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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 31, Number 9 September 2021 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Social Issues Shelf Health Shelf
Pets/Wildlife Shelf Biography Shelf Holiday Shelf
Board Book Shelf Picturebook Shelf Bilingual Shelf
Middle Grade Fiction Shelf YA Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf
Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Activity Shelf Multimedia Shelf
Graphic Novel Shelf Music CD Shelf Science Shelf
Autism Shelf Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf Art Shelf
Christian Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf Mythology Shelf
Automotive Shelf World History Shelf Holocaust Studies Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  


Reviewer's Choice

Let's Go For a Walk
Ranger Hamza, author
Kate Kronreif, illustrator
Ivy Kids
c/o Quarto Group Children's Books
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711264472, $19.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Go-Walk-Ranger-Hamza/dp/0711264473

Children ages 3-6 can take"Let's Go For a Walk" by author Ranger Hamza and illustrator Kate Kronreif along on any walk, wherever they live, with suggestions from Ranger Hamza for things to look out for. Can you see a red thing? A tall thing? Can you find something smooth, and something rough? What can you smell, and what can you hear? As well as things to spot on the walk, each spread contains fascinating Hamza facts.

"Let's Go For a Walk" will turn every walk, long or short, into an interactive, playful, learning adventure; Can be used on any kind of walk, in any location, and any duration, over and over again; Will help young hikers look at the world around them in a new way; Can also be read at home, with young readers spotting the details in the beautiful illustrations.

Perfect for families looking to make their regular outings more fun, whether in the city or the country "Let's Go For a Walk" is very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Life and Times in Bunny Run: School
Rick L. Cooper, author
Brooke Green, illustrator
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
www.dorrancepublishing.com
9781649570611, $25.00, HC, 42pp

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Times-Bunny-Run-School/dp/1649570619

Sometime in the course of early human history, it was decided that all parents had to tell the next generation what a hard and unusual childhood they had. This was practiced worldwide and was handed down across all known civilizations. Most of these stories were considered to be myths. Some of the stories were noted and documented as legends, which had been handed down from generation to generation. These stories sometimes consisted of things that may have some benefit to the next generation or stories that were too unbelievable to believe, like the ones Rick Cooper's father used to tell him and his brothers.

"Life and Times in Bunny Run: School" by author/storyteller Rick L. Cooper and artist/illustrator Brooke Green showcases for young readers a few of those many stories for young readers ages 5-12. Inherently interesting and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, and while especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Life and Times in Bunny Run: School" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

In the Hole
Ben Levin
Jumpmaster Press
https://www.jumpmasterpress.com
9781949184501, $15.00, PB, 244pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hole-Ben-Levin/dp/1949184501

Nine-year-old David Kimball finds his safe and secure world unexpectedly unraveling after discovering his father has lost the family restaurant business, and subsequently their home. Forced to live in a borrowed car until it too is lost, David, together with his parents and sister, Julia, desperately seek shelter. After finding temporary housing in a decrepit inn, together with other individuals facing homelessness, David struggles to maintain a sense of normalcy even as his family faces the challenges and trauma of being homeless.

Over time, through hard work and the support of their family and community, David searches for the inner strength and outward skills needed to help his family triumph over their dire circumstances. Will David and his family make it out of the hole?

Critique: "In the Hole" is an all the more impressive novel when considering that author Ben Levin is himself a teenager. Original, entertaining, exceptionally well written with a thoroughly engaging narrative storytelling style, "In the Hole" is especially and unreserved recommended addition to middle school, highschool, and community library General Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "In the Hole" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.00).

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack
Jack Zarb Adami & David Bush
Independently Published
9798504793733, $21.31 Paper/$2.99 ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Joyous-Adventures-Whizzojack-David-Bush/dp/B099C5P2KK

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack is highly recommended for ages 7-10; especially readers who enjoy comics and superheroes. This audience will readily recognize themselves in the story's protagonist Jack, who confronts, chapter by chapter, thirty-five super-villain characters from the distant world of Freakyland who are seeking to integrate into the world, with their first stop off being Jacktown. As the stories evolve, it's evident that these aren't evil threats, but immigrants who each hold different abilities and who seek to integrate into their surroundings despite the prejudices of difficult new neighbors. How can eight-year-old Jack (a.k.a. Whizzojack, when he wears his superhero costume) make a difference in their lives?

Colorful illustrations by a variety of contributors pepper the story and bring to life the encounters with such new arrivals as The Brain Man, who is "...too brainy for everyone else. No one could keep up with him. He said one thousand words at the same time. He did one thousand things in one moment. He seemed to be in one thousand places at the same time. Complaints about him were piling up fast."

His impact on those around him is graphically portrayed, as is the prejudice which deems him a madman and seeks to lock him away: "He's a tornado and I don't want to end up in the Land of Oz." Dorothy said. "He's worse than that. He's a hurricane and I must take my sleeping tablets. I don't want to be swept off my feet," Katrina the teacher complained. "I can't take it anymore. I don't want to be pulled into a whirlwind I can't escape from," Willie Wong said. The editor of the Daily Speaker wrote, "It's either him or us." Mayor Boxall finally gave in to the popular opinion of the Jacktown residents.

How can Whizzojack help? By uncovering the underlying talents that turn The Brain Man from an adversary into a superhero, himself. As each story unfolds, the roots of prejudice and redemption are revealed in delightfully original, compelling ways, driven by a young hero determined to do good by changing perspectives and making discoveries about these new arrivals and their potential contributions to Jacktown.

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack is no light coverage of obvious prejudices, but delves into social and political pressures. Whizzojack is charged with exploring a wide range of scenarios that present different obstacles to each immigrant to town. Can he make everyone happy? That is the question. There are no simple answers, but there are superheroes who can make a difference.

The Joyous Adventures of Whizzojack is an outstanding exploration of the roots of prejudice in underlying fears and attitudes. It is highly recommended reading, both as a leisure adventure story and as a deeper probe into how prejudice evolves, how people integrate and learn to get along, and situations which demand extraordinary perceptions and powers to resolve successfully. Its messages about how to assist the disadvantaged as they integrate into society is well-done, involving, and thought-provoking, and will attract a wide age range. It also will serve as fodder for classroom discussion, demonstrating how 'freaky immigrants' can prove not to be super-villains because of their differences, but super-assets.


The Social Issues Shelf

Different--A Great Thing to Be!
Heather Avis, author
Sarah Mensinga, illustrator
WaterBrook Press
c/o WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
10807 New Allegiance Drive Suite 500, Colorado Springs, CO 80921
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com
9780593232651, $11.95, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Different-Great-Thing-Heather-Avis/dp/0593232658

"Different--A Great Thing to Be!" by author Heather Avis and illustrator Sarah Mensinga is the story of Macy who is a girl a lot like you and me -- but she's also quite different, which is a great thing to be. With kindness, grace, and bravery, Macy finds her place in the world, bringing beauty and laughter wherever she goes and leading others to find delight in the unique design of every person.

Children are naturally aware of the differences they encounter at school, in their neighborhood, and in other everyday relationships. They just need to be given tools to understand and appreciate what makes us "different," permission to ask questions about it, and eyes to see and celebrate it in themselves as well as in those around them.

Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Different--A Great Thing to Be!" is especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book Life Skills & Values collections for children ages 3-7. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Different--A Great Thing to Be!" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).


The Health Shelf

Katie Can't Eat Nuts
Katherine A. Kise, author
Alex Ferror, illustrator
https://www.katherinekise.com
KWE Publishing LLC
9781950306312, $19.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Katie-Cant-Eat-Nuts-Extraordinary/dp/1950306313

Katie is a girl who loves to play soccer. She's a ballerina, too. And she happens to be allergic to nuts. Join her to meet her family and friends, and learn about how she lives her amazing life. This delightful book, with gorgeous illustrations and fun activities, enables parents and children to have a discussion about food allergies. Especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Life Skills & Values, and Child Food Allergy collections, children ages 6-12 will enjoy reading about Katie's ordinary extraordinary life!

Editorial Note: Self-identified wellness junkie Katherine Kise suffered from a severe nut allergy and asthma as a child. Now as a board-certified health coach, Katherine helps others navigate their own health concerns. Alex Ferror is a Brazilian self-taught illustrator, muralist, and fine artist based in Lisbon, Portugal.

Please Explain Alzheimer's Disease to Me
Zelinger Laurie
www.DrZelinger.com
Loving Healing Press
https://www.lhpress.com
9781615995912, $17.95 pbk / $5.95 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Please-Explain-Alzheimers-Disease-Childrens/dp/1615995919

Synopsis: Please Explain Alzheimer's Disease to Me introduces the condition to children in a colorful, sensitive and gentle story, followed by a parent/caregiver section that supplies comprehensive information that adults can use to understand and plan for the course of the disease affecting their loved one. Dr. Zelinger, a board-certified psychologist for children, presents the situation to children in a warm, developmentally appropriate way using appealing characters of diversity, child friendly language and familiar scenes they can relate to, as well as scripts that parents can use when speaking to their child. This book is more than a helpful guide - it's the only book you will need if you have a child who is asking, "What's wrong with grandpa?"

Critique: Please Explain Alzheimer's Disease to Me: A Children's Story and Parent Handbook About Dementia is a children's storybook designed especially to help parents teach children about the loss of mental faculties that can afflict older adults with Alzheimer's Disease or other conditions. The colorful, illustrated picturebook story is told from the perspective of a child whose grandmother's brain is changing in certain ways - one telling sign is when the child discovers that Grandma left her phone in the refrigerator door. An extensive supplementary section for parents, teachers, and caregivers offers helpful answers to common questions children ask about relatives with dementia. Please Explain Alzheimer's Disease to Me is an invaluable family resource, highly recommended for personal and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Please Explain Alzheimer's Disease to Me is also available in a Kindle edition ($5.95).

Editorial Note: Dr. Laurie Zelinger is a board-certified psychologist with a specialty in school psychology, and a Registered Play Therapist with over 45 years' experience. She is a licensed New York State psychologist who, after retiring from a Long Island public school system, is now devoting her time exclusively to writing, consulting and her busy private practice for children. Previous books include: Please Explain Anxiety to Me: Simple Biology and Solutions for Children and Parents; Please Explain Tonsillectomy & Adenoidectomy to Me: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Child for Surgery; Please Explain Terrorism to Me! A Story for Children, P-E-A-R-L-S of Wisdom for Their Parents; Please Explain Time out to Me! A Story for Children and Do-it-Yourself Manual for Parents; and A Smart Girl's Guide to Liking Herself Even On The Bad Days for American Girl.


The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

The Beekeepers
Dana L. Church
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway New York, NY 10012
www.scholastic.com
9781338565546, $18.99

https://www.amazon.com/Beekeepers-Humans-Changed-Bumble-Scholastic/dp/1338565540

Dana L. Church's The Beekeepers: How Humans Changed the World of Bumble Bees (9781338565546, $18.99) is particularly inviting because many books about bees are directed to picture book readers and the very young, leaving a gap in literature for those in advanced elementary through middle school who already know the basics of bee natural history. This survey spotlights the latest bee research and management systems, providing a contemporary inspection of bees and considering how they are altering ecosystems around the world. Some bumble bees are thriving while others are disappearing. This important survey will even reach into many an adult circle with the latest research and information key to understanding bee management and modern dilemmas in assuring their survival.

Never Kiss a Chicken!
William C. Pack, author
Lily Liu, illustrator
121 Publications
https://121publications.com
9781949356328, $17.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Kiss-Chicken-William-Pack/dp/1949356329

It seems that more people are handling chickens than ever. And while chickens are crazy, fun pets that give tasty eggs, they are still birds that need to be handled safely. In fun verse and delightful illustration, "Never Kiss a Chicken!" is a picture book by the team of author/storyteller William C. Pack and artist/illustrator Lily Liu shows young readers some of the rules of safe chicken handling, with the ultimate reminder of, "Never Kiss a Chicken!" Perfect for backyard chicken enthusiasts, schools with chickens, or farm visitors, "Never Kiss a Chicken!" will prove to be a welcome and charmingly entertaining addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for children ages 5-7.

