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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 28, Number 5 May 2018 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Money/Finance Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Cookbook Shelf Board Book Shelf
ABC Shelf Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Easy Reader Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf
Multimedia Shelf Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf
Christian Shelf Judaic Shelf Poetry Shelf
Fiction Shelf American History Shelf Folktale/Fairytale Shelf
Multicultural Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Science Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

Midnight Teacher
Janet Halfmann, author
London Ladd, illustrator
Lee & Low Books
95 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
9781620141632, $18.95, HC, 40pp,

In Mississippi in the mid-1800s, it was illegal for enslaved people to learn to read and write. Getting caught meant thirty-nine lashes with a whip as punishment. But this did not stop Lilly Ann Granderson, an enslaved woman herself. She believed in the power of education. To share her knowledge with others, she started a midnight school. In a small cabin hidden in a back alley, Lilly Ann held her secret classes. Every noise in the dark was a reminder of the punishment she and her students faced if they were found out. But the chance to learn was worth the risk. Over the years, Lilly Ann taught hundreds of enslaved people to read and write. Many of her students went on to share their knowledge with their families. Some started secret schools of their own. Others forged passes to escape to freedom in the North. Deftly written by Janet Halfmann and beautifully illustrated by London Ladd, "Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School" is based on a true story and inspiring picture book testament for children 4 to 8 about a little-known pioneer in education. A truly extraordinary picture book, "Midnight Teacher" is unreservedly and emphatically recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Subhash Singh Vyam
Tara Books
9789383145614, $16.95, HC, 40pp,

Subhash Singh Vyam is a talented artist from the Gond tribe of Central India. His paintings often depict Gond myths, offering a balance of narrative with colour and line. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums, both in India and abroad. Weaving his tale "Water" around a Gond fable about water, Vyam muses on the history of our relationship to this most primeval of elements. A migrant to the city, he recalls growing up in a village where water was always scarce and human ingenuity was welcomed. In contrast to the village, the needs of the city are monstrous and there is a great danger that we will run this resource completely dry. In the end, there is only one way forward: all communities need to make a pact with Nature in order to survive -- or in our mindless push to harness her powers, we might lose our own place in this universe. A literary and artistic treat for children ages 12-13, "Water" is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, school, and community library collections.

Navajo Code Talkers
Stuart A. Kallen, author
Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
9781512486445, $27.40 Library Binding, $4.99 Kindle, 32pp

"Navajo Code Talkers," from the series Heroes of World War II, tells the story of the successful communications of the Navajo code talkers, in the US marines, during World War II from 1942 through 1945, in the Pacific theater. This exciting true story of a Marine core of Navajo code talkers played a pivotal role in the military victory at Iwo Jima in February, 1945, as well as in earlier South Pacific battle engagements between the U.S. and Japan. Commanded to keep secret their crucial role in the Pacific theater for over 20 years, the Navajo code talkers program was finally declassified and the code talkers were allowed to tell their story and to receive honors and Congressional Gold Medals for their brave deeds. On the back of the medal was written, "With the Navajo language they defeated the enemy." Much more history and details about Navajo heroes is included in this excellent source of the contribution of the Navajo code talkers to the Allied victory in World War II. Also Included is a timeline, source notes, a glossary and suggestions for further information, plus photo acknowledgments. Middle grade and junior high readers will find this volume accessible and exciting to read. Also highly recommended is this title from the series by the same author: "World War II Spies and Secret Agents" (9781512486421, $27.40 Library Binding, $4.99 Kindle, 32pp).

Amira Can Catch, New Kid in School
Kevin Christofora, author
Dale Tangernan, illustrator
Clarens Publishing
c/o The Hometown All Stars
PO Box 235, Woodstock, NY 12498
9780986349331, $12.99, HC, 40pp,

Amira is the new kid in school after moving to a new hometown after leaving her home country of Syria over a year ago. She is shy and a looks a little scared as the teacher introduces her to class. Amira is rapidly welcomed by Nick and the rest of the All Star team. She adapts quickly to their silly ways. With a little help on Amira's spelling and math at school, Amira's mom might be more likely to let her play baseball with the team after school. Her mom was very strict because she had a lot of school days to make up after they were forced out of their old home. The Hometown All Stars learn all about hotdogs, maps, fingers up, fingers down, train tunnels, Willie Mays, #24 and how to catch 3 different types of pop fly balls. True to real life, you have to learn how to hit, run, throw and catch before you play a real game of baseball. Coach ends practice with a little teaser and all the fun that is ahead of them at the next practice titled Pizza Pie Day! Batter up for a great tale - both fact and fantasy - that celebrate the spirit of our national pastime. The Hometown All Stars series helps children learn beginning sports skills with real life coaching techniques, combined with education and most importantly how to have fun! Written by Kevin Christofora and illustrated by Dale Tangerman, "Amira Can Catch, New Kid in School" is the fourth in The Hometown All Stars series for children ages three to seven and is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Social Issues Shelf

Something Happened In Our Town
Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, authors
Jennifer Zivoin, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828546 $16.95

Something Happened In Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice is a children's picturebook that directly addresses a serious social issue: police shootings, especially lethal police shootings of unarmed black people. In the story, two families (one white and one black) talk about the police shooting of a black man in their local community. Something Happened In Our Town is designed to be accessible to children 4-8, but its greatest value lies in its eight pages of notes to parents and caregivers about how to teach children about racism and violence in a dangerous and sometimes unjust world. There are also several sample dialogues prepared and suggested for black families and for white families, each of which may face unique issues when educating their children. Something Happened In Our Town respectfully and honestly deals with a paramount social problem, and is worthy of the highest recommendation for public, school library, and family picturebook collections.

The Nantucket Sea Monster
Darcy Pattison, author
Peter Willis, illustrator
Mims House
9781629440828, $23.99, HC, 34pp,

Should we believe everything we read in the newspaper? Early in August 1937, a news flash came: a sea monster had been spotted lurking off the shore of Nantucket Island. Historically, the Massachusetts island had served as port for whaling ships. Eyewitnesses swore this wasn't a whale, but some new, fearsome creature. As eyewitness account piled up, newspaper stories of the sea monster spread quickly. Across the nation, people shivered in fear. Then, footprints were found on a Nantucket beach. Photographs were sent to prominent biologists for their opinion. Discussion swirled about raising a hunting party. On August 18, news spread across the island: the sea monster had been captured. Islanders ran to the beach and couldn't believe their eyes. Written by Darcy Pattison and illustrated by Peter Willis, "The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story" is a nonfiction picture book for children ages 6 to 9 and the perfect tool to discuss the concept and the identification of both political and non-political fake news stories with them. Back matter discusses the freedom of the press guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Quotes from Thomas Jefferson make it clear that fake news has always been one of the costs of a free press. A Timeline lists actual events in the order they occurred. A vocabulary list defines relevant words. While an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Nantucket Sea Monster" is also available in a paperback edition (9781629440835, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

I Walk with Vanessa
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781524769550, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

"I Walk with Vanessa" is simple yet powerful picture book by Kerascoet (a husband-and-wife team) tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying. Inspired by real events, "I Walk with Vanessa" deftly explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help. With themes of acceptance, kindness, and personal strength of character, "I Walk with Vanessa" is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

People Don't Bite People
Lisa Wheeler, author
Molly Idle, illustrator
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481490825, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Charmingly written by Lisa Wheeler and colorfully illustrated by Molly Idle, overeager little biters ages 4 to 8 will learn that biting is only for food! Children will find that good behavior has never been so fun! It's good to bite a carrot. / It's good to bite a steak. / It's bad to bite your sister! / She's not a piece of cake. // Cause... / People don't bite people! / That's what this book's about. / So if you find / you're tooth-inclined - / you'd better check it out! Certain to be a unique and perennial favorite for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "People Don't Bite People" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Money/Finance Shelf

Debt Information for Teens, third edition
Keith Jones, author
John Tilly, editor
615 Griswold, Suite 901, Detroit, MI 48226
9780780815698, $69.00, HC, 400pp,

It is no accident of history that credit card companies specifically target adolescents and young adults on the expectation that they will immensely profit off of interest rates for unpaid credit card balances. Written, compiled and edited by Keith Jones, this newly updated and expanded third edition of "Debt Information for Teens" offers 'real world practical' Information for teens about establishing and using credit, managing credit cards, and coping with debt-related problems. Including an index and resource information, "Debt Information for Teens" is an impressive source of tips for teens wanting a successful financial life and cover such issues as relevant facts about the national economy, money management, interest rates, predatory lending practices, and resolving debt related problems. A part of the Omnigraphics 'Teen Finance Series' and in unreservedly recommended for highschool, college, and community library collections.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Bowhead Whale
Joanasie Karpik, editor
Sho Uchara, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772271621, $15.95, HC, 28pp,

The 'Animals Illustrated' series from Inhabit Media mixes fun-filled animal facts suitable for the youngest of readers with intricately detailed illustrations to create a unique and beautiful collection of children's nonfiction books on Arctic animals. Each volume contains first-hand accounts from authors who live in the Arctic, along with interesting facts on the behaviors and biology of each animal. Edited by Joanasie Karpik and illustrated by Sho Uchara, "Bowhead Whale" teaches children ages 5 to 7 how bowheads raise their babies, where they live, what they eat when they don't have any teeth, how they communicate, traditional uses, and other interesting information! Very highly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections, it should be noted that the other outstanding titles in this impressively informative and 'kid friendly' series include "Narwhal" (9781772270808, $15.95, 24pp); "Walrus" (9781772271423, $15.95, 24pp); "Polar Bear" (9781772270792, $15.95, 24pp).

It's a Puppy's Life
Seth Casteel, author/photographer
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426330698, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

Seth Casteel is an award-winning photographer. In "It's a Puppy's Life" children ages 4 to 8 will follow several irresistible puppies as they play, go for walks, eat, sleep, and romp about adorably. The kids will be captivated by the incredible photography paired with witty text to illustrate a day in the life of a dog. Although written especially for young readers, "It's a Puppy's Life" is a picture book that will have a special and enduring appeal, making an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, preschool, daycare center, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Cookbook Shelf

Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children's Cookbook
Joe Archer & Caroline Craig
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580898171, $18.99, HC, 112pp,

An ideal do-it-yourself instruction guide and manual for children ages 7 to 10, and collaborative compiled by Joe Archer (who is head Horticulturalist at England's Kew Cardens) and Caroline Craig (a food writer from London), "Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children's Cookbook" is replete with vibrant photo-illustrations and clearly organized sections. Young readers will discover how to plant seeds in patio containers, window boxes, or on an allotment; harvest fruits and vegetables; determine which plant parts are edible; spot pests in the garden; and use home-grown crops to cook everything from bean and bacon spaghetti to polenta chips to tomato, feta, and basil pizza. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children's Cookbook" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Board Book Shelf

From Mother to Mother
Emille Vast
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781580898133, $7.99, Board Book, 12pp,

Looking back at Baby's lineage, Mother describes how long, long, long, long ago, the mother of the mother of the mother of her mom welcomed to the family the mother of the mother of her mom. And so it goes, tracing Baby's ancestors through to the present day. Russian nesting dolls (matryoshka) illustrated on each spread get smaller with each turn. Each is a different color, decorated with animals, flowers, and other nature-based items. A superbly crafted board book for children ages 2 to 6, "From Mother to Mother" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library children's board book collections.

