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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 8 August 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Writing/Publishing Shelf American History Shelf
World History Shelf Pets/Wildlife Shelf Social Issues Shelf
Health/Medicine Shelf Poetry Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf ABC Shelf
Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Multimedia Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Military Shelf Science Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Sports Shelf Education Shelf Gaming Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My!
Heather L. Beal, author
Jubayda Sagor, illustrator
Train 4 Safety Press
9780998791265 $8.99

Designed to help children ages 3-8 safety practices to survive severe thunderstorms, "Lions, Leopards, and Storms, Oh My!" tells the story of Lily and Niko Rabbit who witness a scary thunderstorm while they are at school. This safety story is greatly enhanced by cheery illustrations of all sorts of animal children as characters. Mr. Raccoon, a visiting parent who is also a meteorologist, explains what causes thunderstorms, thunder and lightning, and even hail and strong winds. Because lightning is electricity, children can't play outside in a thunderstorm. All children need to get inside a safe building as soon as they hear the sound of thunder. Mrs, Raccoon teaches the children a song to help them remember what to do when it storms: "When lightning flashes or thunder shouts, go indoors until its quiet out. / If the wind blows hard, or hail goes plop, play inside 'til the raindrops stop." All the children sang and danced the storm song, then they made storm safety cards to take home and share with their families. This safety series for preschoolers and up is educational, informative, and fun.

Finding Granny
Kate Simpson, author
Gwynneth Jones, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335699, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

In the picture book story by author Kate Simpson and illustrator Gwynneth Jones, "Finding Granny" of Edie's beloved grandmother who has a stroke. When Edie comes to the hospital, she is confronted by the physical changes in her grandmother: muddled words, a crooked face, a woman confined to bed. This isn't the 'playtime, bedtime, story-time pantomime Granny' that Edie knows. "That's not my Granny," she says, as she waits outside in the corridor during her mother's visits. But when her mother takes Edie to watch one of Granny's art therapy sessions, Edie starts to understand that the Granny she loves is still there. Finding Granny is a heart-warming story of changing relationships and the bond between children and grandparents. It's also a sensitive exploration of coping with illness and disability that will offer children ages 5 to 6 much-needed comfort. "Finding Granny" is unique and unreservedly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, community library picture book collections for young children.

The Teen's Guide to Debating and Public Speaking
Claire Duffy
The Dundurn Group
9781459741782, $19.99, PB, 280pp,

"The Teen's Guide to Debating and Public Speaking" by teacher, coach, and speaking competition organizer Claire Duffy is the perfect instructional introduction to public speaking and would admirably serve as a textbook for junior high and senior high debate classes and programs. Speaking well builds confidence and opens up a world of opportunity, in education, leadership, careers, and community and political engagement. In an increasingly competitive world, being a convincing, passionate, and persuasive speaker is essential to standing out from the crowd. In "The Teen's Guide to Debating and Public Speaking" Duffy not only demystifies the process but makes it fun. Students will learn all about the best ways to prepare for a debate or speech, the persuasive power of reason, the art of argument and rebuttal, and, when worse comes to worst, how to be gracious in defeat. Including practical tips from the pros and helpful step-by-step examples, "The Teen's Guide to Debating and Public Speaking" is the essential handbook for making every spoken word count and will prove to be an enduringly popular and highly valued addition to school and community library Public Speaking/Debating instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Teen's Guide to Debating and Public Speaking" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning
Amadee Ricketts, author
Ashley Barron, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631982101, $14.99, HC, 32pp,

Parents, teachers, and caregivers can shake up their story time for children ages 3 to 8 with the twelve sing-along songs based on classic tunes kids already know and love which comprise "Gentle Hands and Other Sing-Along Songs for Social-Emotional Learning". This beautifully illustrated songbook teaches important social-emotional skills for everyday life. Favorite songs like "Frere Jacques" and "B-I-N-G-O" get turned on their heads with new, easy-to-remember lyrics offering lessons on how to manage anger, asking for help, what to do when you're afraid, being a good friend, when to use a quiet voice, and many others! Digital content includes downloadable sheet music for all songs, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Writing/Publishing Shelf

Be a Better Writer, second edition
Steve Peha with Margot Carmichael Lester
Teaching That Makes Sense
9780997283105 $19.95

Winner of a Parents' Choice Recommended Award, and now in an updated second edition, Be a Better Writer: For School, For Fun, For Anyone Ages 10-16 is a thoroughly accessible guide written especially for teenagers and young adults, yet potentially useful to prospective writers of all ages. Chapters cover writing tips and techniques, suggested activities and checklists, illuminating their points with writing samples and author interviews. "There's a simple reason why revising is so valuable: it involves comparing the way something is with what you change it to and deciding which is best. Comparing one bit of writing to another and choosing the one that's best is the key to becoming a better writer." Designed to help young writers of all skill, experience, and goal levels, from aspiring novelists to those who are simply looking to improve the quality of their term papers, Be a Better Writer is highly recommended for public and school library collections as well as personal reading lists.

The American History Shelf

Rosie, a Detroit Herstory
Bailey Sisoy Isgro, author
Nicole Lapointe, illustrator
Wayne State University Press
4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309
9780814345443, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

"Rosie, a Detroit Herstory" is a picture book that features an informative, rhyming text by Bailey Sisoy Isgro and beautifully illustrated original artwork by Nicole Lapointe. The story begins with the start of the Second World War and the eventual need for women to join the American workforce as men shipped out to war. By the end of the story, young readers ages 8 to 12 will have a better understanding of who and what Rosie the Riveter really was, how Detroit became a wartime industrial powerhouse, and why the legacy of women war workers is still so important. Of special note is the provision of a glossary for more difficult concepts, as well as a timeline of events. A welcome and highly recommended picture book history of the contributions of women during a time of global war, "Rosie, a Detroit Herstory" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rosie, a Detroit Herstory" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

The World History Shelf

Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids
Simonetta Carr, author
Chicago Review Press, distributed by IPG
814 North Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
9781613739754, $16.99 PB, $11.99 Kindle, Ages 9-16,

Beginning with a Time Line and an enigmatic introduction titled, "The Endless Search for The True Cleopatra," Simonetta Carr's "Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids: Her Life and World, With 21 Activities" offers a fresh approach to a more complete understanding of this famous Alexandrian Queen of Egypt. Written for readers age 9 and up, this unique treatment of the life and influence of Cleopatra packs extra dimensions of learning and experience in between in-depth biography, condensed informative sidebars, sepia- shaded illustrations and prints, and 21 related craft projects. Young readers are encouraged to critically evaluate sources and information from before 70 BCE to 30 BCE while immersing themselves in Alexandrian era crafts. Some examples of the craft projects include: creating a writing tablet, making an Archimedes Screw, build an Egyptian column, making Egyptian breath fresheners from honey and oil, making a jack-o-lantern lighthouse, and many more. Learning to draw and color like an ancient Egyptian is an interesting project that allows readers to see life through earlier eyes. From the birth of Cleopatra to the intrigue and struggle preceding Cleopatra's eventual access to the throne, through Cleopatra's encounter with Julius Caesar, Marc Antony, her many roles as cultural protector, mother, ruler, seductress, and highly skilled leader, politician, and power monger, "Cleopatra and Ancient Egypt for Kids" is a sweeping, vivid faithful portrayal of a famous female figure of history. The creative projects offered with each chapter are a magnifying glass into a far distant era, bringing it to life today.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Saving Fiona
Thane Maynard
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9781328485137, $19.99, HC, 48pp,

On a cold January day in 2017, nearly two months before due date, Nile hippopotamus Bibi gave her keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden a big surprise in the form of a tiny newborn hippo, no bigger than a football. The first premature hippo born and raised in captivity, baby Fiona was an underdog from the start: she couldn't nurse, she couldn't stay hydrated, and she wasn't thriving. But the staff at the zoo knew they could save her. It would take creative thinking and teamwork. They would have to study the makeup of hippo milk for the first time ever and reach out to medical colleagues, including a team at the local Children's Hospital with superior vein-finding skills, to ensure that Fiona would begin to gain weight and become healthy. When Fiona began to thrive, her star began to rise, and soon she became an internet sensation, her picture and videos garnering thousands and thousands of likes and fans on Instagram and Facebook. What made this little, now big, hippo such a big hit with people all over the world? And what's in store for her and her family in the future? While an unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library animal picture book collections for children ages 4 to 7, it should be noted that "Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Dreamscape Media, 9781974900183, $14.99, CD).

Yodel the Yearling
Mary Holland
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781607184485, $17.95 HC, $9.95 PB, $6.99 Kindle, 32pp,

Yodel and his siblings have woken from their long winter's nap and are ready to learn and grow. In "Yodel the Yearling", nature photographer Mary Holland deftly captures precious moments of this black bear family's springtime adventures. Just like human children, the yearlings play, explore their surroundings, and then snuggle up with mom for milk. They even stay with a special babysitter while mom is away. Someday soon, the yearlings will be grown and go off on their own, but for now they can catch a nap under their mama bear's watchful eye. Informatively enhanced with the inclusion of a 4-page For Creative Minds section in the back of the book, as well as a 30-page cross-curricular Teaching Activity Guide online that is vetted by experts and designed to encourage parental engagement, Very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, "Yodel the Yearling" can help teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. It should be noted that there is a Spanish translation that supports ELL and dual-language programs. There is also an interactive ebook available that reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and an audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension.

Hello World: Animals
Nicola Edwards, author
L'Atelier Cartographik, illustrator
360 Degrees
c/o Little Tiger
9781944530174, $19.99, HC, 16pp,

In the pages of "Hello World: Animals", young readers ages 5 to 6 will discover some of the most incredible creatures on Earth. An interactive atlas of world wildlife, "Hello World: Animals" features more than 180 animals from a variety of habitats, with flaps to lift on every spread. An informative and stunningly illustrated book that offers children an exploration into many animal wonders of the natural world, "Hello World: Animals" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Pets & Wildlife collections for young readers.

The Social Issues Shelf

Something Happened in Our Town
Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, & Ann Hazzard, authors
Jennifer Zivoin, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828546, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

"Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice" is a picture book for children ages 4 to 8 that describes the traumatic event of a police shooting from the perspectives of a White family and an African-American family. This story, collaboratively written by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin, models productive conversations around racial-ethnic socialization and social-emotional learning, and provides an excellent platform for discussing social justice and race relations with children. Includes a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" with conversation guides, child-friendly vocabulary, and lists of related resources, Very strongly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Something Happened in Our Town" is an extraordinarily 'child friendly' approach to an on-going social issue that young children will encounter on the news again and again and again.

The Centipede Who Couldn't Tie His Shoes
Karen Dobyns, author
Maria Koch, illustrator
Atlas Publishing
9781945033407, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Ben is thrilled to start second grade until he discovers he's the only one in his class who doesn't know how to tie his shoes. According to the class bully, Ben is wearing baby shoes. Fifty pairs of new shoes later, Ben realizes that tying shoes isn't so easy, especially because of his visual disability, which even thick glasses can't completely correct. The school's occupational therapist shows Ben how to tie his shoes using dual-colored and no-tie laces. Now Ben must decide if he'd rather have shoelaces that look like everyone else's or get through recess without having to retie his 100 shoes! A delightfully entertaining picture book by the team of author Karen Dobyns and illustrator Maria Koch, "The Centipede Who Couldn't Tie His Shoes" is promotes awareness and acceptance of children with disabilities and differing needs; includes extra sections with explanations, shoe-tying resources, and discussion points; uses type and formatting that maximize visual ease for readers; and has universal appeal in showing how dual-colored shoelaces can be helpful for all children learning to tie shoes. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, content, organization and presentation, "The Centipede Who Couldn't Tie His Shoes" is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 7.

