling new things in life, no matter how scary they seem.

Dance
Unde Ian Aurora
Flowerpot Press
www.flowerpotpress.com
9781486727759, $18.99 HC, 40pp (Ages 4-7)

https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Uncle-Ian-Aurora/dp/1486727751

Dance is the inviting story of Uncle Ian and friends, who travel around the world learning about dances of different cultures. Adults who anticipate that the journey will mirror other books about dance will find, here, a cross-cultural focus and examination that offers a lesson in contrasts, complete with colorful and active illustrations by Natalia Moore. From Brazilian samba to Ukraine Hopak dancing, these movements translate surprisingly well into colorful, exuberant illustrations that bring different dances to life, making for an informative, inviting survey.

Have You Seen Dinosaur?
David Barrow
Gecko Press
www.geckopress.com
9781776575138, $18.99, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp (Ages 3-7)

https://www.amazon.com/Have-Seen-Dinosaur-David-Barrow/dp/177657513X

Have You Seen Dinosaur? excels in amusement, fun, and whimsy as it invites young picture book readers to join an elephant and a boy on their contemporary urban search for dinosaurs in the big city. Surely, they would reside in a museum. Or, maybe they have gone underground. The city and its possibilities come to life in a delightful way in this engaging story of discovery and possibility that libraries and read-aloud adults will find inviting.

Heavy Metal Badger
Duncan Beedie
Tiger Tales
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781664300262, $18.99, HC, 32pp (Ages 3-7)

https://www.amazon.com/Heavy-Metal-Badger-Duncan-Beedie/dp/1664300260

Heavy Metal Badger tells of Badger, who loves loud music and letting the "music inside him" out in a raucous manner. Unfortunately, his animal audience neighbors don't appreciate his passion, so Badger begins seeking a quieter instrument to express his musical motives. Perhaps a recorder, or a cowbell? Unfortunately, the different instruments offer their own challenges to both learning and expression. How can Badger satisfy his heavy metal music inclinations when the rest of the world is less passionate about noise? Duncan Beedie's whimsical, fun saga will appeal to any aspiring young musician searching for the perfect form of expression.

If You See a Bluebird
Bahram Rahman and Gabrielle Grimard
Pajama Press
www.pajamapress.com
9781772782844, $18.95, HC, 32pp (Ages 5-8)

https://www.amazon.com/You-See-Bluebird-Bahram-Rahman/dp/177278284X

If You See a Bluebird tells of young Ali, who finds safety in America, but still misses his native (less safe) Afghanistan. As he contrasts facets of his old home with his new life, Ali discovers that there are differences and novel enjoyments to be found in this strange new world. When Ali and his Nana spot a bluebird and he makes a wish to go home, he discovers it fulfilled in an unexpected manner. This lovely picture book is a top recommendation for a wide audience of young readers and listeners who would absorb a different message about what makes for a home.

The Mellons Build a House
Robin Jacobs
Cicada Books Ltd.
www.cicadabooks.co.uk
9781800660355, $16.99, HC, 40pp (Ages 4-8)

https://www.amazon.com/Mellons-Build-House-JACOBS-ROBIN/dp/1800660332

The Mellons Build a House receives inviting illustrations by Nick Neves as it surveys the process of designing and building a home that both meets the Mellon family needs and supports the environment. Kids learn many building terms, from heat pumps to solar panels, as they absorb the lessons of designing a home and the many options and considerations involved. Adults will find The Mellons Build an Eco House a fine example of introducing ecological thinking and decision-making to the very young, who normally don't receive such messages this early in their lives.

A New Day for Umwell the Gray
Nathaniel Jenks
Tilbury House Publishers
www.tilburyhouse.com
9780884489443, $18.95 HC, $11.59 Kindle, (Ages 7-10)

https://www.amazon.com/New-Day-Umwell-Gray/dp/0884489442

A New Day for Umwell the Gray is a picture book following young William, whose moods, clothing, and world are gray. Rebecca Evans provides inviting illustrations that capture William's moping world and what happens to transform it when a purple-raincoated stranger enters his life to introduce new prospects for different thinking. Adults seeking to install basic ideas of positivity in the young will welcome A New Day for Umwell the Gray's encouraging nature and tone of colorful discovery as William takes steps towards alleviating his 'boring' view of life's similarities and begins to observe the differences in it, which change him.

Tibbles the Cat
Michal Sanda and David Dolensky
Albatros Books
www.albatrosbooks.com
9788000070056, $14.95, HC, 24pp (Ages 6-9)

https://www.amazon.com/Tibbles-Cat-Michal-Sanda/dp/8000070057

Tibbles the Cat follows a cat's move to the other side of the world, from his London home to his guardian's new job as a lighthouse keeper. As he explores Stephens Island in New Zealand and discovers its diverse plants and animals, so young followers of the cat's adventures receive an inviting natural history of the country which is delightful in its presentation and solid in its real information about the country. Young feline fans thus will enjoy a lesson couched in a travelogue adventure.

Candlewick Press
www.candlewick.com

Elementary-level readers have a host of fine picture book choices from Candlewick's latest arrivals, which deserve ongoing recommendation and library acquisition.

https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Bean-Stinky-Feet-Monster/dp/1536225460

Jamie Michalak's Frank and Bean The Stinky Feet Monster (9781536225464, $16.99) is a simple, colorful chapter book of a plan to find the Stinky Feet Monster. Bean has all the new clothes (and a drum) and is ready to embark on the endeavor, even though he doesn't think Frank's mission will uncover a real monster. As evidence comes to light, the two make new discoveries.

https://www.amazon.com/Bear-Bird-Stars-Other-Stories/dp/153623138X

Jarvis's Bear and Bird: The Stars and Other Stories (9781536231380, $15.99) tells of best friends who don't necessarily understand each other, but are invested in each other's happiness. They are able to fix each other's snafus in the four stories of a chapter book that succeeds in outlining the facets that lend to a good friendship, which include give and take, patience, and kind appreciation. Adults seeking examples of these qualities to teach kids will find this an outstanding set of tales.

https://www.amazon.com/Masala-Chai-Fast-Rajani-LaRocca/dp/1536219401

Rajani LaRocca's Masala Chai, Fast and Slow (9781536219401, $17.99) is illustrated by Neha Rawat and tells of a fast kid and his slow grandfather who participate in the family ritual of making chai in different ways. Thata's inability to make chi one day leads Aarav to make an effort, only to find that chai-making as not as simple as it looks. A warm story of shared experiences and different problem-solving methods comes to light.

https://www.amazon.com/Ten-Word-Tiny-Tales-Inspire-Unsettle/dp/1536231355

Joseph Coelho and 21 artist friends collaborate in Ten-Word Tiny Tales to Inspire and Unsettle (9781536231359, $18.99), a collection of stories only ten words long, supplemented by pictures that invite young readers to fill in the creative blanks introduced in each story. Adults seeking to begin the creative writing process in the very young will appreciate the inspirational and unexpected beginnings these stories provide.

https://www.amazon.com/I-Am-Happy-Michael-Rosen/dp/1536231282

Michael Rosen's I Am Happy! (9781536231281, $14.99) is illustrated by Robert Starling, who provides large-size and appealing drawings to illustrate a happy dog's joyful experiences in the world. Kids are encouraged to identify their own active sources of enjoyment through the eyes of this world-hopping creature.

https://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Bird-Ruth-Whiting/dp/1536226181

Ruth Whiting's Lonely Bird (9781536226188, $18.99) tells of a small, doodled bird that comes to life with the knowledge that she is meant to create. And so she does, crafting tales about objects and experiences to bring a mundane household to life in a new way. Oil paintings accompany the inspirational story, encouraging connections between art and seeing the world in a different way.

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Greedy-Pea-Leigh-Hodgkinson/dp/1536231320

Leigh Hodgkinson's The Princess and the (Greedy) Pea (9781536231328, $17.99) tells of a green pea who is so hungry, it swallows a sprout, gobbles down an entire pie, and more. As consumption just leads to more hunger, the rollicking rhyme of stolen dinners and fading food makes for a fun read-aloud that parents will especially appreciate for its surprising blend of two classic fairy tales that enjoy new life here.

https://www.amazon.com/Way-Stars-David-Almond/dp/1536231258

David Almond's A Way to the Stars (9781536231250, $18.99) receives vivid illustrations by Gill Smith as it charts an uncommon path to the stars. Joe builds a ladder, a tower, and even a rocket in his ongoing desire to reach the stars, with the help of his supportive father. But when none of these efforts succeed, how can father and son achieve their impossible goal together? A fine story of combined strengths evolves.

https://www.amazon.com/Concrete-Garden-Bob-Graham/dp/1536233803

Bob Graham's The Concrete Garden (9781536233803, $18.99) tells of the end of winter and the efforts of urban children to build a garden feel in their concrete world via pavement and chalk. As a temporary masterpiece evolves, the kids find their interests and efforts results in unexpected community ties and participation in this engaging story of shared experiences.

All are fine picture books, highly recommended for discriminating libraries and young readers.


The Middle Grade Fiction Shelf

One Extra Sparkle: Ellie and the Marriage List
Tricia Seabolt, author
Lucy Rogers, illustrator
Lantana
9781915244727, $18.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ellie-Marriage-List-Extra-Sparkle/dp/1915244722

Synopsis: Ellie is ready to have the best summer ever. She's especially excited to draw under her favorite tree and hang out with her big brother, Ben. But all Ben seems to care about is impressing the new lip-glossy neighbor, Sara. And all Sara seems to care about is turning Ellie's brother into an Hawaii husband!

Luckily, Ellie's best friend, Ling, has the marriage list -- a top-secret tool to track the lovebirds and stop a wedding before it starts. But nothing goes to plan, and while trying to rescue Ben, Ellie ends up putting the weeping willow in her garden in danger. Faced with losing everything she loves most, can Ellie find a way to win back her brother and save her beloved tree?

An utterly charming story about a lovable 10-year-old with Down syndrome whose extra sparkle never fails to shine bright.

Critique: An impressively written and fun read from start to finish, "One Extra Sparkle: Ellie and the Marriage List" by author/storyteller Tricia Seabolt (and occasionally embellished with B/W illustrations by Lucy Rogers) is an ideal pick for young readers ages 7-11 and will prove to be a immediately welcome and enduringly popular addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Contemporary Fiction collections.

Editorial Note #1: Tricia Seabolt is a Special Education tutor who has worked in the field of occupational therapy and owns a business teaching English as a second language. She has tutored students with Down syndrome and volunteered with literacy programs for children. She lives in Michigan.

Editorial Note #2: Lucy Rogers (https://www.lucyrogersillustration.com) is an award-winning deaf illustrator. She wants to help inspire deaf kids reading her books to be proud of who they are and has led illustration workshops for young deaf people at the NDCS and at the Deaf Academy.

Unstuck
Barbara Dee
Aladdin Books
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781534489868, $17.99, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Unstuck-Barbara-Dee/dp/153448986X

Synopsis: Lyla is thrilled when her seventh-grade English language arts class begins a daily creative writing project. For the past year, she's been writing a brilliant fantasy novel in her head, and here's her chance to get it on paper! The plot to Lyla's novel is super complicated, with battle scenes and witches and a mysterious one-toed-beast, but at its core, it's about an overlooked girl who has to rescue her beautiful, highly accomplished older sister.