10, 9, 8...Owls Up Late!
Georgiana Deutsch, author
Ekaterina Trukhan, illustrator
Silver Dolphin Books
9781684121847, $9.99, Board Book, 26pp,

In the board book edition of "10, 9, 8...Owls Up Late!" by British author Georgiana Deutsch and Russian illustrator Ekaterina Trukhan, children ages 3 to 5 can peek through the pages and spot the mischievous owls in this fun counting book that is perfect for bedtime and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride
Carole Lexa Schaefer, author
Lauren Tobia, illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763683979, $7.99, Board Book, 28pp,

Baby and Mamma are going to visit Nonna today. They say good-bye to Papa (Ciao, Papa!) and head out. How will they get there? Roll, roll in the stroller. Beep, beep on the bus. Choo, choo on the train - all the way to Nonna's. Whee! Ciao, Nonna! Ciao, Baby! Charmingly written by Carole Lexa Schaefer and colorfully illustrated by Lauren Tobia, "Ciao, Baby! Ready for a Ride" is certain to become an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections for children ages 2 to 4.

Amazing Me! Sing
Carol Thompson
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846639629, $4.99, PB, 12 pages,

"Amazing Me! Sing" by author and illustrator Carol Thompson is a beautiful, inspiring board book series for toddlers ages one to three about the joy of singing. Versed lyrics and colorful illustrations fill the sturdy board pages with pictures of blissful vocal music by young children. Celebrating the power of vocal music at the earliest ages, "Amazing Me! Sing!" takes the reader on a tour of the magical settings for and powers of the voice. Toddlers of different skin colors and ethnicities frolic together in their exploration of song in this appealing board book which will be beloved by all. Also highly recommended are the following board book titles in this same outstanding series: "Amazing Me! Music!" (978846439612, $4.99), "Amazing Me! Dressing Up!" (9781846439605, $4.99), and "Amazing Me! Dance!" (9781846439599, $4.99).

Flowerpot Press
142 2nd Ave. North, Franklin, TN 37064

The Flowerpot Press has two newly published board books for children ages 2 to 5 that are delightfully charming and thoroughly 'kid friendly' additions to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections. "Baby Dress Up" (9781486714612, $6.99) features adorable photographs of children wearing an assortment of costumes ranging from lion tamers to pumpkins. "Watch Me Grow" (9781486714629, $6.99) highlights the milestones that children accomplish during the ages of 1 to 24 months. The combination of brightly colorful photos with a bold, simple text offers certain and reliable entertainment.

The ABC Shelf

ABC Ready for School
Celeste C. Delaney, author
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9781631981746, $15.99, 40pp,

C is for cooperate. G is for grow. P is for play! Deftly written by Celeste C. Delaney and charmingly illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, "ABC Ready for School: An Alphabet of Social Skills" is friendly and reassuring alphabet book helps young children ages 3 to 6 (and those who care for them) to consider, explore, and discuss a wide range of skills related to school readiness. Kids preparing for kindergarten or preK will learn social skills from A to Z, building or reinforcing their knowledge of the alphabet at the same time. Featuring encouraging scenes of fun and learning in the classroom, on the playground, and more, it should be noted that there is a special section for adults presents ideas for helping children get ready for this big change and have a successful start to school. A fun and effective way to inspire and instill basic social skills, "ABC Ready for School: An Alphabet of Social Skills" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Picturebook Shelf

Beeswing Makes Friends
James Bruner & Elizabeth Stevens, authors
Daniela Frongia, illustrator
Archway Publishing
1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403
9781480833630 $16.95

"Beeswing Makes Friends" is a charming, imaginatively color-illustrated story about a little golden dragon named Beeswing. Beeswing was a happy young dragon with some special friends, his teddy bear Fred, and Blinky Blanky, his purple security blanket, and Songbox, who always sang music. Beeswing had a special ability that he put to good use when he wanted to make new friends. He could change himself into different animals, such as an owl, a rabbit, or a frog. One day Beeswing awakened from a long nap in a hollow tree with his teddy bear and Blinky Blanky, to find he had slept from the Beforetime to Now. The tree now overlooked a city apartment building, where four children from different families had just moved in. Through the windows Beeswing saw Rowan, Harry, Jesse, and Zoe. He knew they were lonely and would love to make friends. Beeswing thought of a way to introduce himself to the children without frightening them. Each of them saw him as a different animal or bird, and came out to play with him. With very few hitches, Beeswing's plan works, and the end result is a lovely group of new friends who will so enjoy laughing and playing together. Of course, the end of play is tired children and imaginary friends, so the best ending of all is a lovely, quiet nap with Blinky Blanky.

Frango & Chicken
Elena Stowell, author/illustrator
thewordverve inc.
9781941251966, $19.99, HC, 48pp,

The adventures of Frango and Chicken are inspired by the true story of a young man in Brazil who has had to overcome physical challenges since infancy. By maintaining a positive attitude and sense of humor, he shows all of us how to live without limits. Some things seem impossible, but with the right attitude and the help of a friend, you can do more than you ever thought you could is the basic underlying message of this thoroughly 'kid friendly' picture book aptly written and charmingly illustrated by Elena Stowell. Certain to be an entertaining and original literary treat for children ages 3 to 12, "Frango & Chicken" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Watch Out for Muddy Puddles!
Ben Faulks, author
Ben Cort, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
175 Fifth Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10010-7728
9781681196275, $16.99, HC, 32pp,

What could be in the world below the surface of puddles? Deftly written by Ben Faulks and charmingly illustrated by Ben Core, children ages 3 to 6 can join in the fun with "Watch Out for Muddy Puddles!" as one young boy finds that some puddles are very, very deep; some puddles are teeming with particularly peckish crocodiles, and some icy puddles hurt your bottom when you slip! Still other puddles are full of frogs, underwater kings, lost socks and even a big bad duck?! Imaginative, entertaining, original, and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Watch Out for Muddy Puddles!" is very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted that "Watch Out for Muddy Puddles!" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.80).

A Runtamuffin Tale
Melissa Taylor, author
Marc Beauregard, illustrator
Privately Published
9780998988702, $15.99, HC, 58pp,

Melissa Taylor loves animals of all kinds, and lives with her husband, 14 chickens and myriad other animals on a farm in south Florida. Her imaginative dialogue between horses, dogs, chickens and other critters rings true, thanks to her first-hand experience with these animals. Runtamuffin is a loveable hen who grows from being the runt of the litter to become leader of the group and everyone's favorite barnyard critter. Runti believes in overlooking differences in size or appearance to become friends with all the other animals. "A Runtamuffin Tale" is a delightfully charming picture book for children ages 6 to 10 that is imaginatively written by Melissa Taylor and impressively illustrated by Marc Beauregard and will have a very special for children who love animals. Parents will also enjoy reading "A Runtamuffin Tale" with their young children, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Pansy in New York
Cynthia Bardes, author
Virginia Beast, illustrator
Octobre, LLC
9780692613016, $21.95, HC, 32pp,

Pansy the poodle and her best friend Avery have solved mysteries all over the world. As a reward for their good deeds, they take a sightseeing trip to New York where they stumble into a brand-new adventure! Morris, the famous talking monkey, has disappeared from the Central Park Zoo! Pansy and Avery must once again follow the clues, solve the mystery, and get Morris back to his friends and family. "Pansy in New York: The Mystery of the Missing Monkey" by author Cynthia Bardes and illustrator Virginia Beast is a charmingly entertaining picture book 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.

Oliver's Otter Phase
Lisa Connors, author
Karen Jones, illustrator
Arbordale Publishing
9781607184515 $17.95

Oliver is a creative boy whose visit to an aquarium to see sea otters influenced hi to begin imagining how it would fell to be a sea ottter. He surprised his parents with many of his sea otter-like imitative behaviors, like chewing his food carefully, using his body as a plate, and sliding around on his belly. He even pretended he had an underarm pouch and tucked a cookie there for after his bath. Oliver learned that sea otters ate a lot of clams and sea urchins instead of fish, and that they used rocks and shells as tools. One of the most appealing feature of "Oliver's Otter Phase" is its endearing, expressive illustrations, encouraging young readers to imagine themselves as young sea otters just like Oliver. Finally, Oliver discloses that there is one things he likes about being a small boy with parents who love him, cuddling. Even otters like to snuggle their young, like many other mammals. "Oliver's Otter Phase" also has four pages of fun learning activities, with more available at "Oliver's Otter Phase" is beautifully written to appeal to children of any age.

Who Will Bell the Cat?
Patricia C. McKissack
Holiday House
9780823437009 $17.95

Who Will Bell the Cat? receives lovely drawings by Christopher Cyr that enhance the fun story of clever barn mice who make a collar with a bell to warn them when the cat is coming. There's only one problem: how can they get the cat to wear the warning device? Good reading skills or parental read-aloud assistance will lend to a detailed stop of Smart Mouse, who is determined to stop Marmalade at all costs, but faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles to her various plans to get the bell on the cat. It make take the combined wisdom of Smart Mouse and the Rat Pack to thwart the fierce Marmalade in this engrossing and nicely detailed story.

Hudson and the Puppy: Lost in Paris
Jackie Clark Mancuso
La Librairie Parisienne
c/o Independent Publishers Group
814 North Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610
9780988605855, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

Hudson is an American terrier who lives in Paris. Hudson is happily going about his day when he notices he's being followed by a tiny dachshund puppy. Quickly grasping that the puppy is lost, Hudson helps the little dog find his way home by way of a whirlwind tour of Paris with stops at Hudson's favorite haunts. When our compassionate hero realizes the puppy is homeless, Hudson is forced to dig deeper -- how is he going to solve this problem? An utterly charming and delightfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 5 to 7, "Hudson and the Puppy: Lost in Paris" by author and illustrator Jackie Clark Mancuso will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. Also very highly recommended is Jackie Clark Mancuso's early children's book from La Librairie Parisienne "Hudson in Provence" (9780988605848 $17.95).

Astronaut Annie
Suzanne Slade, author
Nicole Tadgell, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
12 Starr Street, Thomaston, ME 04861
9780884485230, $17.95, HC, 36pp,

Career Day is approaching, and Annie can't wait to show her family what she's planning to be when she grows up. But, she must keep it a secret until Friday! So curious family members each ask Annie for a clue. Convinced that she'll be a news reporter like he once was, Grandpop gives her his old camera to use for her presentation. Grandma is sure Annie wants to be a champion baker like her, so she offers a mixing bowl and oven mitts to Annie. Hopeful she'll become the mountain climber he aspired to be, Dad gives Annie an old backpack. Mom presents Annie with a pair of high-top sneakers to pursue Mom's favorite sport in high school -- basketball. Grateful for each gift, Annie cleverly finds a way to use them all to create her Career Day costume. When the big day arrives, Annie finally reveals her out-of-this-world dream to everyone! A thoroughly entertaining picture book by author Suzanne Slade, and charmingly illustrated by Nicole Tadgell, "Astronaut Annie" is enhanced for children ages 4 to 7 with the inclusion of a special two page 'Women in Space', a on page 'Magnificent Moon', and a bibliographic listing of Sources, as well as a 'Learn More' section. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Astronaut Annie" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $11.68).