How to Find a Fox
Kate Gardner, author
Ossi Saarinen, illustrator
Running Press
www.runningpress.com
9780762471355, $17.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/How-Find-Fox-Kate-Gardner/dp/0762471352

Taking kids ages 4-8 on an imaginary trek through different landscapes and seasons, "How to Find a Fox" by author Kte Gardner and photographer Ossi Saarinen celebrates one of our planet's most graceful and enchanting creatures: the red fox. Saarinen's stunning wildlife photos and Kate Gardner's lively and informative words capture the magical and profound connection between animals and humans. Young readers will be inspired to get outside and make their own discoveries -- maybe with a camera in-hand, just like Ossi! While also readily available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "How to Find a Fox" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

Molly: A Love Story
Dana Brackob, author
Evgeniya Kozhevnikova, illustrator
Histria Kids
c/o Histria Books
www.histriabooks.com
9781592111008, $24.99, HC, 54pp

https://www.amazon.com/Molly-Love-Story-Dana-Brackob/dp/1592111009

The collaborative project of author/storyteller Dana Brackob and artist/illustrator Evgeniya Kozhevnikova, "Molly: A Love Story" is a true picture story about a cute little Pit Bull, lost and alone in the world until one day she was rescued and given a home. Molly's story teaches children about the unconditional love that a dog can bring into the lives of a family. As a cancer survivor, Molly overcame adversity, and her story shows that despite every hardship, true love is everlasting. Children and dog lovers of all ages will be touched by Molly's story and that of her adopted brother Logan, a Siberian Husky who became her best friend. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 8-12, it should be noted that portion of the sale of each copy of "Molly: A Love Story" will go to support animal shelters in the Las Vegas area.

The Secret Life of Bees
Moira Butterfield, author
Vivian Mineker, illustrator
words & pictures
c/o Quarto Group Children's Books
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711260511, $19.95, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Bees-world-Buzzwing/dp/0711260516

Bees love to dance and have an amazing sense of smell to help them find the best flowers. "The Secret Life of Bees: Meet the bees of the world, with Buzzwing the honey bee" is a delightfully charming and informative picturebook that shares with young readers all the details of Buzzwing's life as a bee, in and out of the hive, starting with the day she was born.

Children will learn the secrets of this worker bee's tiny world, including: The bee life cycle; Bee anatomy; How bees collect nectar and make honey; What happens inside the hive; The different types of bees; Why bees are so important to humans; How bees can thrive in the city; Bee folk tales from around the world.

With things to search for and find throughout, tips for making your own environment welcoming to bees, and even a poetry-writing exercise, "The Secret Life of Bees" by author Moira Butterfield and illustrator Vivian Mineker is brimming with reasons to admire and respect the hardworking honeybee. Sumptuous and detailed illustrations have pride of place in this magical guide to bees that mixes natural history with a splash of fantasy making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections.

National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
www.nationalgeographic.com

National Geographic Kids has published two new titles in their 'Go Wild!' series of wildlife books for children ages 4-8 and Preschool-3 Grade.

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Sea-Turtles-Jill-Esbaum/dp/1426371586

"Go Wild! Sea Turtles" (9781426371585, $9.99 HC, 48pp) by Jill Esbaum welcomes young readers to the wild world of sea turtles! In this introduction to the species, youngsters discover where on Earth this reptile lives, what it eats, and how big it grows. Cool full color photos of all the different kinds of sea turtles and adorable photos of just-hatched turtle babies bring the creatures into full focus. After learning the basics, young readers will also learn why sea turtles need our help and what people around the world are doing to help save them. Filled with fun facts, games, and an activity focused on making a difference in sea turtles' world, Go Wild! will inspire kids to care about this swimmingly cute animal.

https://www.amazon.com/Go-Wild-Pandas-Margie-Markarian/dp/1426371608

"Go Wild! Pandas" (9781426371608, $9.99, HC, 48pp) by Margie Markarian welcome young readers to the wild world of pandas! In this introduction to the species, children will learn about where on Earth this bear lives, what it eats, how big it grows, and how it communicates. Cool full color photos of adorable panda cubs and panda relatives bring the creatures into full focus. After learning the basics, young readers will also discover why pandas need our help and what people around the world are doing to help save them. Filled with fun facts, games, and an activity focused on making a difference in the panda's world, Go Wild! will inspire kids to care about this adorable animal.

Unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that both of these outstanding titles are also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).


The Biography Shelf

This Is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross
Sophia Gholz, author
Robin Boyden, illustrator
Running Press
www.runningpress.com
9780762473564, $17.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/This-Your-World-Story-Ross/dp/0762473568

Robert Norman 'Bob' Ross (October 29, 1942 - July 4, 1995) continues to inspire young and old alike with his public television painting program, "The Joy of Painting," almost 30 years after the show went off the air. Bob Ross fell in love with painting and wanted to inspire others to find joy in their happy accidents. In this picture book biography by the team of author Sophia Gholz and illustrator Robin Boyden, children ages 4-8 will enjoy following his life story toward becoming a TV painter -- a gentle soul who loved painting and teaching others how to paint too. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "This Is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Work It, Girl: Beyonce Knowles
Caroline Moss, author
Sinem Erkas, illustrator
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711249479, $15.99, HC, 64pp

https://www.amazon.com/Work-Girl-Beyonc%C3%A9-Knowles-music/dp/0711249474

When Beyonce was a little girl, she was shy. But one dance class changed the course of her life when her teacher recognized her singing ability and star talent. After years of working hard, rehearsing, and practicing, Beyonce hit the big time with Destiny's Child. The rest was history (and a lot more hard work).

In the pages of "Work It, Girl: Beyonce Knowles: Rule the music scene like Queen" young readers ages 7-12 is delight in discovering how Beyonce became a superstar singer and entrepreneur in this true story of her life. Along the way they will learn 10 key lessons from her work as they find out what makes Queen Bey tick, what inspires her, and what motivates her, and learn about her passion for activism - right up-to-date with her support for Black Lives Matter.

"In the pages of "Work It, Girl: Beyonce Knowles: Rule the music scene like Queen" young readers ages 7-12 is delight in discovering how Beyonce became a superstar singer and entrepreneur in this true story of her life. Along the way they will learn 10 key lessons from her work.

While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49), "Work It, Girl: Beyonce Knowles: Rule the music scene like Queen" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library biography collections for young readers.

Editorial Note: Work It, Girl is an empowering series of biographies featuring modern women in the world of work, from designers and musicians to CEOs and scientists. Each of these vibrantly illustrated books tells the story of a remarkable woman in 10 chapters that highlight transformative moments in her life, following the ups and downs that she faced on her road to success. At the end, 10 key lessons show what you can learn from these moments, and self-reflection questions help you apply these lessons to your own life.

A Queen to the Rescue
Nancy Churnin, author
Yevgenia Nayberg, illustrator
Creston Books
www.crestonbooks.co
9781939547958, $18.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Queen-Rescue-Henrietta-Founder-Hadassah/dp/1939547954

Zionist leader Henrietta Szold (December 21, 1860 - February 13, 1945) took Queen Esther as a model and worked hard to save the Jewish people. In 1912, she founded the Jewish women's social justice organization, Hadassah. Henrietta started Hadassah determined to offer emergency medical care to mothers and children in Palestine. When WWII broke out, she rescued Jewish children from the Holocaust, and broadened Hadassah's mission to include education, youth development, and women's rights. Hadassah offers free help to all who need it and continues its mission to this day. Exceptionally informative, well organized, thoroughly 'kid friendly' in presentation, "A Queen to the Rescue" is the highly recommended picture book biography of Henrietta Szold and especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers ages 8-13.

A Plan for the People
Lindsey McDivitt, author
Charly Palmer, illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
www.eerdmans.com/youngreaders
9780802855022, $18.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Plan-People-Nelson-Mandelas-Nation/dp/0802855024

As Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 - 5 December 2013) lived and worked under the unjust system of apartheid in the nation of South Africa, his desire for freedom grew. It was a time when the government of South Africa separated people by races, oppressing the country's non-white citizens with abusive laws and cruel restrictions. Every day filled Mandela with grief and anger. But he also had hope -- hope for a nation that belonged to everyone who lived in it.

From his work with the African National Congress, to his imprisonment on Robben Island, to his extraordinary rise to the presidency, Nelson Mandela was a rallying force against injustice. "A Plan for the People: Nelson Mandela's Hope for His Nation " by author Lindsey McDivitt is a stirring picture book biography explores Mandela's long fight for equality and the courage that propelled him through decades of struggle. Illustrated by the artistry of Charly Palmer in the bold, bright colors of South Africa, "A Plan for the People" captures the spirit of a leader beloved around the world.

While highly and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library picture book biographies for children ages 7-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "A Plan for the People" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.04).


The Holiday Shelf

Peter the Easter Frog
Erin Dealey, author
G. Brian Karas, illustrator
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
www.simonandschuster.com/kids
9781481464895, $9.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Easter-Frog-Erin-Dealey/dp/1481464892

Peter the Easter Frog simply loves, loves, LOVES Easter -- and sharing is caring, AND he's just as good a hopper as any ol' rabbit, so he decides to pass out some of his own Easter eggs. Why should Bunny have all the fun, anyway? Turtle, Cow, Dog, and Chipmunk all agree. But what happens when the Easter Bunny finds out? A delightfully whimsical, charming, original, and wonderfully entertaining picture book by author/storyteller Erin Dealey and artist/illustrator G. Brian Karas, "Peter Easter Frog" is a welcome and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Peter Easter Frog" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).


The Board Book Shelf

Cities of the World
Becky Davies
Little Tiger Press
https://littletiger.co.uk
9781788817189, $9.99, Board Book, 16pp

https://www.amazon.com/CitiesoftheWorld/dp/1788817184

Children ages 3-6 will thoroughly enjoy discovering and learning about twelve fascinating cities from around the world with "Cities of the World" by author/storyteller Becky Davies and artist/illustrator Josie Portillo. This simple and striking cut-out style board book with lots to spot, fascinating facts, and layered peep-through pages for a real immersive adventure makes "Cities of the World" especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Women in Sports
Rachel Ignotofsky
c/o Random House Children's Books
www.randomhouse.com/kids
9780593377659, $9.99, Board Book, 30pp

https://www.amazon.com/Women-Sports-Fearless-Athletes-Played/dp/0593377656

Highlighting the pioneering efforts of women athletes, this board book edition of "Women in Sports: Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win" by Rachel Ignotofsky features a simpler text and her signature beautiful illustrations reimagined for younger readers to introduce the perfect role models for inspiring a love of sports. The collection includes diverse women across various sports, time periods, and geographic location. The perfect gift for every future athlete and especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library board book collections for children ages 1-3!

100 First Words (I Can Learn)
Lauren Crisp, author
Tomas Elliott, illustrator
Tiger Tales
PO Box 70, Iron Ridge, WI 53035
www.tigertalesbooks.com
9781680106879, $6.99, Board Book, 24pp

https://www.amazon.com/100-First-Words-Can-Learn/dp/1680106872

Learning is fun with the I Can Learn! series where young readers ages 1-3 can explore colors, shapes, counting, and many other first concepts in these hands-on books. Manipulating special features such as tactile elements, sound buttons, and flaps is an excellent way for children to reinforce learning and strengthen hand-eye coordination. Filled with vibrant illustrations and 100 first words "100 First Words (I Can Learn)", by author Lauren Crisp and illustrator Thomas Elliott is the perfect start for little ones' language skills and a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections

Gigantosaurus: The Scary Cave
Cyber Group Studios
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
www.candlewick.com
9781536219227, $11.99, Board Book, 14pp

https://www.amazon.com/Gigantosaurus-Scary-Cyber-Group-Studios/dp/1536219223

After sunset in Cretacea, there is one place no little dino dares to go: the Scary Cave. Unless, of course, the dino's name is Rocky, and he convinces his friends Mazu, Tiny, and Bill to come along. What is that strange howling? Who is that hissing? Is that a monster or a rock? What's that around the bend? Little readers can help explore by lifting the flaps on each page in this fun and gently spooky tale based on the book of the same name by Jonny Duddle. Featuring characters from the animated series Gigantosaurus, "Gigantosaurus: The Scary Cave" is especially recommended for little dinosaur enthusiasts ages 3-7 and will prove to be a particularly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elemental school, and community library board book collections.


The Picturebook Shelf

Cat Problems
Jory John, author
Lane Smith, illustrator
Random House Studio
c/o Random House Children's Books
www.randomhouse.com/kids
9780593302132, $17.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Cat-Problems-Animal-Jory-John/dp/0593302133

Just like most cats, the cat portrayed in "Cat Problems" by author/storyteller Jory John and artist/illustrator Lane Smith lives an extremely comfortable life. But he has his issues too!

The sun spot he's trying to bathe in won't stop moving. He keeps getting served dry food instead of wet. And don't even get him started on the vacuum (it's an absolute menace!) and then there is the nosy neighbor squirrel that just can't seem to mind its own business. Will this cat ever find the silver lining?