But writing a fantasy novel turns out to be harder than simply imagining one, and pretty soon Lyla finds herself stuck, experiencing a panic she realizes is writer's block. Part of the problem is that she's trying to impress certain people -- like Rania, her best friend who's pulling away, and Ms. Bowman, the coolest teacher at school.

Plus, there's the pressure of meeting the deadline for the town writing contest. A few years ago, Lyla's superstar teen sister Dahlia came in second, and this time, Lyla is determined to win first prize.

Finally, Lyla confides about her writing problems to Dahlia, who is dealing with her own academic stress as she applies to college. That's when she learns Dahlia's secret, which is causing a very different type of writer's block. Can Lyla rescue a surprisingly vulnerable big sister, both on the page and in real life?

Critique: A fun read that will have a special interest for young fans of stories about siblings, friendship, and emotions/feeling when trying (and struggling) to accomplish something of importance, "Unstuck" by Barbara Dee will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular pick for elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections for young readers ages 9-13. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Unstuck" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note; Barbara Dee (https://barbaradeebooks.com) is the author of fourteen middle grade novels including Unstuck, Haven Jacobs Saves the Planet, Violets Are Blue, My Life in the Fish Tank, Maybe He Just Likes You, Everything I Know About You, Halfway Normal, and Star-Crossed. Her books have earned several starred reviews and have been named to many best-of lists, including The Washington Post's Best Children's Books, the ALA Notable Children's Books, the ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project List, the NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, and the ALA Rainbow List Top Ten.

BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero
James D. Bell
Independently Published
9798846879508, $15.00, PB, 86pp

https://www.amazon.com/BeeBop-Honeybee-Wannabee-James-Bell/dp/B0C8R5XPR4

Synopsis: BeeBop, a young orphan bee, wants to make a name for himself in the hive that adopted him. But prejudice and an oversized bully bee stand in his way.

The hive desperately needs a major nectar find before winter and BeeBop makes the biggest discovery in the history of the hive. He races to the hive to announce the discovery, but nobee beeleaves him, except his one loyal friend. Together, they convince the hive to take a chance and travel a great distance to retrieve the nectar.

But, when they arrive, the flowers are gone. Rejected and shamed by the hive, BeeBop must overcome despair, doubt, a bully and even a bear to solve the mystery of the missing flowers and regain the respect of his best friend. Will BeeBop overcome impossible obstacles to save the hive, or will all be lost?

Critique: "BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero" by author/storyteller James D. Bell is a compelling and inspiring story of loyalty, bravery, determination and forgiveness that will have a very special appeal for young readers ages 5-12 and one that parents will want to share with their children with its underlying message promoting endurance and perseverance. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library General Fiction collection for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.50).

Editorial Note: James D. Bell is a retired County, Circuit and Chancery Judge who practices law in Mississippi. He was the youngest trial judge in state history and received the highest bar association approval ratings ever given to a Mississippi Circuit or County Judge. He is listed in Preeminent Lawyers, Outstanding Lawyers of America, and other lists of leading lawyers. Judge Bell is a speaker at legal seminars on evidence and trial tactics and at various churches and civic groups on the evidence that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.

Jolly Fish Press
c/o North Star Editions, Inc.
https://jollyfishpress.com

Jolly Fish Press is a premier publisher of High Interest/Low Vocabulary books for young readers. They have now released three new fiction titles.

https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Stars-Harbor-Meg-Gaertner/dp/1631637894

"Chasing Stars" by Meg Gaertner (9781631637896, $28.50 Library Binding, 160pp)

Synopsis: Growing up comes with growing pains no matter what, but for twelve-year-old Libby, the changes feel like more than she can bear. After an incident caused by his worsening dementia, Libby's grandfather comes to live with her family, a move that ripples out into other changes. Libby's dad quits his job to become the grandfather's primary caretaker, while her mom picks up the financial slack by working extra shifts. Meanwhile, Libby's older sister and ex-best friend, Erica, packs for a move to boarding school to make room in their modest family home. Libby feels like her cozy world is crashing down around her. But how can she keep up when she's the only one standing still?

https://www.amazon.com/Riding-Wild-Harbor-Michelle-Brown/dp/1631637975

"Riding Wild" by Michelle L. Brown (9781631637971, $28.50, Library Binding, 160pp)

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Victoria "Vic" Smith is not excited about summer in Willow Falls, Oklahoma. Uprooted from her friends and her home, Vic is staying at her grandpa's cattle ranch there while her mom works and saves up money for a new house. At least the town holds rodeos where she can show off her barrel-racing skills on her trusty horse, Buddy. But otherwise, Willow Falls seems to have nothing but mean girls and mysteries about her dad's past, a past her mom won't say a word about. When Vic discovers that her father had been a famous bull rider, she knows she has to try the sport that he loved so much. But bull riding is dangerous, predominantly done by boys and men, and something her mom is vehemently against. Can Vic convince her mom to give her this chance to know the father she lost long ago?

https://www.amazon.com/Exposed-Harbor-Keith-Wain/dp/1631637932

"Exposed" by Keith Wain (9781631637933, $28.50, Library Binding, 160pp)

Synopsis: Elias and Ty have been best friends ever since they discovered a shared love of exploring abandoned places: Elias, for old treasures and artifacts, and Ty, for hauntings and other strange events he can film to build his popularity. So when rumors start spreading about a nearby vacant lot and the odd lights seen there at night, the two friends know they need to investigate. To their surprise, Elias and Ty find a bloody tent buried in the lot. They wonder who put it there, and why? Their investigation leads the friends to uncover mysteries even stranger than ghosts, and what starts as a simple search for answers turns into a dangerous mission when it becomes clear there are people who want to keep the lot's secrets buried. Elias and Ty must race to uncover and expose these secrets before others can stop them from speaking out for good.

Critique: Fun reads from start to finish, all three of these simply outstanding and original High Interest/Low Vocabulary titles are unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library fiction collections for young readers ages 10-14. It should be noted for personal reading lists that each title is also readily available in a paperback edition ($9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).


The Young Adult Fiction Shelf

I See You In My Dreams
Laura May
Creative James Media
www.creativejamesmedia.com
9781956183368, $16.99 PB, $5.99 Kindle, 280pp (Ages 15-18)

https://www.amazon.com/I-See-You-My-Dreams/dp/1956183361

Narrator Cassie, a Florida high school student, leads a double life. By day, she is a normal teen in the modern world; but at night she experiences the life of seventeen-year-old 1920s girl Riga. As the line between reality and fantasy begins to blur and spill over from nighttime experiences to daytime living, Cassie encounters handsome Russian twenty-something Daniil, who further complicates her life, moving from being a new neighbor to becoming something more influential in her shifting world.

Cassie already has her hands full, but this complication adds a series of conundrums to her encounters as Daniil/Daniel introduces some horrifying possibilities into her already-complex dilemmas. Laura May crafts a sense of slowly evolving challenge and horror that will grip readers of all ages with a story that is unpredictable. It moves from possibilities to impossibilities with equal attention to juxtaposing fantasy with reality.

As Cassie stands in the middle between forces and suffers for her position, the true extent of physical and psychological horror come into play to create immersive, unexpected events. These challenge both Cassie and her followers to consider the cost and methods of surviving adversity in more than one way. As dreams and nightmares spin together, the people she loves are pulled apart and away.

Cassie battles her deepest desires and comes to realize her unique role in holding her world together and loving the men and women who become part of it.

I See You In My Dreams provides teenage and young adult readers with a powerful story that holds trigger warnings for sensitive psyches. These include violence, abuse, and explicit sexual scenes. However, those interested the world of adult situations and books will find the realistic encounters and confrontations in I See You In My Dreams to be thought-provoking, worthy of discussion group pursuit.

Libraries and readers looking for edgy stories will find I See You In My Dreams the perfect choice for making the move into mature subjects, experiences, and better understanding alternative processes of love and healing.

Heart of Belonging
C. J. Darlington
Focus on the Family
c/o Tyndale House Publishers
www.tyndale.com
9781646070893, $14.99, PB, 256pp

https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Belonging-Riverbend-Friends-Darlington/dp/1646070895

Synopsis: Shay desperately wants to feel loved and wanted -- to be part of a real family. She thought that finally meeting her real father, a famous horse trainer, might change her life for the better. And it did. Sort of. She's more inspired to work with horses now, for sure, but a "normal" family (like her friends talk about) doesn't seem like it's in her future. Living with her aunt and working with horses every day doesn't seem to give her the love and acceptance that she longs for.

So Shay finds looks herself looking for acceptance elsewhere -- on the internet, looking at stuff she doesn't think she can ever tell anyone about. She's ashamed of where this takes her, and she suspects her friends, especially Izzy, would reject her if they found out.

Can Shay begin to recognize the blessings she already has -- that God's true love, the acceptance of her friends, and the kindness of her aunt might just be enough?

Critique: "Heart of Belonging" by novelist C. J. Darlington is the sixth book in the 'River Bend' series that travels alongside four friends as they deal with teen life in Riverbend, Indiana. This novel will inspire young women to deepen their relationships with God as they face real-life issues and solve their problems in God-honoring ways. Of special interest to young readers ages 12-16 with an interest in Christian values and peer pressure, "Heart of Belonging" is highly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library teenage fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Heart of Belonging" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: C. J. Darlington has been in love with reading since she was a kid dragging home bags of books from the library. When she was twelve she started dreaming about becoming a published author. That dream came true when her first novel Thicker than Blood won a national writing contest. It became the first book in the Thicker than Blood series, which also includes Bound by Guilt, Ties that Bind, and Running on Empty. She has also written Jupiter Winds and Jupiter Storm the first and second books in the Jupiter Winds series. Her children's fantasy Alison Henry and the Creatures of Torone will release in June.

Across So Many Seas
Ruth Behar
Nancy Paulsen Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593323403, $17.99, HC, 272pp

https://www.amazon.com/Across-Many-Seas-Ruth-Behar/dp/0593323408

Synopsis: In 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, Benvenida and her family are banished from Spain for being Jewish, and must flee the country or be killed. They journey by foot and by sea, eventually settling in Istanbul.

Over four centuries later, in 1923, shortly after the Turkish war of independence, Reina's father disowns her for a small act of disobedience. He ships her away to live with an aunt in Cuba, to be wed in an arranged marriage when she turns fifteen.

In 1961, Reina's daughter, Alegra, is proud to be a brigadista, teaching literacy in the countryside for Fidel Castro. But soon Castro's crackdowns force her to flee to Miami all alone, leaving her parents behind.

Finally, in 2003, Alegra's daughter, Paloma, is fascinated by all the journeys that had to happen before she could be born. A keeper of memories, she's thrilled by the opportunity to learn more about her heritage on a family trip to Spain, where she makes a momentous discovery.

Though many years and many seas separate these girls, they are united by a love of music and poetry, a desire to belong and to matter, a passion for learning, and their longing for a home where all are welcome. And each is lucky to stand on the shoulders of their courageous ancestors.