My Sometimes Feelings
Leah Rubabshi, author
Amy Wummer, illustrator
Hachai Publishing
527 Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11225
9781945560071, $12.95, HC, 32pp,

It's wonderful when children feel happy, brave, or loving, but what happens when they feel sad, bored, or angry? With adorable illustrations by Amuy Wummer and just a few lines of text by Leah Rubabshi, "My Sometimes Feelings" deftly explores all kinds of emotions and encourages children to express themselves in healthy ways. Ideal for children ages 2 to 5, "My Sometimes Feelings" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Mommy's Khimar
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, author
Ebony Glenn, illustrator
Salaam Reads
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534400597, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Wrapped up in her mother's colorful headscarf, a young Muslim girl spends a busy day playing dress up in "Mommy's Khimar", a sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and illustrator Ebony Glenn. 'A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head.' A thoroughly entertaining picture book with a subtly positive underlying value for children ages 4 to 8, "Mommy's Khimar" vibrant showcases the beauty of our diverse and welcoming community in this appealing portrait of a young Muslim American girl's life. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "Mommy's Khimar" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Truly Brave Princesses
Dolores Brown, author
Sonja Wimmer, illustrator
9788417123383, $17.95, HC, 44pp,

Princess Nin is a firefighter, Princess Gilda is a supermarket cashier, Princess Agnes is retired, and Princess Liang is in a wheel chair. This gallery of princesses gives visibility to lot of women who do not fit with the traditional conception of a princess. Maybe it's time to realize that each and every one of us could be a princess! Entertainingly written by Dolores Brown and charmingly illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, "The Truly Brave Princesses" is an original, elegant, exquisite, and extraordinary picture book for children ages 4 to 8 and certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Tiny Tree
Norman Whaler, author
Polina Hrytskova, illustrator
Beneath Another Sky Books
9781948131117, $17.99, HC, 22pp,

The Tiny Tree was brand new to the forest and wanted to be friends with everyone! But, why didn't the Big Trees like her? All the trees find out that being different can sometimes be a GOOD thing! An original, imaginative and inspiring picture book story by Norman Whaler that is charmingly illustrated by Polina Hrytskova for children ages 3 to 6, "The Tiny Tree" is very strongly recommended and certain to be an enduringly appreciated addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted that "The Tiny Tree" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

How Does My Fruit Grow?
Gerda Muller, author/illustrator
Floris Books
9781782504726, $17.95, HC, 40pp,

Sophie loves visiting her aunt and uncle in the countryside and learning all about the fruits that grow in their garden: strawberries, redcurrants and cranberries. She even discovers how a tall cherry tree grows from a small seed, and how bees help blossoms become fruit. She is sad when her family moves south but starts to enjoy her new garden with its different plants and trees. Soon Sophie makes friends with her neighbors who help her harvest melons, grapes, figs, oranges and pomegranates. At school, Sophie and her classmates learn about tropical fruits and nuts from all over the world -- bananas, coconuts, cashews, pineapples and many more. "How Does My Fruit Grow? " is a superb companion picture book to Gerda Muller's beloved "How Does My Garden Grow?" and is a storytelling showcase of beautiful, and fascinatingly detailed, illustrations. The simple story, both informative and entertaining, is perfect for teaching children ages 4 to 7 where food comes from, and for inspiring interest in the wonderful diversity of the world around us. Charmingly delightful and entertainingly informative, "How Does My Fruit Grow? " is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Anna and Johanna
Geraldine Elschner, author
Florence Koenig, illustrator
Prestel Publishing
900 Broadway, Suite 603, New York, NY 10003
9783791373454, $14.95, HC, 32pp,

Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, "Anna and Johanna" is a picture book story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer's luminous depiction of domestic life. Florence Koenig's brightly colored illustrations evoke Vermeer's style through the city's multifaceted landscapes, from misty mornings by the canals to busy households preparing for a special day. Young readers ages 4 to 8 will be fascinated by this uplifting story of friendship inspired by Jan Vermeer. A unique and enduringly charming story by acclaimed German children's book author Geraldine Elschner, "Anna and Johanna" is an especially elegant and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

A Tangle of Brungles
Shobha Viswanath, author
Culpeo S. Fox, illustrator
Karadi Tales Picturebooks
9788181903600, $15.95, HC, 34pp,

To conjure up the charming Mr. Brungles, a coven of witches stir up the Great Brungle Brew. For this they toss in a parliament of owls, a cloud of bats, and a quiver of cobras, among many others. Do they succeed? Replete with hilarious twists on collective nouns, "A Tangle of Brungles" is a charmingly entertaining and collaboratively produced picture book for children ages 6 to 8 by the team of author Shobha Viswanath and illustrating artist Culpeo S. Fox. A unique, fun, and magical read from cover to cover, "A Tangle of Brungles" is especially and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Room in Your Heart
Kunzang Choden, author
Pema Tshering, illustrator
KitaabWorld, LLC
9780999547625, $19.95, HC, 38pp,

"Neypo shong gna? Is there room for me?" a wandering monk asks the old lady who lives on the hill. The question is repeated again and again as more and more visitors arrive. The kind lady welcomes them in one by one. But how will they all fit in her tiny little house? "Room in Your Heart" is a thoroughly charming tale for children 3 to 6 that also contains an important teaching about openness and generosity of spirit. Superbly illustrated with the artwork of Pema Tshering, "Room in Your Heart" by author Kunzang Choden (who was born in Tang in central Bhutan, where she spent her childhood) is a very special and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Magnolia's Magnificent Map
Lauren Bradshaw, author
Wednesday Kirwan, illustrator
Cameron Kids
9781944903121, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

In "Magnolia's Magnificent Map", Magnolia the Bunny explores the grove with her friends Margaux the Kitty and Chester the Raccoon, looking for that elusive, special place that will complete her map. Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. The Walnut Animal Society is busy preparing for a very special event. The Society Soiree comes just once a month, when the night is clear and the stars are bright. Tonight it is Magnolia the Bunny's turn to share. Everyone is excited. Everyone but Magnolia, that is. It has taken her months of exploring and sketching and picture-snapping to create her latest map -- a map of the walnut grove. There's just one problem. Her map isn't finished. Magnolia's map is missing a spot. Will she finish it in time? A delightful and entertaining story by Laren Bradshaw is beautifully illustrated by picture book artist Wednesday Kirwan. The result is a treasured and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

The Muskox and the Caribou
Nadia Mike, author
Tamara Campeau, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772271638, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

Baby Muskox is all alone on the tundra, lost and very worried. When Mother Caribou and Baby Caribou find him, they bring him back to their herd. But even though Baby Muskox finds comfort with Mother Caribou, he knows he's a little bit different from the others. As Baby Muskox and Baby Caribou grow older, the differences between them grow, too. Baby Muskox feels alone and left out in the herd. But one day, during a walk on the tundra with Mother Caribou, Baby Muskox finally figures out where he belongs. A thoroughly entertaining and utterly charming picture book for children ages 3 to 5, "The Muskox and the Caribou" by author Nadia Mike and illustrator Tamara Campeau will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Beyond the Fence
Maria Gulemetova, author/illustrator
Child's Play
250 Minot Avenue, Auburn, ME 04210
9781846439315, $16.99, HC, 36pp,

Piggy lives in a large house with Thomas. Thomas knows exactly what Piggy needs. But a chance meeting with a wild pig changes everything, and Piggy finds out what lies outside the four walls, beyond the fence. "Beyond the Fence" by author and illustrator Maria Gulemetova is a gentle, charming, and entertaining picture book for children ages 3 to 7 about freedom and friendship. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Beyond the Fence" is also available in a paperback edition (9781846439308, $7.99).

Paul and His Ukulele
Robert Broder, author
Jenn Kocsmiersky, illustrator
Ripple Grove Press
PO Box 910, Shelburne, VT 05482
9780999024928, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

Not all who wander are lost, sometimes they're just searching for a new song. A young fox named Paul was given a present. "A guitar?" said Paul. "It's a ukulele." said his parents. Paul loved his ukulele and spent all his time crafting his own song. As he got older, Paul knew it was time to head out in search of something new. When his travels took him to one small town, the unexpected happened. But from unexpected circumstances can come new friendships and new experiences. And maybe that new song he's been looking for. An impressively original and immensely entertaining picture book story for children ages 5 to 7 by author Robert Broder and illustrator Jenn Kocsmiersky, "Paul and His Ukulele" will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Night Out
Daniel Miyares
Schwartz & Wade
c/o Random House Children's Books
1745 Broadway, 10-1, New York, NY 10019
9781524765729, $17.99, HC, 40pp,

When a small, friendless boy goes to bed at his boarding school, an adventure is about to begin! First he finds an invitation in his turtle's bowl. Next he makes an escape--out the window, through the woods, across a river, and onto an island. And then he joins a grand celebration, with larger-than-life animals serving tea and dancing late into the night. And finally? After the journey back, he has a fantastic story to tell--the perfect way to make a friend. A simple text and glorious illustrations by author and illustrator Daniel Miyares deftly combines to make a deceptively powerful and touching picture book for children ages 4 to 8. Original, entertaining, and thoroughly' kid friendly' in tone and presentation, "Night Out" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Night Out" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).


Three new picture books are recommended reads for youngsters interested in bright, fun stories. Amy Parker's This Is the Day! (9781338047035, $16.99) is illustrated by Leeza Hernandez and inspired by Psalm 118:24. Christian parents who want to give their youngsters a sense of God's hand in the world will find this a bright inspirational read-aloud that surveys how God has created a wonderful world for the young child. Brenda Maier's The Little Red Fort (9780545859196, $17.99) features pictures by Sonia Sanchez as it tells of Ruby, who is always filled with new ideas and inspirations from life. Here the discovery of old boards prompts her to envision building something her brothers discourage. Ruby doesn't know how to build anything, but she's determined to learn in this uplifting story of a determined girl acquiring new skills. Ross Burach's Truck Full of Ducks (9781338129366, $17.99) tells of Bernie, who is making a duck delivery when of his passengers eats the directions that would lead to his customer. What's a driver to do? Fun jokes, a hilarious situation, and a truck full of demanding ducks lends to a fine tale parents will find packed with drawings and a style of fun that lends especially well to read-aloud interest on all sides.

Scholastic Inc.

Lissa Evans' Wed Wabbit (9781338185270, $17.99) tells of eleven-year-old Fidge who enters a strange world of odd companions and a terrible cousin. She faces a cruel dictator, impossible clues, and dangers that all seem to be her fault. From dreary rhymes to Orange Wimblies, adventure takes a fun series of twists in a story impossible to predict, hard to put down, and hilarious to read. Sam Hearn's Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond (9781338193152, $12.99) tells how John Watson is settling into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when he faces the theft of a famous gem from one of London's top museums. A seemingly closed case involves John and Sherlock in an elementary-level series of events young readers will find appealing, packed with black and white drawings throughout.


Two appealing new picture book tales are highly recommended picks for discriminating young readers. James Burks' When Pigs Fly (9781484725245, $16.99) tells of clever pig Henry, who is determined to do what no pig has ever done before. Everyone knows pigs can't fly; but that knowledge is not about to stop Henry from dreaming big. A fun, easy read of hope and overcoming obstacles evolves. Ryan T. Higgins' We Don't Eat Our Classmates (9781368003551, $17.99) tells of Penelope's first day of school. She's eager to meet potential new friends, but there's only one problem. Penelope is a little T. Rex with an insatiable appetite for everything from ponies to tuna sandwiches, and unfortunately her classmates are all delicious-looking human children. What is a always-hungry Rex child to do? Impulse control and efforts to make friends create a zany, fun read recommended not just for young picture book readers, but for parents seeking truly original, whimsical creations.