One Heart
Tara Drouin, author
Nancy Noskewicz, illustrator
9781717065841, $10.99, PB, 32pp,

Engagingly written by Tara Drouin and charmingly illustrated by Nancy Noskewicz "One Heart" is all about diversity, and acceptance. It explores the reality of our differences. We all look differently on the outside, such as different hair color, skin color, and eye color. We even like different things. "If you look at who we truly are, at our core, we are all the same. We need to spread this message to children, and to the world. Our differences on the outside make us unique, but our hearts need to be unified because we are all one race, the human race," says Tara Drouin. Highly recommended for readers of all ages, "One Heart" is was inspired by a song, and with a purchase of this heartwarming and inspiring picture book for young readers there is a free download of the song available!

Birds of a Feather
Tom Crice, author
Ellen Rakatansky, illustrator
DoveTale Press
9780999685303, $11.95, HC, 32pp,

A young boy's happy world is interrupted when his grandfather passes away. Suddenly life is filled with big questions and difficult emotions. Will things ever be normal again? Then a chance encounter with two birds on a subway train leads to unexpected joy and connection. Engagingly written by Tom Crice and pleasantly illustrated by Ellen Rakatansky, "Birds of a Feather" is a tender, whimsical story of loss and recovery for young children ages 5 to 9. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Birds of a Feather" addresses an important subject with sensitivity, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

What Happens Next
Susan Hughes, author
Carey Sookocheff, illustrator
Owlkids Books Inc.
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781771471657, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

What Happens Next is a raw, realistic story told by an unnamed protagonist who is made to feel different from everybody else -- even invisible sometimes. Bullied by a girl at school, our narrator gives a terse script of the related facts (What Her Friends Do: Laugh. What Everyone Else Does: Nothing.) and emotions (How I Feel Sometimes: Bad. Really Bad.). The narrator takes these hurt feelings home, where Mom listens and offers some ideas. At school the next day, the child confronts the bully by turning a "weirdo" fascination with science into an opportunity to find common ground, and maybe help the bully see the world in a new way. Spare illustrations in a limited palette of blues and greens by illustrator Carey Sookocheff convey feeling alone even in the hustle and bustle of a crowded schoolyard. The graphic novel - style panels set a steady pace for the emotional impact of this important story by author Susan Hughes that doesn't simplify the realities of feeling like an outsider. It's a powerful starting point for discussions of emotions, empathy, and how we relate to others. An impressively exceptional picture book for young children ages 4 to 10, "What Happens Next" is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Peace and Me
Ali Winter, author
Michael El Fathi, illustrator
Lantana Publishing
9781911373285, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

"Peace and Me" by the team of author Ali Winter and illustrator Michael El Fathi is a collection of inspirational ideas about peace is based on the lives of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates of the 20th and 21st centuries, among them Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Malala Yousafzai. Especially and unreservedly recommended for children ages 4 to 8 and deftly exploring the subject of peace as the essential issue of our times, "Peace and Me" is a thoroughly child-friendly exploration of what peace means and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Digest This Now... For Kids!
Kai Nunziato-Cruz, Dr Liz Cruz MD, & Tina Nunziato
Privately Published
9780991613885, $12.99, PB, 48pp,

"Digest This Now... For Kids!: Are You A Kid Struggling With Stomach, Weight, Sleeping or Stress Issues?" was specifically written for young readers in general, and kids that are struggling with Stomach Issues, Weight Issues, Sleeping Issues, High Stress, No Energy, and otherwise Taking Medicines. The primary author, Kai Nunziato-Cruz, is the son of Liz Cruz M.D. who is a board-certified Gastroenterologist, and Tina Nunziato, who is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Kai has watched his parents for years help adults get well and stay well with their books, podcast, online home study program and more and felt it was his mission to take those same teachings to kids. In the pages of "Digest This Now... For Kids!", Kai teaches kids about their body and why so many of them are sick these days. In addition, he provides simple things anyone can do to turn the health and well-being of their body around very quickly! An amazing and thoroughly 'kid friendly' instructional about the body and how to get it well, "Digest This Now... For Kids!" is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Health & Medicine instructional reference collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Digest This Now... For Kids!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Ines Castel-Branco
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828720, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

"Breathe" by author and illustrator Ines Castel-Branco is a charmingly informative picture book that will help children ages 4 to 8 to work through their worries and fears by playful breathing, stretching, and relaxation techniques. In particular, as the title implies, "Breathe" focuses on the importance of breathing. "Ines Castel-Branco shows how to help little ones become aware of their breath through exercises based in yoga, tai chi, chi kung, and kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements). Of special note is the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" which explains the exercises in more detail and the benefits of breathing well. "Breathe" is a unique and especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Health & Medicine children's picture book collections.

Relaxations: Big Tools for Little Warriors
Mamen Duch, author
Raul Nieto Guridi, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433829048, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Deftly written by Mamen Duch and effectively illustrated by Raul Nieto Guridi, "Relaxations: Big Tools for Little Warriors" is an instructive and entertaining guide on mindfulness techniques specifically presented for children ages 4 to 8. Creative metaphors work to help children achieve a state of calm and concentration through breathing, relaxation, and visualization. "Relaxations: Big Tools for Little Warriors" uses gentle affirmations to improve and enhance confidence, self-esteem, concentration, and creativity! Enhanced with the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" by Mamen Duch with other suggestions for practice, "Relaxations: Big Tools for Little Warriors" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Poetry Shelf

Caroline Pignat, author
Francois Thisdale, illustrator
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9780889954922, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

The collaborative work of author Caroline Pignat and illustrator Francois Thisdale, "Poetree" is an intriguing blend of carefully composed verbal images, knit together with extraordinary visuals. The extended poem is about the yearly cycle in the life of a tree. But it is also an intriguing poetic concoction where the initial letters of each line in each stanza spell out a word that pertains to that tree's life cycle (SEED, GERMINATE, SHOOT, ROOTS, LEAVES, FLOWERS) making it a kids' acrostic. Young readers ages 8 to 10 will discover the secrets of the poems as they read the text and look at the illustrations that show a rural setting with trees, a farmer, barns, animals and the changing of the seasons. There are even puzzles for the discerning young reader, making "Poetree" an immediate and enduringly popular addition for family, elementary school, and community library Contemporary Children's Poetry collections.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids
Ariane de Bonvoisin, author
Ellie Cross, illustrator
Ariane Media LLC
9780977680818 $17.99

"Giggles and Joy" is the first title in a series of spiritual life lessons for kids. Written in vigorous verse and overflowing with brilliant, positive, life-affirming illustrations of parachuting children, butterflies, flowers, and creatures, "Giggles and Joy," and each of the three titles presents a series of eight life skill areas which relate to growing awareness and health in stages of childhood. in "Giggles and Joy." following a theme celebrating each child deserving to feel joy, the subject headings are: Giggles and Joy, Kindness, Home, Sleep Is The Best, Your Body Is Your Best Friend, Bye Bye Bad Day, Prayer, and Mother Earth. "Giggles and Joy" is spiritual lessons for kids "not for, or against any religion." Rather, it is imbued with inclusive spirituality, exhibiting and demonstrating common religious beliefs that help children learn to take care of their spiritual needs as well as their bodily needs. Here is an extract from the poem on Prayer: "God loves everyone, as God loves you./ There's no one on Earth who's not loved./ Some days are good and then some are bad,/ So pray when you're happy and pray when you're down./ Everything happens according to God's perfect plan,/ So rest and say Yes to what is happening now./ Prayer is a way to say thank you and ask for what you need,/ So that God can guide you and show you the way./ prayer doesn't mean you get exactly what you want./ God always knows what is best and what is right./ We all need to learn and grow and love,/ So try to make praying an important part of your day./" Across the top of the Prayer poem page are a string of twelve different colored prayer flags, each labeled with symbol and term for one of the world's great religions. "Giggles and Joy" is a refreshing approach to teaching children to live well and happily, with joy and grace, and gratitude. Also highly recommended are the two other titles in this series by the same author/illustrator team: "Being You (9780977680863, $17.99)," and "You Are Loved (9780977680849, $17.99)."

The Christian Shelf

Mrs. B. Substitute Grandma
Kathleen Beining, author
Thinkstock, illustrations and imagery
WestBow Press
c/o Thomas Nelson Publishers
PO Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214
9781512785562 $13.95 PB, $3.99 Kindle, 26pp,

The sixth title in the Mrs. Bumbleberry series, "Mrs. B. Substitute Grandma" tells a story of reflecting love and compassion for others in daily life for kids. Mrs. B.'s friends, Andi and Katy are upset because they can't ride a hay wagon on a field trip because Andi's grandmother is sick and cannot accompany the girls on the hay ride. Mrs. B. offers to substitute as hay ride chaperone, cautioning the girls not to hate others who were disagreeable, but to try to love them as God asks. The girls continue with their field trip and Mrs. B., including apple picking, a farm lunch, and a challenging walk through the corn maze. The girls encounter opportunities to show caring and respect for each other as Mrs. B. has asked them to do and as God has commanded. Andi and Katy learn to share, be kind to a classmate who was unkind to them, and to work together for common goals and share the resulting rewards. "Mrs. B. Substitute Grandma" is an excellent Christian values kids book which teaches its lessons while entertaining young readers with very believable situations. Instead of preaching, this series demonstrates the value of the Golden Rule. An element of empathy for the enemy or selfish character, Dee, also helps readers internalize the basic Christian message in "Mrs. B. Substitute Grandma."

The Judaic Shelf

Hanukkah Hamster
Michelle markel, author
Andre Ceolin, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363995, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

The Jewish holiday season of Hanukkah is a busy time, with people bustling about. And it's a busy time for Edgar, a cabdriver who conveys passengers around the city. All day long Edgar drives his cab; many people going to many different places. At the end of one busy day, Edgar is so tired he climbs into the backseat of his cab to take a nap. But he discovers he is not alone. A little hamster has somehow been left behind from one of the many fares Edgar has driven. Edgar dutifully reports the hamster to the cab company's Lost and Found department, but in the meantime the little creature needs to be taken care of. Edgar brings the hamster to his apartment, making it a bed, feeding it, and even giving it a name, Chickpea. As Edgar starts his Hanukkah observance, with no family nearby to share in it, the little hamster becomes more than a casual companion to the lonely man. But what happens when Chickpea's owner is found? An utterly charming picture book story for children ages 5 to 7, and one that is unreservedly recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for young readers that "Hanukkah Hamster" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14).

The ABC Shelf

Native American ABCs
Lisa Lechowicz, author
Colten Lechowicz, author
Wade Patton, illustrator
Mascot Publishing
9781631774928, $14.95, HC, 62pp,

The collaborative project of authors Lisa and Colten Lechowicz, and illustrator Wade Patton, "Native American ABCs" is an entertaining and informative picture book for children ages 2 to 5 that teaches the alphabet using Native American cultures and images. "Native American ABCs" is dedicated to the Native American culture and the native children who are its future. It is interesting to note that one dollar from the proceeds of each book sold will be donated to the Rosebud Elementary School in Rosebud, South Dakota. Rosebud Elementary serves 300 students, 98% of which are Native American. 100% of the students come from low-income families. Certain to be an immediately and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections, "Native American ABCs" is unreservedly recommended.