Critique: Spanning over 500 years, author Ruth Behar's epic novel, "Across So Many Seas" is comprised of the interlocking personal stories of four girls from different generations of a Jewish family, with a majority of them sharing the experience of having been forced to leave their country and start a new life elsewhere. Original, deftly crafted, absorbing, entertaining, memorable, "Across So Many Seas" is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Epic Adventure fiction collections of young readers ages 10 and up. It should also be noted for personal reading lists that "Across So Many Seas" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Ruth Behar (www.ruthbehar.com), the Pura Belpre Award-winning author of Lucky Broken Girl and Letters from Cuba, was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in New York, and has also lived in Spain and Mexico. Her work also includes poetry, memoir, and the acclaimed travel books An Island Called Home and Traveling Heavy. She was the first Latina to win a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, and other honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and being named a "Great Immigrant" by the Carnegie Corporation. She is an anthropology professor at the University of Michigan.

Sid Johnson and The Well-Intended Conspiracy
Frances Schoonmaker
Independently Published
https://fschoonmaker.com
9798986842998, $TBA, HC
9798986842981, $TBA, PB
9798989481200, $TBA, Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Well-Intended-Conspiracy-Frances-Schoonmaker/dp/B0CRM5M3TL

Teens who found the prior adventure (Sid Johnson and the Phantom Slave Stealer) to be compelling and attractive will find equally engrossing the new Sid Johnson saga in The Well-Intended Conspiracy.

The story opens in Council Grove, Kansas Territory in 1856. Sid and his family are headed West after the family's farm and its role in aiding freedom seekers are compromised. Sid struggles with a vastly different life than his familiar farming experiences, from handling a yoke of oxen to eating beans around the campfire. These are a far cry from his last civilized meal of "a hearty dinner of prairie hen stew and dumplings." Every facet of his life has changed. What remains the same are the vivid struggles with conspiracy and plots which follow the family to their new destination.

Frances Schoonmaker excels in creating a saga that melds history, mystery, and a "you are here" feel to the wagon train experience, bringing its trials and encounters to life in a vivid, dramatic manner: "Sid held his breath. "Now!" In one smooth motion, Mrs. Reid dropped forward, hands on her husband's shoulders. He grasped her under the arms and swung her out over the angry water and into Mr. Wood's arms. The horse never stopped." She also adds reflective insights about prejudice and growth opportunities that create insights about the peoples and ethnicities of the times: "You know, I've heard folk call teamsters no-good thieves. Some may be. But that hasn't been my experience. I have a hunch it's because they're mostly Mexicans. I reckon they're no better or worse than the rest of us. Take Hernandez. He's on a tight schedule, but he stopped out of human kindness."

As teen readers absorb Sid's adventure, they also receive lessons in history and interpersonal relationships. These enhance the educational and psychological insights embedded into the story. From Sid's increasing and different responsibilities and inner worries about his choices and their consequences to discoveries that alter his perceptions, readers gain an excellent blend of intrigue and insights that range from changing environments during a wagon train's journey to the inner turmoil its participants face.

A fine sense of place and atmosphere follow Sid's movements through early American West landscapes: "They had their first sighting of the Rocky Mountains, two unmistakable, dusty blue mounds in the south: the Spanish Peaks. Day after day they seemed no closer until clouds hovering over the southwest horizon came into sharper focus. They weren't clouds at all, but the snow-topped peaks of the Sangre de Cristos. Just before they turned south toward the Spanish Peaks, they could see the tall, deep violet silhouette of Pike's Peak to the north."

Between his little sister Cora's kidnapping to the discoveries he makes about the Kaw Nation and the tribes which are being displaced and killed along the Santa Fe Trail, Sid experiences many challenges and growth opportunities. These provide particularly rich fodder for classroom discussion and historical analysis of the pioneer experience, with its requirement for kids to step up into new responsibilities.

Libraries and readers seeking historical fiction that embraces intrigue, discovery, and growth will follow Sid's journey to California in The Well-Intended Conspiracy with avid interest, whether the book is chosen for its leisure read attraction or for its living history.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Flora Investigates: The Case of the Missing Gold Eggs
Saloni Surah, author
Lisa Williams, illustrator
Independently Published
9781739448400, $11.99, PB, 118pp

https://www.amazon.com/Flora-Investigates-Case-Missing-Gold/dp/1739448405

Synopsis: Lucia is a young girl who lives peacefully in Florence until one day her pet chicken named Gina is stolen! But Gina is no ordinary chicken; she lays gold eggs. Meanwhile, Flora, a ten-year-old who has opened her new detective agency, lands her first paid case. She has to find out who stole Gina!

On her journey to rescue Gina, Flora faces off against a dancing, cheese-loving, flying pirate; a crazy, cat-loving neighbour; and a dastardly hunter.

Can Flora find the courage to solve the case?

Critique: An original, deftly crafted, and thoroughly fun read from start to finish, "Flora Investigates: The Case of the Missing Gold Eggs" by the team of author/storyteller Saloni Surah and artist/illustrator Lisa Williams nicely represents a message of encouragement for children ages 5-10 to reach for their dreams and work to make them happen. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99), "Flora Investigates: The Case of the Missing Gold Eggs" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers with an interest in mysteries and detective stories.

Editorial Note #1: Saloni Surah (https://salonisurah.com) is an author, a coach and a doctor. She is also an HIV & sexual health consultant and has a PhD on HIV Infection & drug use. Working in her particular area of medicine, Dr Surah became acutely aware of the mind-body connection with regards to ill-health and wellbeing. She has an active interest in meditation, self-development and other healing modalities and also works a spiritual coach.

More Than a Thief
Beverly Pratt
Owl Hollow Press
https://owlhollowpress.com
9781958109380, $14.95, PB, 332pp

https://www.amazon.com/More-Than-Thief-Beverly-Patt/dp/195810938X

Synopsis: In 1892, in the bustling town of Fall River, Massachusetts, 16-year-old Victoria feels trapped by her high-society, pre-debutante life. Not only is she forced to have a chaperone for anything outside of the house, but she is also stuck playing nursemaid to her mother suffering from an unexplained paralysis. Victoria's only escapes are visits with her neighbor Miss Lizzie Borden, reading Sherlock Holmes serials and (when the urge overtakes her) stealing.

When her next-door neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Borden are murdered and Lizzie is accused of committing the acts, Victoria begins crossing paths with apprentice detective Declan Dempsey as they both search for the truth. Victoria doesn't want to believe that Lizzie committed those murders. Because if her friend has a dark side, what does that mean for Victoria with her own sordid secret?

When Victoria discovers Lizzie also shares her penchant for stealing, Victoria swears off her secret habit for good. In her quest to not become Lizzie Borden, Victoria loses old friends, makes questionable new ones, and finds her fiercest enemy resides within her own skin.

Critique: Original, vividly written, and a fun read from start to finish, "More Than A Thief" by Beverly Pratt will hold a very special appeal to young readers ages 14-18 who have an interest in historical murder mysteries. Carefully crafted and memorable characters, featuring unexpected plot twists and turns, and the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that will keep the readers dedicated attention from beginning to end, "More Than A Thief" is an unreservedly recommended pick for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "More Than A Thief" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note: Beverly Patt (www.beverlypatt.com) is now retired from teaching and spends her days writing, making soup and trying to play tennis (and only sometimes succeeding).


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Secrets of the Highlands
D. J. Williams
Wander
c/o Tyndale House Publishers
www.tyndale.com
9781496462701, $29.99, HC, 496pp

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Highlands-Beacon-Hill-Williams/dp/149646270X

Synopsis: Jack is the only one who can wield the power of Eden's Star, but can he control it before it destroys him? Badly weakened by the compass and hunted by powerful dark forces across international cities and secret realms, Jack and his crew are desperate to find him a healer. But when new enemies emerge to test the team's loyalties, the search for the Cherub's ancient artifacts intensifies.

Fighting against her own heartbreak, Emma struggles to stop the Merikh from capturing innocent Cherub and stealing their powers for their own sinister schemes. As the truth of a haunting prophecy is revealed, and an ally turns to the dark side, Jack and Emma must decide together if trusting a narrow path is worth the sacrifice.

Critique: A fun read from start to finished, "Secrets of the Highlands" is the sequel to author D. J. Williams' supernatural thriller "Hunt for Eden's Star". Comprised of Fast-Paced Short Chapters; Multiple POVs; A Global Chase through China, Pakistan, and Invisible Realms; Warring Supernatural Factions of Good and Evil; Angels, Demons, and Lightforcer Characters, "Secrets of the Highlands" will have a very special appeal to young readers ages 13-18 with an interest in Fantasy and Mystery. While a highly recommended pick for middle school, highschool, and community library Fantasy/Action-Adventure Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Secrets of the Highlands" is also available in a paperback editon (9781496462718, $15.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) as well.

Editorial Note: D.J. Williams (https://www.djwilliamsbooks.com) has been featured in Publishers Weekly and Writer's Digest. His latest YA epic series, Beacon Hill, is published through Wander.

Cloudlanders
Christopher Mackie
Kelpies
9781782508403, $9.95, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cloudlanders-Christopher-Mackie/dp/1782508406

Synopsis: An island of magic and mayhem floating above the flooded Earth, Bastion has long been the last country left in the world. Then one day best friends Kurt (an eight-foot mushroom with a fear of heights) and Flicker (a tiny, tough-talking gemstone faerie) stand on the edge of the land and see the impossible: a plane from nowhere is heading straight for them.

Kurt and Flicker join forces with a rag-tag band of friends including wood-nymph twins (one bounty hunter, one bookworm) and a gruff, shapeshifting wolf intent on rescuing the pilot and facing a dangerous enemy.

Can the Cloudlanders save their island from crashing into the Endless Sea and the terrifying tentacles of a massive monster?

Critique: An original and a fun read from start to finish, "Cloudlanders" by Christopher Mackie is a singularly outstanding fantasy adventure populated by an unusual cast of characters and compelling plot twists and turns. While especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 9-12, "Cloudlanders" is also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.45).

Editorial Note: Christopher Mackie is a Scottish children's author. He won the Kelpies Prize for Writing in 2019. Chris lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. Cloudlanders is his debut novel. (https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/authors/christopher-mackie)

The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith
Tom Llewellyn
Holiday House
www.holidayhouse.com
9780823453122, $17.99, HC, 320pp

https://www.amazon.com/Five-Impossible-Tasks-Eden-Smith/dp/082345312X

Synopsis: When Eden Smith moves into the beautiful and bizarre old mansion housing her grandfather, she discovers a strange society of elderly metalworkers whose mastery verges on the magical. Deadly mechanical birds, a cavernous chamber full of dirty dishes, a highly dangerous game of Machinist BINGO -- life at the guild is not only strange, it's also dangerous.

Eden's grandfather, Vulcan Smith, the most gifted of all the metalsmiths in the mansion, has just been sentenced to live out the rest of his days locked in a tiny basement room for rebelling against the guild. To save him, Eden will have to complete The Five Impossible Tasks, a series of deadly feats that have already killed off many of Eden and Vulcan's ancestors. With the help of her new friend Nathaniel and a cast of eccentric old silversmiths, blacksmiths, and inventive machinists, Eden sets out to do the impossible before her newfound grandfather is lost to her forever.