The Bilingual Shelf

Agua, Aguita/ Water, Little Water
Jorge Tetl Argueta, author
Felipe Ugalde Alcantara, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858541, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

From its birth deep in Mother Earth, Little Water climbs to the surface, passing through roots and rocks, light and darkness. Finally, the tiny bead of water makes it to the top and rests, "a sigh of morning dew, hanging on the tips of leaves / on spider webs / or on the petals / of flowers." The droplet becomes a river, a lake, an ocean, ultimately climbing to the sky and turning into a cloud. Then, "drop by drop / I return singing / to our Mother Earth. I am Little Water. / I am life." With stunningly beautiful illustrations by Felipe Ugalde Alcantara that depict the mountains, rocks, vegetation and animals of the natural world, this poem about the importance of water reflects Argueta's indigenous roots and his appreciation for nature. Containing the English and Spanish text on each page, the entire poem appears at the end in Nahuat, the language of Argueta's Pipil-Nahua ancestors. This book is an excellent choice to encourage children to write their own poems about the natural world and to begin conversations about the interconnected web of life. A beautiful, poetic ode to the life-giving force of water in English, Spanish and Nahuat showcasing the life cycle of water from the perspective of one drop, "Agua, Aguita/ Water, Little Water" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

The Easy Reader Shelf

What Is a Hat?
Elizabeth Midkiff, author
Apple Vert, illustrator
CreateSpace Independent Publishing
9781978364523 $9.99

"What Is a Hat?" is a beautifully illustrated toddler series first title written to engage and encourage the curiosity, sense of humor, and language skills of your favorite younger reader. Using simple words a toddler will be familiar with, large print, and delightfully appealing cherubic children's illustrations, "What Is a Hat?" enchants, educates, and intrigues young readers and their parents and significant others. Can a spoon be a hat? How about a sock? Maybe a bunny? Or a kiss? The litany of silly comparisons ends with just the right touch of finality and peace, the desire to drift off to sleep is irresistible.

Where's Bunny?
Theo Heras, author
Renne Benoit, illustrator
Pajama Press
9781772780437, $13.95, HC, 24pp,

The endearing siblings of Theo Heras' and Renne Benoit's "Hat On, Hat Off" and "Baby Cakes" return once more in "Where's Bunny?", a sweet celebration of bedtime. Humor, helpfulness, and heart combine as Baby's big sister helps to see him - and, of course, his stuffed bunny - through the nighttime routine from bath to bed. Little listeners ages 1 to 3 will connect with familiar sensory language of warm, tickly water and blanket snuggles, and they will be able to enjoy it time and again in this study-format "Where's Bunny?" features a padded cover, rounded corners, and extra-heavy paper. Preschoolers can chime in with Theo Heras' brief, descriptive text, and they will love Renne Benoit's watercolor and digital art, full of big baby faces and warm pastel colors. "Where's Bunny?" will make bedtime a happy time for the whole family and is unreservedly recommended for daycare center and preschool collections.

The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

Back to the Future
Robert Zemeckis, author
Bob Gale, author
Kim Smith, illustrator
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781683690238, $18.99, HC, 40pp,

More than 30 years after its theatrical debut, Back to the Future remains a perennial favorite in classrooms and at family movie nights across the country. Now published in a picture book format with story by the writing team of Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, "Back to the Future" features artwork of Kim Smith which captures all the classic moments of the film through fun and kid-friendly illustrations. Children ages 4 to 8 will follow teenage Marty McFly as he travels from 1985 to 1955, meets his parents (as teenagers), and teaches his father how to stand up to bullies. Complete with a time-traveling DeLorean, a mad scientist companion, and a lightning-fueled finale, this is the perfect book for kids, parents, and anyone looking to go back in time. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Back to the Future" is also available in a paperback edition (9781683690443, $10.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Pokemon: Making the Band
Adapted by Maria S. Barbo
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338237511 $4.99

Pokemon: Making the Band is a "level 2 reader" (featuring more vocabulary words and longer sentences) for children at a grade 1-2 reading level. Adapting an episode of the wildly popular Pokemon cartoon show, which is in turn based on the beloved "Pokemon Sun" and "Pokemon Moon" video games, Pokemon: Making the Band is a delightful story in which Pikachu and friends perform at the Dug-Leo show. Team Rocket tries to steal the spotlight for themselves, but the show must go on! Colorful illustrations from the show and a page of stickers round out this simple yet fun-filled book, ideal for encouraging children to practice their reading skills. Also highly recommended for young Pokemon Sun & Moon fans who are ready to advance from a "level 2 reader" to a brief chapter book is "Pokemon: Adventure on Treasure Island" (9781338237535, $4.99), a storybook set in the Alola region of the Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon games, where Ash and Pikachu meet a number of new Pokemon friends and mischievous antagonists, including a fiery feline Litten and a mysterious Alolan water-type.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
$4.99 each

Six chapter books in the "Pokemon" series, illustrated with occassional black-and-white drawings and screenshots, adapt episodes of the long-running cartoon show based on the extraordinarily popular video game series into a format accessible to grade-school students. Tracey West adapts "The Chikorita Challenge" (9781338284089), about Ash's prideful and jealous Chikorita Pokemon; "Ash to the Rescue" (9781338284119), about Ash's tireless efforts to thwart Team Rocket and protect Pokemon of the Johto region; and "Prepare for Trouble" (9781338284041), a spotlight on the villainous yet loveable Team Rocket and their thieving shenanigans, which always seem to end with Team Rocket blasting off again. Jennifer Johnson adapts "Battle for the Zephyr Badge" (9781338284065), about Ash's quest to earn his first Johto league badge in spite of one disaster after another, including Team Rocket; "All Fired Up" (9781338284096), about a hard decision Ash has to make when he realizes that his Charizard has to leave for a new training ground in order to continue growing stronger; and "Secrets of the GS Ball" (9781338284126) about a top-secret mission that Ash undertakes for Professor Oak, while preparing to earn the Hive Badge from a Johto League master of bug-type pokemon. Each storybook is a self-contained adventure, and all are a great way to encourage young adults to read! Highly recommended.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

Be Prepared
Vera Brosgol
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626724457 $12.99

Written and illustrated by Caldecott Award honoree Vera Brosgol, Be Prepared is an original black-and-white graphic novel about a Russian girl named Vera who has a hard time adapting to life in the suburbs. Vera's single mother can't afford to send her to an expensive summer camp - the only camp in their price range is Russian summer camp, complete with endless Russian history lessons, student drama, and utterly horrifying outhouses! Superbly capturing the trials and tribulations of youth summer camp, Be Prepared is a choice pick for school and public library graphic novel collections. Although Be Prepared is intended especially for young adults ages 10- 14, readers of all ages will find it a delightfully funny. Highly recommended!

Violette Around the World, Vol 1: My Head in the Clouds
Teresa Radice, author
Stefano Turconi, illustrator
IDW Publishing
2765 Truxton Road, San Diego, CA 92106
9781684051885 $12.99

Young adults and adults alike will enjoy Violette Around the World, Vol 1: My Head in the Clouds, a hardcover, full-color graphic novel about a precocious 12-year-old girl who travels the world with the Cirque de la Lune, or the Circus of the Moon. Violette's mother is the human cannonball, her father is the insect trainer, and Violette herself sometimes wishes she had a more normal life. But in Paris, Violette encounters the eccentric painter Henride Toulouse-Lautrec, who shows her the joy and value of being different! Whimsical, adventurous, and fun, Violette Around the World is highly recommended especially for school and public library young adult graphic novel collections.

Spartan & The Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest
Nabila Khashoggi, author
Manuel Cadag, illustrator
Full Cycle Publications
PO Box 57005, Murray, Utah 84157
9780615432663 $18.99

Spartan & The Green Egg: A Trip to the Rainforest is a hardcover, full-color graphic novel with a strong, positive environmental message for young adults, especially those in the age range of 7- 9 years. The themes of conservation and sustainability - learning to harvest what is needed from the environment long-term without destroying it - are a central focus in this engaging adventure. A Trip to the Rainforest is a choice pick for public and grade school library picture collections. Also highly recommended are other graphic novels in the Spartan & The Green Egg series, "The Reefs of Mindoro Island" and "Adventure at Wadi Allaqi".

Crafty Cat and the Great Butterfly Battle
Charise Mericle Harper
First Second
175 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010
9781626724877 $13.99 hc / $9.44 Kindle

Part of the "Crafty Cat" series of hardcover graphic novels for young readers, featuring funny comics and simple do-it-yourself projects, Crafty Cat and the Great Butterfly Battle is about an upcoming school play, where everyone has to choose an insect and make their own costume. Birdie wants to be a butterfly with sparkly wings, but so does everyone else, including the willful Anya! Can Birdie's alter-ego of Crafty Cat make a head-turning creation worthy of the starring role? Five easy do-it-yourself craft projects round out this colorful story of creativity and fun. Highly recommended!

Macanudo: Olga Rules
Liniers, author/creator
Mara Lethem, translator
Enchanted Lion Books
67 West Street, Studio 317A, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11222
9781592702480, $19.95, Library Binding, 102pp,

"Macanudo: Olga Rules" is a supremely entertaining compilation of strips from cartoonist Liniers. Full of surrealism and magic, this fourth volume of the great Macanudo introduces one of Liniers's most beloved characters -- Olga. Olga is the imaginary friend of Martin, a young elementary school boy. Olga only ever says Olga, but Martin knows what she means. Together, they demonstrate the vitality of imagination and its inherently comic nature, relating the sublime and the ridiculous, as it always does. Olga and Martin also share numerous great strips with Henrietta, Liniers's bookish girl character, and her sidekicks Mandelbaum the teddy bear, Fellini the cat, the sensitive Robot, Olivero the Olive, and more. This is a standout volume that will set the hearts of children ages 8 to 80 singing. While very highly recommended, especially for community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Macanudo: Olga Rules" is also available in a paperback edition (9781592702633, $12.95).

The Gumazing Gum Girl! Popped Star
Rhode Montijo with Luke Reynolds
Disney Hyperion
9781423161189 $14.99

The Gumazing Gum Girl! Popped Star will reach ages 6-8 with a funny adventure revolving around Gabby Gomez, providing the third book in the series. Rhode Montijo illustrates a graphic novel story with full-page pictures that follows Gabby's latest struggle against a villain who wants to claim her fame. It doesn't help that her family doesn't know about her secret identity as heroine Gum Girl, either. Can she face Ninja-Rina and preserve her heroic persona? A fun fantasy adventure evolves.

The Multimedia Shelf

Kidz STEM Songz
KidzMusic and Dan Crow

Kidz STEM Songz is a multimedia two-CD and DVD package by veteran children's performer Dan Crow and his associates at KidzMusic Records. The songs are all about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, from botany to astronomy to a tribute to Albert Einstein and more. Dan Crow's award-winning CD "Concoctions" is also included, with karaoke tracks, as are five bonus music videos starring teen mentor Anny Dallshous in an animated scientific odyssey. Kidz STEM Songz is a great way to help spark youthful interest in the mysteries and wonder of science, and highly recommended especially for school and public library children's multimedia collections.

The Audiobook Shelf

The Dragon's Eye
Sarwat Chadda, author
Nicola Barber, narrator
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338268720, $29.99, CD,

In the eighth title in author Sarwat Chadda's simply outstanding fantasy action/adventure 'Spirit Animals' series, "The Dragon's Eye" begins with Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan being held prisoner in the royal dungeon. Framed for a crime they didn't commit, the four young Greencloaks have been captured by the ruthless Oathbound. Rather than facing trial with the rest of their order, the friends and their spirit animals find themselves smuggled to a remote palace. There they discover that the plot against them runs deeper (and is far more sinister) than anyone realized. Someone has been manipulating both the Greencloaks and Erdas's leaders, all to uncover a powerful relic with the potential to flood the entire world. Superbly narrated by Nicola Barber, "The Dragon's Eye" provides a true 'theatre of the mind' listening experience for children ages 8 to 12, and in this complete and unabridged audio book edition from Scholastic, would prove to be an immediate and popular addition to personal, elementary school, and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy audio book collections. (5 CDs, 5 hours, 19 minutes).