A treat for all kitty loving children from 3-7, "Cat Problems" will prove a delightfully entertaining and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cat Problems" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

My Dog Romeo
Ziggy Marley, author
Ag Jatkowska, illustrator
Akashic Books
232 Third Street, #A115, Brooklyn, NY 11215
www.akashicbooks.com
9781617759420, $16.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/My-Dog-Romeo-Ziggy-Marley/dp/1617759422

Enhanced with beautiful illustrations by Ag Jatkowska, "My Dog Romeo" becomes a vibrant picture book by author/storyteller Ziggy Marley that follows a child and a dog throughout their days, sharing their love of music and play. Opening with Romeo's barking, Marley sings of his great love and friendship with his four-legged friend. "My Dog Romeo" is a playful and endearing picture book tribute to Ziggy Marley's beloved pet dog Romeo. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $12.00), "My Dog Romeo" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 2-7.

Stella's Umbrellas
Julie Reed, author
Nataliya Chervochkova, illustrator
Adelaide Books
www.adelaidbooks.org
9781955196499, $17.60, HC, 48pp

https://adelaidebooks.org/products/stellas-umbrellas

The only thing bigger than her extraordinary umbrella collection is the secret behind their hidden magic. Children will enjoy joining a young girl named Stella as she attempts to use her kindness, charm, and posh parasols to remedy pickles, mend messes, and help friends along the way.

"Stella's Umbrellas by author/storyteller Julie Reed (who is also the recipient of two Adelaide Books Children's Literature Awards. More recently recognized for If I Met the Moon at Night) and artist/illustrator Nataliya Chervochkova is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Children's Picture Book collections.

Mia and Nattie One Great Team
Marlene M. Bell, author
Grace Sandford, illustrator
Independently Published
www.marlenembell.com
www.texassheep.com
9780999539446, $14.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Mia-Nattie-One-Great-Team/dp/0999539442

On a visit to her grandma's farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. Nattie's mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn's horn. But Mia thought Nattie was perfect and as she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age. When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around -- one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is. Charmingly illustrated throughout by Grace Sandford, "Mia and Nattie One Great Team" is a heartwarming story that teaches young readers about problem-solving, teamwork, and love. While very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for chldren ages 4-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Mia and Nattie One Great Team" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99).

Windy Days
Deborah Kerbel, author
Miki Sato, illustrator
Pajama Press
http://pajamapress.ca
9781772782172, $17.95, HC, Board Book, 24pp

https://www.amazon.com/Windy-Days-Weather-3/dp/1772782173

For preschoolers, windy fall days mean excitement and play. Strong winds stimulate children and their surroundings, as though an invisible hand is shaking the world. Gentler breezes help plants scatter their seeds, set pinwheels in motion, and keep kite strings taut. But fiercer winds begin to sting the cheeks as they bring about a new season. In "Windy Days", author/storyteller Deborah Kerbel once again captures the magic of early childhood awe and wonder with rhyming couplets as light as a breath of fresh air. Artist/illustrator Miki Sato's unique tactile collage art pops off the page through its detailed use of hand-stitching and textural materials. The result is a welcome and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 2-5.

Gerald Needs a Friend
Robin Boyden
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Group Children's Books
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711252080, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Gerald-Needs-Friend-Robin-Boyden/dp/0711252084

Gerald the Hamster lives alone. He has everything he needs. He spends most of his days in his yard, watering the plants, picking the fruits and vegetables, and making preserves for the winter. In the evenings he has dinner at 5, reads 20 pages of his book, has a chamomile tea, and goes to bed at 7. Every day is the same, and that suits Gerald just fine. Until one day, when an amazing traveling market comes to town! Gerald has so much fun playing with the two mice that run it that he forgets all about his routine. Can Gerald learn that having everything you need is no fun unless you have someone to share it with? A delightfully charming and entertaining picture book story with an important life-skills message, "Gerald Needs a Friend" by author and artist Robin Boyden is a welcome and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collection for children ages 3-6.

Magic Candies
Heena Baek, author
Sophie Bowman, illustrator
Amazon Crossing Kids
9781542029599, $17.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Candies-Heena-Baek/dp/1542029597

Tong Tong is a little boy who could never have imagined what everyone around him was thinking. But when he gets hold of some magic candies, suddenly there are voices everywhere. He can hear how his couch feels, what upsets his dog, that his demanding dad loves him. He even gets to catch up with his dead grandmother. It turns out, these voices in Tong Tong's life have A LOT to say! Is Tong Tong ready to hear it?

At turns funny, weird, and heartfelt, this imaginative picture book from Korean author and storyteller Heena Baek will take readers along on Tong Tong's journey as he goes from lonely to brave. Uniquely illustrated with color photography by artist Sophie Bowman, "Magic Candies" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Magic Candies" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

I Love Vincent
Laura Ljungkvist
POW! Kids Books
https://powkidsbooks.com
9781576879863, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/I-Love-Vincent-Laura-Ljungkvist/dp/1576879860

Scout is a seeing-eye dog who helps his human friend Vincent with all his daily activities because Vincent is blind. After graduating from a special training school where they learned how to be partners, Scout and Vincent became a perfect team! Vincent takes excellent care of Scout, giving him his favorite kind of food and taking him to the park for endless rounds of fetch, and Scout takes care of Vincent by guiding him safely across busy streets, helping him find items that go missing, and making sure he avoids danger. Scout loves Vincent and Vincent loves Scout.

Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, children ages 4-8 will truly enjoy follow them as they make their way through a typical day, ending with favorite records and snuggles on the couch in "I Love Vincent" by author, storyteller, artist and illustrator Laura Ljungkvist.

The Empty Box
Lois Wickstrom, author
Nicolas Milano, illustrator
Look Under Rocks
www.LookUnderRocks.com
9781954519237, $21.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Box-Invisible-Magic-Wand/dp/1954519230

This year, when Grandpa puts Caspian's special Unbirthday box under his bed, it's empty. Grandpa insists that he has given Caspian an Invisible Magic Wand. But Caspian has to name it before it will work.

"Maybe," says Caspian. "Good name," says Grandpa. "Nobody will get suspicious." Caspian's hand tingles. Caspian learns how to squeeze time, so he can move quickly and how to stretch time so he can make things he enjoys last.

An original and charmingly entertaining picture book story for children ages 4-8 by author/storyteller Lois Wickstrom and artist/illustrator Nicolas Milano, "The Empty Box" is a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Empty Box" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781954519244, $10.99).

Barn at Night
Michelle Houts, author
Jen Betton, illustrator
Feeding Minds Press
https://www.feedingmindspress.com
9781948898058, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Barn-at-Night-Michelle-Houts/dp/1948898055

When you grow up on a farm, adventures happen all day long -- even at night! On a cold winter evening, a father and daughter go out to the barn and are welcomed with a warm scene. Who is awake, who is asleep, and who is just making their first appearance in the barn?

In their collaborative produced picture book that is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 5-7, "Barn at Night", author and storyteller Michelle Houts' lyrical poetry paired perfectly with artist and illustrator Jen Betton's glowing watercolors create a particularly warm and wonderful bedtime story.

Run Like a Sled Dog
Denise Lawson
Brown and Lowe Books
http://brownlowebooks.com
9781735504803, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Run-Like-Sled-Dog-Adventures/dp/1735504807

"Run Like a Sled Dog" is the picture book story of Black Bear who is the only sled dog around, but needs a little help with a big sled dog job. Who will fit into Black Bear's harness and pull alongside her? "Hoot, the alpaca, looks very strong, but the harness won't fit him. His neck is too long." Black Bear meets some unexpected friends in this light-hearted rhyming tale by author and illustrator Denise Lawson. Children ages 3-8 will enjoy the upbeat surprise ending that reminds us all to follow our dreams. Very highly recommended as an addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, "Run Like a Sled Dog" is the latest book in the Black Bear Sled Dog series. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Run Like a Sled Dog" is also readily available in a paperback edition (978-1735504810, $11.99).

Little Moar and the Moon
Roselynn Akulukjuk, author
Jazmine Gubbe, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772272994, $16.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Moar-Moon-Roselynn-Akulukjuk/dp/177227299X

Moar is a little boy who has always loved autumn (playing outside with his friends, feeling the weather get colder) but there is one thing about autumn that really worries Moar. The moon. The days become shorter and the moon, with its creepy face and eerie smile, seems to be looking down on him before he can even get home from school! So, one day, Moar is determined to get home before the moon appears in the sky. But there are so many fun things to do on the way home, he may just run out of time!

A charmingly original and wonderfully entertaining picture book for children ages 6-8 by author/storyteller Roselynn Akulukjuk and artist/illustrator Jazmine Gubbe, "Little Moar and the Moon" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

I Don't Want to Turn 3
Gramps Jeffrey
AuthorHouse
www.authorhouse.com
www.idontwanttoturn3.com
9781665526944, $24.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/I-Dont-Want-Turn-3/dp/1665526947

When does a toddler start to learn right from wrong? What happens in a family that influences a decision going through a young mind? "I Don't Want to Turn 3" by author and illustrator Gramps Jeffrey explores the interaction between family that is happening in just about every household in the world. While very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book life skills & values collections for children ages 3-5, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Don't Want to Turn 3" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781665526937, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

Travels With Parky Pigeon
Timothy E. Becker, author2
Matthew Fox, illustrator
Independently Published
www.parkypigeon.com
9781733351508, $20.00, HC

https://www.facebook.com/TravelswithParkyPigeon

Parky accidentally flies in a jet plane from his home in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Edinburgh, Scotland. No pigeon has ever flown across the Atlantic Ocean, so how will Parky ever return home? With the help of friends, furry and feathered, and the rock band 'Heavy Liftin,' Parky learns the lay of the land and starts his journey home the long way round the world!

An original and entertaining picture book story for children ages 4-8 by the team of author/storyteller Timothy E. Becker and artist/illustrator Matthew Fox, "Travels With Parky Pigeon" is enhanced for young readers with the inclusion of a section of age-appropriate and thoroughly 'kid friendly' environmental messages and suggested activities -- making it especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Between the Lines
Lindsay Ward
Amazon Crossing Kids
9781542026901, $17.99, HC, 48pp

https://www.amazon.com/Between-Lines-Lindsay-Ward/dp/1542026903

"Between the Lines" by author and illustrator Lindsay Ward is the picture book story of a young boy who loves his community notices that as neighbors stop interacting, the colors around them slowly fade. Then a thunderstorm sweeps away the last hints of bluebird skies and lemon-Popsicle days and leaves a rift in the road that doesn't get fixed. As the adults around him move on, the boy dreams of the way life once was. He decides that he doesn't want to live in a world without color, so he sets out to change things!

An impressively original, charmingly entertaining, and memorably illustrated picture book story for children ages 4-8, "Between the Lines" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers. Additionally, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Between the Lines" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99).

21 Cousins
Diane de Anda, author
Isabel Munoz, illustrator
Star Bright Books
13 Landsdowne Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
www.starbrightbooks.com
9781595729156, $16.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/21-Cousins-Diane-Anda/dp/1595729151

Tall, short, big, small, athletic, artistic -- cousins may look different and have different interests and abilities, but that just makes them one extraordinary family! From Maricela's bilingual spelling skills to Mario's tech whiz abilities, no two cousins are alike and that's just the way they like it. All the cousins are muy entusiasmados for the surprise at the end of their family gathering!

In "21 Cousins", author/storyteller Diane de Anda (who is also a professor emerita of social welfare at UCLA and a community voice on violence prevention and stress management among adolescents) cleverly highlights the beautiful diversity of Latino and mestizo families as young readers ages 4-8 are introduced to each cousin. Artist Isabel Munoz's whimsical illustrations are filled with rich details, delivering a cornucopia of color.

Featuring a mix of skin tones, personalities, and abilities, "21 Cousins" is a delightful read that invites children to appreciate the rich heritage of Latino culture -- making it an original, entertaining, and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. Additionally, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "21 Cousins" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781595729163, $6.99).

Tales of the Mushroom Folk
Signe Aspelin, author/illustrator
Polly Lawson, translator
Floris Books
www.florisbooks.co.uk
9781782507529, $18.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Mushroom-Folk-Signe-Aspelin/dp/1782507523

It's early spring and the mushroom folk are emerging into the bright sunshine. Meet the mischievous Fly Agaric Toadstools, the sleepy Slippery Jacks, the playful Porcini Mushrooms and the regal Button Mushrooms in the pages of "Tales of the Mushroom Folk", a wonderfully delightful picture book replete with whimsy and vintage charm. As the seasons turn, children and parents are introduced to the different mushroom families and learn what makes them special through a series of charming tales.

Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-7, this is a gorgeous new edition "Tales of the Mushroom Folk" by the Swedish artist Signe Aspelin (1881-1961) was first published in 1909.