The Board Book Shelf

Mine!: A Counting Book About Sharing
Caryn Rivadeneira, author
Amanda Gulliver, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506446790, $7.99, Board Book, 22pp,

In "Mine!: A Counting Book About Sharing" a group of young children counts up the things that belong to them. Mine, mine, mine! But then -- surprise! -- they share with each other to make one big party for themselves and their friends! Especially designed for children 0-3, "Mine!" is a counting board book that teaches the concepts of yours and mine, while also reminding kids that we all have more fun when we share together. The collaborative effort of author Caryn Rivadeneira and illustrator Amanda Gulliver, "Mine!" very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections. It is noteworthy that "Mine!" is part of the new Beaming Books 'Generous Kids' series dedicated to teaching age-appropriate concepts about money, possessions, generosity, and contentment.

The Picturebook Shelf

The Very Hungry Hedgehog
Rosie Wellesley, author/illustrator
Pavilion Children's
c/o Trafalgar Square Books
PO Box 257, North Pomfret, VT 05053
c/o Independent Publishers Group (distributor)
814 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL 60610
9781843653530, $9.99, PB, 32pp, Ages 3-5,

"The Very Hungry Hedgehog" is the latest in a children's series (for children ages 3-5 years) about the amazing adventures of Isaac the hedgehog. Charming, delicate water color portraits of Isaac the hedgehog and his friends, Starling, Toad, Heron, and Fox. Awakened by Starling in a muddy bed, Isaac discovers it is spring, and he is very hungry. Isaac proceeds to try to find a nourishing breakfast, only to have each tidbit stolen from him by other hungry friends just as he is ready to chomp. Since Isaac had offered to share with each friend, he was to say the least disillusioned with his friends. Isaac firmly believed that the bounty of spring meant "there must be food enough for a feast for us all." When he nearly became the breakfast of Fox, Isaac discovered that his unruly spikes were not a sign of a bad hair day, they were a sign of his good spike day! When Fox tried to swallow Isaac for breakfast, he rapidly spit the hedgehog out because of the stiff spikes, which rendered the hedgehog inevitable. Isaac was not frightened by his encounter with Fox, but instead he laughed, saying "I'm not food!" The final message of this delightful animal fable is on the final page: "Spring is finally here, and with help you will find there's enough food for us all."

Short Pump Bump!
Angie Miles, author
Scott DuBar, illustrator
Belle Isle Books
c/o Brandylane Publishers
5 South First Street, Richmond, VA 23219
9781939930637, $22.95, HC, 42pp,

Just about anywhere you go in Virginia's capital city of Richmond, children will find history, beauty, and interesting stories just waiting to be told. Whether you read the sweet, silly, and poignant collection of poetry comprising "Short Pump Bump!" on their own or share it aloud with children ages 5 to 9, "Short Pump Bump" will entice young readers to play a little, smile a little, and forevermore see the place Richmonders call home in a new and endearing way. A thoroughly 'lyrical, spherical, rhyming romp' through Richmond, Virginia by the team of author Angie Miles and illustrator Scott DuBar, "Short Pump Bump!" is certain to be a popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Cat Eyes
Laura Lee, author/illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 910, Shelburne, VT 05482
9780999024942, $17.99, HC, 44pp,

In a world filled with many wonderful things, Miki is a young girl who only sees cats. Until one seemingly unspectacular day, something special arrives. Miki's imagination leads her to seeing cats where ever she goes all the while believing that her parents don't notice her obsession. Readers will enjoy following Miki as she goes throughout her day finding cats in the park, in the classroom, and even at the dinner table. Engagingly illustrated and charmingly written by Laura lee, "Cat Eyes" is a very special picture book story for children ages 5 to 7 and will prove to be an immediately and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday
Candice Ransom, author
Christine Grove, illustrator
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781524768195, $17.99, 32pp,

Amanda Panda's birthday is tomorrow. She'll be the first kid in her class to turn six! But when she gets to the bus stop, her best friend/worst enemy Bitsy announces that today is HER birthday! And her party is planned for Saturday, the same day as Amanda's! Birthday dreams ruined, Amanda's can't keep her temper in check at school. By recess, it looks like Amanda's birthday plans (and her friendship with Bitsy) is over. But when the girls stop arguing long enough to listen to each other, they come up with a birthday plan that is TWICE the fun. Young children ages 3 to 7 will learn about sharing, compromise, and conflict resolution, all the while laughing along with Amanda and Bitsy in this adorable, school-based story from a new favorite character. The sequel to author Candice Ransom and illustrator Christine Grove's "Amanda Panda Quits Kindergarten" (9780399554551, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 32pp), it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Amanda Panda and the Bigger, Better Birthday" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Lemur Dreamer
Courtney Dicmas
Kane/Miller Book Publishers
4901 Morena Blvd, Suite 213, San Diego, CA 92117
9781610677677, $12.99, HC, 32pp,

All the residents of 32 Pebbly Lane lead mostly unextraordinary lives -- except for Louis the Lemur. He's a sleepwalker! After his nighttime antics cause mischief, his friends decide to follow him one night, with hilarious consequences. A thoroughly charming, original, and impressively entertaining picture book for children ages 3 to 7, Courtney Dicmas' "Lemur Dreamer" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

I Am Birch
Scott Kelley
Islandport Press
PO Box 10, Yarmouth, ME 94096
9781944762391, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

A birch tree is an unlikely champion and protector of the forest in "I Am Birch" by Scott Kelley in a picture book story that is inspired by Gluskap, the heroic and kind-hearted figure of Wabanaki legends. As rumors of coming cold and darkness spread through the woods, chaos and fear grow. In a panic to collect and store food, the animals do damage to their very homes. The birch, now only a stump, remains firmly rooted and, with the wisdom and dry humor that only a stump can possess, helps the animals put their fears to rest. An acclaimed fine art painter Scott Kelley used his portraits of Wabanaki tribal elders as a springboard for the extraordinary paintings that make this a children's book like no other. Very highly recommended, "I Am Birch" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 7.

The Better Tree Fort
Jessica Scott Kerrin, author
Qin Leng, illustrator
Groundwood Books
c/o House of Anansi Press
9781554988631, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

"Let's build a tree fort," Russell says to his dad when they move into a house with a big maple tree in the backyard. His dad doesn't know much about building, but he gamely follows Russell's plan. Several trips to the lumber store later, the tree fort is done. There is no slide, balcony or skylight like Russell imagined, but it is perfect -- right up until he notices another tree fort going up three houses over. When Russell goes over to investigate, he meets Warren, whose bigger tree fort has castle turrets and working lights. Russell is in awe until it dawns on him that it's not worth worrying about who has the better tree fort when he has a loving dad there to build one with him. "The Better Tree Fort" is a subtle, humorous picture book story in which author Jessica Scott Kerrin deftly explore the idea of 'keeping up with the Joneses' -- and what that means when you're a kid with a tree fort. Of special note is how illustrator Qin Leng's lighthearted watercolor illustrations show the unshakeable bond between a father and son, as well as the delightful details of two tree forts. An unfailingly entertaining story from beginning to end, "The Better Tree Fort" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 7.

On My Swim
Kari-Lynn Winters, author
Christina Leist, illustrator
Tradewind Books
9781926890166, $15.95, HC, 24pp,

"On My Swim" is the fourth in a popular under-five series and another delightful collaboration between author Kari-Lynn Winters and illustrator Christina Leist. Set on the waterfront in and around Vancouver, British Columbia, "On My Swim" features a very young child frolicking on the beach and learning to swim. Toddlers will take a special delight in this whimsically illustrated rhyming story which is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 5.

Bear's Scare
Jacob Grant
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681197203, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

Bear likes to keep his house clean and tidy. In fact, the only thing Bear loves more than cleaning is taking care of his small stuffed friend, Ursa. Then Bear sees a sticky spiderweb -- and where there's a web there is certainly a spider! The messy guest must be found, but what Bear and Ursa finally discover might just be an unlikely friend. Opposites attract in Jacob Grant's charmingly entertaining picture book story where new friends come in all shapes and sizes! While unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3 to 6, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bear's Scare" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.89).

An Anty-War Story
Tony Ross
Andersen Press USA
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group (dist.)
9781541535640, $17.99, HC, 32pp,

Written and illustrated by cartoonist, graphic designer, and art director Tony Ross, "An Anty- War Story is a picture book anti-war story that is told through the eyes of Douglas, the only ant in Antworld who has a name. He dreams of joining the beautiful line that delivers food, but he's been enlisted to be a soldier, and it's probably for the best that he doesn't understand quite what that means. A unique and very special picture book story for the family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 11, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Anty-War Story" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Pasta Family Goes to Marinara Beach
Cory Tilson, author
Laureen Tilson, author
Alex Rodgers, illustrator
1984 Publishing
9781948221023, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

When The Pasta Family heads to Marinara Beach for a day of fun in the sun, there is certain to be excitement is right around the corner! But when the family dog (Ziti) wanders off of his leash, the family mus go in search of their favorite pet. Children ages 5 to 6 will join The Pasta Family on their latest beach adventure that includes catching a wave at the annual surfing competition -- and help find Ziti in a surprise ending! Featuring lively illustrations by Alex Rodgers, "The Pasta Family Goes to Marinara Beach" by Cory and Laureen Tilson is very highly recommended, especially for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers!

Super Saurus and the Egg
Deborah Underwood, author
Ned Young, illustrator
Disney Hyperion
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781423175698, $16.99, HC, 40pp,

When Arnold's parents bring an egg home and tell him he's going to be an older brother, Arnold is not convinced. Arnold knows the egg could be anything -- maybe even an Egg of Doom! But if a vampire-saurus flies out of the egg, Super Saurus will be ready! If a planet-crushing robot stomps out of the egg, Super Saurus will be ready! If Maud the Marauder jumps out of the egg, Super Saurus will be ready! But what happens if the Egg of Doom turns out to be Arnold's new little brother or sister? With the same wit, humor and charm that shines in their first collaboration, author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Ned Young's "Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten, young readers ages 4 to 8 will be captivated by Arnold's super imagination. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' and a wonderfully entertaining read from beginning to end, "Super Saurus and the Egg" is unabashedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Super Saurus and the Egg" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Little Mole, Please Open the Door!
Orianne Lallemand, author
Claire Frossard, illustrator
Auzou Publishing
9782733861462, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

It's winter time in the forest, and the snow is falling heavy and cold outside. Mole is quietly relaxing in her warm and cozy home when -- knock, knock, knock! Someone is knocking at the Mole's front door. One by one, all the little woodland creatures make their way to Mole's safe haven, seeking refuge from the chilling weather. Will she open her door to everyone? Even the wolf? Delightfully written by Orianne Lallemand and charmingly illustrated by Claire Frossard, "Little Mole, Please Open the Door!" is an engagingly entertaining picture book story for children ages 3 to 7, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog
Sarah Ellis, author
Kim La Fave, illustrator
Pajama Press
9781772780444, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Ben was upset when his friend Peter moved away, but now the new neighbors are moving in across the street and Ben can't wait to go say hello and make friends. That is, until he notices that this family has a pet dog; and unlike his sister and brother, Ben isn't so sure around dogs. The big jaws and big teeth make him nervous. But what Ben doesn't realize is that Max is an "old scaredy-dog" who feels nervous too. Can Ben overcome his fear and come to see eye-to-eye with a new kind of friend? A wonderfully entertaining picture book with an important underlying message for children ages 3 to 6, "Ben and the Scaredy-Dog" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel
Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, author
Tiphanie Beeke, illustrator
Apples & Honey Press
c/o Behrman House Inc.
241 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
9781681155395, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