The Music CD Shelf

Bears and Lions
Privately Published
$TBA CD / $9.49 MP3

Navigate is the second family-friendly album from high-spirited Gainesville band Bears and Lions. Featuring rock and Americana folk music that listeners of all ages will enjoy, Navigate tells an overarching story about animal characters who take a boat across the sea to help a friend in need. A heartwarming music collection with a strong positive theme about the joys and bonds of friendship, Navigate is highly recommended. The tracks are "Jonas the Walrus", "Little Boat", "Hercules", "Setting Sun", "Pirate Pete", "Get What You Get", "Navigate", "Lighthouse", "Merman Named Jim", and "Animal Land".

Red Yarn's Old Barn
Andy Furgeson
Red Yarn Productions
$13.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Portland-based, family-friendly folksinger and puppeteer Andy Fugeson presents Red Yarn's Old Barn, a children's music album crafted around the theme of a grand barn dance where all sorts of creatures are welcome to participate - an upbeat metaphor for American diversity! Seven original songs, four traditionals, and a honkey tonk cover song combine into a joyful delight for all ages. Highly recommended. The tracks are "Old Barn", "Down in the Meadow", "Old Hen Cackled", "I'm Gonna Feed You Now", "Go Little Gator", "Sally Ann", "Barn Dance", "Did You Feed My Cow?" (ft. Jazzy Ash), "Barn Fire", "Till the Cows Come Home", "To Raise a Barn", and "My Barn Door is Open".

Why Why Why?
Ants Ants Ants
Pinwheel Records
$11.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Why Why Why? is the debut children's album of a critically acclaimed pair of singer-songwriters who formed the group Ants Ants Ants to create original, entertaining, and thought-provoking family-friendly songs. Why Why Why? features music about possibilities and discoveries, and is a choice pick for public and school library children's music collections. The tracks are "Morning Song", "Are We There Yet?", "Why Why Why?", "Six Pickup Sticks", "I Spy", "Pinwheel", "Helicopter Leaves", "Blue", "Ants, "Where Does the Moon Go?", "Willow Tree", and "Stars".

The Christian Shelf

The Good Samaritan and Other Parables
Tomie dePaola
Holiday House
425 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10017
9780823438884, $17.95, HC, 32pp,

"The Good Samaritan and Other Parables" by author and illustrator Tomie dePola is simply beautiful picture book collection for children ages 1 to 6 that includes the best-known parables of Jesus: the Prodigal Son, the Mustard Seed, the Lost Sheep, and fourteen others. The retellings are lyrically written but also accessible to young children. Tomie dePaola drew his inspiration for the gemlike illustrations from early Christian art of the Romanesque period. Originally published as The Parables of Jesus and unavailable for many years, this opulent new edition features a graceful new design and brings these stories to a new generation of young and appreciative children. "The Good Samaritan and Other Parables" is a wonderfully charming and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, Sunday School, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Judaic Shelf

Haggadah for Pesach: From Slavery to Freedom
David Slavin, et al.
Merkos Publications
291 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213
9780826606334, $29.95, HC, 136pp,

"You shall tell your son" This is one of the central mitzvos of the Seder night. At the Seder night children are our honored guests. We have special customs, questions, and curiosity, to help them stay awake and attentive and listen carefully to the story of miracles and wonders. This Haggadah for Pesach "From Slavery to Freedom", turns the story of the Exodus into an enjoyable and enriching educational experience for young children. The familiar words of the Haggadah are accompanied by impressive colorful illustrations, which bring the story to life right in front of the children's eyes; From slavery and Galus, straight to wondrous redemption. Commentaries from the Lubavitcher Rebbe have been incorporated in a concise way into the Haggadah, providing the children with a true Chassidic experience of the Seder. "Haggadah for Pesach: From Slavery to Freedom" is as entertaining as it is informative, making it unreservedly recommended for family, synagogue, and community library Judaic Studies collections for young readers.

The Poetry Shelf

A Hibernating Bear and a Holiday Hare
Mary Alice Sutherland, author/illustrator
BoosterSeat Books
9780692892947 $13.99

Another delightful water-color illustrated collection of poems for children by Mary Alice Sutherland, "A Hibernating Bear and a Holiday Hare" is a collection of seventeen poems about the world seen through the eyes of the young and young at heart. Each poem's heart is delicately captured in one or more accompanying water color paintings. To celebrate spring, here is the poem titled 'Cottontail Conundrum:' "I know the Easter Bunny is a rabbit,/ Neither a hen nor a bird./ But then why, and from where, on Easter day,/ Does Bunny bring me Easter eggs?/ How curious! How inexplicable!/ A most knotty question for me./ A Puzzle of eggs bright and beautiful./ A delightful perplexity." The innocent, questing verse is perfectly offset by the delicate, detailed water color paintings, ranging from homey and heartwarming to exotic and wild, like th paintings of the tiger and the cheetah, accompanying the Poem, "Earth." There are shades of Robert Louis Stevenson accompanied by the ghost of William Blake in this beautiful collection of new, haunting songs of innocence. See also "Stories in Verse for the Child You Love (9781535540322)" by the same author.

Shimmer: Songs of Night
Raven Howell, poet
Carina Povarchik, illustrator
9781946101310, $24.99, HC, 58pp,

For a child, the time between sundown and sunup can be an enchanting world of mystery and fun, a time when fairies dance, night creatures creak and hum, and stars reign over all. What are a child's thoughts when he or she hears the evening's first cricket, has a sleepover with friends, or looks up at the stars and wonders, "What's up there?" "Shimmer: Songs of Night" is an impressively entertaining anthology of Raven Howell's poetic verse for children ages 6 to 12. Each individual poem is colorfully illustrated by the artistry of Carina Povarchik. The result is a unique and thoroughly 'child friendly' volume of verse that is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Children's Poetry collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Shimmer: Songs of Night" is also available in a paperback edition (9781946101396, $14.99).

White Wild Indigo
Jet Widick, poet
Annie Moor, illustrator
Book Baby
9781543911183, $28.99, HC, 28pp,

"White Wild Indigo" is a compendium of poetry by Jet Widick that will have immense appeal for children ages 5 to 8. An established poet, Jet Widick writes his verse in a casual and playful tone that centers around our everyday experiences and taking delight in the present moment. "White Wild Indigo" showcases a brilliant and entertaining celebration of these moments in catchy rhymes and wordplay, brought to vividly to life by Annie Moor's bright and cheerful illustrations. Jet Widick's poetry is a colorful mosaic of life experiences: the places we've been, the people we meet, and the things we love. Featuring a treasure trove of humorous poems about our favorite foods to glittering gems about science and art, every child who opens this impressively entertaining volume will find a whimsical world of surprises to inspire a lifelong love of poetry. While "White Wild Indigo" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library Children's Poetry collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that it is also available in a paperback edition (9781543911305, $11.99).

The Fiction Shelf

Where the Moose Slept
Atwood Cutting, author
Kate Peters, author/photographer
Echo Hill Arts Press, LLC
9780997581904, $17.99, PB, 394pp,

A deftly crafted work of historical fiction, "Where the Moose Slept" is set is deep in a field of wildflowers, far from any city. The story takes place during the Alaska oil boom, when two anachronistic romantics have heeded the call of the wild, and journeyed to meet their life's adventure in the far north. Kate, the poet, has come from Hawaii to Alaska, 'to see a winter.' Inspired by the pervading idealism of the sixties, she dreams of establishing a harmonious world. Tim, a soldier returning from Vietnam, simply wants to build a log home and live life the way he wishes, like Jeremiah Johnson. They meet in Fairbanks, elope, and set about making their dream real. With an extraordinary attention to detail, "Where the Moose Slept" will have a very special appeal for teen age and young adult readers. While very highly recommended, especially for highschool, college, and community library YA Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Where the Moose Slept" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Evangelina Takes Flight
Diana J. Noble
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
9781558858480, $10.95, PB, 152pp,

It's the summer of 1911 in northern Mexico, and soon the de Leon family learns that the rumors of soldiers in the region are true. So the father of thirteen-year-old Evangelina decides the family must leave their home to avoid the violence. The trip north to a small town on the U.S. side of the border is filled with fear and anxiety as they worry about loved ones left behind and the uncertain future ahead. Life in Texas is confusing, though the signs in shop windows that say "No Mexicans" and some people's reactions to them are all-too clear. At school, she encounters the same puzzling resentment. The teacher wants to give the Mexican children lessons on basic hygiene! And one girl in particular delights in taunting the foreign-born students. Why can't people understand that even though she's only starting to learn English she's just like them? With the help and encouragement of the town's doctor and the attentions of a handsome boy, Evangelina begins to imagine a new future for herself. This moving historical novel introduces teens to the tumultuous times of the Mexican Revolution and the experiences of immigrants, especially Mexican Americans, as they adjust to a new way of life. A thoroughly entertaining and deftly crafted novel with an underlying social message for young readers ages 13 to 18, "Evangelina Takes Flight" by Diana J. Noble is unreservedly recommended for both school and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Evangelina Takes Flight" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Spin the Golden Light Bulb
Jackie Yeager
Amberjack Publishing
PO Box 4668, #89611, New York, NY 10163-4668
9781944995447, $16.99, HC, 280pp,

It's the year 2071 and eleven year-old Kia Krumpet is determined to build her 67 inventions, but she won't have the opportunity to unless she earns a spot at PIPS, the Piedmont Inventor's Prep School. Kia, who has trouble making friends at school, has dreamed of winning the Piedmont Challenge and attending PIPS ever since she learned that her Grandma Kitty won the very first Piedmont Challenge. After she and four of her classmates are selected to compete for a spot at PIPS, they travel by aero-bus to Camp Piedmont to solve a task against forty-nine other state teams to earn their place at the best inventor's school in the country. A thoroughly charming, entertaining, and 'kid friendly' novel for young readers ages 8 to 12, "Spin the Golden Light Bulb" showcases author Jackie Yeager's genuine gift for original narrative storytelling. While unreservedly recommended for elementary school and community library fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Spin the Golden Light Bulb" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99).

Scholastic, Inc.

Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar and Michelle Schusterman's The Pros of Cons (9781338151725, $18.99) merges three authors and three girls' different adventures in a fun story of friendships and talent that will appeal to young adults looking for something different. Three very different conventions in one big center (the We Treasure Fandom convention, Indoor Percussion Association, and World Taxidermy Championships) provide the backdrop for evolving relationships and a zany mix-up that tosses three already-unconventional girls into the mix. Alternative history is typically a subject for adult sci-fi fans; but here it becomes accessible to young adults in Caroline Tung Richmond's Life in Infamy (9781338111095, $17.99), a re-imagining of World War II that involves genetically engineered super soldiers, a much-changed America in the face of Axis victory, and citizens who still fight for freedom in the Western American Territories. A powerful saga of liberation emerges against the backdrop of teen struggling under a very different rule. Ally Carter's Not If I Save You First (9781338134148, $18.99) tells of Maddie and Logan, who thinks they will be friends forever. Can the daughter of a Secret Service agent and the son of the President have a lasting friendship when a parent decides to separate them? Maddie's new life is isolated and she learns to live with Logan's absence, but six years later their friendship is tested against a wilderness backdrop in a frightening new way. Blue Balliett's Out of the Wild Night (9780545867566, $17.99) tells of Nantucket ghosts who want to be remembered and who have formed a relationship with local kids who protect them. The only problem is that ghosts are unpredictable, they tend to cause trouble, and the kids who are to help them sometimes find themselves at a loss. An engrossing story offers a very different twist on ghostly themes which will especially satisfying teens looking for something different. Dan Gemienhart's Good Dog (9781337953683, $16.99) is an afterlife story with a twist, telling of good dog Brodie who finds it difficult to enjoy his peaceful afterlife because he misses the boy who loved him, and senses the boy is still in danger. For once, Brodie can't stay a good dog: he must break the afterlife rules and return to help his boy, even if it means giving up paradise. A powerful story of a dog's love for his boy will intrigue young adults who love animal tales and fantasy. Varian Johnson's The Parker Inheritance (9780545946179, $16.99) tells of Candice, who discovers a letter in an old house in South Carolina, describing an Afro-American woman's life, an injustice of the past, and a puzzle that promises a fortune to anyone who can solve it. Her own grandmother failed in this task, but Candice has a chance to right past wrongs and present anguish, and she takes it. Her quest will lead her into dangerous truths and consequences in this vivid adventure story of fortune and promise in one family's heritage. All are engrossing, unique stories leisure readers will relish.