Taking Care of Mama Rabbit
Anita Lobel
Knopf Books for Young Readers
c/o Random House Children's Books
www.randomhouse.com/kids
9780385753685, $17.99, HC, 24pp

https://www.amazon.com/Taking-Care-Rabbit-Anita-Lobel/dp/0385753683

Mama Rabbit is too sick to leave her bed. Poor Mama! When Papa Rabbit leaves home to get her some medicine, the ten little rabbit children take it upon themselves to help her feel better. One by one they bring her treats from around the house, including a steaming cup of hot chocolate, a cuddly toy, a good book, and a shiny necklace. Before long, Mama Rabbit begins to feel better even without the help of medicine. A delightfully original and charming picture book by author, storyteller, artist and illustrator Anita Lobel, "Taking Care of Mama Rabbit" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 3-7. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Taking Care of Mama Rabbit" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Princesses Can Fix It!
Tracy Marchini, author
Julia Christians, illustrator
Page Street Kids
c/o Page Street Publishing
www.pagestreetpublishing.com
9781645672142, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Princesses-Can-Fix-Tracy-Marchini/dp/164567214X

The castle is crawling with wayward alligators, and the clueless king doesn't know how to fix it. Lila, Margaret, and Harriet have lots of ideas, but their father won't listen! According to him, the Princesses should be focusing on proper pursuits like drawing, jewelry, and music. When the three girls start falling asleep during the day, the King sends the Prince to investigate. What he discovers is that the three princesses are gathering at night to use their knowledge of the six simple machines to invent an ingenious alligator removal contraption in their secret workshop.

Very highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8, "Princesses Can Fix It!" is a STEAM-focused take by author/storyteller Tracy Marchini on the classic fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses and includes fun illustrations by Julia Christians bursting with hilarious detail (and alligators), zany characters, and three inspiring princesses who know that they have what takes to save the day.

Roar: A Book of Animal Sounds
Katerina Kerouli
Bloomsbury Children's Books
www.bloomsbury.com
9781547606412, $17.99, HC, 24pp

https://www.amazon.com/Roar-Animal-Sounds-Katerina-Kerouli/dp/154760641X

In the pages of "Roar: A Book of Animal Sounds" by author and artist Katerina Kerouli, Crocodile lurks in the water, Tiger and Lion prowl through the jungle, Monkey swings through the trees and Snake slithers through the undergrowth in a beautifully illustrated picture book. Children will fully enjoy lifting the giant flaps to reveal those strong, wide jaws, sharp teeth - and a flicky tongue! - and join in as the animals SNAP, HISS, and ROAR.

Part hide-and-seek, part lift the flaps, and part animal noises, and a welcome, highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library picture book Pets/Wildlife collections, "Roar: A Book of Animal Sounds" is gorgeous jungle adventure will entertain children again and again and again!

My Big Dreams
Edward M. Carute
Dorrance Publishing Company
585 Alpha Drive, Suite 103, Pittsburgh, PA 15238
www.dorrancepublishing.com
9781649131898, $23.00, HC, 34pp

https://www.amazon.com/My-Big-Dreams-Edward-Carute/dp/1649131895

At night or during the day, do you dream of who you'll be when you grow up? An actor, a teacher, a pilot? Or are you an aspiring astronaut, firefighter, or doctor? Do you dream of all these things? "My Big Dreams" by author and illustrator Edward M. Carute reminds children of all ages that they can be anything they want when they grow up. The important underlying message for young readers is: Be proud of whatever you dream, no matter how big or small, and know that you possess the power within yourself to make your dreams come true! Original and fun, "My Big Dreams" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 5-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Big Dreams" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

The Adventures of Amber: Walk in the Woods
Isabell Hayden, author
Bekir Riza Sahin, illustrator
Mindstir Media, LLC
www.mindstirmedia.com
9781737091585, $22.48 hardcover/$12.99 Paper/$2.99 ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Amber-Walk-Woods/dp/1737279193

Collections strong in picture book explorations of nature will find The Adventures of Amber: Walk in the Woods a lovely story that holds beautiful illustrations by Bekir Riza Sahin to pair with nature-loving adventure girl Amber's story. Amber visits her grandparents' mountain cottage in summer, where a walk in the woods is one of the draws. Young readers receive a "you are there" feel to the story as Amber wonders at tall trees, identifies beautiful birds, and chooses natural materials with her grandmother for a future art project. The sights, smells, sounds, and feelings of being in the woods come to life in detail and visual embellishment as kids enjoy a celebration of nature's wonders through Amber and her grandmothers' eyes. The Adventures of Amber: Walk in the Woods celebrates not just the outdoors, but a shared experience between young and old. Its winning, involving story is perfect for adults who want to introduce young readers to the outdoors, showing how they can benefit from an older adult's participation in the experience.

Mariposa, Where Did You Get Your Colors?
Virginia Padilla-Vigil, PhD, author
Nanibah Chacon, illustrator
Condor Publishing
http://www.condorpublishinginc.com/childrensbooks.html
9781931079235, $24.95

https://www.amazon.com/Mariposa-Where-Did-Your-Colors/dp/1931079234

A lovely story evolves in Mariposa, Where Did You Get Your Colors?, which clearly and simply outlines butterfly Mariposa's challenge and her solution to the problem of feeling different and at odds with her black-and-white world. It imparts deeper messages about overcoming alienation, cultivating giving, and handling the good and bad aspects of being generous. Illustrator Nanibah Chacon, a noted muralist, does a superb job of capturing the nuances of a colorful butterfly that flits through her world in the picture book. Her simple, lovely drawings are perfect for a story which focuses on a little butterfly who stands out from the black and white world she flies through. This alienates her from others, and she doesn't feel a part of the world. When an astute trout asks about the origins of her colors, her wise grandmother states that they are a gift. How, then, can Mariposa use this gift wisely? Parental read-aloud assistance is recommended for the discussions which should follow this evocative story. Any who work with children will find this an absorbing, revealing, and thought-provoking story that holds a bigger message within a simple tale.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA
www.candlewickpress.com

Three new books are highly recommended picks for young reader collections looking for appealing, exceptional productions.

https://www.amazon.com/McTavish-Takes-Cake-Meg-Rosoff/dp/1536213756

Meg Rosoff's McTavish Takes the Cake (9781536213751, $15.99) will reach advanced elementary grades with a simple read about a rescue dog, a father, and a proposed new career of being baker. A town baking contest invites the newly inspired Pa Preachy to enter, but there's only one problem. Pa's baking borders on inedible. Should they try to encourage him even though he appears to have no talent in the kitchen? It's up to rescue dog McTavish to save the day in a fun story that will appeal to kids beyond the picture book stage.

https://www.amazon.com/Dakota-Crumb-Tiny-Treasure-Hunter/dp/1536203947

Picture book readers will relish Jamie Michalak's Dakota Crumb Tiny Treasure Hunter (9781536203943, $17.99), which receives especially engaging, colorful drawings by Kelly Murphy as it explores a mouse's museum hunt for treasure. The humans leave behind many tiny things that Dakota considers desirable, but one particular prize on her treasure map keeps her on the hunt. Sound effect words will lend to parental read-aloud action as Dakota Crumb searches out an unusual prize.

https://www.amazon.com/More-Merrier-David-Martin/dp/153620918X

David Martin's The More the Merrier (9781536209181, $17.99) receives colorful, inviting drawings by Raissa Figueroa as it joins forest animals in a community dance. Rollicking rhyme accompanies the beat of words on the page as different forest animals find their own different grooves. Kids receive a warm and fun consideration of what defines 'dance' as each creature cultivates a very different response to the alluring music! All are wonderful, original creations.

Simon and Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10020-1513
www.simonandschuster.com/kids

Three new picture book stories are engagingly presented and filled with satisfying color and insights kids and read-aloud parents alike will find compelling.

https://www.amazon.com/Blueberry-Cake-Sarah-Dillard/dp/153445134X

Sarah Dillard's Blueberry Cake (9781534451346, $17.99) tells of a young bear's determination to gather lots of blueberries for his favorite cake. It would seem a simple task, but the little bear also suffers from attention deficit disorder, and is easily distracted by the environment that harbors the blueberries. The little bear has fun...but will he reach his goal? This picture book excels in a minimum of words and a maximum of interest that young readers can use as a stepping stone to literacy.

https://www.amazon.com/Chirp-Chipmunk-Friend-Jamie-Swenson/dp/1534470026

Jamie A. Swenson and Scott Magoon's Chirp! Chipmunk Sings for a Friend (9781534470026, $17.99) will reach ages 4-8 with a story that celebrates friendships and acknowledges loneliness. Chipmunk longs for someone to help chirp along with her song, but her search for a companion singer isn't fruitful. Pinecone, Rock, and other potential friends get along well with each other, but their talents don't lend to song. How can Chipmunk find someone who shares in her vision? A fine story about differences and friendships emerges in a treat for read-aloud parents and the very young.

https://www.amazon.com/Keeping-City-Going-Brian-Floca/dp/1534493778

Brian Floca's Keeping the City Going (9781534493773, $17.99) comes from a Caldecott Medal winner who explores the mechanics of keeping a city running under shutdown conditions, and mirrors recent Covid experiences for kids who want a story of how things kept running during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ages 4-8 will appreciate the focus on the different kinds of people who keep grocery stores running, make buses and trains move, deliver letters and packages, and who prove the true heroes

Random House/Knopf
www.rhcbooks.com

Two new picture books from Random House provide intriguing stories kids will find unusual and attractive on different levels.

https://www.amazon.com/Bird-Boy-Inclusive-Childrens-Book/dp/1984893777

Matthew Burgess's Bird Boy (9781984893772, $17.99) receives simple drawings by Shahrzad Maydani as it tells about Nico, who feels lost in his new school. His special gift is befriending birds, and as Nico lets his imagination soar, young observers who at first think him strange are drawn to his kindness and other qualities. This simple story celebrates differences and invites kids to consider friendships based on not just appearance and ability, but emotional qualities to be admired.

https://www.amazon.com/Isobel-Adds-Up-Kristy-Everington/dp/0593178106

Kristy Everington and AG Ford's Isobel Adds It Up (9780593178102, $17.99) presents a young girl who tries to do her math homework, but faces a big problem with noisy nextdoor neighbors who sound like a marching band. How can she complete her math problems over the weekend with such a ruckus going on? And, can a girl who loves and need quiet live next to people who think racket is fine? A fine story of neighbors and getting along emerges with a surprise twist to the tale.

Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway New York, NY 10012
www.scholastic.com

For new picture book arrivals from Scholastic and its Orchard Books imprint are highly recommended additions to discriminating children's book collections. Each offers something different that makes it a standout from the crowd.

https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Her-Shoulders-Monica-Clark-Robinson/dp/1338358006

Monica Clark-Robinson's Standing On Her Shoulders: A Celebration of Women (9781338358001, $18.99) features lovely art by Laura Freeman as it invites kids to think of women of color who have forged pathways to freedom that modern life rests upon. From revolutionaries and champions of equality to women who explored, flew airplanes, and overcame many challenges to achieve their dreams, young picture book readers receive an invitation to realize how their own ambitions and choices may pave the way for future generations.

https://www.amazon.com/Very-Favorite-Book-Whole-World/dp/1338225324

Malcolm Mitchell's My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World (9781338225327, $17.99) receives simple, appealing drawings by Michael Robertson as it explores the dilemma of young Henley, who has never found a book he loves. He'd actually rather being doing anything other than reading. When a classroom assignment challenges him to locate and present his favorite book to the class, Henley is more than perplexed by the assignment. How can he achieve this if no book really moves him? He tries reading all kinds of fiction and nonfiction stories, to no avail. The surprise that unfolds is a wonderful conclusion that invites kids to reconsider books, stories, and opportunities.

https://www.amazon.com/Little-Blue-Bridge-Brenda-Maier/dp/1338538012

Brenda Maier's The Little Blue Bridge (9781338538014, $18.99) features pictures by Sonia Sanchez that are whimsical, emotionally evocative, and fun as they reveal Ruby's idea to harvest some blueberries that lay on the other side of a bridge blocked by scary Santiago. Ruby isn't one to let obstacles keep her from her goal, however, and devises a creative way to gain her desire in this modern takeoff on The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

https://www.amazon.com/Wishes-Muon-Van/dp/1338305891

Muon Thi Van's Wishes (9781338305890, $18.99) receives especially lovely illustrations by Victo Ngai, who brings to life the story of a family that packs up and leaves their home, traveling by boat in search of a safe haven and a new refuge to call home. Beautiful, dark images accompany equally compelling language ("The clock wished it was slower.") that capture a variety of wishes leading to departure. A particularly gorgeous presentation marrying words and art, Wishes brings alive the heartfelt worries and wishes of boat people who undertake a
dangerous journey.


The Bilingual Shelf

A Train Called Hope/Un tren llamado Esperanza
Mario Bencastro, author
Robert Casilla, illustrator
Pinata Books
c/o Arte Publico Press
4902 Gulf Freeway, Bldg 19, Rm 100, Houston, TX 77204-2004
www.artepublicopress.com
9781558859197, $18.95, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/llamado-Esperanza-Called-Spanish-English/dp/1558859195

"A Train Called Hope/Un tren llamado Esperanza" is a poignant bilingual picture book in which a young boy remembers his first present, "a little train crossing / the mountain of my pillow / over a valley on my bed." There's even a girl who looks like his sister waving happily from the window!