It is the end of a hot, dry summer, and Mrs. Strauss just can't fall asleep. But when at last she falls asleep, something wakes her up again -- something her little village in Israel has been waiting for all summer long! The collaborative work of author Jennifer MacLeod and illustrator/artist Tiphanie Beeke, "Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel" is a wonderfully charming and thoroughly entertaining picture book story for children ages 2-5 that is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Poppy's Best Babies
Susan Eaddy, author
Rosalinde Bonnet, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580897709, $15.99, HC, 40pp,

Poppy is a young rabbit who is thrilled when her grandmother comes to help with the new babies. But when the twins keep GeeGee too busy to play, Poppy's jealousy spirals out of control. After some thinking time, Poppy finds a way to use her talent and creativity to welcome both her grandmother and her little sisters. An honest and heartwarming look at sibling rivalry, and readers will identify with Poppy as she struggles with sibling rivalry -- and cheer when her big heart helps her overcome her negative feelings. A wonderfully entertaining story by Susan Eaddy that is charmingly illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet for children ages 5 to 8, "Poppy's Best Babies" is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Poppy's Best Babies" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Ardie's Big Secret
Rosilyn Seay
PicBooks Publishing
9780998557649, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

When Ardie promised that he would not give away what he knew about an upcoming family surprise, it seemed so easy. But protecting the secret got harder and harder. Everything he tried seemed to backfire. Luckily, with help from his teacher, he came up with the perfect plan. Now, to execute it, all he has to do is collect an odd list of supplies, work around his two very observant parents, and make sure that his little brother doesn't do anything to ruin it all. Piece of cake. A delightfully entertaining and charmingly illustrated children's picture book by Rosilyn Seay is unreservedly recommended for young readers ages 6 to 9. While especially appropriate for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ardie's Big Secret" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

The Absolutely, Positively No Princesses Book
Ian Lender, author
Deborah Zemke, illustrator
Creston Books
PO Box 9369, Berkeley, CA 94709
9781939547514, $16.99, HC, 36pp,

Some kids like frills and sparkles and bows and lots of pink. And some don't. The girl who started "The Absolutely, Positively No Princess Book" is sure that she wants a story full of nature and adventure. But when a princess barges into the pages with her own opinions about what makes for a good story, the two learn that they each have something to offer. Together they make the best story of all. A delightfully entertaining picture book for children ages 4 to 9, "The Absolutely, Positively No Princesses Book" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

I'm Sad
Michael Ian Black, author
Debbie Ridpath Ohi, illustrator
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481476270, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Everyone feels sad sometimes -- even flamingos. Sigh. When Flamingo announces he's feeling down, the little girl and Potato try to cheer him up, but nothing seems to work. Not even dirt! (Which usually works for Potato.) Flamingo learns that he will not always feel this way. And his friends learn that sometimes being a friend means you don't have to cheer someone up. You just have to stick by your pal no matter how they feel. Even if they're a potato! "I'm Sad" is the charming picture book sequel to "I'm Bored" by author and comedian Michael Ian Black and gifted illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Smiley's Dream Book
Jeff Smith
9780545674775, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

On a beautiful sunny day, happy-go-lucky Smiley Bone is walking through the woods when he begins to count some friendly birds. The birds sing and climb so high that Smiley must find a fantastical way to keep up with them! With lively drawings and expressive word balloons, Jeff Smith has created a very special and entertaining picture book that will simply delight children ages 3 to 5, making it unreservedly recommended as an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library collections.

Hank and Gertie
Eric A. Kimmel, author
Mara Penny, illustrator
WestWinds Press
c/o Graphic Arts Books
1700 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
9781513261225, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

While taking a break from their journey out west, Hank and Gertie lose their way back to their covered wagon and stumble upon the most glorious house made of candy. Little do they know there's a dangerous witch lurking nearby, and she's got her eye on the two hungry and vulnerable children! Bringing a wonderfully entertaining and modern interpretation of a classic children's fairytale, "Hank and Gertie: A Pioneer Hansel and Gretel Story" by the team of author Eric A. Kimmel and illustrator Mara Penny is wholeheartedly and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 6 to 8. It should be noted that "Hank and Gertie" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Little Hoo Goes to School
Brenda Ponnay, author/illustrator
Xist Publishing
PO Box 61593, Irvine, CA 92602
9781532409042 $9.99 pbk / $0.99 Kindle

"Little Hoo Goes to School" is a first day at school story that will entrance and help calm fearful academic education beginners. Written in easy to read large white type against brown painted backgrounds with full page whimsical illustrations, "Little Hoo Goes to School" is a fearful baby owlet who is being prepared for his first day at school by his mother. Mama Hoo carefully enumerates a list of possible fears and worries about going to school that Little Hoo may have, because Little Hoo is afraid to tell her his fears out loud when she asks. One by one, she explains that each fear has a perfect antidote which she has anticipated and prepared for. Plus she encourages Little Hoo that learning and experiencing new things can be fun! In the end, all Little Hoo's friends cheer him on, saying "You are going to have a great day!" "Little Hoo Goes to School" is particularly effective in calming young children because it gently reassures them that their fears are not unreasonable or groundless, but that they can be anticipated and prepared for. "Little Hoo Goes to School" is a perfect back to school gift for beginners ages 4 and up.

Drummer Boy of John John
Mark Greenwood, author
Frane Lessac, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620148068 $11.95

"Drummer Boy of John John" is an upbeat story of a boy from John John, Trinidad, who longs to play in a band for Carnival, because the best things of all at Carnival, after the calypso music, fine costumes and masks, and dancing, was eating the special roti pancakes. The Roti King himself had promised free roti pancakes for the best band in the parade. Roti pancakes were folded pancakes filled with chicken, secret herbs and spices, and were delicious. All the musicians for all the bands practiced hard so they could win the contest. Winston wanted to be in a band so he could win his fill of wonderful roti pancakes, but he was a poor boy, without money to buy drums or instruments. Then, while he was eating a mango in the junkyard, Winston noticed the mango pit made a ping -pong -pang sound when it struck a milk can, then a biscuit tin, then a rust old paint bucket in the junkyard. This gave Winston a wonderful idea, and soon he began to experiment and create different sounding drums from different junkyard containers. In no time he was able to bang out simple tunes, attracting attention from his friends and neighbors. They loved the sweet sound of Winston's drums! soon he had a band practicing hard to win the roti pancake prize. On the day of the Carnival, all the bands, tamboo bamboo, chac-chac, shango drummers, and bottle -and-spoon played different rhythmic sounds, but Winston's band of rainbow colored junkyard container drums played loudest and best. People danced the limbo to Winston's sweet sounding band. Winston and his band were crowned the best in the Carnival parade, and ate their fill of rotis and drank mango lemonade all night! "Drummer Boy of John John" is based on the life story of Winston "Spree" Simon (1927-1976), who was a pioneer in the development of the steel drum, or pan. "Drummer Boy of John Johns" is supplemented by an Author's Note containing a brief biography of Winston "Spree" Simon, plus a glossary and pronunciation guide. Chief adornments of the story are found in the brilliant painted pictures of Carnival costumes, colors, drummers, and joy that splash through every page.

My Pet Peeve
Renee Rodgers Barstack, author
Mar Fandos, illustrator
9781524582807 $15.99

"My Pet Peeve" is a story in verse about a special kitten named Munchkin who helps teach others the value of tolerance and acceptance. Molly was a lonely little girl who longed for a kitten friend. Her father refused permission for her to have a cat, but one day Molly heard a sound in the barn and discovered a little tiny gold kitten with folded ears. Molly loved this kitten instantly. Her father started to sneeze when he saw the kitten, and still said no, she could not have a cat. Molly decided to hide the kitten and keep her in secret, naming her Munchkin. But Munchkin made Molly's father mad by sleeping on his green sweater, and he was angry and said she would have to leave. Munchkin and Molly were very sad. That night Munchkin crept down to the kitchen and was frightened by an electric fire. She went upstairs and awakened Molly's father and mother, and then Molly too, so they could run out of the house which was filling up with smoke. Luckily the fire trucks came and the house was saved, and Munchkin became a little furry hero. Molly's father's attitude towards cats changed overnight. He hugged Munchkin and called her "my pet peeve." Adorable color illustrations of Munchkin and Molly and their family, plus versed narrative make this a memorable child's book.

Charlie's Magical Carnival
Marit Tornqvist
Floris Books
9781782504603, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Charlie can't wait to go the carnival, but first his mother must find his party hat and red balloon. While she's searching, Charlie imagines all the wonderful things they might see: lemonade rivers and lollipop trees, elephant cabs and a cake as big as a town square. When they finally arrive at the carnival, it's even more amazing and magical than Charlie had hoped. "Charlie's Magical Carnival" is simply beautiful picture book by children's author and illustrator Marit Tornqvist that celebrates the intensity of children's imaginations and their ability to see their make-believe worlds as reality. Children ages 4 to 7 will love following Charlie on his adventure revealing the secrets of the many fold-out pages and exploring illustrations that are a riot of color. Marit's vibrant artwork is accompanied by a lyrical story of awe, adventure and the loving relationship between a parent and child making it an ideal and very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's picture book collections.

Under the Same Sky
Britta Teckentrup
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
9781680100945,$16.99, HC, 32pp,

We all live under the same sky, and we all experience many of the same hopes and dreams. Stunning artwork and lyrical text by author/illustrator Britta Teckentrup celebrate the emotions we all share in "Under the Same Sky, a truly beautiful peek-through picture book for children ages 3 to 7. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Under the Same Sky" is also available in a paperback edition (Caterpillar Books Ltd., 9781848577411, $11.36).

Sun Dog
Deborah kerbel, author
Suzanne Del Rizzo, illustrator
Pajama Press
9781772780383, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Juno and her boy live in a red house at the top of the world. One day Juno will be big and strong enough to help pull a sled across the tundra, but for now she is just a small puppy with a big-dog heart. Small puppies have to go to bed when their boys do, but Juno can't sleep with the midnight sun shining out across the town. She slips outside to play. Returning to see a hungry polar bear sniffing around the open door, Juno has no time to be afraid. It's time to summon the big dog inside her and save her beloved boy. With author Deborah Kerbel's warm, expressive text combined with illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo's charming artwork, "Sun Dog" is a love letter to life in the Arctic Circle from the perspective of a sled dog pup. It is interesting to note that Suzanne Del Rizzo's dimensional art in polymer clay and acrylic wash offers both an intimate romp with a young puppy and a sweeping celebration of the vast and beautiful tundra, making "Sun Dog" an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 7.

Pidge Takes The Stage
Michelle Staubach Grimes, author
Bill Deore, illustrator
Pidge Media
9780990842019, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

In "Pidge Takes The Stage", a young girl decides to audition for the school musical along with her canine buddy Maverick. Not everyone thinks Pidge can learn to sing or Maverick can be trained, but Pidge believes they can! Through their theatrical escapades, Pidge discovers that singing requires hard work, and that Maverick might not be ready for his stage debut after all. And by the end, Pidge understands that being a star is all a matter of perspective, and unconditional love matters more than fame. The picture book sequel to "Where Is Pidge" (9780990842002, $16.95, 40pp), "Pidge Takes The Stage" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 7.