Critique: Original, fascinating, and a fun read from start to finish, "The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith" by novelist Tom Llewellyn showcases the creation of a wholly original world of wild contraptions, roguish characters, and perilous feats that will fully engage young readers ages 10-14 who enjoy fantasy based action/adventure stories. While especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Five Impossible Tasks of Eden Smith" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Tom Llewellyn is the author of four novels and one picture book for children and young adults. First published in 2008, his books have been translated into five languages. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Washington's creative writing program and can be followed on Twitter @tommyllew. He also has his own blog at www.tommyllew.com

Animals Rising
D. J. Panec
Treasure Bay
www.webothread.com
9781601151551, $18.99, HC, 336pp

https://www.amazon.com/Animals-Rising-D-J-Panec/dp/1601151551

Synopsis: "Animals Rising" by D. J. Panec alternates in perspectives between Hawk, an 18-year-old boy, who lives in a human village deep in the forest, hidden from the giant ones, and Mira, a 17-year-old girl, whose people came to this land several generations ago and were told by their gods that hunting the small human animals would save them from starvation.

Mira has grown up in a medieval town in this new land, and she is now at an age when she is being pressured to find a boy to marry. But when she learns that the human animals in the forest are rapidly being hunted to extinction, she sets aside any thoughts of settling down and becomes determined to save the wild humans from the hunters -- and the butchers.

Her resolve is tested when she comes face to face with Hawk, who has secretly entered Mira's town on a terrifying mission. Mira's involvement with this wild human boy could have far-reaching consequences -- it could help save humanity... or end it.

Critique: Original, exceptional, and a fun read from start to finish, "Animals Rising" showcases author D. J. Panec's genuine flair for the kind of narrative driven storytelling style that will fully engage young reader's full and riveted attention from first page to last. Of special interest to fans of young adult fantasy, "Animals Rising" is especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections for ages 14-18. A premier novel of adventure and forbidden romance, It should be noted for the personal reading lists of dedicated that "Animals Rising" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

A Ranger's Guide to Glipwood Forest
Andrew Peterson
WaterBrook Press
c/o WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
https://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780593581087, $14.99, HC, 128pp

https://www.amazon.com/Rangers-Guide-Glipwood-Forest-Wingfeather/dp/0593581083

Synopsis: An illustrated guide to the always mysterious and sometimes treacherous Glipwood Forest is an invaluable resource for first-time visitors, repeat travelers, and the growing legions of Wingfeather Saga fans, "A Ranger's Guide to Glipwood Forest" by Andrew Peterson expands the legend and lore of this treacherous land of fatal flora and fanged beasts -- and the history of the first adventurers daring enough to brave the forest depths.

Through detailed line art, maps, and directions, travelers can safely marvel at the majestic glipwood trees, poke around the (possibly haunted) Anklejelly Cavern, dip their toes into the Mighty River Blapp (if they dare!), and avoid falling off a cliff edge into the Dark Sea of Darkness and being swallowed by a sea dragon.

Both longtime Wingfeather fans and readers new to the series will be enthralled, tickled, delighted, and occasionally disturbed by never-before-known nuggets, familiar factoids, and all-new stories about the forest and the brave rangers who made passage into its dark depths possible. Don't attempt an exploration, journey, or meander through Glipwood without it!

Critique: A fun read for Wingfeather Saga fans, "A Ranger's Guide to Glipwood Forest" is an unreservedly recommended pick for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 8-12.

Editorial Note #1: The Wingfeatuer Saga series includes: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness; North! or Be Eaten: The Monster in the Holles; The Warden and the Wolf King; Wingfeather Tales; Pembrick's Creaturepedia; and A Ranger's Guide to Glipwood Forest.

Editorial Note #2: Michael Peterson (www.Andrew-Peterson.com) is a songwriter and performer. He is also the founder of the Rabbit Room, a community of songwriters, authors, and artists interested in storytelling, faith, and fellowship. There is a yearly conference called Hutchmoot, which is as strange and wonderful as it sounds (www.RabbitRoom.com).


The Christian Shelf

The King Who Found His Self-Control
Costi & Christyne Hinn, authors
Brad Smith, illustrator
Harvest Kids
c/o Harvest House Publishers
www.harvesthousepublishers.com
9780736987486, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/King-Found-Self-Control-Fruit-Spirit/dp/0736987487

Synopsis: In the city of Thad, no one is more powerful than King Ira. But Thad has a big problem: Their king has no self-control. When Ira's anger leads to destruction, Lady Wisdom points the wayward king back to Jesus. After confessing his sins, King Ira is free to serve his people with love, care, and yes, self-control.

More than just a cute bedtime story, King Ira's tale can lead to meaningful talks with your children about our everyday battle with sin and how we can ask God to help us resist the temptation to act out. This and other great suggestions for family discussions are included in the back of the book.

The King Who Found His Self-Control will engage your children and equip you to teach your young ones more about how King Jesus can rule in their hearts.

Critique: A Fruit-of-the-Spirit Tale from Harvest Kids, "The King Who Found His Self-Control" by Costi and Christyne Hinn is charmingly illustrated throughout with the artwork and illustrations of Brad Smith. The result is a fun fable that teaches children ages 4-8 about the importance of having self-control and explains how true change (the kind only the great King Jesus can bring) always starts in our hearts. Of particular interest to children and parents throughout the Christian community, "The King Who Found His Self-Control" will prove to be an enduringly popular and appreciated pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Costi W. Hinn is the teaching pastor at Shepherd's House Bible Church in Chandler, Arizona, and President of For the Gospel. He is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has authored multiple books, including More Than a Healer and God, Greed, and the (Prosperity) Gospel. Costi is married to Christyne, and they are the joyful parents of five children.

Editorial Note #2: Christyne Hinn pours the majority of her time and energy into her family, her church, and other creative projects. Christyne is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University and a devoted follower of Jesus.

Editorial Note #3: Brad Smith's love for drawing started at an early age, imagining what he might see in the Sunday funnies or watching Saturday morning cartoons. Brad loves to illustrate children's books, the Bible, and superheroes. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.

The Story of David and Goliath: A Parable of Courage and Faith
Pia Imperial, author
Carly Gledhill, illustrator
Grosset & Dunlap
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593523346, $9.99, Board Book, 20pp

https://www.amazon.com/Story-David-Goliath-Parable-Courage/dp/0593523342

Synopsis: The Story of David and Goliath: A Parable of Courage and Faith" features a simple and biblically accurate text that introduces very young children to the most beloved stories of the Bible. David and Goliath in a board book edition.

Critique: "The Story of David and Goliath: A Parable of Courage and Faith" is the perfect gift for parents and other caretakers wanting to share their love of Christ and faith in courage with their young ones year-round. Parents of children ages 1-3 can now share the Biblical tale of David and Goliath with their little ones and celebrate this classic Biblical story of bravery and faith together!

Editorial Note #1: Pia Imperial (www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2271321/pia-imperial) lives in Connecticut with her loving husband. She has two grandchildren to whom she reads the Little Bible Stories.

Editorial Note #2: Carly Gledhill (https://www.carlygledhill.com) is a children's book illustrator and author living in the United Kingdom. Her work has been featured in exhibitions around the world and in 2021 was selected to be included in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

Saint Valentine the Kindhearted
Retold and illustrated by Ned Bustard
InterVarsity Press
www.ivpress.com
9781514008768 $18.00 hc / $15.39 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Saint-Valentine-Kindhearted-History-Legends/dp/1514008769

Synopsis: We celebrate Valentineís Day with flowers, candy, and cards for the people we love. But have you ever wondered why we do this on February 14? Learn all about Saint Valentine, a man whose life of kindness and love inspires us each year to let others know how much they mean to us.

Told as a charming poem, this beautifully illustrated book will be enjoyed by children as well as the adults who read with them. Also included is a note from the author to encourage further conversation about the content.

Critique: Saint Valentine the Kindhearted is a children's picturebook about the saint who inspired the Valentine's Day holiday. Retold in the form of a poem, Saint Valentine the Kindhearted emphasizes the saint's devotion God and good works, even though he was arrested, imprisoned, and executed. "And as his time came to an end, / kindhearted Val worked hard to send / notes of love and of affection / to folks in every direction. / Valentine they soon did bury / the fourteenth of February. / That day each year we now recall / the kind saint who loved one and all." The simple, colorful illustrations add warmth to Saint Valentine's story, in this picturebook retelling that emphasizes the Christian origin of the contemporary holiday. Saint Valentine the Kindhearted is a choice pick for church and family Christian picturebook collections, highly recommended. It should be noted that Saint Valentine the Kindhearted is also available in a Kindle edition ($15.39).

'Twas the Season of Lent
Glenys Nellist, author
Elena Selivanova, illustrator
Zonderkidz
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780310139379, $19.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Twas-Season-Lent-Devotions-Stories/dp/0310139376

Synopsis: 'Twas the Season of Lent by the team of author/storyteller Glenys Nellist and artist/illustrator Elena Selivanova is a 40-day devotional and storybook that explores the life, words, and works of Jesus and encourages families to draw closer to God during the Lenten Season.

'Twas the Season of Lent is focused on Jesus's mission to the least, the lost, and the lonely, with each story and accompanying prayer prompt encouraging children to try to be more like Jesus and to do what God calls them to.

Written in both prose and poetry, this simply gorgeous picture book shares the true story of the days leading up to Christ's death and resurrection. The read-aloud rhymes and stunning illustrations by Elena Selivanova make this a perfect read for the whole family during the Lenten season. With an eye-catching cover decorated in shining foil and embossing, this book is designed to be a treasured tradition for families and church ministries for the Lenten season for years to come.

Critique: "'Twas the Season of Lent" features a familiar rhythm and rhyme that children ages 4-8 will love as it brings to life the story of Jesus's ministry and the days leading up to his death and resurrection through Elena Selivanova's museum quality artwork. An ideal way for parents and Sunday School teachers to share the powerful meaning of the Lenten season with young children leading up to the Easter holiday. While also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.99), 'Twas the Season of Lent is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library Christian themed picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

Editorial Note #1: Glenys Nellist (https://www.glenysnellist.com) was born and raised in a little village in northern England. The author of multiple award-winning children's books, including the bestselling 'Twas the Evening of Christmas, The Wonder That is You, and five popular series: Love Letters from God, Snuggle Time, 'Twas, Good News and Little Mole, her writing reflects a deep passion for helping children discover joy and hope in the world.

Editorial Note #2: Elena Selivanova has a website at https://elenaselivanova.com/en

Big Feelings Days
Aubrey Sampson, author
Natalia Vasilica, illustrator
NavPress
www.navpress.com
c/o Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
www.tyndale.com
9781641586894, $16.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Big-Feelings-Days-Things-Emotions/dp/1641586893

Synopsis: Speaker, pastor, podcaster, and author of "The Louder Song", Aubrey Sampson has dealt with a lot of big feelings and heartache in her life and has written about lament for a grown-up audience. Knowing that adults don't have a monopoly on strong, difficult emotions, Aubrey turns to writing about feelings for our little ones with "Big Feelings Days".

Children have a lot of emotions too, and feeling sad or angry or brokenhearted can be overwhelming. That's why it's important to help kids understand that their feelings are valuable and normal -- and that they can creatively express what they feel to Jesus, who created emotions and deeply cares about every one.