Years later, after his parents have gone far away in search of work and a better future, the boy rides in a real train to join his family. This one is loaded with hundreds of children traveling alone, just like him. There are frightening strangers, others along the way who want to jump on and, scariest of all, a boy who almost falls off the roof because he can't stay awake any longer.

When the train finally arrives at its destination, everyone jumps off and the boy begs "the moon to shine, / to light up the border" so he can cross and find his mother. Impressively illustrated by the artistry of illustrator Robet Casilla, this moving, poetic story by Salvadoran author/storyteller Mario Bencastro touches on the difficult journey north many Central American children make in hopes of finding their parents and a better life -- making "A Train Called Hope/Un tren llamado Esperanza" an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library bilingual picture book collections for young readers ages 8-12.


The Middle Grade Fiction Shelf

Black Hole Radio
Ann Birdgenaw, author
E.M. Roberts, illustrator
DartFrog Plus
www.DartFrogBooks.com
9781953910486, $7.99 Paper/$3.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Hole-Radio-Ann-Birdgenaw/dp/1953910483

Many elementary-grade readers love sci-fi tales of space, adventure, and black holes. Black Hole Radio is recommended reading for this audience, and opens with a first-person invitation that kids will find appealing: "Do you ever think about space travel? Alien encounters? Amazing adventures? If not, you should close this book now. OK, so you're a believer. Then you just might be ready to hear what happened to me on the most intergalactic day of my life."

Hawk (named after famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking) and his best friend Matt have their own club, the "Uranus is the Butt of the Solar System Club." Their secret space club is all about exploring strange new possibilities, from UFOs to the skies they view through Hawk's grandfather's old telescope. When a beeping noise in a box attracts them to what looks like a small radio, they are blasted into an alien place far from Earth. But, adventure doesn't feel as satisfying as they had imagined.

Black and white illustrations by E.M. Roberts pepper the story and add visual embellishments as the dynamic duo face a host of challenges from aliens such as Dweezil, and wormholes that take them on unexpected journeys. Kids who enjoy sci-fi adventures will relish the experiences of two boys who find that their heart's desire and fantasies about sci-fi are not just too real, but overly challenging as they face threats from scary, drooling alien monsters.

Ann Birdgenaw's story offers fun action for 8- to 12-year-olds who dream of outer space, aliens, and being heroes. It's a fine leisure read designed to bring intrigue to all kinds of readers, and excels in capturing interest with a first-person piece that is vividly laced with nonstop action.

Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire
Nat Amore
Rock the Boat
c/o Oneworld Publications
www.oneworld-publications.com
9780861541058, $8.99, PB, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Schoolyard-Millionaire-Nat-Amoore/dp/0861541057

10-year-old Tess is a born entrepreneur. She just needs to come up with the perfect money-making scheme. Then she finds a million dollars buried in her backyard. Never mind where the money came from because Tess and her best friend Toby know exactly how to spend it! But, as it turns out, spending a million isn't that easy when you're a kid. Cue bouncy houses, candy, scheming, and a whole lot of trouble!

"Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire" by author and storyteller Nat Amore is an original and fun read from first page to last, of special note is the inclusion of real-life bonus tips on how to become a schoolyard millionaire inside! While very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library General Fiction and Humor Fiction collections for children ages 8-12, it should also be noted that "Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $4.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (9781867505518, $23.48).

Ghost Girl
Ally Malinenko
Katherine Tegen Books
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
www.blackstoneaudio.com
9780063044609, $16.99, HC, 288pp

https://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Girl-Ally-Malinenko/dp/0063044609

Zee Puckett loves ghost stories. She just never expected to be living one. It all started with a dark and stormy night. When the skies clear, everything is different. People are missing. There's a creepy new principal who seems to know everyone's darkest dreams. And Zee is seeing frightening things: large, scary dogs that talk and maybe even a ghost!

When she tells her classmates, only her best friend Elijah believes her. Worse, mean girl Nellie gives Zee a cruel nickname: Ghost Girl. But whatever the storm washed up isn't going away. Everyone's most selfish wishes start coming true in creepy ways.

To fight for what's right, Zee will have to embrace what makes her different and what makes her Ghost Girl. And all three of them (Zee, Elijah, and Nellie) will have to work together if they want to give their ghost story a happy ending.

A deftly crafted, impressively original, and entertaining read from cover to cover, "Ghost Girl" by Ally Malinenko is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 8-12. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Ghost Girl" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9780063044616, $7.99), in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99), and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781665101271, $34.99, CD).

Disney/Hyperion
www.DisneyBooks.com

Two new picture books will reach a wide audience with intriguing stories and creative, original directions.

https://www.amazon.com/Im-Elephant-Piggie-Like-Reading/dp/1368066968

Andrea Tsurumi's I'm On It! (9781368066969, $9.99) presents an easy readers covering Frog and Goat, who busily demonstrate the concepts of being 'on it', 'above it', 'behind it', and more. Through their simple antics and attempts at one-upping one another, Frog and Goat demonstrate their zany skills and illustrate concepts of 'on', 'over', 'under', 'above', 'through', and more. Adult who want to teach these concepts to the very young will find I'm On It! the perfect read-aloud opportunity to pair a whimsical story of friendship with some real concepts.

https://www.amazon.com/Mouse-Watch-Underwater/dp/1368052193

Middle grade readers will find J.J. Gilbert's The Mouse Watch Underwater (9781368052191, $16.99) an intriguing marine mission of investigation as a brave mouse and a shy rat become agents working together to move up the ranks of the Mouse Watch. When evidence shows that a lost spy vessel may be still operating underwater, it's up to the brave duo to scuba into deep-sea adventure in a tiny submarine. Advanced elementary to early middle grades will find the whimsical story of action and friendship involving.


The YA Fiction Shelf

Legacy and the Double
Kobe Bryant, author
Annie Matthew, creator
Granity Studios
https://granitystudios.com
9781949520194, $18.99, HC, 224pp

https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Pledge-Sperante/dp/1949520196

Legacy Petrin is a national tennis champion, but she doesn't feel like one. At the orphanage where she grew up, far from the city where she learned to shine, Legacy struggles to focus on her training. Her famous magical inner light dims and darkens until she barely recognizes herself.

Then a girl who looks exactly like Legacy (same burlap dress, same signature glow) starts playing in Legacy's name. She wins matches in the city, makes charming speeches in support of "Queen" Silla, and gains a devoted following. Soon, Silla issues a decree against impersonating champions, which means that the real Legacy could be arrested simply for looking like herself.

To reclaim her name and her identity, Legacy has no choice but to compete in disguise until she can rise through the ranks, face off against her imposter, and prove that she is the one and only Legacy Petrin -- a champion who was born to shine.

Critique: An inherently absorbing, impressively original, and deftly crafted novel for all young readers ages 10-18, "Legacy and the Double" by author/storyteller Annie Matthew is especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Legacy and the Double" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.49).

Wonder Rush
Dan McKeon
Hush Moss Press
9781737132509, $12.99, PB, 334pp

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Rush-Dan-McKeon/dp/1737132508

Synopsis: Wendy Lockheart has been known by many names -- none of them her own. With each new school, she is assigned a new identity and a new foster family, but the same mission -- kill whoever she is told to kill.

Most agents in her network of female teen assassins begin training at age ten, but for Wendy it has encompassed her entire life. Abducted at birth, she was engulfed in a world of psychological manipulation, brainwashing, and physical training. At seventeen years old, Wendy is the most highly trained assassin in the agency.

"Wendy Lockheart" is her twenty-fourth identity and one that won't be hers much longer, which is unfortunate. She finally found a place to call home. She has an inexplicable connection to her friend, Amaya. Her foster family is caring, and she loves her foster brother, Corey, who has cerebral palsy. Nonetheless, her days as "Wendy" are limited. They always are.

After carrying out a hit on an alleged drunk driver, conflicting information leads Wendy to suspect corruption within the ranks of the agency. Intent on discovering the truth, Wendy intentionally botches an operation, making her the agency's next mark. As their dark intentions come to light, Wendy realizes she must destroy the organization that shaped her in order to discover the person she truly wants to be -- that is, if they don't kill her first.

"Wonder Rush" is a thrill ride through the dangerous world of a teen assassin, but it is also a journey of self-discovery - a coming-of-age tale under the most extreme circumstances. How can a girl develop her own personal identity when she never had one to begin with?

Critique: Blending a 'coming of age' story that is simply packed from cover to cover with cliff-hanger suspense, "Wonder Rush" is one compulsive page turning thriller of a read and showcases author Dan McKeon's impressively entertaining narrative storytelling style. While especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fiction collections for young readers ages 15-18, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Wonder Rush" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99).

Shadows of War
Claire Youmans
American I Publishing
9781733902052, $16.99 Paper/$6.99 ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-War-Toki-Girl-Sparrow-Boy-Book/dp/1733902058

The 8th book in the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy series for young adult to adult fantasy readers adds yet another adventure based on Japanese history and culture. Here, Azuki, a 'toki' human girl who is also a crested ibis, lives in 1877 Japan, where she has just fought for and won her biggest dream. Or, has she? Rebellion is threatening the Japanese Empire, and her toki-human abilities may be the only thing that holds her world together as Azuki finds new changes and old traditions clashing all around her, from her little brother's close-held and dangerous secret to a princess's desire to help her people despite her past failures.

Readers who enjoy history, Japanese settings, and an added dash of fantasy and magical realism will find Claire Youmans cultivates a compelling atmosphere of fantasy based on real Japanese history of the Meiji era. No prior familiarity with either that history or the prior series books will be needed to become immersed in Azuki's latest challenges.

Youmans provides descriptions, action, and conversations which embed setting and history into the unfolding events. As Azuki confronts simmering underlying worries that spring to life during the course of yet another journey that charges her to change, various levels of Japanese culture and society are brought to life. As in the previous Toki-girl and Sparrow-boy adventures, Youmans crafts a powerful history-based fantasy atmosphere that will attract both fantasy readers and those interested in historical accounts. The blend is truly magical as Japan's Meiji Era (1868 to

1912) comes to life through Azuki's eyes and heart. As she finds herself confronting Yuta-sensei, uncle and guardian of the Toki-girl and the Sparrow-boy, and his warped vision of war and opportunity, Azuki finds herself confronting mentors and supporters as well as those forces that would twist their lives. It should be noted that this is the longest book of the series, yet. Young adults will find it and the peppering of black and white illustrations throughout a fine addition to the series that also holds the possibility of proving a satisfying, epic stand-alone read to newcomers.


The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Clearing
Tom Deady
Vesuvian Books
www.vesuvianmedia.com/the-clearing
9781645480716, $15.95 Paper/$7.99 ebook

https://www.amazon.com/Clearing-Tom-Deady/dp/1645480712

Hannah Green's dog Scout is the first to make the gruesome discovery of a body in the New Hampshire woods. This sets the stage for Hannah and her best friend Ashley to become sleuths, which they imagine will be intriguingly fun despite the seriousness of a decades-old body. Their pursuit of the truth opens the door for deadly consequences as they begin to uncover more mysteries in their small town, and come to realize they've placed themselves in danger.

Tom Deady's story of growing small-town horror will attract fans who enjoy not just the evolving specter of a surprising threat, but the resourcefulness of two girls who never imagined their inspection of the past could result in a whirlwind of events that changes their present-day lives. Hannah's father has always warned her about the forest that surrounds their home and "goes almost to Canada," but he never imagined that when he reveals the truth, it represents only part of the bigger picture. As Hannah and Ashley face stories of alters and rituals, victims brought back from the dead with newfound youth, and her grandfather's friend Ezekiel Jacob Mather's revelation from an old woman that he's been "chosen to do good things," The Clearing becomes an entwined story of supernatural influences, courage, and challenged belief systems.

Jacob's life purpose was altered and led him to work with the homeless. Only he has known the truth about what happened to his friend Sam Nichols (Sammy-Five) all those years ago when an incident in the same clearing changed them both. Hannah and Ashley's involvement opens a can of worms with a long history and an equally long life.

Mature teens who choose this book will be enthralled by the duo's persistent effort to find lasting answers. Tom Deady excels in creating a history and mystery that is engaging, action-packed, yet firmly rooted in different personalities and the sources of their motivations.

Teens who like the blend of mystery, thriller, and supernatural intrigue will relish a story that holds no clear path and many surprises along the way as the resourceful and determined friends pursue the truth. The juxtaposition of tough-girl Hannah and one who is vulnerable and frightened, and her dilemmas of trust as she works with her father and friend to survive and uncover difficult truths, is especially well done and helps drive the story line beyond the evolving horror theme.