Gifts of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Wisdom Tales
9781937786731 $17.95

Gifts of Our Lady of Guadalupe retells the Marian story and the miracles of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It's about miracles, Catholicism, the basilica dedicated to the Lady, and how one of the most famous apparitions ed to the site becoming the most popular Christian destination in the world. Young picture book readers with good reading skills or parental assistance will find Demi's vivid, lovely, colorful drawings reinforce the powerful religious history retold for young audiences.

Fruit Bowl
Mark Hoffmann
Random House/Knopf
9781524719913 $17.99

Fruit Bowl is a picture book story narrated entirely from dialogue between produce, and considers who belongs in the coveted fruit bowl. There are some unexpected controversies as the produce section inhabitants vie for a place in the bowl; especially when Tomato wishes to enter and makes a case for his membership. More than a light touch of humor ads to the zany story of fruits who compete with each other for best in display.

Too Much! Not Enough!
Gina Perry
9781101919507 $17.99

Too Much! Not Enough! will reach ages 3-7 with he fun story of Peanut and Moe, roommates and best friends who seem to be complete opposites. Peanut always wants more. Moe always wants less. Can this odd couple remain friends when so many of their habits and likes are opposites? A fun story emerges, filled with insights about getting along.

The Turtle Ship
Helena Ku Rhee
Shen's Books
c/o Lee and Low
9781885008909 $17.95

The Turtle Ship receives warm drawings by Colleen Kong-Savage and requires good reading skills of youngsters with an affinity for multicultural folk tales as it tells of Korean boy Sun-sin, who dreams of traversing the world with his pet turtle. This seems very unlikely: his turtle is poor and his dream is too big. When the king announces a contest to design a new battleship, with a trip rewarding the winner, Sun-sin becomes determined to win against all odds. Can he learn an important lesson from his turtle companion? Based on a true story, this pairs Korean culture and history with an inviting tale of perseverance and lessons about the sea.

Astronaut Annie
Suzanne Slade
Tilbury House Publishers
9780884485230 $17.95

Astronaut Annie is illustrated by Nicole Tadgell and will benefit from good reading skills by picture book enthusiasts of space. Annie wants to reveal her secret career goal on Career Day at her school. Her family thinks they know her well enough to guess what that goal will be; and the predict she'll want to follow in various family members' footsteps; but Annie has a dream bigger than them all. Can she achieve her goals? A fine story of big dreams and recognition gives young girls the special message that nothing is too big to aim for.

A Tangle of Brungles
Shobha Viswanath and Culpeo S. Fox
Karadi Tales Company Pvt. Ltd.
9788181903600 $15.95

A Tangle of Brungles pairs travel and whimsical settings with a rhyming story of marvels, miracles, and manners as witches brew a "terrible broth", various creatures are presented in collective nouns ("a mischief of mice" or a "quiver of cobras"), and witches with the goal of cooking up a tangle of Brungles face possible disaster. Kids will relish both the nouns and the dilemmas as lessons on good, evil, and manners create a zany story with a special message. The colorful and whimsical drawings are especially notable creations that will invite many parents to read aloud just to enjoy the story.

Hedgehog Needs a Hug
Jen Betton
9781524737122, $16.99

Jen Betton's Hedgehog Needs a Hug tells of a depressed little hedgehog who wakes up feeling down in the snout and droopy in the prickles. Ordinarily his animal friends would comfort him; but nobody can get past his prickly hide. How can Hedgehog feel better? When he discovers that another forest animal also lacks hugs, he learns something new about his nature and love in this warm story that invites kids to learn about animals, love, and obstacles to hugs.

How to Code a Sandcastle
Josh Funk, author
Sara Palacios, illustrator
9780425291986, $16.99

Josh Funk's How to Code a Sandcastle is illustrated by Sara Palacios and releases the first picture book collaboration with Girls Who Code for ages 4-8. The blend of a software engineer and an award-winning illustrator works well in a story that tells of Pearl, who has been futilely trying to build the perfect sandcastle. Pearl and her robot friend Pascal decide to use code to break their larger sandcastle project into more manageable steps, and their beach day changes from any other. Basic coding concepts are built into a play story that encourages a basic understanding of coding and its approaches.

The Music CD Shelf

Total Eclipse of the Rainbow
Rainbow Rock Band
Privately Published
$9.99 CD / $7.99 download

Parents' Choice Award-winning Rainbow Rock Band presents Total Eclipse of the Rainbow, a family-friendly album with a simple curriculum woven into its fun and catchy tunes. "Crazy Cakes" is a counting song; "Lee Lee the Lizard" is about colors; while "Sunflower" has lyrics about botany and photosynthesis. Upbeat and just plain fun, Total Eclipse of the Rainbow is an excellent contribution to public and school library children's music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are "Crazy Cakes", "Lee Lee the Lizard", "Sunflower", "Sparkle Fairy", "Samuel the Zookeep", "Rainbow Lullaby", and "It's Your Birthday!".

Blue Skies and Sunny Days
Frances England
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $7.92 MP3

Blue Skies and Sunny Days is a family-friendly music album by GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Frances England, brimming with the essence of hope and optimism. The cheerful songs will lift the spirits of listeners of all ages. Highly recommended, especially as an antidote to dreary days! The tracks are "Carefree", "Into the Wild", "Not Just My Sister", "Good Day", "If You Want to Sing Out", "Mama Said", "Perfect Tuesday Afternoon", and "Watching You Grow".

Best Kids
Best Coast
Amazon Original
$9.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

The first-ever children's album by Los Angeles duo Best Coast (consisting of singer/guitarist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist Bobb Bruno), Best Kids is an album featuring songs that are kid- friendly while also appealing to parents. Lively, innocent, and utterly delightful, Best Kids is a treasure offering both original songs and remixes of classic favorites. Highly recommended! The tracks are "When You Wish Upon a Star", "Cats & Dogs", "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star", "Ice Cream Mountain", "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows", "Rock-a-Bye Baby", "If You're Happy and You Know It", "Rainbow Connection", "Favorite Colors", "Peanuts", and "When I'm With You".

Dog on the Floor
$13.98 CD / $9.49 MP3

Dog on the Floor is the latest music album by beloved children's performer Raffi, featuring three songs inspired by his new puppy Luna, as well as other original creations and Raffi's interpretations of timeless classics such as George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun". The result is adventurous, creative, and a "must" for parents and families who have cherished Raffi's uplifting music across generations. Highly recommended! The tracks are "The Way It Goes", "Luna's Song", "Play Play Play", "Listen To The Horses", "Mary Had A Little Lamb", "Walkin' My Dog", "Fiddle Dance", "Market Day", "Here Comes The Sun", "Dragonfly", "Love Grows Love", "Dog On The Floor", "Rainbow", "Take a Breath", and bonus song "It Takes A Village".

Randy & Dave
Song Wizard Records
1881304205 $14.98

Featuring an accompanying booklet with all sing-along lyrics, Snorkel is a family-friendly music album collusion by Grammy-winning songwriter Randy Sharp and award-winning music artist Dave Kinnoin. Together, they have made a hilarious set of silly tunes featuring comical animals and whimsical lyrics. Snorkel is fun to share and makes an excellent gift, highly recommended! The tracks are "Absolutely Nowhere to Go", "Mr. Berschmicker", "Everybody's Ignorant", "My Little Dog", "Funny Papers", "Mixed-Up Day", "Snorkel", "Curly Cat", "Why Not?", "Squirrel", "Oh Wait, That Wasn't Me", and "I Should Have Been Born in Mexico".

Wake Up the Dream
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Underground Playground Records
$12.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Wake Up the Dream is a family-friendly album by the Grammy-winning Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, featuring original music that explores the world of dreams and dream-inspired songs. Mixing retro R&B with funk and hip hop storytelling, Wake Up the Dream encourages listeners of all ages to transform their hopes and daydreams into a better real-world future! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Wake Up the Dream", "Where Did the Magic Go", "Makeshift Spaceship", "Dreaming Again", "The Stonecutter", "You Caught My Eye", "Black & White Squares", "Broken Dreams", "Tomorrow's Yesterday", and "Story / Tellers".

Thumb Wrestling Champions
The Green Orbs
Mama Bird Music
$10.00 CD / $10.00 download

Ideal for young people ages 5-12 yet fun for listeners of all ages, Thumb Wrestling Champions is a just-plain-fun music album that takes joy in the absurd. Delightfully funny lyrics set to a medley of jazzy music makes Thumb Wrestling Champions the perfect way to add a burst of sunshine to a rainy day, spread cheer during a long car trip, or liven up a children's party. Highly recommended, especially for family and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Thumb Wrestling Champions", "The Suction Cup Shuffle", "Doug the Bug", "Monster Spray Part 1", "Outside", "Ruby the Tooth Fairy", "Tips from Toby the Turtle", "Monster Spray Part II", "Flower In My Shower", "Robert Broccoli", "The Duck of Whistleburg", "Monster Spray Part III", "Twelve Steps to Eating Your Veggies", and "Soup". 40 min.

The Audiobook Shelf

P. C. Cast, author
Kristin Cast, author
Caitlin Davies, narrator
Blackstone Audiobooks
31 Mistletoe Road, Ashland, OR 97520
9781538430064, $34.95, CD,

The moment Other Kevin returns to his world trouble begins. Thankfully, he finds friends and allies -- some expected, some unexpected -- and soon discovers he, like his sister, can wield Old Magick. But without a mentor to help him, will Kevin be tempted to embrace Darkness? Back in our Tulsa, things have settled down since Zoey and the gang closed the tear between worlds. A new school year has begun, and Zoey's exchange student program with public schools is really taking off. All is well. But if all is well, why is Zoey increasingly withdrawn and moody? Stark thinks he knows what's wrong -- and he is determined not to lose Zoey to the Other World and Heath, who is there and very much alive. Stevie Rae thinks she knows what's wrong -- Z just needs a break. Maybe a little vacay? And the rest of the Nerd Herd thinks their Z will be fine -- just give her some time to stop missing (and worrying about) Other Kevin. But Zoey knows the truth. In the Other World her brother is using Old Magick, unaware of the dangers it holds. Without guidance, what will stop him from giving in to the potent pull of Old Magick? Without her guidance, Other Kevin could lose more than the war against Neferet -- he could lose his soul. And Z knows she must help him -- after all, he is her little brother! A part of the 'A House of Night Other World' series by the team of P. C. and Kristin Cast, "Lost" is ably narrated by Caitlin Davies. This complete and unabridged edition is very highly recommended, especially for community library audio book collections for young listeners ages 12 to 17.