"Big Feelings Days: is a tender and engaging picture book that helps children ages 3 - 7 learn how to release their feelings of grief, anger, and heartbreak in creative ways to a God who cares. This picture book includes full-color illustrations, relatable imagery to help children express and identify emotions, and creative ways for children to process their feelings with Jesus.

Even now with "Big Feeling Days" parents can be helping their children develop emotional health and emotional intelligence as they learn to come to Jesus with whatever they may be feeling.

Critique: Charmingly illustrated by Natalia Vasilica in visual support of author/storyteller Aubrey Sampson's "Big Feelings Days" is an especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, Sunday School, and community library picture book collections dealing with emotions and feelings from a Christian perspective. It should be noted that "Big Feelings Days' is also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Aubrey Sampson (www.aubreysampson.com/main) is a church planter and teaching pastor, and the author of "Known", "The Louder Song", and more. Aubrey co-hosts the Nothing is Wasted Podcast and the Common Good Talk Show. She is passionate about helping hurting readers of all ages to find comfort and hope, walking with them as a fellow-traveler through life's inevitable pains.

Editorial Note #2: Natalia Vasilica (www.natalievasilica.com) is an illustrator and graphic designer, currently based in the Netherlands.


The Judaic Shelf

Out and About: A Tale of Giving
Liza M. Wiemer, author
Margeaux Lucas, illustrator
Kalaniot Books
https://kalaniotbooks.com
9798986396545, $19.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Out-About-Giving-Liza-Wiemer/dp/B0BNV9R2M3

Synopsis: "Out and About: A Tale of Giving" is an inspiring story, as children ages 4-9 follow Daniel as he tries to find out where his parents are going and what's inside the mysterious boxes they are carrying.

Daniel's imagination runs wild -- could there be a new baseball and glove inside? A giant birthday cake? A new toy car? As it turns out Daniel learns much more than what's in those boxes -- he learns the true meaning of giving.

Critique: The impressive collaboration of author/storyteller Liza M. Wiemer and artist/illustrator Margeaux Lucs, the universal message underscoring "Out and About: A Tale of Giving :is a beautiful way to share Jewish traditions with young children. Of special note is the inclusion of an editorial comment on the subject of Giving To Others, a listing of Maimonides Eight Levels of Tzedakah, and a one page Glossary. "Out and About: A Tale of Giving " is a very special and highly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Jewish fiction picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Liza Wiemer (https://www.lizawiemer.com) is an award-winning educator. She is the author of two adult non-fiction books and has contributed four short stories to the NYTBS Small Miracles Series. Her debut YA novel, HELLO?, was named a Goodreads Best YA Book of the Month. THE ASSIGNMENT has received 11 honors, including being named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book.

Editorial Note #2: Margeaux Lucas (https://margeauxlucas.com) is an illustrator with a penchant for fairytales, black cats, falling leaves, and jack-o-lanterns and whose work has included books, brochures, plays, posters, greeting cards, jewelry, games, toys and tattoos.

Afikoman, Where'd You Go?: A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure
Rebecca Gardyn Levington, author
Noa Kelner, illustrator
Rocky Pond Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
https://www.penguin.com
9780593617786, $18.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Afikoman-Whered-You-Hide-Seek/dp/0593617789

Synopsis: "Afikoman, Where'd You Go?: A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure" by the team of author/storyteller Rebecca Gardyn Levington and artist/illustrator Noa Kelner is lively, funny, and informative picture book that brings to life the Jewish Passover tradition of searching for the afikoman -- literally. When the mischievous piece of matzoh runs and hides during the seder, all the kids in the family (and even the pet dog!) go hunting for it, through every room in the house. Readers can join the hunt and find the sneaky afikoman in each bright and busy scene while enjoying the playful rhyming text. And they're in for a surprise ending that's as delightful as this favorite part of Passover!

Critique: Afikoman is a word originally having the connotation of "refreshments eaten after the meal", but is now almost strictly associated with the half-piece of matzo which is broken in two during the early stages of the Passover Seder and set aside to be eaten as a dessert after the meal. "Afikoman, Where'd You Go?: A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure" is a delightful picture book from Rocky Pond Books for children ages 4-8 and is especially recommneded as an addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Holiday and Jewish themed picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Afikoman, Where'd You Go?: A Passover Hide-and-Seek Adventure" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note #1: Rebecca Gardyn Levington (https://rebeccagardynlevington.com) is a Jewish children's book author, poet, and journalist. She has a master's degree in magazine journalism from NYU and a bachelor's degree in communication studies from UCLA. This is her third published picture book, and her poetry and articles have appeared in various anthologies, newspapers, and magazines.

Editorial Note #2: Noa Kelner (https://www.noakelner.com) is a freelance illustrator living and working in Jerusalem. She graduated from the Department of Visual Communication at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and now works with Israeli newspapers, magazines, publishers, and design firms. She has illustrated several picture books and is the co-founder and artistic director of an art festival in Jerusalem that showcases hundreds of illustrators every year.

Do Not Eat This Book!: Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals
Beth Kander, author
Mike Moran, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
https://sleepingbearpress.com
9781534111882, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Not-Eat-This-Book-Festivals/dp/1534111883

Synopsis: With a little Yiddish and a lot of humor mixed in, "Do Not Eat This Book!: Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals" is bubbly read-aloud picture book about holiday foods and traditions emphasizes the joy of the Jewish experience. Rhyming text takes readers through Jewish holidays, including Tu B'Shevat, Purim, and Chanukah, and their related special dishes.

Back matter includes a glossary describing each holiday, along with easy, kid-friendly recipes for the featured dishes, kitchen-tested by the author and her family.

Colorful artwork brings the mouthwatering foods to the page and the table. But no matter how delicious the foods look, do not eat this book!

Critique: Fun and informative, "Do Not Eat This Book!: Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals" by the team of author/storyteller Beth Kander and artist/illustrator Mike Moran will prove to be a prized pick for family, elementary school, and community library Holiday and Jewish themed picture books for children ages 5-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Do Not Eat This Book!: Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.59) as well.

Editorial Note #1: Beth Kander (https://bethkander.com) is a writer with tangled roots in the Midwest and Deep South. The granddaughter of immigrants, her work often explores how worlds old and new intertwine - or collide. Beth earned an MSW from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women.

Editorial Note #2: Mike Moran (https://www.mikemoran.net) is a dad, husband and illustrator. He has worked for really fun clients and his illustrations can be seen in children's books, animation, magazines, games, World Series programs, and more. He often dreams of playing first base for the New York Mets, being a songwriter in Nashville or the 5th Beatle.


The Islamic Shelf

A Ramadan to Remember
Marzieh A. Ali, author
Najwa Awatiff, illustrator
Soaring Kite Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
www.lernerbooks.com
9781958372142, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ramadan-Remember-Holidays-Our-Home/dp/1958372145

Synopsis: Ramadan is almost here! It's Zain's favorite time of the year. -- Well, it usually is. After a recent move and with no mosque or Islamic school in his new neighborhood, will Zain find a new Muslim friend to celebrate with him?

In reading "A Ramadan to Remember", children ages 5-9 will learn what makes the ninth Islamic month special from pre-Ramadan decorating, the importance of fasting and volunteering in the community, and the festivities and prayers that continue through the month, ending with Eid al-Fitr.

With the publication of "A Ramadan to Remember", author/storyteller Marzieh A. Ali and artist/illustrator Najwa Awatiff join together to celebrate their respective cultures as Ramadan is observed by Muslims around the world.

Critique: Charming, informative and fun, "A Ramadan to Remember" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Holiday picture book collections in general, and Islamic picture book collections in particular. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Ramadan to Remember" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) as well.

Editorial Note #1: Marzieh A. Ali is a baker-turned-author. She loves adding magic to her creations, including the books she writes for children. Marzieh lives in Pakistan with her husband and children. (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22485019.Marzieh_A_Ali)

Editorial Note #2: Najwa Awatiff is an architect-turned-illustrator and lives with her husband and three young children in Malaysia. Najwa loves to inject nature and architectural features in her illustrations. (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21706345.Najwa_Awatiff)


The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom, author
Elizabeth Sherrill, author
Ismael Castro, illustrator
Chosen Books
c/o Baker Publishing Group
www.bakerpublishinggroup.com
9780800762544, $23.99, HC, 240pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hiding-Place-Graphic-Novel/dp/0800762541

Synopsis: It's World War II. Darkness has fallen over the world as the Nazis spread fear and hatred. No one feels safe.

But on a city corner in Holland one woman fights against injustice and darkness. In a quiet watchmaking shop, Corrie ten Boom and her close-knit family risk their lives to hide hundreds of Jews and others hunted by the Nazis in a secret hiding place they built into the old building.

Until one day when Corrie and her family are betrayed. They're captured and sent in cattle cars to the notorious Nazi concentration camps to die. Yet even in that darkest of places, Corrie still fights.

This is her incredible true story, now in the format of a visually stunning graphic novel. With more than 1,500 engaging full-color illustrations, this real-life heroine comes to life -- showing how even in the most desperate, loneliest, and darkest of times, faith, hope, and love will ultimately triumph.

Critique: A beautifully crafted graphic novel edition of "The Hiding Place" by the late Corrie ten Boom and with the help of Elizabeth and John Sherrill, and adapted for young readers ages 9-12 by Mario DeMatteo, is effectively illustrated by Ismael Castro. In addition to being unreservedly recommended for personal reading lists, it will prove to be a singular popular addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Graphic Novel collections..

Editorial Note #1: Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands. After being arrested in 1944 for helping Jews escape the Nazi regime, Corrie spent a year during World War II in prison camps. After the war, she was invited to share her experiences in more than sixty countries and was honored by the state of Israel for her work during the war. She passed in 1983, on her 91st birthday.

Editorial Note #2: Elizabeth Sherrill (1928-2023) coauthored numerous bestsellers such as The Hiding Place, The Cross and the Switchblade, and God's Smuggler. In May 2018, the Sherrills were awarded ECPA's Kenneth N. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award in Washington, DC..

Editorial Note #3: Elizabeth and John (1923-2017) Sherrill co-authored numerous bestsellers and co-founded Chosen Books. In 2018 they were awarded ECPA's Kenneth N. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award.


The Music CD Shelf

Talk Read Sing Play
John Keenan & Jo-Anne R. Wilson-Keenan
Children's Music by Bay Song
c/o Keenan Literacy & Learning
https://keenanliteracy.com
No ISBN, $TBA, CD

Synopsis: Babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to become communications comfortable, freely creative, cognitively developed, and acquire literacy skills that will be the foundation of a life-time love of learning. In other words, they need to talk, sing, play, and (starting with the alphabet) as interactive skills for learn how to read and effectively communicate.

The team of John Keenan and Jo-Anne Wilson-Keenan (who founded Bay Song Children's Music as a part of Keenan Literacy & Learning) has now released a new music CD -- "Talk Read Sing Play", is an album of music specifically written and performer for young children and features 14 lively, 'kid-friendly', and fun songs: New Day; Baby-Bob; Shake Your Rattle Baby; Super Brain Builder; Toddler Song; Put on Your Dancing Shoes; Fun Together; Who Puts Holes in the Donuts?; Let's Read a Story; To With and By; Words are Around Us; Time to Rhyme; I Will Sing this Lullaby to You; and the title song Talk Read Sing Play.