The Clearing's strong protagonists and their realistic concerns, beliefs, and choices creates a memorable and thoroughly engrossing read that is difficult to put down and impossible to predict - just the tickets for a superior horror novel which ends definitively, leaves the door open for more, and should ideally reach into adult horror reader circles, as well as mature teens.


The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

A Dragonbird in the Fern
Laura Rueckert
North Star Editions
https://northstareditions.com
9781635830651, $9.99 pbk / $8.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Dragonbird-Fern-Laura-Rueckert/dp/1635830656

Synopsis: When an assassin kills Princess Jiara's older sister Scilla, her vengeful ghost is doomed to walk their city of glittering canals, tormenting loved ones until the murderer is brought to justice. While the entire kingdom mourns, Scilla's betrothed arrives and requests that seventeen-year-old Jiara take her sister's place as his bride to confirm the alliance between their countries. Marrying the young king intended for her sister and traveling to his distant home is distressing enough, but with dyslexia and years of scholarly struggles, Jiara abandoned any hope of learning other languages long ago. She's terrified of life in a foreign land where she'll be unable to communicate.

Then Jiara discovers evidence that her sister's assassin comes from the king's own country. If she marries the king, Jiara can hunt the murderer and release her family from Scilla's ghost, whose thirst for blood mounts every day. To save her family, Jiara must find her sister's killer... before he murders her too.

Critique: An enthralling fantasy novel that will appeal to young adult and adult readers alike, A Dragonbird in the Fern is the story of Jiara, a princess haunted by her older sister's ghost. An assassin killed Jiara's older sister, possibly to prevent a political alliance through marriage; now, Jiara is expected to marry the young king of a distant land to cement the alliance in her sister's place. Jiara has dyslexia and fears being unable to learn the language of her prospective husband's home nation, but if she does not find the killer, her sister's vengeful ghost wreak horrific havoc. And Jiara is almost certainly the assassin's next target! A Dragonbird in the Fern is captivating from cover to cover, and highly recommended especially for fantasy connoisseurs and public library collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that A Dragonbird in the Fern is also available in a Kindle edition ($8.99).

Editorial Note: Laura Rueckert is a card-carrying bookworm who manages projects by day. At night, fueled by European chocolate, she transforms into a writer of young adult science fiction and fantasy novels.


The Activity Shelf

Shadowbox Hunt
Laura Seeley
All About Kids Publishing
www.allaboutkidspub.com
9781733046886, $25.00, HC, 36pp

https://www.amazon.com/Shadowbox-Hunt-Search-Find-Odyssey/dp/1733046887

The new and enlarged sized edition (11.6 x 0.5 x 15 inches) of "Shadowbox Hunt" showcases original poems and a dozen lushly detailed paintings covering 12 different subjects, each intricately presented in a shadowbox in a 'search & find' format: "Colors", "Mammals", "Food", "Numbers", "Shapes", "Opposites", "Birds", "Letters", "Your Five Senses", "Reptiles", "Fish & Amphibians", "Telling Time" & "Bugs & Blossoms". An impressively unique, inherently fascinating, fully entertaining compendium of DIY activity for children ages '5 to 105', "Shadowbox Hunt" by Laura Seeley is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, middle school, and community library children's activity book collections.


The Multimedia Shelf

Our House
Graham Nash
Backbeat Kids
www.backbeatbooks.com
9781493060115, $19.95, HC

https://www.amazon.com/Our-House-Graham-Nash/dp/1493060112

Musician Graham Nash's Our House includes a new recording of the classic song, accessible online by a special code provided within the book, and pairs 30 original art works by Hugh Syme and a reading app created by Stanley Hainsworth and Tether, Inc. with a lovely story influenced by a true experience and home in the San Fernando Valley in the 1960s. Young picture book readers are treated to a simple exploration of what makes a house a home, from flowers in a vase and a warm fire to sleepy cats and love songs. Adults interested in a simple, lovely read that encourages both literacy and reflection on what makes a house a home will relish this story's colorful review of both in a production highly recommended for its simple message and lovely delivery.


The Graphic Novel Shelf

Miles Morales: Shock Waves
Written by Justin A. Reynolds
Illustrated by Pablo Leon
Graphix
c/o Scholastic
https://www.scholastic.com
9781338648034 $12.99 pbk / $7.99 Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/Miles-Morales-Original-Spider-Man-Graphic/dp/1338648039

Synopsis: Miles Morales is a normal kid who happens to juggle school at Brooklyn Visions Academy while swinging through the streets of Brooklyn as Spider-Man. After a disastrous earthquake strikes his mother's birthplace of Puerto Rico, Miles springs into action to help set up a fundraiser for the devastated island. But when a new student's father goes missing, Miles begins to make connections between the disappearance and a giant corporation sponsoring Miles' fundraiser. Who is behind the disappearance, and how does that relate to Spider-Man?

A true middle grade graphic novel starring one of Marvel's most popular characters, bestselling author Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always) and Eisner award-nominated artist Pablo Leon (Refugees) create a riveting story that will connect with new and well-versed comics readers alike.

Critique: Miles Morales: Shock Waves is a full-color graphic novel ideal for middle grade readers, yet all ages of Spider- Man fans will enjoy this saga blending equal amounts of action, mystery, and everyday life challenges. Miles Morales is a kid who has to balance school life and his responsibilities as Brooklyn's resident Spider-Man. When a new student's father disappears, Miles Morales is on the case - could their be a connection between the missing man and the big corporation sponsoring disaster relief for Puerto Rico? The witty writing and vividly stylized art bring to life a superhero adventure ideal for encouraging young adults to engage their reading and critical thinking skills! Highly recommended, especially for public library and grade school graphic novel collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that Miles Morales: Shock Waves is also available in a Kindle edition ($7.99).

Captain Cake: Meet the Candy Crew
Chris Skinner
Marshall Cavendish Corporation
https://www.marshallcavendish.com
9789814928632, $16.99, PB, 96pp

https://www.amazon.com/Captain-Cake-Meet-Candy-Crew/dp/9814928631

In author Chris Skinner's new graphic novel for young readers ages 9-12, "Captain Cake: Meet the Candy Crew", General Rock needs a crew for his new spaceship, The Sweet Candy. He calls upon Captain Cake, Lieutenant Chocolate, Sergeant Jelly and Private Potato to team up and venture where no sweet has gone before. Will the Candy Crew know how to work together? A delightfully charming, impressively original, and fully entertaining story, "Captain Cake: Meet the Candy Crew" is especially recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library graphic novel and science fiction collections.


The Music CD Shelf

Happily Ever Now
Raphael Groten, a.k.a. G'Raph
raphaelgroten.com
Privately Published
$15.00 CD / $10.00 digital

https://www.raphaelgroten.com/discography

Happily Ever Now is the first album for children and families by critically acclaimed musician and composer Raphael Groten (a.k.a. G'Raph). Crafted from Groten's extensive instrument collection and inspirations from drawn from nature, everyday life, and even Groten's own cat, Happily Ever Now ranges in selection from folk to blues, soul, rock, funk, reggae/ska, country, and world. The eclectic medley is united by a cheerful, loving, positive-minded sense of fun and family togetherness. Happily Ever Now is a choice pick for both personal and public library children's music collections, highly recommended. The tracks are Hands in the Water, I Can Eat a Rainbow, Happily Ever Now, I Love You Baby, Don't Pick Your Nose, The Minor ABC's, Monster Truck, I'm Not Perfect, No! No!, Baby Blues, The Only Me, Quiet Time, and Owl's Dream. 52 min.

Folk for Little Folk, volume 1
Gordie MacKeeman
www.crazylegs.ca
Privately Published
$15.00 CD / $7.00 digital

http://gordiemackeeman.com/site/albums

Award-winning Canadian fiddler Gordie "Crazylegs" MacKeeman presents Folk for Little Folk, volume 1, an album for children and families brimming with extraordinary fiddle playing of traditional, original songs, and songs composed by other music artists. Western swing, classic country, celebrated bluegrass and more fill this wonderfully charming collection that will appeal to parents as well as little ones. Highly recommended! The tracks are All Around the Kitchen, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Ladybugs' Picnic, Chicken Reel, Get Out There and Dance, Snaccident, Dancing in the Bathtub, Mama Don't Allow, Walking Along, Old MacDonald, Log Driver's Waltz, Hokey Pokey, Listen to the Mockingbird, Oo-De- Lally, Boogie Woogie Baby, Hop High Ladies, and Dreamland. 41 min.


The Science Shelf

Red Planet: Life in our Deserts and Hot Spots
Moira Butterfield, author
Jonathan Woodward, illustrator
360 Degrees
9781944530952, $19.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Red-Planet-Life-Deserts-Spots/dp/1944530959

The collaborative project by author Moira Butterfield and artist/illustrator Jonathan Woodward, "Red Planet: Life in our Deserts and Hot Spots" is engaging and informative picture book introduces children ages 6-9 to some of the most resilient and adaptable animals that live in the hottest places around the world, including deserts, near volcanoes, close to hot springs, and even near underwater volcanoes and geysers. "Red Planet" also presents information about homes that are specially designed for people to live in these hot spots; offers useful tips for cutting down on pollution to help fight global warming; and features an animal and plant index. Thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Red Planet" is a very highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book Earth Science, Environmental, and Ecology collections for young readers.

The Deep Blue: Explore Earth's Majestic Oceans
Charlotte Guillain, author
Lou Baker Smith, illustrator
QEB Publishing
c/o Quarto Group Children's Books
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
www.quartoknows.com
9780711250109, $18.95, HC, 64pp

https://www.amazon.com/Deep-Blue-World-Wonder/dp/0711250103

The Deep Blue: Explore Earth's Majestic Oceans" is the next best thing to being able to swim through tropical seas or dive into the darkest depths of the ocean to discover Earth's diverse and delicate ecosystems. From vibrant coral reefs to mysterious deep-sea trenches, this lyrical picture book by the team of author Charlotte Guillain and illustrator Lou Baker Smith takes children ages 8-11 on an amazing journey -- immerse themselves in different ocean landscapes, learning about the diverse range of species, and understanding the importance of maintaining these beautiful, natural habitats.

This illustrated, lyrical picture book looks at plants, animals, and natural formations in Earth's amazing ocean ecosystems, from the smallest creatures to the largest predators, gently covering the topic of global warming. Every living thing on the planet needs the oceans, including us. Very highly recommended for family, elementary school, middle school, and community library picture book science and oceanography collections, "The Deep Blue: Explore Earth's Majestic Oceans will inspire children to find out what more they can do to help the oceans, so they can remain wonderful havens of life and beauty that we can all enjoy.


The Autism Shelf

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (And Their Parents), updated edition
Elizabeth Verdick and Elizabeth Reeve M.D., authors
Nick Kobyluch, illustrator
Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.
http://www.freespirit.com
9781631985997, $19.99

https://www.amazon.com/Survival-Autism-Spectrum-Disorder-Parents/dp/163198599X

Synopsis: This positive, straightforward reference book offers kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) their own comprehensive resource for both understanding their condition and finding tools to cope with the challenges they face every day. Freshly updated, the content reflects changes in the understanding of ASD since the book was first released, including clarification that Asperger's syndrome is no longer a specific diagnosis and what this means for readers. The book also features new stories of young people with autism and an added chapter, "Tech Talk."

Some children with ASD are gifted; others struggle academically. Some are more introverted, while others want to be social. Some get "stuck" on things, have intense interests, or experience repeated motor movements like flapping or pacing ("stims"). The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder covers all of these areas, with an emphasis on helping children gain new self-understanding and self-acceptance.

Meant to be read with a parent, the book addresses questions ("What is ASD?" "Why me?") and provides strategies for communicating, staying safe and smart online, making and keeping friends, and succeeding in school. Body and brain basics highlight symptom management, exercise, diet, hygiene, relaxation, sleep, and toileting. Emphasis is placed on helping kids handle intense emotions and behaviors and get support from family and their team of helpers when needed. The book includes stories from real kids, fact boxes, helpful checklists, and resources. Sections for parents offer additional information.

Critique: Now in an updated edition with a new "Tech Talk" chapter all about balancing time on smartphones, gaming systems, computers, etc. with other activities (and staying safe online!), The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (And Their Parents) lives up to its title as a practical resource especially for children on the autism spectrum and their parents or caregivers. The candid advice about what autism is and how ASD spectrum people learn to adjust is meant to be shared with children and parents, and covers an immense array of real-life matters, from what's involved in good communication, to making and keeping friends, handling difficult feelings, earning success at school, hygiene matters (including toilet time), and much more. Colorful illustrations make the reader-friendly text easier to follow. The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (And Their Parents) is a "must-have" for every family with a young ASD member, and highly recommended especially for public and school library collections.