The Multimedia Shelf

If My Moon Was Your Sun
Andreas Steinhofel, author
Nele Palmtag, illustrator
Georges Bizet, composer
Plough Publishing House
151 Bowne Drive, PO Box 398, Walden, NY 12586
9780874860795, $19.00, HC, 80pp,

Max is a little boy who has kidnaped his grandfather from a nursing home. Max lives in a small town and his grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. When Max takes his grandpa out of the nursing home they are followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Everyone was after them! Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives. "If My Moon Was Your Sun" is a simply lovely and touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. With full-color illustrations and a read-along CD audiobook featuring twelve classical pieces for children by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev, "If My Moon Was Your Sun" will prove to be a uniquely welcome and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 6 to 12.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Why Evergreen Trees Are Green All Year
Sydelle Pearl, author
Anca Delia Budeanu, illustrator
RR Books
PO Box 6654, Reading, PA 19610
9781608926169 $4.99 16 pages

"Why Evergreen Trees Are Green All Year" is a charmingly presented illustrated First Nations folktale that will delight children of all ages. Long ago, all trees were bare in the cold winter, losing leaves and needles too. One beautiful fall day, filled with colored leaves on the trees, Little Bird could not fly south because of a broken wing. Little Bird went first to the Oak Tree and then to the Willow Tree, asking if he could stay in their branches for the winter while his wing healed. He offered to sing to them. both trees scorned Little Bird, offering no winter hospitality for his bleak winter. Then Little Bird asked Pine Tree, although by then he was very sad and crying. Pine Tree hugged Little Bird and invited him to stay safe in his branches for the winter, saying "Your wing will get better, and we can sing together." When winter came, the North Wind blew and blew. he blew all the leaves off the trees. Then the North Wind stopped and told Pine Tree:" "Pine Tree, you were so kind to Little Bird that I will not blow the needles off the trees." so that is the reason why evergreen trees keep their needles all year long, because long ago a pine tree was kind to a little bird with a broken wing. Delicate colored illustrations embellish this First Nations tale retold for children of today.

Who Will Bell The Cat?
Patricia C. McKissack, author
Christopher Cyr, illustrator
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823437009, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

A cat enters a barn and terrorizes a community of mice. Smart Mouse and Friend Mouse think they have solved the problem when they make a collar with a bell for the cat. But who will put the collar on the cat? Wee Mouse, Tiny Mouse, and Teeny Mouse nearly meet their demise in the first attempt. The Rat Pack offers to do it for a fee, but quickly surrenders. Then Smart Mouse and Friend Mouse figure out a way to get a human to help them. A classic story told by Patricia C. McKissack and beautifully illustrated by Christopher Cyr, "Who Will Bell The Cat?" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Who Will Bell The Cat?" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

The Military Shelf

Military Dogs
Emily Schlesinger, author
Red Rhino Books
c/o Saddleback Educational Publishing
9781680210750 $9.95 pbk / $9.95 Kindle

"Military Dogs" is an easy reading level handbook on the many profiles of trained military dogs in US armed forces. Using actual histories of military dogs, the varying talents and roles such as scouting, smelling, and warning plus rescue efforts of dogs are described. Extensive special training begins for a military dog after it is 6 months old, and after it has passed puppy preschool. Military dogs are very valuable to special ops and other secret war efforts. President Obama once awarded a special medal to a brave dog named Cairo who was an elite soldier with the Navy SEALS. Military dogs have special handlers and must undergo special training. They may risk their lives to save the men and women they work with. When military dogs retire, often their handlers adopt them. If not, there is a long list of families who want to adopt retired military dogs. Many items of interest in military dog history are showcased in sidebars titled K9 Trivia, while color photographs of military dogs in training and in action highlight the pages of this book. At the end of "Military Dogs" is a Glossary of terms to help enlarge enjoyment of this inspiring true textbook. Also highly recommended is another title from this series by the same author, "Zombie Creatures (9781680210743)."

The Science Shelf

Garfield Kwan and Dana Song
Andrews McMeel Publishing
1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106-2109
9781449490249 $9.99

Featuring full-color illustrations and fascinating facts on every page, Squidtoons: Exploring Ocean Science with comics is an engaging introduction to the science of marine life. Although Squidtoons is especially intended for young adults, readers of all ages will learn amazing new things! "Red light cannot reach very deep into the ocean. While the red tuna crab will stand out in the blue surface ocean, a tuna crab that is deeper in the ocean will appear nearly invisible. This helps the tuna crab avoid becoming a crunchy snack." Edifying and a joy to page through, Squidtoons is highly recommended especially for grade school and public library children's collections, as well as for gift-giving to young people with inquisitive minds!

Hungry for Science: Poems to Crunch On
Kari-Lynn Winters, author
Lori Sherritt Fleming, author
Peggy Collins, illustrator
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
195 Allstate Parkway, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 4T8
9781554553969, $18.95, HC, 32pp,

The collaborative project of Kari-Lynn Winters (who is a best-selling children's author, literacy researcher and professor); Lori Sherritt-Fleming (who is a teacher, performer, and children's book author); and Peggy Collins (who is the author/illustrator of several successful children's books), "Hungry for Science: Poems to Crunch On" is a poetic look at basic science concepts. This collection of short, lively poems help young readers ages 5 to 8 in exploring scientific concepts ranging from chemical reactions, to magnets, to life cycles, and more! Of special note is the inclusion of a glossary of scientific terms that is included in the backmatter. As entertaining as it is educationally informative, "Hungry for Science: Poems to Crunch On" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Calling All Minds
Temple Grandin
Philomel Books
9781524738204 $18.99

Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor comes from an autistic doctor of animal science and a university professor who has written twelve prior books on autism and animal behavior. Here she tailors her discussion for ages 8-12 as she encourages creative thinking, problem-solving, an awareness of science and innovations, and profiles some twenty personal childhood projects that led her to become a scientist. From the inventors who created these examples and how they worked to step-by-step directions to recreating the projects, this book is perfect for encouraging kids to develop an interest in science and its processes.

The Bilingual Shelf

Red Envelopes: sobres Rojos
Chris Helene Bridge, author/illustrator
Bright Sky Press
2365 Rice Blvd., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77005
9781942945659, $19.95, HC, 32pp,

"Red Envelopes: sobres Rojos" is a bilingual (English/Spanish) picture book that celebrates the joy of giving and receiving unexpected messages of love any day of the year. Why wait for the calendar to decide when to brighten someone's day? Sending Red envelopes brings joy to both the sender and the lucky person who receives one! Red envelopes can be placed in unexpected places -- not just sent in the mail. "Red Envelopes: sobres Rojos" includes a list of items young readers might want to put in envelopes (a penny for good luck, a balloon for joy and many other meaningful tokens) and invites young readers to share their ideas about who they would like to send a red envelope to and why. Their answers often provide insights that open the door to a deeper understanding of their lives. What's in the red envelope? Come discover the answer in this delightful, bilingual rhyming picture book for children ages 6 to 10 and just imagine all the people who might like to receive a surprise message of love! "Red Envelopes: sobres Rojos" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections.

The Fiction Shelf

Bravo, Benny
Joanna H. Kraus, author
Mariana Dragomirova, illustrator
Mirror Publishing
9781612254029, $12.99, PB,

"Bravo, Benny" is described as an intergenerational story for readers ages 4-8. Filled with large, colorful portraits of Benny and characters in action, "Bravo, Benny" tells a realistic story about a brave Beagle who slowly wins the heart of a reluctant grandmother when he defends her red polished toenail from a threatening brown and gold snake. On a seashore picnic together, Benny had already won eight year old Nina's heart, but Granny Lil had been alienated by Benny's overenthusiastic "marking" by wetting her pants leg. Both Nina and Arthur, Benny's owner, tried to explain to Granny Lil that rescue dogs needed extra attention and love. Nina sighed and wished she had a dog like Benny. But Granny Lil had a change of heart after Benny alerted her to the imminent danger of the brown and yellow snake, close to biting her big toe. All three humans became strong supporters of Benny, agreeing "Bravo, Benny!" after this telling example of a Beagle's loyalty and affection. This colorful adopted shelter dog story is intergenerational in appeal and realistic in its candid but loving portrayal of a brave Beagle named Benny.

The Girl with More Than One Heart
Laura Geringer Bass
Amulet Books
c/o Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419728822, $16.99, HC, 288pp,

How can Briana "be her own" when her grieving mother needs her to take care of her demanding little brother all the time? When all her grandpa can do is tell stories instead of being the "rock" she needs? When her not-so-normal home life leaves no time to pursue her dream of writing for the school literary magazine? When the first blush of a new romance threatens to be nipped in the bud? Forced by the loss of her favorite parent to see all that was once familiar with new eyes, Briana draws on her own imagination, originality, and tender loving heart to discover a surprising path through the storm. A thoroughly entertaining read from first page to last, "The Girl with More Than One Heart" is especially recommended to the attention of young readers ages 8 to 12. Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to school and community library Contemporary General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Girl with More Than One Heart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Everything Else in the Universe
Tracy Holczer
9780399163944 $16.99

Everything Else in the Universe is set in the era of the Vietnam War, when a young girl struggles with her father's return from war and a purple heart she finds buried in her garden. Lucy is twelve, and her impressions, desire for order and interactions with near-stranger relatives and a new home collide with her desire to have everything 'return to normal', the way it was before. Her father's long-anticipated homecoming doesn't solve all her problems, however, and 'normal life' seems even more elusive as Lucy puts together the pieces of an adult puzzle, forms new friendships, and receives new lessons about family connections. Young adults looking for a Vietnam War experience that captures its impact on a family through the eyes of a preteen will find Everything Else in the Universe a powerful story of change, family connections, and love.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Blood Will Out
Jo Treggiari
Penguin Teen
9780735262959 $17.99

Blood Will Out provides a striking young adult thriller that reads like adult fiction with its complex and involving story. Ari Sullivan wakens at the bottom of a cistern injured and alone, placed in a trap by an assailant who will surely return to kill her. Until this moment, Ari has held the singular focus of a teen fantasizing about her first romance. Now she's becoming aware that not just she, but her entire community is being threatened, and that Ari's situation may be only the first in a series of deadly encounters. Recommended for mature teens with a special interest in murder mystery/thrillers, Blood Will Out is involving, well-constructed, and hard to put down.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Barbara Tyner
Switchback Press
9780998519388 $14.95

Rhyaden is a middle-grade fantasy novel, set in world where trees talk and the last living dragon mentors a young man who may be his kingdom's only hope for freedom from a tyrannical invasion. A parable about how the choices we make define ourselves and our future, as well as a rousing adventure, Rhyaden is a page-turner to the very end. Highly recommended, especially for public and school library young adult fantasy collections.


Chris D'Lacey's The Earth Dragons: Dark Wyng (9780545900577, $16.99) tells of a human boy who bounds with a pair of baby dragons, which gives him strange new powers. The dragons suspect young Ren may be plotting against them, but his dragon friends believe in him. Meanwhile, it's true that Ren has a special purpose and use for this bond; but it's not what anyone thinks. Add a war between dragons and humans, an odd new leader with remarkable powers, a journey into dragon lands and an ancient force that will challenge and embrace all for a fantasy that is complex, riveting, and especially recommended reading for young adult fans of Anne McCaffrey's style of fantasy. Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater's Pip Bartlett's Guide to Sea Monsters (9780545709323, $9.99) tells of two children who already of a history of effectively dealing with magical dilemmas. In this story, they're heading to the seaside and a host of magical sea creatures that bring with them a mystery involving one renegade sea monster given to escape. Adults not well-versed in magic have no idea what to do; so it's Pip and Tomas to the rescue in a zany easier reader recommended for grades 3-5.

The Sports Shelf

Sports Are Fantastic Fun!
Ole Konnecke
Gecko Press
9781776572014, $19.99, HC, 56pp,

Cycling, ice hockey, athletics, tennis --there are so many sports and they're all fabulous! Soccer is great, except when your team keeps shooting and missing. Horse-riding is wonderful so long as the horse does what the rider wants. Running, cycling, and swimming require agility and endurance. Other sports like ballet are not about speed but strength and style. Sports lovers small and big will find the one they love best and some surprises in this witty and fun picture book by artist and author Ole Konnecke for children ages 3 to 5. "Sports Are Fantastic Fun!" is warmly and enthusiastically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book collections.