The American History Shelf

Mighty Big and Super Great: Texas Is The "Lone Star State"!
Amber Manning, author
Kory Fluckiger, illustrator
Bluebonnet Kids
c/o Defiance Press & Publishing LLC
9780998770444, $15.95, HC, 32pp,

Written by Amber Manning and illustrated throughout by Kory Fluckiger, Mighty Big and Super Great: Texas Is The "Lone Star State"!" is essentially a two part book for children ages 4 to 12. The first part is a rhyming and witty story that touches on some of the history of Texas while also introducing the importance, meaning and symbols that are relevant in our state. The second part includes 28 fun Texas facts mixed with more knowledge of fundamental elements such as the Texas pledge and the Texas state song. The pictures illustrating Mighty Big and Super Great depict exactly what the text presents. Useful in English and History classes, Mighty Big and Super Great also adds some extra excitement for children who bore easily when learning the basics of Texas history. The style of presentation creates an easy and ideal way to remember important facts as aptly presented in the form of an upbeat, rhythmic Texas history lesson. While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted that "Mighty Big and Super Great" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.95).

Chasing King's Killer
James L. Swanson
Scholastic Inc.
9780545723336 $19.99

Chasing King's Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin is designed for advanced elementary to early high school readers, but will appeal to some adults, as well, as it tells the story of King's murder and the hunt for his killer. It provides a backdrop of civil rights era politics and social sentiments, following the counterculture's rise, the various elements that led to James Earl Ray's trajectory to end King's life, and the investigations that ensured after the assassination. The result is a vivid re-enactment of the times: a powerful story that should be basic to any collection strong in civil rights-era history.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America
Jaime Hernandez
TOON Graphics
27 Greene Street #4, New York, NY 10013
9781943145287, $16.95, HC, 48pp,

How would a kitchen maid fare against a seven-headed dragon? What happens when a woman marries a mouse? And what can a young man learn from a thousand leaf cutter ants? Famed Love and Rockets creator Jaime Hernandez asks these questions and more in the pages of "The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America" as he transforms beloved myths into bold, stunning, and utterly contemporary comics. Guided by the classic works of F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada, Hernandez's "The Dragon Slayer" brings the sights and stories of Latin America to a new generation of graphic-novel fans around the world. While unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers ages 7 to 10, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Dragon Slayer" is also available in a paperback edition (9781943145294, $9.99).

The Multicultural Shelf

All About China
Allison "Aixin" Branscombe, author
Lin Wang, illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804848497 $14.99 hc / $10.99 Kindle

A winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award, All About China: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids is a 64-page hardcover compendium of fascinating information about China for young adults. Topics covered include Chinese history, geography, government, family traditions and customs, cuisine, beliefs, zodiac animals arts, endangered species, and more. Recipes, activities, games, songs, color illustrations on every two-page spread, and an index round out this choice pick for public and school library children's nonfiction picturebook collections. Highly recommended!

Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family
Carrie Lara, author
Christine Baltuz, illustrator
Magination Press
c/o American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242
9781433828560, $16.95, HC, 32pp,

"Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family" by author Carrie Lara and illustrator Christine Baltuz is a wonderfully presented picture book story from the point of view of a young interracial child about what color means within the dynamics of race, ethnicity, and culture. This sweet, simple story discusses the colors of the world and the colors of the people in a family -- all of which make the world beautiful and unique. Of special note is the inclusion of a "Note to Parents and Caregivers" about celebrating the different kinds of people and families there are in the world. "Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4 to 8.

Festival of Colors
Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal
Simon & Schuster
9781481420495 $17.99

Spring has arrived, and it's time to prepare for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Mintoo and Chintoo are siblings tasked with assembling the bright flowers to make into colorful powders for the event, and Vashti Harrison's bright, large-size drawings perfectly compliment the story of which flowers make different colored powders and how they are used in this traditional Indian celebration. Very simple language makes this story accessible to the young beginning reader who will learn about an especially appealing Indian celebration.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

Wings of Fire: Talons of Power
Tui T. Sutherland
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9780545685436 $6.99 pbk / $10.99 Kindle

The ninth novel in the "Wings of Fire" fantasy series, set in a world ruled by factions of warring dragons, Wings of Fire: Talons of Power features an unlikely dragon hero in Turtle, who prefers to stay hidden and keep his animus powers secret even from his own sister. Darkstalker, the ruthless and immeasurably powerful dragon from ancient legends, has returned to wreak havoc on the world. Turtle observes Darkstalker's cruelty, and realizes that the world of Pyrrhia desperately needs a hero. Turtle has never had the soul a hero, but... there is no one else! Although the Wings of Fire series is ideal for young adults, dragon fans of all ages will thoroughly enjoy the saga. Highly recommended, especially for school and public library fantasy collections.

Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions: Twice Cursed
Sheila Grau
9781419728631 $14.99

Dr. Critchlore's School for Minions: Twice Cursed enjoys a peppering of black and white illustrations by Joe Sutphin and adds to the series about a school that trains minions for Evil Overloads everywhere. Runt Higgins as a twelve-year-old werewolf who is happy to be in the doctor's class. Indeed, the school is the only home he's ever known, and so he is proud to be part of it. This concluding volume to the series has Runt and his peers struggling to save the school as a curse leads him to try to find the witch who has predicted his life will end. Kidnappings, princes, rivals, curses, and rebels blend in a middle grade read for ages 8-12 which is especially recommended for prior fans of the series.

The Science Shelf

Gail Gibbons
Holiday House
9780823440108 $17.95

A new edition of Dinosaurs! is available, and it reflects the latest paleontological discoveries made since the original book was published in 2008. Facts and methodology are updated, discoveries and theories are modified, and the original vivid drawings and fun discussions make for a fun and lively presentation. The result is an appealing primer young picture book readers will appreciate, modified to reflect the latest science surrounding dinosaurs.

Crabtree Publishing

Izzi Howell's Biome Geo Facts (9780778743811, $27.60 each) joins others in the GeoFacts series and provides young elementary-level readers in Grade 4 with an introduction to the biomes of the planet. From how various creatures handle Different climates around the world to human responses to environmental challenges, 32 pages of basic data includes an index, self-test, glossary, bibliography, and survey of environments from rain forests to deserts. Louise and Richard Spilsbury's Desert Biomes (9780778739920) narrows the focus to the desert environment and covers plants, polar and subtropical life, peoples who live in the world's deserts, and more. Both are absorbing discussions that are perfect choices for young learners studying biomes.

Cicada Books Ltd.

Two new titles from this publisher provide young learners with lively and different formats and approaches to their topics and are recommended picks for libraries looking for variations on themes. Plenty of picturebooks cover endangered animal science, but Disappearing Acts by Isabella Bunnell (9781908714305, $16.95) uses a search-and-find format to present a visual display of endangered animals, organized by environment. 'Mountains', for example, features snow leopards, pygmy possums, giant pandas, and leopards, then 'hides' them in a forest mountain environment. 'Freshwater' profiles Laysan duck, salmon carp, and American eel and hides them in water environments. Each side bar includes the drawings of the animals particular to that environment, while the double-page spread hides the creature in its environment, making for a fun opportunity for kids to understand each animal. Louise Lockhart's Playing with Food: An Activity Book (9781908714312, $16.95) provides an interactive book to help kids think about how food is grown, prepared, and presented. Lovely color drawings cover food from around the world, from breads such as Tiger Bread from the Netherlands and Cottage Loaf from England to lunch menus and toppings fro hot dogs. This activity book emphasizes interaction, so parents will find it especially inviting, featuring diaries, fill-in full-page drawings, pages of line drawings for coloring, and more. Kids learn by doing, with this format.

Books in Series

All About Dinosaurs
KidHaven Publishing
c/o Thomson Gale
15822 Bernardo Center Drive, Suite C, San Diego, CA 92127-2320

Eight impressively informative titles debut a new series on dinosaurs for young readers from KidHaven Publishing showcase the Parasaurolophus (9781534523524); Spinosaurus (9781534523555); Stegosaurus (9781534523586); Velociraptor (9781534523609); Diplodocus (9781534521735); Pterodactyl (9781534521759); Triceratops (9781534521766); and Tyrannosaurus Rex (9781534521742). Each volume in this simply outstanding series features clearly labeled diagrams giving children a deeper understanding of the science of paleontology, features engaging topics that will interest reluctant readers; and is enhanced with an immersive design that places young readers in the middle of the prehistoric world of dinosaurs. Impressively informative, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone, organization and presentation, schools and community libraries would be well advised to acquire this eight volume set in its entirety as it is offered by KidHaven Publishing in two four volume releases (Volumes 1-4, 9781534523791, Library $196.80 / Trade $157.44; Volumes 5-8, 9781534521988, Library $98.40 / Trade $78.22).

Ick and Crud: Going to the Vet
Wiley Blevins, author
Jim Paillot, illustrator
Red Chair Press LLC
c/o Funny Bone Books
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 02158
9781634401876, $19.99 Library Binding, $4.82 PB, 32pp

"Ick and Crud: Going to the Vet" is a classic short chapter book about two dogs who are tricked into getting their shots from the vet by their loving owner, Bob. Filled with fast action, witty doggy dialogue, and hilarious color illustrations by a New York best selling illustrator, "Ick and Crud: Going to the Vet" is first class canine comedy with a message about responsible pet health care. Five chapters cover resisting the cage (Be Strong), Not a Fun Ride, Eat a Pickle (a turtle), No Way, Bob!, and Bad, Bad, Bad! The climactic moment comes with the vet's very big needle delivering its shot to the rears of both Ick and Crud. Reading levels are accessible to elementary school readers, who will love the comic illustrations and inside doggy jokes. All can identify with the emotions of the pair of pups, who value their friendship first and foremost through thick and thin. Other titles in this series that are also highly recommended include: "Ick and Crud: Ick's Bleh Day" (9781634401852, $19.99 Library Binding, $4.82 PB, 32pp), "Ick and Crud: Mystery in the Barn" (9781634401869, $19.99 Library Binding, $4.82 PB, 32pp), and "Ick and Crud: The Big Crunch" (9781634402064, $19.99 Library Binding, $4.82 PB, 32pp).

Gareth Stevens Publishing
111 East 14th Street, Suite 349, New York, NY 10003

Gareth Stevens Publishing has a well earned reputation for publishing informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' non-fiction books in series. One of their latest offerings (and unreservedly recommended for both elementary school and community library collections for young readers) is "Our Exciting Earth". The six volumes comprising this beautifully illustrated six volume series include: Deserts (9781538209639); Mountains (9781538209677); Oceans (978153809714); Ponds (9781538209769); Rainforests (9781538209780); Rivers (9781538209837). Each volume showcases the natural features associated with that specific environment including its geography, geology, climate, flora, and fauna. Beautifully illustrated with full color photography, the individual titles are available separately ($22.60 / $16.95), but school and community libraries should acquire the entire six volume series intact ($135.60 / $101.70).