Critique: "Talk Read Sing Play" is a wonderful music CD for parents to share with young children, and foster their development of literacy and motor skills. Original, lively, and fun, "Talk Read Sing Play" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, Kindergarten, and community library CD Music collections for children ages 2-5.


The Gardening Shelf

We Found a Seed
Rob Ramsden
Scallywag Press
https://scallywagpress.com
9781915252425, $18.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Found-Seed-Garden-Rob-Ramsden/dp/1915252423

Synopsis: A little boy and girl find a seed. They play with it, but it doesn't grow.

Listening to the voice of nature, they learn to plant it in the earth, water it, and watch it sprout, growing bigger though the seasons. They are thrilled when it produces a huge flower, and sad when that flower fades and dies. But it has left them with a shower of new seeds so they can start all over again!

Bright and glowing illustrations and a rhyming text describe the life cycle of a plant and the emotions felt by young gardeners.

Critique: An ideal picture book introduction for young children ages 4-9 on the subject of seeds, plants, and gardening, "We Found a Seed" by author/illustrator Rob Ramsden is a fun read and will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Gardening themed picture book collections.

Editorial Note: Rob Ramsden (https://www.robramsden.co.uk) is an illustrator, author, educator and gardener and father to the boy who saw a bee, whose keen observations and experiences of starting school became the inspiration for his previous picture book, "I Saw A Bee" which was published by Scallywag Press in 2019.


The Money/Finance Shelf

Wimee Learns About Money
Stephanie Kammeraad, author
Kevin Kammeraad, creator
Michael Hyacinthe, creator
Zonderkidz
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780310153610, $12.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wimee-Learns-About-Money-Wimees/dp/0310153611

Synopsis: Wimee is excited! He has received some money from his grandmother as a gift. But he isn't sure what to do with it. Join Wimee and his friends Moby and Siblee in the park, as they get a lesson in money facts from Mr. Bill. Then follow along as Wimee puts a plan together for how he can use his money.

"Wimee Learns About Money" includes: Wimee's friends featured on the Wimee's Words television show; Bright, engaging illustrations that bring Wimee's imaginative world to life; A note to parents and educators with ideas on how to use the book to further learning; An early introduction to financial concepts like how to get money (invest, receive a gift, or earn), the purpose of money (to buy things), and what to do with money (buy things now, save it to buy things later, or use it to help others).

Critique: A fun and informative picture book for children ages 4-8, "Wimee Learns About Money" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wimee Learns About Money" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Wimee's Words (https://wimee.tv) is an interactive mixed media show for preschoolers that inspires kids to learn through imagination, vocabulary building, and storytelling through puppetry, music, wordplay, and technology. Watch Wimee on your local PBS affiliate!


Books in Series

Be The Change! series
Brown Bear Books
www.brownbearbooks.co.uk

Brown Bear Books is an outstanding British publisher of books for young children. One of their new series is "Be The Change!" which is a six volume series by Anita Croy, Cynthia O'Brien, and Robert Tuesley Anderson. This series is specifically dedicated showing young readers just how children can become agents of change with respect to several different and critically important contemporary social issues.

https://www.amazon.com/Racial-Equality-Make-Difference-Change/dp/1781219451

"Racial Equality: How You Can Make a Difference" (9781781219454, $37.10 Library Binding, $11.99 PB, 32pp) Racism is discrimination based on a person's race, color, nationality, or ethnic origin. It affects the way people live, their education, the kind of jobs they get, and how they are treated by police and the law. All around the world, young people are standing up and challenging racism in all areas of society. Could you be one of them? With "Racial Equality" you find out how to be an antiracist activist.

https://www.amazon.com/Rights-Migrants-Refugees-Difference-Change/dp/1781219486

"Rights for Migrants and Refugees: How You Can Make a Difference" (9781781219485, $37.10 Library Binding, $11.99 PB, 32pp) Millions of people around the world have been forced to leave their homes, fleeing violence, persecution, or poverty. Over half of all refugees are children. Many migrants and refugees lack rights in their new country and face further discrimination. Activists campaign for migrants and refugees to be welcomed and afforded human rights. Could you be one of them? "Rights for Migrants and Refugees" can show you how to stand up for migrant and refugee rights.

https://www.amazon.com/Gender-Equality-Make-Difference-Change/dp/178121946X

"Gender Equality: How You Can Make a Difference" (9781781219461, $37.10 Library Binding, $11.95 PB, 32pp) Women have faced discrimination in all areas of their life, simply because of their gender. For a long time, women couldn't vote, own property, do certain jobs, or get an education. Activists for gender equality campaign to make sure that women and girls, all around the world, are treated fairly. Could you be one of them? "Gender Equality" will enable you to find out how to be a gender equality campaigner.

https://www.amazon.com/LGBTQ-Pride-Make-Difference-Change/dp/1781219478

"LGBTQ+ Pride: How You Can Make a Difference" (9781781219478, $37.10 Library Binding, $11.99 PB, 32pp) Many people around the world face discrimination and even violence just because of their sexuality or their gender identity. LGBTQ+ people are treated unfairly in schools and colleges, at work, and in healthcare and housing. Activists for LBGTQ+ rights campaign for everyone to be treated equally. Could you be one of them? "LGBTQ+ Pride" will show you just how you can become a LBGTQ+ rights campaigner.

https://www.amazon.com/Animal-Rights-Change-Cynthia-OBrien/dp/1781219435

"Animal Rights: How You Can Make a Difference (9781781219492, $32.79 Library Binding, $11.99 PB, 32pp) Animal rights activists all around the world are working to end animal suffering. They campaign for laws to protect animal welfare. They work to stop the use of animals in tests for medicines and cosmetics, factory farming, and the use of fur. Many stop eating meat and using animal products. All agree that animals deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Could you be one of them? Read "Animal Rights" to find out how to be an animal rights activist!

https://www.amazon.com/Climate-Emergency-Make-Difference-Change/dp/1781219443

"Climate Emergency: How You Can Make a Difference" (9781781219447, $32.79 Library Binding, $11.99 PB, 32pp) Our planet Earth is in trouble. Climate change is resulting in rising sea levels, habitat loss, extreme weather, and many other disastrous issues. Fighting this climate change has become an urgent priority. All around the world, young people are leading the fight against climate change, challenging governments, spreading awareness, and taking action to help. Could you be one of them? Read "Climate Emergency" to find out how to be a climate activist.

Critique: Exceptionally well written, informative and inspiring, and nicely enhanced with the inclusion of a Time Line, a Glossary, a 'Further Information' page, and an Index, each one of the titles comprising this simply outstanding series is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library non-fiction collections and personal reading lists for young readers 8-10 and in grades 4-6.

Seedlings series
Mari Bolte
Creative Education
c/o The Creative Company
www.thecreativecompany.us

Creative Education is a premier publisher of themed non-fiction books is series for very young readers. Four of their latest additions to their Seedlings series. and authored by Mari Bolte, has as their focus construction site machinery. Each of these four new titles will have a very special appeal to children ages 2-4.

https://thecreativecompany.us/products/wheel-loaders-9781640269224

"Wheel Loaders" (9781640269224, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Let's load! Young learners are introduced to the wheel loader in a beginning STEM reader that's perfect for kids who like to get their hands dirty and build things. Dynamic images and carefully leveled, informational text highlight how this construction vehicle looks and what its bucket and other attachments do. Part of the Seedlings series, "Wheel Loaders" plants seeds of knowledge about heavy-duty machines.

https://thecreativecompany.us/products/forklifts-9781640269217

"Forklifts" (9781640269217, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Let's lift! Young learners are introduced to the forklift in a beginning STEM reader that's perfect for kids who like to get their hands dirty and build things. Dynamic images and carefully leveled, informational text highlight how this construction vehicle looks and how it lifts and moves supplies. Part of the Seedlings series, "Forklifts" plants seeds of knowledge about heavy-duty machines.

https://thecreativecompany.us/products/concrete-mixers-9781640267589

"Concrete Mixers" (9781640267589, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Let's mix! Young learners are introduced to the concrete mixer in a beginning STEM reader that's perfect for kids who like to get their hands dirty and build things. Dynamic images and carefully leveled, informational text highlight how this construction vehicle looks and how it prepares its cement-and-water mixture for use. Part of the Seedlings series, "Concrete Mixers" plants seeds of knowledge about heavy-duty machines.

https://thecreativecompany.us/products/backhoes-9781640267565

"Backhoes" (9781640267565, $37.50, Library Binding, 24pp) Let's dig! Young learners are introduced to the backhoe in a beginning STEM reader that's perfect for kids who like to get their hands dirty and build things. Dynamic images and carefully leveled, informational text highlight how this construction vehicle looks and what its dual buckets do. Part of the Seedlings series, Backhoes" plants seeds of knowledge about heavy-duty machines.

Critique: Beautifully illustrated with full color photography, all four of these new Seedling titles from Creative Education feature a glossary, a section devoted to further resources, and a labeled image guide featuring major parts from arms to wheels. "Wheel Loaders", "Forklifts", Backhoes" and "Concrete Mixers" are especially and unreservedly recommended for daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that all four of these titles are also readily available in a paperback edition ($10.99).

Editorial Note: Mari Bolte is an author of children's books and a lover of art. She lives in southern Minnesota with her husband, daughter, and two wiener dogs. A degree in creative writing has taught her the value of fine writing. Parenthood has made her a purveyor of fine art, with specializations in sidewalk chalk, washable markers, and glitter glue.

Curious? About series
Amicus Learning
https://amicuspublishing.us

Amicus Learning is a premier publisher of non-fiction books in series for young readers. One of their most popular series is Curious? About and has four new titles:

https://amicuspublishing.us/products/curious-about-drones

"Curious About Drones" by Gail Terp (9781645496496, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) What can drones do and how do you fly a drone? How far can drones fly? Drawing on kids' natural curiosity about technology, this inquiry-based nonfiction book explores the fundamentals of drones to get elementary-aged kids ready to explore the world of robotics. Featured are conversational questions like: "Are drones dangerous?" and "What will drones do next?" will pique kids' interest.

https://amicuspublishing.us/products/curious-about-factory-robots

"Curious About Factory Robots" by Lela Nargi (9781645496502, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Why do factories need robots? Do robots make things you use? Drawing on kids' natural curiosity about technology, this inquiry-based nonfiction book explores the fundamentals of factory robots to get elementary-aged kids ready to explore the world of robotics. Featured are conversational questions like "Can robots see and hear?" and "What will future robots do?"

https://amicuspublishing.us/products/curious-about-hobby-robots

"Curious About Hobby Robots" by Lela Nargi (9781645496519, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Can you make robots to win a competition? Do robots need you to work? Drawing on kids' natural curiosity about technology, this inquiry-based nonfiction book explores the fundamentals of hobby robots to get elementary-aged kids ready to explore the world of robotics. Features are conversational questions like "Will robots ever do my homework?", arousing kids' interest.

https://amicuspublishing.us/products/curious-about-medical-robots

"Curious About Medical Robots" by Gail Terp (9781645496526, $35.70, Library Binding, 24pp) Can robots really help sick people? If you were sick, would a robot take care of you? Drawing on kids' natural curiosity about technology, this inquiry-based nonfiction book explores the fundamentals of medical robots to get elementary-aged kids ready to explore the world of robotics. Included are conversational questions like "How small can medical robots get?" and "Will robots ever replace doctors?".