The Education Shelf

How Many? Book and Teacher's Guide
Christopher Danielson
9781625312181 $33.33

The How Many? book and teacher's guide package pairs a children's book about repeating patterns and relationships with an accompanying guide for educators that explores the math concepts and discussions likely to stem from the picture book, and offers insights on learning counting, number sequences, units, values, and more. Excerpts from classroom and home learning situations reinforce the basics of how to best use the picture book's format, which involves presenting multiple things to count on each page. The result is a lovely package that will interest not just elementary-grade teachers and librarians, but many a parent or homeschooling effort.

The Gaming Shelf

Pokemon Super Deluxe Essential Handbook
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338230895 $14.99

Pokemon Super Deluxe Essential Handbook is a full-color guide to the cute, charming, and clever creatures used to fight battles in the enormously popular Pokemon series of role-playing video games. Packed cover to cover with statistics, facts, and full-color artwork of over 800 Pokemon, including information on their Z-moves, types, evolutions, mega evolutions, Pokemon Super Deluxe Essential Handbook is a quick and easy way to look up the different Pokemon among the many games of the series, including Alola Region Pokemon introduced in the recent releases of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon. Highly recommended as a giftbook or collector's treasure for Pokemon fans of all ages!

Books in Series

Absolute Expert Dinosaurs
Steve Brusatte, national Geographic explorer
Lela Nargi, author
National Geographic
1145 17th Street N.W., Washington, D. C. 20036
9781426331404, $14.99, 112pp,

"Dinosaurs" is the latest exciting title from the Absolute Expert series from National Geographic. Written for readers age 8-10 and up, "Dinosaurs" is introduced and partially narrated by Steve Brusatte, national Geographic explorer. Four illustration-and-fact-packed chapters cover the Superstars of the Mesozoic Era, Here Come the Dinosaurs, the Lives of the Dinosaurs, and After the Dinosaurs. Every chapter has a fascinating Explorer Introduction, main chapter body of information, and a hands on finishing chapter called Dig In which offers fun matching game quizzes reviewing the important parts of the chapter. Fascinating color illustrations portray many different dinosaurs in each chapter, supplemented by multiple timelines in sidebars. Color photos of dinosaur skeletons and fossils abound as well. Interesting curious facts are presented in small orange rectangles, such as, "Dinosaurs were probably mesothermic like sharks." Multiple global sites for fossil and dinosaur digs are referenced, shown, and discussed. In the closing chapter, fascinating findings about the Chicxulub asteroid's impact, thought to have caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, are presented. In addition, a color coded global map showing evidence of dinosaurs found all over the world is highlighted on pages 100-101. For young dino experts, a pronunciation guide and references for further dinosaur reading are provided. "Dinosaurs" is a fabulous learning opportunity for elementary and middle school readers which makes learning effortless. Further titles in the Absolute Expert series that are also highly recommended include: "Volcanoes (9781426331428, $14.99)," by Lela Nargi with explorer Arianna Soldati, "Dolphins (9781426330100, $14.99)," by Jennifer Swanson with explorer Justine Jackson-Ricketts, and "Soccer (9781426330087, $14.99)," by Eric Zweig with professional referee Mark Geiger.

Let's Celebrate Emancipation Day and Juneteenth
Barbara deRubertis, author
Kane Press
225 East 46th St., #4D, New York, NY 10017-2924
9781635920611 $7.95 PB, $25.32 Library Binding, 32pp,

"Let's Celebrate Emancipation Day and Juneteenth" is a title from the Holidays & Heroes nonfiction series for children ages 7-10 years. Filled with full color and sepia and black and white illustrations and historic photographs, this title delivers a sound overview of the underlying history of slavery in the United States, plus focusing on the resulting holidays of Emancipation Day and Juneteenth, the former celebrated on April 16 in the District of Columbia, and the latter celebrated in Texas and 45 other states on June 19, or Juneteenth. The reason for the later June date of celebration in Texas and other states is explained as follows: President Lincoln signed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862, so emancipation is celebrated on that date in the District of Columbia (only). It was not until June 19, 1865, after the Civil War that slaves in Texas found out about the Emancipation Proclamation, when Union General Gordon Granger read Lincoln's proclamation aloud in Galveston. Hence, emancipation of slaves is celebrated on June 19, or Juneteenth in Texas and 45 other states. Since that time, many efforts have culminated in huge celebrations of Juneteenth in a number of special parks in Texas which were formed on land purchased by African Americans specifically for that purpose. Juneteenth celebrations are attended by many thousands of people, and include speeches, games, music, and picnics with red food and drinks, because red is a symbol of enslaved peoples' courage. So foods such as barbecue, red velvet cake, strawberry desserts, and red soda pop are served! Families can gather for reunions, children learn about the history of slavery and finally emancipation in U.S. history, African American history, culture, and achievements can be celebrated too. In particular, "all Americans can discuss ways to solve current problems caused by the long-lasting effects of slavery." In 1979, Juneteenth became the official state holiday celebrating emancipation in Texas, and this spread gradually to 45 other states. In contrast, the history of Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia has been celebrated on April 16 since the original signing by President Lincoln in 1862. Parades were held from 1866-1901, then suspended for 100 years. Parades celebrating Emancipation were brought back in 2002, and in 2004, April 16 became an official holiday in D. C. only. "Let's Celebrate Emancipation day & Juneteenth" does a masterful job of condensing the history of slavery and abolitionism in the U. S. and documenting as the foundation for the two important holiday dates. Many heroes and heroines of the emancipation effort are noted in this title, including Harriet Tubman, President Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Frederick Douglass. Appealing to students in grades 1 and up, "Let's Celebrate Emancipation Day & Juneteenth" is an excellent introduction to the history and repeal of slavery in the United States, with emphasis that much work remains to be done in continuing efforts to repair damage incurred by the long history of slavery. Other titles in the Holidays & Heroes series that are also very highly recommended include the following: "Women's Equality Day (9781635920642, $7.95)," "Let's Celebrate New Year's Day (9781635920581, $7.95)," and "Let's Celebrate Election Day (9781635920550, $7.95)," all by Barbara deRubertis.

Crabtree Publishers

Three new series additions are recommended picks for elementary-level students looking for bright, lively reads suitable for reports. Megan Kopp's Archaeologists in Action (9780778746454, $27.60 each) joins others in the 'Scientists in Action' series for Grade 5, which profiles different scientific investigations. In this book archaeologists act like detectives, unearthing clues to the past and using them to recreate history. Concepts of investigation are not only true to archaeological pursuits, but teach basic tools on archaeological research. Sheri Doyle's Designing Healthy Communities: Design Thinking for a Better World (9780776744597, $31.32) for grades 6-7 provides 48 pages of detail on how communities can be changed by healthier living and eating choices using design-thinking principles. It joins other books in a new series which promotes this method of thought, pairing real-world applications and case studies with hands-on learning. Adrianna Morganelli's Dream Jobs in Architecture & Construction (9780778744375, $27.60) adds to the other five books in the new series 'Cutting-Edge Careers in Technical Education' for grade 5. This provides 32 pages of specifics on careers in the building and architecture trades, discussing the process of designing, building, and maintaining buildings in a lively profile of men and women who enjoy working with their hands and building technical careers. All are basic and bright coverages kids will find intriguing and fun.

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

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

Anne's Colors
Kelly Hill
Tundra Books
9780735262843 $7.99

Diana Fisher

For children learning colors, this unique board book is engaging and delightful to explore. The illustrations - hand-embroidered tableaus - are cozy and sweet, with enough elements in each to hold interest and entice the imaginations of little ones. Inspired by the story, Anne of Green Gables, it stands alone as a darling way to introduce and teach colors. (Ages 3+)

The Three Little Superpigs
Claire Evans
9781338245455 $14.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever wondered what happened to those three little pigs once that big bad wolf was outsmarted? Well, here's the sequel! The wolf has had lots of time to plot his revenge while incarcerated for his dastardly deeds. The winning illustrations bring this old classic a fresh twist on its telling. It'll be fun for all. (Ages 3-5)

Misunderstood Shark
Ame Dyckman, author
Scott Magoon, illustrator
Orchard Books
c/o Scholastic
9781338112474 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

The filming of an underwater TV show goes awry when the crew gets interrupted by a sharrrk! Poor Shark, he wasn't trying to scare them, he's just misunderstood! Then he's accused of trying to eat a fish. Will Shark ever catch a break? After all, he wasn't going to eat the fish, he was just showing it his new tooth! Or was he? Interesting fun facts throughout the story. (Ages 3-5)

Nanny Paws
Wendy Wahman
Two Lions
c/o Amazon Children's Publishing
9781503954366 $17.99 hc / $3.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

We take our pets seriously. They are members of our family, and a vital part of our personal community. And, they too, seem to view us with the same love and devotion. Nanny Paws is an adorable tribute to that returned loyalty. Nanny watches over her girls with pure delight. This is a bright and lively depiction of the joys that are shared growing up with our furry friends. (Ages 3-7)

What's Next Door?
Nicola O'Byrne
Nosy Crow
c/o Candlewick Press
9780763696344 $15.99 hc / $10.35 pbk

Julianne Black

All he wants to do is get home... or, he'll eat you. Each page brings a problem for poor Carter the Alligator and that means a new task for the reader. With every page, your preschooler will squeal with delight watching what happens to poor Carter. Completely adorable interactive story in cheeky Mo Williams style humor paired with bright and busy illustrations. Most definitely a smile winner! (Ages 3-7)

Goodnight, Anne
Kallie George, author
Genevieve Godbout, illustrator
Tundra Books
9781770499263 $17.99 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

I am a true fan of L.M. Montgomery's classic novel, Anne of Green Gables, and found this sweet reminiscence of Anne's ability to catch you up in her exuberance, a great delight. Kallie George depicts Anne's lively ability to breathe in the very essence of life all around her, and will encourage readers everywhere to capture and release every joy with a full and thankful heart. (Ages 3-7)

Pippa & Percival, Pancake & Poppy: Four Peppy Puppies
Deborah Diesen, author
Grace Zong, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781585363865 $16.99 hc / $16.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

This delightful story is sure to bring shouts and pleas to read it again. Its upbeat rhythm keeps pace with these four peppy pups! It's fun, colorful, and adventurous. (Ages 3-7)

I'm a Duck
Eve Bunting, author
Will Hillenbrand, illustrator
Candlewick Press
9780763680329 $15.99 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet, rhythmic tale rolls as easily across the heart as it does the tongue while reading aloud. The illustrations by Hillenbrand so capture Duck with endearing charm that you love him from the first page. An adorable story to remind us we are wonderfully made, and perfectly equipped to undo our fears. (Ages 3-7)

Night Job
Karen Hesse, author
G. Brian Karas, illustrator
Candlewick Press
9780763662387 $16.99 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a sweet story of life shared between a boy and his dad. Memories of moments embraced together in the face of daily, or in this case nightly, routine events. Passing time may rub and smudge the details, but the heart catches and holds the togetherness forever. (Ages 3-7)

The World-Famous Book of Counting
Sarah Goodreau
Big Picture Press
c/o Candlewick Press
9780763698942 $18.99 hc