Enslow Publishing LLC
101 West 23rd Street, Suite #240, New York, NY 10011

Origami is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word "origami" is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Enslow Publishing has now produced a four volume series for elementary school students that has Grade 3 reading level, and a Grades 3 to 6 interest level. This "Exciting Origami" series consists of: Origami Arts and Crafts (9780766086463); Origami Birds (9780766086494); Origami Dinosaurs (9780766086571); Origami Land and Sea Animals (9780766086524). Each individual title introduces the young reader to the art of Japanese paper folding showcasing 10 to 15 projects with thoroughly 'kid friendly' and detailed step-by-step instructions with diagrams for each sept. It should be noted that every project uses inexpensive and commonplace materials. While each fun and informative volume is available individually ($27.93 / $20.95), school and community libraries should acquire the complete set intact (9780766085823, $111.72 / $83.80).

Lucent Press
c/o Greenhaven Publishing
353 3rd Avenue, Suite 255, New York, NY 10010

"Eye On Art" is a new simply outstanding series from Lucent Press that is unreservedly recommended for both school and community library collections for young readers. The six volumes comprising the "Eye On Art" series include: Anime: Japanese Animation Comes to America (9781534561021); Computer Animation: Telling Stories with Digital Art (9781534560970); Graffiti: Vandalism or Art? (9781514561120); The Art of Architecture (9781534560956); Fashion Design: Clothing as Art (9781534561052); Graphic Design: Putting Art and Words Together (9781534560994). Each individual titles provides basic information necessary to considering a career in an artistic field; high-interest topics with a direct and persuasive appeal for reluctant readers; and explores the connection between technology and creative expression. While each individual title is available separately (Library Bound $39.40 / Trade $31.52), for school and community libraries for students in grades 7 to 10 it is strongly recommended that the entire series be acquired (Library Bound $236.40 / Trade $189.12).

Cavendish Square
243 5th Avenue, Suite 136, New York, NY 10016

Cavendish Square is a respected publisher of books-in-series for young readers. "Exploring Theater" is one of their best for students who have an interest in theater. Each book in their newest six book addition to the previous eight volumes that launched this outstanding series include: Advertising and Marketing in Theater; Choreography and Dance in Theater; Hair and Makeup in Theater, Puppetry in Theater; Singing in Theater; Stage Management in Theater. Each individual 96 page volume features ways in which taking part in theater productions can prepare students in grades 6 through 12 with a foundation for possible future theatrical employments, offers an account of what each theater personnel must do to contribute to the total theatrical team effort, and offers a side bar on how a professional overcame a disaster and turned the experience into a positive event. Specifically designed with a 7th grade reading level and a 7th to 12th grade interest level, and available individually (Library $42.79 / Trade $39.95) school and community libraries would be well advised to acquire the complete new addition of six volume to the existing eight volume "Exploring Theater" series (9781502632159, Library $256.74 / Trade $179.70).

The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003

A premier publisher of nonfiction books in series for young readers, on of the newest series from The Child's World features 'Stories from the Wild Animal Kingdom' comprised of eight titles for elementary school students grades 2 to 5. Ideal as a classroom curriculum supplement, this outstanding series of library bound books is comprised of: The Complex Lives of Meerkats (9781503818804, Library, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Amazing Social Lives of African Elephants (9781503816268, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Challenging Lives of Cheetahs (9781503818798, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Dangerous Lives of Harp Seals (9781503818811, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Frozen March of Emperor Penguins (9781503818828, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Incredible Migration of Monarch Butterflies (9781503818835, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Threatened Lives of Chimpanzees (9781503818842, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp); The Upstream Journey of Salmon (9781503818859, $28.50 / Trade $19.95, 24pp). Each individual volume is enhanced with the inclusion of a table of contents, full color photographs, a bibliography, and index, a phonetic glossary, informative captions, a section on 'Fast Facts', detailed maps, sources for further research, a 'Think About It' section to encourage critical thinking, and suggested thematically appropriate web sites. While each title is available individually, school libraries for the benefit of their students, and community libraries for the benefit of their young patrons, should acquire the entire eight volume series (9781503817258, $228.00).

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

'Earth's Natural Biomes' is a new nonfiction series by the team of Louise and Richard Spilsbury and intended for young readers ages 8 to 12 and that consists of five titles: "Desert Biomes" (9780778739920, $27.60 HC, $8.74 PB, 32pp,) examines the nature and definition of desert biomes, exploring desert plants, and animal life in subtropical, coastal, semi-arid, and polar desert settings. Special features are highlighted with the title Amazing Adaptations, while the Fact File sidebars feature maps and locations of different desert biomes areas under study. Additional highly illustrated chapters cover desert food chains, people in the desert, desert resources, desert threats, and desert futures. A glossary page expands vocabulary with words and definitions and a resources page titled Find out More lists books and websites on related subjects for further study. A guided reading level is suggested, making all material available to students in middle grades and older. This excellent and informative series sharpens both reading skills and knowledge of earth's diverse biomes. Also highly recommended are the other titles by the same authors in the series of Earth's Natural Biomes, which include: "Marine Biomes (9780778739968, $27.60 HC, $8.74 PB, 32pp,)," "Forest Biomes" (9780778739937, $27.60 HC, $8.74 PB, 32pp,), "Freshwater Biomes" (9780778739944, $27.60 HC, $8.74 PB, 32pp,), and "Grassland Biomes" (9780778739951, $27.60 HC, $8.74 PB, 32pp,).

Princess Arabella titles
Mylo Freeman
Cassava Republic

Princess Arabella's Birthday (97818911115373, $16.95) tells of a princess who longs for a special present. She lives in a big palace and already seems to have everything she needs; so what could possibly be missing in her life? She even has a rocking zebra and a golden bike. But there's one big thing she lacks, and her savvy parents aren't sure they can give her this. A fun story of an African princess involves kids in the amazing tale of a little girl's many gifts. Princess Arabella Mixes Colors (9781911115366, $16.95) tells what happens when she comes to believe her room is boring and needs a bright make-over. She's going to do everything herself, even customizing paint and learning about colors and mixing in the process. In the latest adventure in the series, Princess Arabella Goes to School (978191115410, $16.95), she's facing a hallmark event in her life, and is excited to join other princesses at school. But how can she learn anything when she feels bored over math? A clever teacher and a surprising show-and-tell leads Princess Arabella to discover school's attractions and ability to be educational and fun. All are inviting, whimsical stories of a princess who learns from and has fun in life.

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.

Wanted: Bronco Charlie Rides the Pony Express
Alexandra Parsons, author
Beatrice Favereau, illustrator
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781974649426, $9.95, PB, 30pp, Grade Level 3-4,

Darleen Wohlfeil

In this fast-paced world of technology, we count on electronics to keep the flow. But long ago, young men rode fast horses day and night across the vast land to deliver mail. From Missouri to California, the Pony Express risked danger and exhaustion to get your letters to you, and for a mere $50 a month. Bronco Charlie was only 11 years old, the youngest rider in the Pony Express to brave the journey through every kind of weather, and even with howls of mountain lions and wolves. A great adventure!

If You Don't Take a Bath
Sally Hutchins Willett. author
Benjamin Norcross, illustrator
Book Baby
9781543901634, $9.99, PB, 24pp, Ages 3-5,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This delightful family endeavor will lead you with chuckles and laughter through its playful text and illustrations. Though it deals with a true and serious lesson, it will be impossible to get through it with a straight face, and will surely be remembered and quoted with very little coaxing. Truly a great way to build foundations.

The Adventures of Camellia N.: Under the Sea
Debra L. Wideroe, author
Daniela Frongia, illustrator
Notable Kids Publishing
9780997085136, $16.95, HC, 40pp, Ages 5-9,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This is a bright and lively educational series. Today, Camellia N. takes us under the amazing sea to learn of all its treasures and inspire us to respect the wonders of our world. Illustrations by Daniela Frongia are a perfect accent to the heart of the stories.

The Art Garden: Sowing the Seeds of Creativity
Penny Harrison, author
Penelope Pratley, illustrator
EK Books
c/o Exisle Publishing
9781925335590, $17.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 4-7,

Darleen Wohlfeil

The quality, production, and expression of anything beautiful and appealing is considered art. Whether it's a watery flow of color upon a porous page, or the delicate silky petal of a flower that dances in a breeze, we all perceive art by the magical wheel that turns the focus of our eyes. Creativity flourishes in every person who takes a moment to capture a vision that quickly fluttered by. This is a perfect example that some become masterful at catching it, and bringing life to it for all to see.

The Jupiter Twins: Party on Pluto
Jeff Dinardo, author
Dave Clegg, illustrator
Red Chair Press
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258-0333
9781634402521, $19.99 Library Binding, $4.99 PB, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Who doesn't love a party? This is an adorable series about kindness and friendship. Each new adventure finds sisters Tina and Trudy tested and found true. The illustrations are fun and engaging. The stories are short for easy reading, and each one points to the benefits of letting kindness lead our lives. Other great titles in the series include Field Trip to Mars, Lost on Earth, and Scout Trip to Saturn.

Let the Children March
Monica Clark-Robinson, author
Frank Morrison, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Company
215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003
9780544704527, $17.99 HC, $12.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 6-9,

Darleen Wohlfeil

History is a record of events that led us to where we are today. Not all accounts are favorable, because it's a record of imperfect beings. Through men, women, and even children of vision and fortitude, we became a mighty nation. It's not about sides and organizations, it's about people reaching beyond the now and forging a new tomorrow, together. In May of 1963, Birmingham, Alabama made just such a move. Children and teens marched for their civil rights, and brought us into a greater today. These amazing people and their courage are recorded for all time to remind us what we can accomplish when we believe in a better tomorrow.

I Can Be
Felicia Lee
Tandem Light Press
9780997679779, $16.97 HC, $12.97 PB, $5.99 Kindle, 28pp, Ages 3-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Have you ever wanted to be a teacher? Or maybe a dancer? How about an engineer? I Can Be shows all different jobs for little ones to explore. This is an adorable book that offers great value in helping our children find their potential. It's a top 10 in interest and purpose, and a constructive tool for building healthy self-esteem.

Sam: The Cat Without a Tail
Gloria Lintermans, author
Kristina Tosic, illustrator
Blooming Twig Books
9781613431207, $19.95 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 36pp, Ages 3-7,

Darleen Wohlfeil

The meaning of being special is to be distinguished, or different from what is common or ordinary. To be extraordinary! Sam was different from the other pets in his neighborhood because he didn't have a tail. That difference made him feel he was lacking what everyone else had, and that made him sad. But, one day they discovered it wasn't that he was lacking at all. He was a rare kind of cat, unlike any other, and that didn't make him just different, it made him special! This story shows that we all have basic structures that identify us in common ways, but these common traits should never define who we are.

Be a Good Dragon
Kurt Cyrus, author/illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585363834, $16.99 HC, $15.87 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

When Enzo the dragon has a cold, it's no mere sniffle. No indeed! His coughs and sneezes set fields aflame and barns on fire. The villagers are fleeing their farms and the townsfolk are up in arms. What's a poor fire-sneezing dragon to do? It's a great book that's fun and entertaining, and at the same time leaves us with lifelong lessons. The lighthearted rhyming text romps carefree through the eye-catching illustrations, making it truly a fun read!

Mela and the Elephant
Dow Phumiruk, author
Ziyue Chen, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585369980, $16.99 HC, $15.89 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

Darleen Wohlfeil

This story brings us face to face with that dreaded word: karma. We may hear someone say, "What goes around comes around," and that is exactly what happened to Mela. When her younger brother wanted to accompany her on her adventure, she asked what it would gain her. Mela forgot the joy a simple kindness could bring to another. She was quickly reminded when she finds herself lost and in need of that kindness to get home. This is a great way to teach our children that true kindness needs no reward.