Critique: Additionally, the 'Curious About Robotics' series from Amicus Learning also includes "Military Robots", "Robots at Home", "Robots in Fiction", and "Space Robots". Each individual title includes "Did You Know" fact boxes and infographics drawing in casual browsers and visual learners. A "Stay Curious!" feature encourages kids to keep asking questions while doubling as a mini media literacy lesson on research skills. Also included is a glossary and an index. The entire eight volume 'Curious About Robotics' series is unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library non-fiction books in series collections for young readers ages 6-10. It should be noted for personal reading lists that each title is also available in a paperback edition ($10.99).

Youth Sports series
The Child's World, Inc.
www.childsworld.com

The Child's World is a premier publisher of books for K-3 level young readers and one of their series is authored by Kara L. Laughlin and specifically dedicated to the subject of 'Youth Sports'.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8242

"Downhill Skiing" (9781503869400, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Zoom! A skier speeds around a tree. This book introduces the basics of downhill skiing, the equipment skiers need, and the techniques they use.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8248

"Cross-Country Skiing" (9781503869462, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Whoosh! A skier glides through the forest. This book introduces the basics of cross-country skiing, the equipment skiers need, and the techniques they use.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8246

"Snowboarding" (9781503869448, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Whoosh! Powdery snow flies into the air around a colorful snowboard. This book introduces the basics of snowboarding, the equipment snowboarders need, and the techniques they use.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8240

"Ice Fishing" (9781503869387, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Splash! The fisherman pulls a squirming fish through a hole in the ice. This book introduces the basics of ice fishing, the equipment fishermen need, and the techniques they use.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8239

"Hockey" (9781503869370, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Slap! The hockey puck flies off of the ice and into the back of the net. This book introduces the basics of hockey, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8244

"T-Ball" (9781503869424, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Smack! It's a home run! This book introduces the basics of T-ball, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8249

"Tennis" (9781503869479, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Whack! The yellow ball skims the top of the net. This book introduces the basics of tennis, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8245

"Basketball" (9781503869431, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Slam dunk! The game is tied! This book introduces the basics of basketball, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8243

"Dodgeball" (9781503869417, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Duck! The ball slams against the gym wall. This book introduces the basics of dodgeball, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8247

"Soccer" (9781503869455, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) The whistle blows! The blue team dribbles toward the goal. This book introduces the basics of soccer, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8241

"Flag Football" (9781503869394, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Hike! The quarterback throws the ball to the end zone for a touchdown. This book introduces the basics of flag football, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

https://www.childsworld.com/shop/show/8250

"Gymnastics" (9781503869486, $32.79/$22.95, 24pp) Hike! The quarterback throws the ball to the end zone for a touchdown. This book introduces the basics of flag football, the equipment needed to play, and the rules of the game.

Critique: Unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library collections of children ages 5-8, each individual title features a reinforced binding and is also available in a hosted e-book format ($52.79/$36.95), and includes: Activities for further learning, Author/Illustrator biography, Educational front/back matter, Glossary of key words, Index, Informative sidebars, Phonetics, Photo captions, Sources for further research, Suggested websites, and Table of contents

Extreme Sports series
Black Rabbit Books
www.blackrabbitbooks.com

Black Rabbit Books specializes in publishing children's books that reveal the power of high-energy, easy-to-read fiction so necessary to Discover the power of our high-energy, easy-to-read fiction to ignite a love for reading. Our newest imprint will engage reluctant readers with captivating stories and igniting a love for reading that will last a lifetime. One of their newest is the eight volume "Extreme Sports" series for young readers.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/base-jumping-9781623108816

"Base Jumping" by Matt Doeden (9781623108816, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Could you jump off a cliff? Imagine the wind in your face. The ground getting closer and closer. Then at the very last moment, your parachute opens. What a rush! BASE jumping is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/bmx-9781623108823

"BMX" by Matt Doeden (9781623108823, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to enter a BMX event? Fast-paced bike races. Crazy jumps off huge ramps. Dirt flying everywhere. What a rush! BMX racing and freestyle are full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/mountain-biking-9781623108830

"Mountain Biking" by Allan Morey (9781623108830, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to bike a down a mountain? Dodge jagged rocks. Ride twisty, uneven paths with steep drops and tight turns. What a rush! Mountain biking is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/white-water-kayaking-9781623108885

"White-Water Kayaking" by Matt Doeden (9781623108885, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to kayak over a waterfall? Rushing waters. Rough currents and rapids. Fallen trees and rocks. What a rush! Water-water kayaking is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/surfing-9781623108878

"Surfing" by Allan Morey (9781623108878, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to surf a gnarly, 80-foot wave? Carving the top of the wave. Whipping your board back and forth. Water spraying everywhere. What a rush! Surfing is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/snowboarding-9781623108861

"Snowboarding" by Allan Morey (9781623108861, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to bomb down a slope? Carving through powder. Hitting extreme tricks on a half-pipe. Snow spraying everywhere. What a rush! Snowboarding is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/skateboarding-9781623108854

"Skateboarding" by Allan Morey (9781623108854, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Would you have the guts to fly out of a half-pipe? Catching big air. Spinning a frontside 360. Dropping back into the ramp and flying out the other side. What a rush! Skateboarding is full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at this extreme sport.

https://blackrabbitbooks.com/products/parkour-9781623108847

"Parkour" by Matt Doeden (9781623108847, $37.10, Library Binding, 32pp) Could you vault over a brick wall? Imagine landing the huge jump. Then it's on to the next obstacle. Leaping over stairs. Flipping over ledges. Big jumps and acrobatic moves. What a rush! Parkour and freerunning are full of thrills, adventures, and no shortage of dangers. Struggling and reluctant readers get detailed knowledge of the skills and equipment needed to succeed at these extreme sports.

Critique: Each volume in the Extreme Sports series from Black Rabbit Books also includes action-packed photography, a leveled text, and infographics to make for high-interest pleasure reading that will have a special appeal to reluctant readers ages 8-12. Also included with each titles is a table of contents, a glossary with pronunciations, a listing of further resources, and an index. Although each title can be individually obtained, it is highly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community libraries acquire the entire set for the benefit of their students and young patrons.

We Both Read series
Treasure Bay
www.webothread.com

A premier publishing of non-fiction books-in-series, Treasure Bay continues to add titles to its We Both Read titles for preschool and elementary school ages children. The newest additions include:

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Sindy-McKay/dp/1601153767

"We Both Read: Penguins" by Sindy McKay (9781601153760, $5.95, PB, 48pp) Children will learn about lots of different kinds of penguins. Some live where is it always freezing, but others prefer warm sandy beaches! Most penguins are black and white, but you'll discover one type of penguin that is blue. And while some penguins hatch their eggs in a nest, you'll learn how other penguins, instead of using a nest, keep their eggs warm on the top of their feet. Have fun learning all about penguins, amazing birds that fly through the water instead of the air!

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Sindy-McKay/dp/1601153759

"We Both Read: Trucks" by Sindy McKay (9781601153753, $5.95, PB, 48pp) Trucks are amazing, and there are so many different types of trucks: monster trucks, big rigs, tow trucks, food trucks, tankers, and lots, lots more! Children ages 4-7 will enjoy getting ready to climb aboard and read this book about all manner of trucks!

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Dragons-Scared/dp/1601153775

"We Both Read: Dragons Do Not Get Scared!" by author Sindy McKay and illustrator Andy Elkerton (9781601153777, $5.99, PB, 48pp) Benny is looking forward to going to his grandmother's house, but he's nervous about being away from home. His brother Dean doesn't seem nervous, but when they're alone at night, both Benny and Dean may discover that sometimes dragons do get a little scared. Written with the help of a child psychologist, this book about two young dragons can help support parents and children ages 4-7 in discussing some of the fears that children often experience. In the story, Benny and Dean are going to spend their first night away from home without their parents.

https://www.amazon.com/Both-Read-Rainforests-Tropicales-Bilingual/dp/1601150652

"We Both Read: Tropical Rainforests / Las Selvas Tropicales" by Sindy McKay (9781601150653, $5.95, PB, 48pp) In this bilingual English/Spanish read-aloud book, children will explore the mystery and wonder of tropical rainforests! Travel around the equator to Africa, Asia, and South America, discovering some of the world's most fascinating plants and animals and learning why the rainforests are so important to protect. This bilingual book ends by explaining the ongoing destruction of these ancient and beautiful ecosystems and how we can all help to keep the rainforests safe for the future.

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Feathers-Bilingual/dp/1601150636

"We Both Read: Sharky and Feathers Deliver a Piano / Tibu Y Plumas Entregan Un Piano" by author Callie Miller and illustrator Jeffrey Ebbeler (9781601150639, $5.99, PB, 48pp) In this bilingual English/Spanish book, Sharky (Tibu) and Feathers (Plumas) decide to start a business together. They have a moped and experience delivering pizzas, so a delivery business seems like the perfect idea. Unfortunately, their first job is delivering a piano, which is a lot bigger than a pizza! What they end up delivering is a truly hilarious adventure for everyone.

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Dragones-Bilingual/dp/160115061X

"We Both Read: Dragons Do Not Go to School! / !Los Dragones No Van a la Escuela!" by author D. J. Panec and illustrator Andy Elkerton (9781601150615, $5.99, PB, 48pp) is a bilingual English/Spanish read-aloud book, Rex is supposed to start school in two days, but he doesn't think dragons should go to school. He would much rather run through the hills pretending to fly. With gentle encouragement from his mother, he goes to the first day of school. At school, not only does he find that he enjoys learning, but he also finds a new friend.

https://www.amazon.com/We-Both-Read-Animales-Bilingual/dp/1601150598

"We Both Read: Cute Animals / Lindos Animales" by Sindy McKay (9781601150592, $5.99, PB, 48pp) This endearing bilingual English/Spanish read-aloud book for children ages 3-7 features a lot of adorable animals. The animal photos provide strong picture support to connect to words on the page, making it fun and easy for children to engage in the interactive reading experience. Even children who have never read a word before will be able to say that they helped to read a book and will be more excited about learning to read.

Critique: Each individual title in the "We Both Read" series is a highly recommended and thoroughly 'kid friendly' pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library 'Early Reader' collections -- and will help to foster a love of reading and an enjoyment of learning in young children.

Editorial Note: Winner of two Teacher Choice Awards and a Mom's Choice Award, the We Both Read series from Treasure Bay now has over 100 titles and 7 million copies in print! This unique series features a shared-reading format designed to invite parents and children to take turns reading aloud. With 6 different reading levels, these innovative books for reading together offer an easy way for parents to support beginning and struggling readers.