Diana Fisher

Based on a magic show, this pop-up, lift-the-flap, pull-the-tab board book makes learning to count fun and interactive. Each page represents a number - one through ten, and additionally, zero - by way of revealing elements of the magic show, which must be discovered and then can be counted. The interactive aspect and colorful illustrations will entice children to play with this book over and over. (Ages 3-7)

A Campfire Tail
Sarah Glenn Marsh, author
Ana Gomez, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
9781454919933 $16.95 hc

Julianne Black

Playing to your strengths. Staying true to your friends. Being yourself. Acceptance. Inclusion. Celebrating differences. There are so many lessons wrapped up into this adorable picture book about a summer camp set of buddies that go through the worst and best camp life has to offer. Adorable illustrations, wonderful rhythm, and hysterical situations bring this picture book to its conclusion, a feel good reminder of what makes strangers into great friends. (Ages 4+)

The Thank You Book
Mary Lyn Ray, author
Stephanie Graegin, illustrator
HMH Books for Young Readers
9780544791367 $13.99 hc / $9.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

I love this little book! The illustrations are heartfelt and endearing. Its message monumental. At times we look out over the horizon and our world seems to be crumbling. Coming from an older generation, I see things that once were that no longer are. Oh, the motions are the same. The words remain the same, but the heart that lit and carried them forth has dimmed its light. This little book stokes the dying embers, and reminds us that Thank You is more than good manners. More than vague responses to actions. It's life stirring in the heart and giving a response of genuine joy. Let's rekindle the excitement in our little ones, and bring a new beat to our steps. (Ages 4-7)

Quiet Wyatt
Tammi Sauer, author
Arthur Howard, illustrator
Clarion Books
c/o HMH Books for Young Readers
9780544113305 $17.99 hc / $12.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Life would soon become boring if everything and everyone were the same. It's the differences that supply depth and shading to the overall picture. In this story, Wyatt is quiet, and he likes it that way. Until one day, he is paired up with noisy Noreen. We all find ourselves in similar situations at some time or another. Times when the differences and contrasts pinch and bind. But, Wyatt manages to stay true to himself, and still find acceptance for those who are different. (Ages 4-7)

I am the Boss of this Chair
Carolyn Crimi, author
Marisa Morea, illustrator
Sterling Children's Books
9781454923220 $16.56 hc

Larissa Juliano

Having a sense of ownership and pride with certain things is a special treat and luxury as we get older and more comfortable, and that is exactly how kitty cat Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III feels in his lovely and beautifully, brightly illustrated home: comfortable. Readers with siblings will make lots of personal connections to this story as Oswald's life changes when a new member named Pom-Pom arrives. Pom-Pom especially loves Oswald's chair, provoking Oswald to behave like a naughty little cat until they both get in trouble with their owner! Fantastic story for picture book lovers of all ages! (Ages 4-7)

See Hear: There's magic all around you. What can you see? What can you hear?
Tania McCartney and Jess Racklyeft
EK Books
9781925335675 $17.99 hc

Julianne Black

A friendly and engaging explanation and illustration of situations involving the senses. The first half of the book dives into sight, but then twists in the middle to where the back cover becomes the beginning of the hearing section. Both senses meet in the middle in a clever way that invites the viewer to flip the book in order to explore the complementing side. Designed for children three and up, I think this could be used in kindergarten and even first grade as an introductory to basic sense exploration in science programs. Successful coverage of the topic plus the added bonus for being fun to flip through. (Ages 4-7)

Bitty Bot's Big Beach Getaway
Tim McCanna, author
Tad Carpenter, illustrator
Paula Wiseman Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781481449311 $17.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Bitty Bot doesn't think the beach is much of a vacation. The sun is too hot and the sand is too gritty. He'd be much happier back home in Robot City. Until he makes some new friends, that is. Together, they let their imaginations play and find real adventure in Botco Bay. Fun can always be found where you allow it! (Ages 4-8 )

When a Dragon Moves In
Jodi Moore, author
Howard McWilliam, illustrator
Flash Light Press
9780979974670 $16.95 hc / $1.99 Kindle

Larissa Juliano

When a Dragon Moves In is a delightful story about adventures with your dragon on the beach and all the creative things you can do with a pointy-tailed, crimson-winged friend by your side. The story starts with a little boy building a magnificent sand castle which attracts the attention of a home-seeking dragon. He comes in especially handy for keeping beach bullies away and creating the flight in a kite. Eventually the boy's family gets a bit annoyed with all the dragon talk and the two companions part ways, until the next beach day, of course. (Ages 5-7)

When a Dragon Moves In Again
Jodi Moore, author
Howard McWilliam, illustrator
Flash Light Press
9781936261352 $17.95 hc / $1.99 Kindle

Larissa Juliano

When a Dragon Moves In Again has equally gorgeous illustrations from corner to corner and captures the human characters expressions/emotions so magically that readers will find something new to look at with each read. This sequel begins with the father building a "castle" and of course this brings our fiery friend back into the plot. I marvel at the imagination and writing of author Jodi Moore as she ties the whole story together to the dragon adventures (is he part of the boys imagination or isn't he?) into welcoming a baby into the family and the boy changing his mind about the new addition in a heartwarming ending. (Ages 5-7)

The Fox on the Swing
Evelina Daciute, author
Ausra Kiudulaite, illustrator
Thames & Hudson, Inc.
9780500651568 $16.49 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

Paul is a young boy who lives in a tree with his parents. In Paul's world, everything wonderful is orange, especially an odd fox he meets along his routine walk. Paul always keeps his eyes wide open, hoping to find adventure in any unsuspecting place. One special day, he comes upon the oddest thing, an orange fox on a swing. This sweet story of friendship will forever keep children hoping to find adventure. (Ages 5-9)

Waves: Physical Science for Kids
Andi Diehn, author
Hui Li, illustrator
Nomad Press
9781619306356 $19.95 hc / $9.92 pbk

Dawn Menge

Science can be fun for your children when they try the STEM activities included in this beautifully illustrated science book about waves. If you have a ball floating in a bucket of water and you move your finger around to make waves in the water, what happens to the ball? "Waves in water, waves in wheat. Waves at a game: 'Stand up! Take a seat!' Waves in your hair, waves with your hand, powerful waves under the land. Make waves in a string, then stretch it taut, Waves are everywhere, whether we see them or not!" (Ages 6-9)

Mr. Wolf's Class
Aron Nels Steinke
9781338047684 $9.94 pbk / $5.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Mr. Wolf has just started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary. He wants the first day of school to go well, but he's got his hands full with his new class. Some of his students include: Margot, who is new in town and is trying to make friends. Sampson, who brought something special to school for show-and-tell. Aziza, who just wants everyone to be quiet and do their work. And Penny, who is VERY sleepy because she has a new baby brother at home, goes missing! I found this book to be a funny and adventurous tale that will keep any reader's attention. (Ages 7-10)

Dream Big: A True Story of Courage and Determination
Dave McGillivray with Nancy Feehrer, authors
Ron Himler, illustrator
Nomad Press
9781619306189 $16.95 hc

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a true story of heart. Life may not always play fair, challenging our dreams, testing our grit. But, if it's a true dream of the heart, we always manage to find our way through it. Dave's dream to be an athlete is sorely pressed upon, but he never gives up and finds his own personal way to achieve. A story of love and determination. (Ages 7-12)

Sewing School Quilts: 15 Projects Kids will Love to Make
Amie Petronis Plumley and Andria Lisle, authors
Justin Fox Burks, photography
Storey Kids
9781612128597 $18.95 spiral-bound / $9.99 Kindle

Dawn Menge

Quilt-making dates back to the Egyptian Pharaohs in 3400 BC. This step-by-step guide book gives you pictures and patterns for a variety of quilts, including how to make a fabric story. It even has a list of 10 uses for quilts, including keeping one in the car, using it as a bedspread, and snuggling up with your favorite handmade one. There's a quilting dictionary that defines words such as applique, array, patchwork, and selvage. This how-to book will become a favorite and provide hours of fun and creativity. (Ages 8-12)

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
Alex Gino
9780545956246 $16.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri, age 11

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! is a heartfelt story of family, friendship, and discrimination. Jilly learns that every day in life she can grow and learn from her mistakes. Jilly's baby sister is born deaf and her online friend is deaf and black. This opens her eyes to the world around her and discrimination of both deaf people and people of color. Jill is determined to stand up to bullies. (Ages 8-12)

Making Friends
Kristen Gudsnuk
c/o Scholastic
9781338139211 $12.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle

Olivia Amiri, age 11

Making Friends is a comical, graphic novel. Dany moves to a new school for 7th grade, which turns out to be difficult. Especially in the area of making friends. Dany gets a magical notebook from her deceased aunt's attic. And much to Dany's surprise, her drawing of what her "dream best friend" would be comes alive along with other people she draws. But sometimes what we image isn't always the case. (Ages 8-12)

Panther Creek Mountain: The Big Adventure
Clyde McCulley
Story Night Press
9780998669915 $8.95 pbk / $1.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Clay and Luke are brothers who live in the Appalachian Mountains during the 1950s. The boys and their cousin Sally Jane are trying to come up with ways to make money. They discover a hidden cave with pots and pans inside; there is also a wooden table and a fire pit. They wonder if someone still lives there and if they'll come back. They decide to make this cave their secret clubhouse but have no idea of what's to come. A great book to inspire kids to turn off their video games and head outside for some wholesome outdoor adventures. The included map of the Appalachians gives great visual aid to the story. (Ages 8-12)

Hailey Queen Pranking Makes Perfect: The Alien Encounter
Rosie. J. Pova
c/o Clear Fork Publishing
9781946101105 $16.99 hc / $12.99 pbk

Diana Perry

Hailey Queen can't seem to stop herself from playing pranks on everyone - her friends, her classmates, her teachers and principal, perfect strangers, and anyone one who crosses her path. Each time, she promises herself to stop as she gets in serious trouble, but she just can't help herself when the next opportunity arises. She finally meets her match when she wakes one day to find a female alien in her room. The alien is an even worse prankster than Hailey so she must find a way to stop it from playing pranks, especially since everyone thinks they were done by her! Kids will enjoy it. (Ages 9-12)

Strays: A Novel
Jennifer Caloyeras
Ashland Creek Press
9781618220370 $17.95 pbk / $9.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Sixteen-year-old Iris Moody has a problem controlling her temper, but then, she has a lot to be angry about. When a note in Iris's journal is mistaken as a threat against her English teacher, she finds herself in trouble not only with school authorities, but with the law. In addition to summer school, dog-phobic Iris is sentenced to an entire summer of community service, rehabilitating troubled dogs. This story teaches that healing can come from the last place you'd expect - which could be a frightened, three-legged pit bull named Roman. The title is fitting, not just for dogs, but for troubled teens who feel like unwanted strays. (Ages 13+)

Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town
Leslie Tall Manning
Privately Published
9780996130653 $14.00 pbk / $2.99 Kindle

Diana Perry

Sixteen-year-old Brooke Decker used to be the perfect girl but since her Mom died, she's starting to get out of control. She drinks alcohol and sneaks out to college parties. She soon learns that her dad has signed up for a reality show which includes her and her little sister. She finds herself in a pioneer town with no modern conveniences; even her clothes are pioneer outfits. How will she make it to the end? This endearing tale will make any young reader realize the importance of family, especially when one of them is no longer there. I found this book to be touching, heartwarming, humorous and inspiring. (Ages 13+)

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