The Tiptoeing Tiger
Philippa Leathers, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763688431, $14.00, HC, 32pp, Ages 3-7,

Jessica Reino

In this charming story, Little Tiger tiptoes through the forest determined to find others who will see him as sleek, silent, and totally terrifying. But no one is afraid of Little Tiger. He's just too small and clumsy to frighten anyone. With Leathers' fun text and beautiful illustrations, readers will enjoy tiptoeing along with Little Tiger on his journey and surprise ending.

Fiona's Little Accident
Rosemary Wells, author/illustrator
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763689827, $14.99, HC, 32pp, Ages 5-8,

Jessica Reino

From the creator of Max and Ruby comes another wonderful book to add to the shelf. Learning that everyone makes mistakes and to take it in stride is a central theme to the book. However, the story also shines a light on making choices and taking responsibility with the help of friends, even if that responsibility is only for "forty-nine and a half seconds" according to Fiona.

No Hugs for Porcupine
Zoe Waring
Running Press
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762462254, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 2-5,

Jessica Reino

The need to feel loved and be acknowledged is universal, and through Waring's story of Porcupine with adorable illustrations, the reader can see that there are many different ways to show love and affection. Although Porcupine cannot give hugs, he is able to give small kisses and always asks before giving a kiss to a friend. This is a great way to not only show that kindness and love is necessary in the world, but it can also serve as a conversation starter with children about boundaries and personal space.

All Aboard: Let's Ride a Train
Nichole Mar, author
Andrew Kolb, illustrator
Running Press Kids
c/o Perseus Book Group
250 W. 57th St., Suite 1500, New York, NY 10107
9780762462254, $16.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 2-5,

Larissa Juliano

Board books are becoming more innovative and special as authors dream and execute clever ways to keep readers' hands moving and minds thinking. All Aboard: Let's Ride a Train does exactly this as it embraces train passenger companionship and the beautiful views whizzing by the windows. As readers flip each page, they can open the top flap to reveal the fun happenings and details inside each passenger car. Having read this book several times to my three little ones, we kept noticing funny details and also enjoyed searching for things that the text mentions. A wonderful, interactive read that will delight train lovers of all ages!

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Kim Smith, illustrator
Quirk Books
215 Church Street, Philadelphia PA 19106
9781683690108, $18.99 HC, $9.11 PB, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp,

Larissa Juliano

A sweet spin on the beloved classic. Readers will develop a love for this story, regardless if they are familiar with the precocious alien from the '80s. While the premise may sound a bit sinister or strange, the dialogue and illustrations are very child-friendly, appealing, and innocuous. This is a story about friendship and will inspire conversations about those who may look or act different than what we may be accustomed to. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial is a must-read for all ages!

Marianna Coppo
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9780735262676, $17.99, HC, 48pp, Ages 3-7,

Larissa Juliano

This is a book that will be long-remembered once the pages are closed. Children will want to reminisce about this story over and over again as they imagine all the adventures rocks can take. Petra is a rock... or is she? She is also a mountain, an egg, and an island depending on her ever-changing locations! The white backdrop allows author/illustrator Marianna Coppo to showcase Petra's shifting identities and this lends itself nicely to a mentor text: What can children imagine their rock to be? And what kinds of adventures will they take? Books transport us to so many places, and Petra is one of the best tour guides we could have.

Hedge Hog!
Ashlyn Anstee
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781770499911, $17.99, HC, 40pp, Ages 3-7,

Tynea Lewis

This is a great story with themes of greed and generosity. Hedgehog becomes a "hedge hog" and doesn't want to share his home with any other animals during winter, but he comes to find the importance of generosity and hospitality. The play on words with the hedgehog hogging the hedge adds a fun dimension. The speech bubbles for the characters make for a great read-aloud, and the lessons the characters learn set the stage for a discussion with young children about how to treat one another.

Too Much! Not Enough!
Gina Perry
Tundra Books
350 Front Street West, Suite 1400, Toronto, ON, Canada M5V 3B6
9781101919507, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp, Ages 3-7,

Tynea Lewis

This book captures the essence of how everyone has different personalities and interests. But we can still get along with people different from us. We find that we are not complete without each other. There are a couple pages that do not have any text, so children can take a moment to become the author at this point. This book lends itself nicely to discussing being considerate of other people.

Steve Antony
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338187373, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-5,

Julianne Black

Blip finds herself unplugged and outdoors during a blackout! For screen families like ours, Unplugged is a wonderful reminder to build more outdoor time into our busy schedules. Author/illustrator Steve Antony uses a fantastic combination of illustration materials to express the world of computers vs. the world outside. The fun animal friends are an adorable touch. We could all use a bit more "Blip-ology" in our life!

I Am A Cat
Galia Bernstein
9781419726439, $16.95 HC, $9.99 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 3-7,

Julianne Black

A story about a small house cat comparing itself to various jungle cats. While some are stronger, brighter, bigger, and faster than the house cat, they do all share many feline qualities. The story not only does a great job of highlighting differences, it brings it all back around to recognize similarities. For the intended age group, it provides a double-dose of awesome. The text is perfect for beginning readers, while the concepts are so important for an early grade-school audience already preoccupied with where they fit in compared to their peers. A fun read, important concept, and beautifully illustrated book. This one merits two paws up!

Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life is a Joke
James Patterson, author
Chris Grabenstein. author
Kerascote, illustrator
Jimmy Patterson, Publisher
9780316433761, $13.99 HC, $7.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 304pp, Ages 9-12,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

Jacky Ha-Ha: My Life is a Joke is a humorous book with fun characters and great black and white illustrations. Jacky's summer plan to only act and sing in summer stock theatre completely changes when her parents insist that she get a job, as well as help babysit her little sister and do chores around the house. Will Jacky be able to hold her job as a carnival game worker, and babysit, and do chores, and perform in Midsummer Night's Dream and still have fun? Read the book to find out!

Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen
Merrill Wyatt
Jimmy Patterson, Publisher
9780316471589, $13.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, $25.00, 304pp, Audio CD,

Olivia Amiri, age 11

What I liked most about this book is how strong and smart Ernestine is. We need more role models like Ernestine in today's society. Ernestine is a kid who is willing to help and lend a hand and make discoveries. She helps solve the mystery at the MacGillicuddie House for Elderly and Retired Artists. This is the place where her parents work. I really like the theme, "Cleopatra Queen of Nile" birthday party they throw for Ernestine at the end of the book. It's fun and she deserves it!

Buttheads from Outer Space
Jerry Mahoney
Sky Pony Press
c/o Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018
9781510732612, $7.99 PB, $6.15 Kindle, 288pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry
Buttheads from Outer Space

Eleven-year-old best friends, Lloyd and Josh, create a blog inviting aliens from outer space to come for a visit. And they get a response! They meet the aliens and everything goes perfect at first even though the body parts of the aliens are in much different places than you'd expect. And their names are even stranger. It doesn't take long for Lloyd and Josh to grow weary of their weird new friends and wonder when they're going to leave, but when the two aliens decide to stay and invite 70 billion other alien friends to join them, the boys realize they've caused a huge problem for planet earth. This book was just pure fun to read.

Dork Diaries 12: Tales from a Not-So-Secret Crush Catastrophe
Rachel Renee Russell
Aladdin Paperbacks
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534405608, $13.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle, $14.99, 272pp, Audio CD, Ages 9-13

Diana Perry

Nikki Maxwell is a pretty normal kid. She has a crush on a boy and a dog that seems untrainable. Readers can go along with her on her daily adventures, struggles, successes and most embarrassing moments in this series of books written in diary format just as if it is happening one day at a time. Preteens and teens will relate to the characters and events. Boys get jealous, girls feel insecure, and worst of all, a way-too-beautiful exchange student shows up out of thin air to make Nikki's life almost unbearable. Kids will relate to the daily ups and downs of typical school life. Lots of fun for kids to read.

Elizabeth and Zenobia
Jessica Miller, author
Yelena Bryksenkova, illustrator
9781419727245, $16.99 HC, $9.35 Kindle, 208pp, Ages 9-13,
9781541411968, $34.99 Unabridged CD (Tantor Audio)

Diana Perry

Elizabeth Murmur moves into her new home at Witheringe House, a creepy old mansion where her father grew up. Zenobia comes, too, as she has been Elizabeth's constant companion since Elizabeth's mother abandoned the family. Her dad is depressed and doesn't talk much. Soon they realize there is something most strange about this house and learn there is an old family secret. There is a lot of mystery, danger, and adventure in this other-world fantasy. A wonderfully compelling middle-grade story about friendship, courage, and the power of the imagination.

Spin the Golden Light Bulb
Jackie Yeager
Amberjack Publishing
9781944995447, $16.99 HC, $5.99 Kindle, 280pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

Sixth-grader Kia Krumpet feels so unspecial; she is number 718 at school. In schools all across the country, hopeful students will compete in the Piedmont Challenge. In this futuristic story, winners will be able to choose their futures; the rest will be assigned jobs for the rest of their lives. Kia knows the odds are against her but all she can think of is winning the trophy. Then, something unbelievable happens: she is chosen. An adventure right from the start, the action never slows down. Young readers who also feel unspecial will be inspired to find their true talents and all the other things that make them shine. This is a most encouraging and uplifting story and is sure to give new confidence to any child.

A Drop of Blue: Rifters
Isa Briarwood
4900 LaCross Rd., North Charleston, SC 29406
9781973888796, $10.97 PB, $2.99 Kindle, 214pp, Ages 14-18,

Diana Perry

Sixteen-year-old Cate McAuliffe and her boyfriend experience an earthquake. They part in different directions to their own homes but on her way home, a window made of pure light appears in the air. She approaches for a closer look and gets sucked in - not just to another world, but another time. This adventurous tale of danger and mystery also has a good dose of futuristic science, technology, and terminology that any young techie will find thrilling. The perfect book to get your non-reader to become an avid one.

Howling Yowling Growling with the Lost River Wolf Pack
Joanna Dymond
Birchtree Publishing Group
9780692031339, $14.95, PB, 36pp,

Darleen Wohlfeil

If you happen to be among those who admire the majestic look of the wolf, you will surely enjoy this peek into their pack life. Wolves communicate using their entire body, expressions of the eyes and mouth, the set of their ears and tail, all to relay their intent and purpose. The storyline follows a particular pack and gives us insight into the joys and hardships of the wolf family life.

Good Dog
Dan Gemeinhart
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012-3999
9781338053883, $16.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 304pp, Ages 8-12,

Diana Perry

Brodie was a good dog. And good dogs go to heaven. Except Brodie can't move on. Not just yet. As wonderful as his glimpse of the afterlife is, he can't forget the boy he left behind. The boy he loved, and who loved him in return. The boy who's still in danger. So Brodie breaks the rules. He returns to Earth as a spirit. With the help of two other lost souls - a lovable pitbull Tuck and surly housecat Patsy - he is determined to find his boy and to save him. This is an endearing and sweet story about the love between a boy and his dog and gives proof to why we say a dog is man's best friend.

W is for Welcome: A Celebration of America's Diversity
Brad Herzog, author
Sleeping Bear Alphabet Books
c/o Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781585364022, $17.99 HC, $17.09 Kindle, 32pp, Ages 6-9,

Darleen Wohlfeil

Following the alphabet, this book uses poetry and expository text to celebrate America's diverse population and the contributions of those who call it home. A beautifully illustrated and delightfully educational walk down memory lane, reminding us of the true pride of America. Of a time when freedom beckoned and refuge healed. A time of hardship, but a stronger time of hope, faith, and unity that merged, grew, and became a great nation. A nation of inclusion.

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
phone: 1-608-835-7937

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