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Verdick has been writing books since 1997, the year her daughter was born. Her two children are the inspiration for nearly everything she writes. Before becoming an author, Elizabeth edited books for children and parents. These days she writes books for babies, toddlers, teens, and every age in between. She especially loves creating new board book series - including the Happy Healthy Baby(R) series, which is designed to capture the interest of your littlest readers. Elizabeth's Toddler Tools(R) series helps young children and their parents cope with those tough times and transitions that happen every day (like naptime and bedtime). In the Best Behavior(R) series, she helps toddlers reach new milestones and improve their day-to-day behavior. Elizabeth also enjoys getting the chance to look at the funny side of life in the Laugh and Learn(R) series, which helps kids ages 8-13 get a handle on the social-emotional skills they're developing throughout the elementary and middle school years.


The Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf

5-Minute Villains Stories
Disney Storybook Art Team
Disney Press
c/o Disney Publishing Worldwide
www.disney.com
9781368055406, $14.99, HC, 208

https://www.amazon.com/5-Minute-Villains-Stories/dp/1368055400

Created, assembled, and illustrated by the Disney Storybook Art Team, "5-Minute Villains Stories" is a simply delightful and wonderfully entertaining collection of 12 stories featuring all the worst Disney Villains including Cruella, Maleficent, Captain Hook and so many others in the treacherous tales of their devising! Simply stated, "5-Minute Villains Stories" will be an immediate, enormous, and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library collections for all children ages 5-8!


The Art Shelf

Making a Great Exhibition
Doro Globus, author
Rose Blake, illustrator
David Zwirner Books
https://www.davidzwirnerbooks.com
9781644230497, $18.99, HC, 40pp

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Great-Exhibition-Doro-Globus/dp/1644230496

How does an artist make a sculpture or a painting? What tools do they use? What happens to the artwork next? "Making a Great Exhibition" by author Doro Globus and illustrator Rose Blake is a fun, informative, and inside look at the life of an artwork shows the journey of two artists' work from studio to exhibition. Stopping along the way we meet colorful characters -- curators, photographers, shippers, museum visitors, and more! "Making a Great Exhibition" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation. Both illustrator Rose Blake and author Doro Globus draw from their personal experiences in the art world; they have spent their time in studios, done homework in museum offices, and gone to special openings. In this unique and original picture book they have teamed up to share their love for this often mysterious world to a young audience of children ages 3-7. "Making a Great Exhibition" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.


The Christian Shelf

Love Is
Zondervan, author
Paola Escobar, illustrator
Zonderkidz
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
www.harpercollinschildrens.com
9780310767756, $17.99, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Love-Zondervan/dp/031076775X

Love Is brings the text of 1 Corinthians 13 to life in a unique and fresh perspective. Readers see, through the beautiful, nature-filled illustrations from critically acclaimed artist Paola Escobar, that from beginning to end and through good times and challenging ones, love is a constant positive force in the lives of those touched by it. "Love Is" especially and unreservedly recommended Christian Values picture book for children ages 4-8.

A Southern Gentleman
Olivia Reynolds
Independently Published
9780578895048, $15.99, HC, 28pp

https://www.amazon.com/Southern-Gentleman-Olivia-Reynolds/dp/0578895048

The southern gentleman values God above all else, loves his family, and minds his manners. The southern gentleman is a boy at heart (and boys will be boys), and he sometimes finds himself on the wrong side of the right way. His beloved teddy bear can be found everywhere the southern gentleman is found, so be sure to look for Teddy!

Especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, Sunday School, and community library collections for children ages 2-5, "A Southern Gentleman" by author and illustrator Olivia Reynolds is a wonderfully charming, entertaining, and often mischievous Christian picture book story using 'southernisms' and is sure to be a staple in southern nurseries for generations to come.


The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

Hiding Baby Moses
Judith L. Roth, author
Melanie Cataldo, illustrator
Flyaway Books
www.flyawaybooks.com
9781947888302, $18.00, HC, 32pp

https://www.amazon.com/Hiding-Baby-Moses-Roth/dp/1947888307

A baby boy is hidden in a basket floating on the Nile. A fearful mother sings a song of protection. And a brave big sister seeks a chance to save her brother. In the pages of "Hiding Baby Moses", as retold by author and storyteller Judith L. Roth and beautifully made visual by artist and illustrator Melanie Cataldo, children ages 4-8 will enjoy meeting the family of baby Moses in this lyrical retelling of a classic Old Testament story, and see how God's faithfulness can be revealed through one small person who takes a big risk for someone she loves. Also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99), "Hiding Baby Moses" is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, Sunday School, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.


The Mythology Shelf

The Man of the Moon and Other Stories from Greenland
Retold by Gunvor Bjerre
Illustrated by Miki Jacobsen
Inhabit Media
https://inhabitmedia.com
9781772272956, $29.95 Hardcover

https://www.amazon.com/Man-Moon-Gunvor-Bjerre/dp/1772272957

Synopsis: Based primarily on explorer and anthropologist Knud Rasmussen's transcriptions of oral tales, the stories in this anthology of old Greenlandic myths and legends have been passed down through generations. This collection features stories about children and young people - stories that were told in the depths of winter, that the youngest listeners would one day tell to their own children. Talking animals, flying shamans, orphans so poor they have to walk barefoot through the snow, and men so strong they can carry a whale all on their own: you'll meet all of them and more in this collection.

Critique: The Man of the Moon and Other Stories from Greenland is a compendium of stories from Greenland's mythology. Each story is succinctly retold, and spans no more than a few pages in length, and the selections especially focus on children and young people. Colorful illustrations intersperse these classic tales of talking animals, flying shamans, orphans who had to walk barefoot in the snow, and more. The Man of the Moon is highly recommended especially for both school and public library mythology or folklore collections, and also makes a wonderful anthology of brief yet captivating bedtime stories.

Editorial Note: Gunvor Bjerre is a journalist and librarian. She has traveled much of the world, but Greenland holds a special place in her heart. Gunvor has worked with children her whole life, primarily with Danmarks Radio's children's programming, but she has also written books and songs for children. She is passionate about sharing old Greenlandic Inuit myths and legends, which are a part of the country's cultural heritage.

Miki Jacobsen is one of Greenland's best-known and most highly regarded artists. In his career, he has worked with many different artistic media, and the close relationship between Greenlandic culture and nature is a recurrent theme in his work. There is strength and vigor in his watercolors that add an extra dimension to these old tales.


The Automotive Shelf

Professor Wooford McPaw's History of Cars
Elliot Kfuszynski
Cicada
9781908714954, $16.99, HC, 44pp

https://www.amazon.com/Professor-Wooford-Mcpaws-History-Cars/dp/1908714956

"Professor Wooford McPaw's History of Cars" is the first in a series of books explaining the history of modern technologies (upcoming titles will include computers and planes), introduced and explained by a helpful (if somewhat arrogant) dog called Professor Wooford McPaw.

Young readers will enjoy joining with Professor McPaw as he explores the history of the car, starting with the steam engine in the early 1800s, the advent of the combustion engine in 1872, the popularization of the car by Henry Ford in the early 1900s, the evolution of motor racing, luxury cars of the 1950s, the Japanese innovations of the 1970s, and finally the new technologies of electric and self-driving cars today.

"Professor Wooford McPaw's History of Cars" is engagingly illustrated by Elliot Kruszynski, whose bright, clean, Scarry-esque style appeals to children across a broad age range. The Professor and his sidekick (in this case a car, but changing with each book), discuss the intricacies of each historical moment, lending a humorous, personal touch.

Comic strip interludes capture key moments, like the first cross-country road trip by the wife of Karl Benz, inventor of the petrol motorcar; or the invention of Fords assembly line. Striking a refreshing balance between authoritative, clearly conveyed information, and witty, bright commentary, Professor Peyton McPaw will be a captivating tour-guide through the fascinating developments of the modern world.

Unique, informative, entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, "Professor Wooford McPaw's History of Cars" is an especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library automotive picture book collections for children ages 6-10. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Professor Wooford McPaw's History of Cars" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).


The World History Shelf

Fight Like a Girl
Michael G. Lewis
Regal House Publishing
www.regalhousepublishing.com
9781646030019, $17.95/$28.95

https://www.regalhousepublishing.com/product/fight-like-a-girl

Fight Like a Girl is inspiring nonfiction reading for middle graders who are interested in histories and biographical sketches of women who have participated in combat over the years. Because many of these stories have been obscure and almost lost to history, Michael G. Lewis does a great service in revealing these lives and histories. He's selected only twenty-five women for profile here; but in reality, there are many more. Middle graders who delve into the tip of this iceberg will find vivid, revealing stories such as that of 1700s Deborah Sampson, who became a soldier in the Revolutionary War against the British; or female pirate Ching Shih, who commanded the largest pirate fleet in history and whose exploits grew from marrying into a position of power.

Lewis's stories read with the drama and embellishments of fiction, making them accessible and lively for young audiences: "During negotiations with the Chinese emperor, Ching Shih was bargaining from a position of strength and both she and the emperor knew it. Her demands were extreme, but there wasn't much the emperor could do about it." Intriguing, colorful illustrations by Hila Ronis open each story, with a peppering of black and white images included in each descriptive adventure. Fight Like a Girl is a fine survey of relatively unknown women whose efforts changed their world. It deserves to be in any middle grade collection seeking to put the roles and achievements of women in their proper place in history.


The Holocaust Studies Shelf

We Must Not Forget
Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway New York, NY 10012
www.scholastic.com
9781338255775, $18.99

https://www.amazon.com/Must-Not-Forget-Resistance-Scholastic/dp/1338255770

Deborah Hopkinson's We Must Not Forget: Holocaust Stories of Survival and Resistance (9781338255775, $18.99) uses the voices of Holocaust survivors to document their experiences, charting persecution and resistance across various European countries as it explore Jewish youth experiences of the times. We Must Not Forget is a particularly important addition to public, school, and personal library collections for young adults. Archival images and numerous interviews bring these experiences to life for young adult audiences, pairing biographical sketches with overall moral, ethical, historical and personal conundrums that will lend particularly well to classroom discussion and family reading.


Books in Series

Little Laugh & Learn series
Free Spirit Publishing
https://www.freespirit.com

https://www.amazon.com/Ease-Tease-Little-Laugh-LearnTM/dp/1631983504

https://www.amazon.com/Make-Friend-Little-Laugh-LearnTM/dp/1631986295

Inspired by the "Laugh & Learn"(R) series of practical books for kids ages 8-13, The Little Laugh & Learn series is the debut of helpful guides intended for a younger crowd, kids ages 6-9. Both titles feature practical life skills advice and colorful illustrations by Steve Mark, and are thoroughly accessible to early grade readers. Written by Judy S. Freedman and Mimi P. Black, "Ease the Tease" (9781631983504, $9.99) is all about how to keep one's cool when being teased, with ten helpful suggestions, including "Ignore the Teasing", "Use Humor", and if teasing gets worse and worse, "Ask for Help" from a trusted adult. Written by Eric Braun, "Make a Friend, Be a Friend" (9781631986291, $9.99) is about the basics of forming friendships. One can make friends by being a friend, and four ways to do that are "Be kind", "Share", "Be a good sport", and "Start a friendly chat". Advice for maintaining a health friendship includes "Listen", "Be helpful and supportive", and "Try new things". Additional recommendations about what to do when a friendship sours rounds out this simple yet helpful title. Both educational social skills guides are highly recommended for school and public library children's collections, and make excellent gifts for young people.


The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

www.storymonsters.com

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.