Curious Cats series
Airlie Anderson
Child's Play
www.childs-play.com

Child's Play is a premier publisher of children's books in general, and board books in particular. 'Curious Cats' by author/illustrator Airlie Anderson is one of their new and simply outstanding board book series for children ages 1 to 2 years.

https://www.amazon.com/Weather-Curious-Cats-Airlie-Anderson/dp/1786288397

"Weather" (9781786288394, $6.99, 14pp) Cat and her family return to our bookshelves in a new series introducing basic concepts. Babies will love the bold colors and enjoy listening to a reader share the simple text about the subject of 'weather' with them.

https://www.amazon.com/Colors-Curious-Cats-Airlie-Anderson/dp/1786288354

"Colors" (9781786288356, $6.99, 14pp) introducing the basic concept of color, very young children will enjoy the bold colors and enjoy sharing the simple but entertaining text with them.

https://www.amazon.com/Shapes-Curious-Cats-Airlie-Anderson/dp/1786288389

"Shapes" (9781786288387, $6.99, 14pp) Cat and her family introduce the concepts of basic shapes and presents them with bold colors enhancing a fun, simple text.

https://www.amazon.com/Numbers-Curious-Cats-Airlie-Anderson/dp/1786288370

"Numbers" (9781786288370, $6.99, 14pp) This time Cat and her family introduce the basic concepts of numbers with strong colors and a simple, entertaining text.

Critique: Each of these four new board book titles comprising the Curious Cats series from Child's Play are thoroughly 'kid friendly' in style and organization. Fun and usefully informative for very young children in their first introduction to the concepts of weather, shapes, numbers and color is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections.

Editorial Note : Artist/illustrator Airlie Anderson (www.airlieanderson.com) graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. Her award winning books include Ten Little Ducks (Taiwan Best Children's English Language Book, 2011) and Cows in the Kitchen (Practical Preschool Award 2008). Her newest picture book, Momo and Snap Are Not Friends is published by Child's Play International.

Greta the Happy-Maker series
Nicole Stanghetti
Welcome to the Grumble
https://welcometothegrumblellc.com

Welcome to the Grumble is the publisher of the picture book series for children ages 3-7 starring the adventures of a pug dog named Greta by author/storyteller Nicole Stanghetti and co-illustrated by Jonathan Gesinski & Shari Wickstrom.

https://www.amazon.com/Greta-Happy-Maker-Friend-Nicole-Stanghetti/dp/1956025022

"Greta The Happy-Maker Makes A Friend" (9781956025026, $20.99, HC, 40pp)

Synopsis: What's small and round... cute and fuzzy all over... with a curly bottom? You guessed it, Greta the Happy-Maker!

"Greta the Happy-Maker Makes A Friend" is Book 1 in a uniquely special Children's Picture Book Series that centers on the adventures (and sometimes misadventures) of Greta, a real-life, saucy little pug, from Los Angeles, California.

In this story, Greta the pug (who is the neighborhood's self-proclaimed social butterfly), encounters a new puppy who feels very alone and alienated. Being forever the optimist (and slightly "hopped up" on blueberry biscuits), she makes it her mission to cheer him up, in the hopes of making him feel included. What will their day entail? What kind of hijinks will the two get themselves into? Read on to find out!

https://www.amazon.com/Greta-Happy-Maker-Dream-Nicole-Stanghetti/dp/1956025057

"Greta The Happy-Maker Has A Dream" (9781956025057, $20.99, HC, 40pp)

Synopsis: "Greta the Happy-Maker Has A Dream" is Book 2 in the continuing story of Greta, the lovable, puggable dog based upon the adventures (and misadventures!) of Greta, a real-life, saucy little pug, from Los Angeles, California.

The highly ambitious Greta wakes from a terrible nightmare, where she fears that her biggest dreams aren't achievable. With her Mama by her side, she is comforted and reminded of what's important in life, and what makes her special just as she is. What was the bad dream that shook Greta from her restful slumber? And what's her most hopeful dream, and wish for the future? Young children will be quite interest in finding out!

Critique: This Greta The Happy-Maker series is specifically appropriate for children ages 3-7, for parents who read to their children, for people who read to their furbabies, and for all devoted pug enthusiasts. Every book in the series, Greta the Happy-Maker, will share a teaching lesson with her young friends along the way. Although an unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that each book in this outstanding series is also available in a paperback edition ($14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Editorial Note #1: Nicole Stanghetti is a film producer (The Legend of Hercules, 5 Days Of War) and a self-published children's book author. Nicole's work includes the Children's Picture Book Series Greta the Happy-Maker, in loving memory of her beautiful pug Greta, and the upcoming, Why Do Birds Sit On Their Eggs.

Editorial Note #2: Jonathan Gesinski (The Jungle Book, Alita: Battle Angel) is the lead Illustrator of the Greta The Happy-Maker Children's Picture Book Series and Why Do Birds Sit On Their Eggs. Jonathan is also a successful Storyboard Artist, and Conceptual Artist for film and television. He lives with his wife and daughter.

Editorial Note #3: Shari Wickstrom is the pencil layout artist for the Greta The Happy-Maker Children's Picture Book Series. She is an Illustrator and Storyboard Artist.


Suzie Housley's Bookshelf

The Mannamong - Volume 1
Michael Adam Lengyel
Independent Published
9781732563230, $14.99, PB, 192 pages (Ages 8-12)

https://www.michaellengyel.com/product/the-mannamong-volume-1-a-kid-graphic-novel-series

Synopsis: Step into a world where mythical guardian spirits are not just a folktale but a reality. This urban fantasy comic series takes you on a journey with Kali Teal, who discovers the truth about the mannamong after being cured of a severe and unexplainable illness by them.

As Kali delves deeper into the spiritual realm, she realizes that the mannamong are not just benevolent protectors of nature but can also have their mysterious incentives. The unsettling relationship that unfolds between Kali and her tormentor will leave you on the edge of your seat. Can she trust the mannamong or not?

Critique: Get ready for a series that will leave you spellbound! The Mannamong has arrived and is ready to captivate you with its riveting storyline and lovable characters. Don't be surprised if you root for them from the first episode!

With a cast that will win your heart and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat, this is a show you won't want to miss. So, grab your popcorn, settle in, and let The Mannamong magic transport you to a world of adventure and excitement!

Michael Adam Lengyel is the mastermind behind the captivating The Mannamong series! Not only does he have an exceptional writing talent, but he's also a gifted illustrator who has brought this fantastical world to life through his stunning artwork.

From the first page of The Mannamong series, you'll be transported into a vivid and imaginative world that Michael created. His illustrations perfectly capture the essence of the story and its characters, making it impossible to put down.

Wild Conviction: Sixteen is Power
Mary Dezember
Brilliant Moon Press
9798987293515, $20.99, HC, 463pp
9798987293508, $12.99 PB, $2.99 Kindle (Ages 14-17)

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Conviction-Sixteen-Mary-Dezember/dp/B0CD93WM7K

Synopsis: Welcome to the world of Twilight Wild Adams! On her sixteenth birthday, she discovers a whole new world of magic and danger, thanks to a letter from her GrandMama. With her newfound knowledge and emerging powers, Twilight takes a stand against slavery and fights for what she believes in.

But not everyone is on board with her mission. Despite the opposition, Twilight remains steadfast in her convictions and charges forward to stop the enslavement of children at a wicked plantation. However, she soon learns that survival isn't always synonymous with freedom.

Join Twilight on her journey as she navigates the treacherous waters of a covert mystical sisterhood and fights against the injustices of slavery. With her wild conviction and emerging powers, she is determined to make a difference. Join her in the fight for freedom and justice?

Critique: Wild Conviction is a book that will transport you to a world of heated tensions and mesmerizing characters. From the first page, it will draw you into a world where reality and the supernatural intersect, and the past and present collide unexpectedly.

Mary Dezember's outstanding book tells the story of a spirited teenager in a captivating and inspiring way. With a signature writing style, Dezember expertly weaves together a tale of adventure, self-discovery, and personal growth that will have readers of all ages hooked from the very first page.

Mystery Scars - A Story of Love and Healing
Merry Brennan
www.merrybrennan.com
Riding The Waves Publishing
9781736842354, $14.99 PP, $7.99 Kindle, 310pp (Ages 12-18)

https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Scars-Story-Love-Healing-ebook/dp/B0CH33K444

Synopsis: Are you ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing? Look no further than Mystery Scars - a compelling young adult novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat.

Jewel Jacobs is a talented high school freshman who is grappling with the aftermath of a suicide attempt and struggles to piece together the events leading up to that fateful day.

With the help of a compassionate support group, Jewel embarks on a journey of healing and self-discovery that will keep you captivated until the very end.

Critique: Through heart-wrenching twists and turns, Mystery Scars explores the power of resilience, the importance of mental health, and the beauty of finding hope in unexpected places.

Merry Brennan has brought to light a severe subject plaguing our young adults. Her insightful and thought-provoking writing sheds light on a sensitive, often ignored issue.

Brennan's work is essential for anyone who wants to understand this vital topic more deeply. She brings compassion and empathy to a complex subject through her writing, providing a much-needed voice for struggling people. I cannot recommend her work highly enough, and I urge everyone to take the time to read it. Together, we can work towards a better future for our young people.

Just Like Click
Sandy Grubb
Fitzroy Books
c/o Regal House Publishing, LLC
https://regalhousepublishing.com
9781646034390, $12.95 PB, $8.49 Kindle, 188 Pages (Ages 9-12)

https://www.amazon.com/Just-Like-Click-Sandy-Grubb/dp/1646034392

Synopsis: Meet Nick Townley, a young boy passionate about creating exciting Adventures of Click comics. Nick's world's turned upside down when a series of robberies threaten his dad's job, forcing them to move across the country. But Nick is unwilling to let go of his beloved home and the $237,000 dollars in cash under his bed, which was left to him by his Great Gramp before he passed away.

In a desperate attempt to save his home, Nick steps off the pages of his comic book and transforms into Click, an undercover superhero. But being a superhero is challenging, especially when you lack superpowers. Nick's world changes when he meets three new kids who discover his secret identity and want to join him on his mission to catch the thieves. Nick hesitates at first but soon realizes that even a superhero needs friends.

Nick's story is one of determination and courage. He is a young boy who refuses to let go of what he loves and will do whatever it takes to save it. His passion for creating comics has given him the skills to become a superhero, and his willingness to step out of his comfort zone has led him to find new friends.

Critique: Just Like Click is a book that will captivate you from the first page. Nick's world of adventure and excitement will captivate you, and you won't be able to resist being drawn into it. You will root for him as he faces challenges and overcomes obstacles, and his bravery and determination will inspire you. Nick's story reminds us we all have the power to be superheroes in our lives and that sometimes, all it takes is a little courage and a few good friends.

Award-winning author Sandy Grubb has crafted a masterpiece that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. Join the hero as he faces impossible odds and fights for what he believes in. With heartwarming moments and breathtaking action scenes, this book will leave a lasting impression.

Editorial Note: Just Like Click won the esteemed Kraken Book Prize, recognizing finely crafted middle-grade fiction and resulting in a publishing contract with Fitzroy Books, the children's imprint of Regal House Publishing

Suzie Housley, Senior Reviewer
https://housleysliteraryservices.com


James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937
e-mail: mbr@execpc.com
e-mail: mwbookrevw@aol.com
www.midwestbookreview.com


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