The Barn
Leah H. Rogers, author
Barry Root, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536209068, $17.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

This kid-friendly book features a barn that has been standing for 100 years. The barn tells a story about what a normal day on the farm is like from its point of view. Poetic language and detailed illustrations, along with a unique narrative perspective, make this a delightful book for kids. (Ages 2-5)

I Like Trains
Daisy Hirst
Walker Books
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536212761, $15.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Youngsters who love trains will identify with the little puppy in this book as he shares what he likes about trains. Simple, colorful illustrations, minimal text, and large print make this a sure-to-please book for young readers. (Ages 2-7)

Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida
Ashley Marie Mireles, author
Edith Valle, illustrator
Familius
https://www.familius.com
9781641701549, $12.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

This short but informative bilingual book gives readers a look at the types of foods that are grown and eaten in South America. Each two-page spread features a different type of food - corn, potatoes, seafood, etc. There is a short, fact-filled description/explanation about each type of food with illustrations of dishes that are made with them. The sturdy board book design will hold up well with little ones, but the text is written for an older audience. (Ages 3-5)

Bunnies on the Bus
Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536211160, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Bestselling author Philip Ardagh and award-winning illustrator Ben Mantle team up on this riotous, rhyming picture book. The bus, filled with bunnies, zips through Sunny Town, stopping for no one and creating mayhem as it goes along. The author keeps the fun going with the repetitive phrase, "Bunnies on the bus!" And the illustrator keeps the fun going with his delightful illustrations. The combo is sure to please. (Ages 3-7)

Phoebe Dupree Is Coming to Tea!
Linda Ashman, author
Alea Marley, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536204834, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Abby is anxious to host the perfect tea party for a friend she idolizes, but life serves up a sweet taste of the fun to be had when perfection is off the table. Rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, along with a storyline that little girls can identify with, make for a sweet and touching story about friendship. (Ages 3-7)

What's This Tail Saying?
Carolyn Combs, author
Cathy Morrison, illustrator
Dawn Publications
https://www.sourcebooks.com/dawn-publications.html
9781584696629, $8.95

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

What does it mean when a beaver thumps its tail? What does it mean when a skunk raises its tail? Find out about these animals and others, and what it means when they swish, wag, and tuck their tails. At the end of the book, the author includes additional fun facts about each animal mentioned in the story. The author also includes strategies for how teachers can share this book with their students, as well as a page of STEM-related activities for youngsters. (Ages 3-8)

Somewhere in the City
J.B. Frank, author
Yu Leng, illustrator
Familius
https://www.familius.com
9781641702607 $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Lucy waits anxiously for her dad to get home from work. It's almost time for bed and she doesn't want to settle down without her usual bedtime story with him. Colorful illustrations, repetitious text, and a storyline familiar with many children will make this a favorite book for kids whether or not they live in the city. (Ages 4-7)

Hats Are Not for Cats!
Jacqueline K. Rayner
Clarion Books
https://www.hmhbooks.com/imprints/clarion
9781328967190, $17.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

A large, serious-looking dog with a plaid hat insists that hats are not for cats. When a small, black cat comes his way wearing a red fez, the dog goes off on a riff about cats not wearing hats. But, the cat is not deterred. She brings in reinforcements and gives the dog a lesson in wearing hats. The resolution is cute and neither side loses. (Ages 4-7)

You Are Mine, Porcupine
Helen L. Wilbur, author
Stephanie Fizer Coleman, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
https://sleepingbearpress.com
9781534110038, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

When you think of porcupines, you don't think of them as being cute and cuddly creatures. But momma porcupines think their babies are precious. This momma porcupine tells her baby how unique he is as the two navigate baby's new world. The text is written in rhyme and the author plays with the word "porcupine" in various ways to describe the porcupine's perception of the world. The author includes STEM-based materials in the back of the book, including photos and facts about porcupines. (Ages 4-7)

Constellation of the Deep
Benjamin Flouw
Tundra Books
https://tundrabooks.com
9780735268968, $17.99

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Early readers will feel as if they can travel to the bottom of the ocean when they "dive" into this educational and fun book. This is a tale about Fox and his cousin, Wolf, who are avid outdoors-lovers. One day, they scuba dive to the bottom of the ocean. Fox wants to take an underwater picture of a plant called "the constellation of the deep" because it glows in the dark like the stars in the sky. I really loved the great illustrations. The very best part was the surprise ending! (Ages 4-8)

How to Make a Bird
Meg McKinlay, author
Matt Ottley, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536215267, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Although this is fiction, the author manages to incorporate some great basic biology about the structure of a bird's body. The beautiful illustrations and the lyrical text (coupled with facts about birds) make this a perfect book for any child's bookshelf. (Ages 4-8)

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale
Sam Wedelich
Scholastic Press
https://www.scholastic.com
9781338359015, $17.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

What if Chicken Little really wasn't afraid that the sky was falling? In this version of the story, Chicken Little claims she is not afraid of anything. Yes, she does panic when something bonks her on the head. But her panic is shortlived. The problem is her moment of panic causes the rest of the animals in the barnyard to panic. How can she calm their nerves and convince them that the sky really isn't falling? This is a delightful twist on a beloved classic. (Ages 4-8)

My First Day
Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien
Make Me a World
https://global.penguinrandomhouse.com
9780593306260, $17.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Author Phung Nguyen Quang introduces young readers to the real-world struggles some kids face just to get to school. Vivid illustrations and minimal text tell the story of a young Vietnamese boy who must overcome many obstacles on his normal journey as he travels on the Mekong River to his school. Additional information in the back of the book about the Mekong River makes this book a perfect addition to a school library. (Ages 4-8)

See the Dog: Three Stories About a Cat
David LaRochelle, author
Mike Wohnoutka, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536216295, $8.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

When the dog gets sick, the cat takes his place. A silly premise (a cat pretending to be a dog), fun illustrations, and repetitive language combine for a funny book that young readers will find highly entertaining (older readers will enjoy the humor as well). (Ages 4-8)

Sparkles of Joy
Aditi Wardhan Singh
Raising World Children
https://raisingworldchildren.com
9781733564953, $18.99

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

This delightful story gives us insight, knowledge, and opportunity to embrace and share new things and ways, and that is empowering. We all have beliefs and traditions, and we may celebrate them differently, but the heart and joy of them flow equally across the masses. This wonderful idea of festive play dates that share their wonder is a true experience of diversity and inclusion. Helpful tips are provided to encourage you to prepare meaningful memories for your children. (Ages 4-9)

Tails from the Animal Shelter
Stephanie Shaw, author
Liza Woodruff, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
https://sleepingbearpress.com
9781534110489, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

This nonfiction picture book provides a good introduction into what animal shelters are and what services they provide. The author gives readers lots of good information about what types of animals end up in animal shelters/rescues and how/why they end up there, including some extra info at the end of the book. It's a book worth reading and sharing. (Ages 5-8)

Spring Bloom: A Math Adventure Story
Sadia Mir and Dr. Summer Al-Jarrah Bateiha, authors
Inna Ogando, illustrator
HBKU Press
https://hbkupress.com/en
9789927137648 $12.49 hc / $4.99 Kindle amazon.com

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

As Aliya and Zade enjoy their family picnic in the mangroves, they come across a young falcon, crying because he is lost and can't find his way to the hyacinth party. Eager to help the sad falcon, Aliya and Zade agree to help him solve a few riddles in order to unlock a password that will take him to the party. But as the journey continues, the riddles become trickier and the math more complicated. Will Aliya and Zade be able to simplify the math, unlock the password, and help the young falcon arrive at the hyacinth party in time? (Ages 5-8)

So You Want to Be an Owl
Jane Porter, author
Maddie Frost, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536215212, $16.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Author Jane Porter uses an owl as the narrator for this book. The narrator creates a good, comprehensive portrait of what owls do, what they look like, where they live, and how they act. There's lots of great information about owls for those who are interested in the subject. (Ages 5-9)

Hello, Forever Home? It's me, Kona
Peggy Ducky
BookBaby
https://www.bookbaby.com
9781098361662. $10.56

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Any child with a new pet adopted from a shelter will be able to relate to the story of Kona, a rescue dog that is anxious about whether or not she has finally found her "forever home." The dog tells her story about how she is adjusting to her new home. (Ages 5-9)

My Day with the Panye
Tami Charles, author
Sara Palacios, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9780763697495, $17.99

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Young readers will learn about Haiti and its cultural traditions by reading the story, written in poetic language, and looking at the colorful, expressive illustrations in this book. The author has included additional information about a panye at the end of the book. (Ages 5-9)

Nature Did It First: Engineering Through Biomimicry
Karen Ansberry, author
Jennifer DiRubbio, illustrator
Dawn Publications
https://www.sourcebooks.com/dawn-publications.html
9781584696582, $8.95

Christine Irvin
Reviewer

Some of our best inventions came from engineers who had studied nature. The unique format of this book makes it both fun and educational as each animal's unique feature is highlighted in a poem. Then the animal's attributes are discussed on the next two pages, showing what led to the invention. A glossary of terms, as well as a STEM Biomimicry Design Challenge are added at the end of the text. (Ages 5-11)

Where Snow Angels Go
Maggie O'Farrell, author
Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, illustrator
Candlewick
https://www.candlewick.com
9781536219371, $18.99

Diana Perry
Reviewer

This is a very intriguing and unique tale. Did you ever wonder what happens to the snow angels you made the day before? Young Sylvie did, and on one cold, wintry night and for no reason at all, she woke up to find the snow angel that she had made that day sitting in her room. Both of them were quite surprised - Sylvie to find him there and the angel to discover that Sylvie could actually see him. This is the kind of book all adults want for their children; the story is so wonderful it makes early readers want to keep reading. (Ages 7-10)

The Midnight Brigade
Adam Borba
Little, Brown
https://www.lbyr.com
9780316542517, $16.99

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Carl Chesterfield wishes he could speak up - whether that means being honest with his father about the family's new (and failing) food truck, reaching out to a potential friend, or alerting others to the fact that monsters might be secretly overrunning his hometown of Pittsburgh. There's plenty to fret over. And plenty to question. This is just the kind of book to engage a reluctant reader to learn to love reading! (Ages 8-12)

Dragon Ops: Dragons vs. Robots
Mari Mancusi
Little, Brown
https://www.lbyr.com
9780759555181, $16.99

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Now safely back at home, Ian and Lilli are free to return to normal life. Except there's a major problem: Ian keeps seeing the big bad boss dragon Atreus everywhere, and he can't tell whether it's real or his imagination. Young readers will really get into this exciting book that puts them inside the video game. It explains AI - artificial intelligence - and pits the kids riding on dragons against the dangerous robots who are causing all the trouble. Full of action and adventure, the dangers just don't stop coming. (Ages 8-12)

Joseph 3-in-1 Superhero a Clucktastic Beginning
Joseph Lupton
Independently Published
9781663576309, $8.00

Darleen Wohlfeil
Reviewer

Enjoyment will come quick as you giggle and chuckle at the author's wit, his control of pace, and expression. The cleverness of each scenario flows effortlessly. The casual expansion in learning you won't even notice taking place. It's lively, humorous, and right up a kid's alley with superheroes. Whichever hero you favor, all are sure to make for a hilarious reading time! (Ages 8-14)

Accused: My Story of Injustice
Adama Bah
Norton Young Readers
https://wwnorton.com/nrtyng
9781324016632, $16.95

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Launching a propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman shares her harrowing experience of being wrongly accused of terrorism. Her story helps young readers realize that although someone can come from the same country or be of the same religion as another, both may not be the same. It brings a needed understanding of our fellow Americans and I hope causes readers to find the things we have in common rather than what makes us different. (Ages 9-12)

Hurricane: My Story of Resilience
Salvador Gomez-Colon
Norton Young Readers
https://wwnorton.com/nrtyng
9781324016656 $16.95

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Suffering heavy damage in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rican communities lacked access to clean water and electricity. With unstoppable energy and a deep knowledge of local culture, Salvador Gomez-Colon founded Light and Hope for Puerto Rico and raised more than $100,000 to purchase and distribute solar-powered lamps and hand-powered washing machines to households in need. A very teachable example of how children can give back and make a real difference. (Ages 9-12)

Trine Fallacy
C. K. Donnelly
https://ckdonnelly.com
Kibbe Creative Media
9781735051857, $16.95

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Young Mirana Pinal must embark on a quest to save her homeland and finds friends and dangerous enemies along the way. Although she has a plan, it must change constantly as new enemies try their best to stop her. There are many subplots within this story. Young readers will find it hard to know who Mirana should trust. This story starts with a visual map of the land of Kinderra and ends with a helpful glossary of terms. (Ages 12+)

The Long Shadow
Phyllis Wheeler
https://www.phylliswheeler.com
Elk Lake Publishing
https://elklakepublishinginc.com
9781649491312, $10.99

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Aunt Trudy never wanted kids. Now that she's Richie's guardian, she makes his life miserable. Richie just wants to escape, so he seeks refuge in the deep Missouri woods he loves so much. Suddenly it's not summer, but late fall. How did that happen? Did the trucker who just gave him a ride somehow whisk him back 50 years in time? This is an important story to tell to help all readers realize the horrors of racism. (Ages 12+)

Ruminations on a Parrot Named Cosmo
Betty Jean Craige
http://www.bettyjeancraige.org
Sherman Asher Publishing
http://www.shermanasher.com
9781890932510, $22.95

Diana Perry
Reviewer

Dr. Betty Jean Craige shares this story about her pet African Grey parrot named Cosmo. They are just two female roommates who do the things girls do: They have lunch together, bring each other gifts, tell jokes, and have wonderful conversations. This true story is proof that birds, especially the intelligent breed of African Grey parrots, not only form attachments to others but they can learn speech, tasks, and practically everything it takes to behave just like a human. Young readers won't be able to get enough of Cosmo as she makes them laugh at the things she says and does. I think they'll look at birds through different eyes after this book. (All ages)


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