Luther College Student Reviews

1 2 buckle my shoe. Hines, Anna Grossnickle. Harcourt Inc., 2008. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 24pp. 16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206305-4.

This simple counting book recounts the familiar rhyme, 1 2 buckle my shoe. Each number and phrase has an illustration of a patch in a quilt. The quilt is made of various, colorful fabrics, buttons, and stitching. It is excellent for helping young children (beginning at age 3), especially young ESL learners, learn to count in English. (NMG)

The 2nd international cookbook for kids. Locricchio, Matthew. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 176pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5519-4. Illustrated by Jack McConnell.

This cookbook is a compilation of recipes from four different countries: Greece, India, Brazil, and Thailand. The directions are very organized and clear, and they emphasize safety. This book can be used to help children learn how to cook by following the recipes. Each recipe has a little history with it, including which country the recipe came from and how or when the food would be prepared and eaten. Children can explore making all sorts of foods from veggie and fruit salads to meat pies and soups. Readers also learn more about food and culture from the four countries listed. (NMG)

The 3 bears and Goldilocks. Willey, Margaret. Simon and Schuster (Antheneum), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1416924944. Illustrated by Heather H. Solomon.

This is the familiar children’s story of Goldilocks, but with a twist emphasizing the perspective of the three bears. Goldilocks gets herself into the same troubles as the traditional story, but the bears live in a den instead of a house. The bears are compassionate towards Goldilocks, but she is so frightened of them that she quickly learns her lesson about intruding on other’s homes. This book will interest readers as early as first grade. (NMG)

13. Brown, Jason Robert and Dan Elish. Harper Collins Publishing (Laura Geringer Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 201 pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-06-078749-3.

When Evan’s Dad leaves his Mom for a flight attendant, Evan’s life is turned upside down. His Mom moves the family from New York City to Appleton, Indiana. His mother also insists on finding a rabbi to help him get ready for his bar mitzvah and moving the celebration to Indiana, as far away from his father as possible. Evan has to make some friends fast, but the social complexities of Appleton immediately tie him in knots. This book deals with the struggles of dealing with divorce, making friends in a new community, and becoming a man. Children from different walks of life will relate to this story, the social complexities that surround Evan, and his anger at his parents. This is an excellent book for teenagers dealing with divorce or learning how to make true friends. (ACZ)

28 good night stories. Weninger, Brigitte and Eve Tharlet. Penguin Group, 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 126 pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-698-40081-8.

This book of sequential short stories consists of an old bear and a guardian angel swapping stories as the angel learns how to fly gracefully over a period of twenty-eight nights. The stories, along with the bold illustrations, create nice bedtime stories for smaller children. This book is recommended for children 4-8 and is perfect as a nighttime storybook. (AD)

A brand-new day with Mouse and Mole. Yee, Wong Herbert. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 48 pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-618-96676-9.

This book has a similarity to the Frog and toad series. A mouse and a mole are best friends who help each other through various experiences, and in this story the mole struggles to find new clothes to replace his “old” clothes. This book does encourage problem solving, but this particular story set focuses a lot on clothes appearance. Although it doesn’t completely promote a good set of ideals, and is fairly repetitive, the story does promote problem solving ideas and some creativity when dealing with recycling. (AD)

A cold winter’s good knight. Thomas, Shelley Moore. Penguin Group (Young Readers), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 16pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47964-2.

A brave knight hears a noise coming from the woods and decides to inspect it. Here he finds three little dragons shivering in the cold weather, and he brings them back to the castle. In the castle there is a formal party, so the Knight instructs the dragons to be on their best behavior and remember their manners, but the little dragons create havoc. Each time they do something wrong the knight needs to remind them to remember their manners, until the dragons finally ask, ”What are manners?” The knight informs them that manners are behaviors that include; being polite, saying please and thank you, and thinking before you do something. After this the little dragons join the party and get along with the guests. This story would be good for younger readers, teaching the importance of manners. (PP)

A is for art: An abstract alphabet. Johnson, Stephen T. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books), 2008. [email protected]@simonandschuster.com, (800-223-2336). 38pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-86301-1.

Each letter of the alphabet is hidden in a piece of abstract art with an alliterative caption in this children’s informational book. Readers will enjoy searching for the letters and other objects hinted at in the captions. The art includes paintings, collages, and sculptures which will interest readers who enjoy art or I-spy games. Readers as young as sixth grade can enjoy learning about abstract art in this beautifully illustrated book. (NMG)

A place called kindergarten. Harper, Jessica. Penguin Group (Puffin), 2006. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 31 pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241174-2. Illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

Tommy goes to the barn everyday to visit and feed the cow, sheep, rooster, and horse. The animals anxiously look forward to Tommy’s visit because he always tells them stories, feeds them, and sings to them. One morning something very weird happens, Tommy never comes to the barn. The animals find out that he has gone to kindergarten. The animals had so many questions, will Tommy ever return? What is kindergarten? What will happen to Tommy there? Right after school Tommy rushes to the barn to visit the animals so he can tell them all about his day. Tommy excitingly tells the animals about how he learned the alphabet, painted pictures, and learned a song. Tommy couldn’t wait to go back to school and the animals couldn’t wait to hear all about his day. The soft calming colors of the illustrations are realistic and entertaining. I would recommend this charming book for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

The adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great. Morris, Gerald. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 91pp. $15.00. ISBN978-0-618-77714-3. Illustrated by Aaron Renier.

This book retells the story of Sir Lancelot, the most famous and bravest knight of all time. King Arthur, the ruler of England puts Sir Lancelot in charge of defending the weak and helpless. On his many adventures, Sir Lancelot must defend himself from other knights, dodge ladies who want to marry him, and defend the innocence of the queen. Because of the simple plot line and the fun and humorous characters, this would be a great book for younger readers. The comical illustrations help to bring the story to life and allow for the reader to become even more engaged into the book. This book is a great way to introduce young readers to the story of King Arthur. (JMN)

The aftermath of the Mexican Revolution: Aftermath of history. Beller, Susan Provost. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century), 2009. lernerbooks.com, (800-382-4929). 160 pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7600-6.

This book for young adults starts with the failure of land reform programs through Porfirio Diaz, and then continues to the war that divided the Mexican church and state. It describes the signing of the Mexican Constitution, which gave Mexicans more rights than they knew before, although their poverty was still high. This information about the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath will help children understand a different culture. (AD)

Agnes Parker: Keeping cool in middle school. O’Dell, Kathleen. Penguin Books Ltd (Puffin Books), 2007. 156pp. $5.99. ISBN978-0-14-241181-0.

For many students entering middle school, the transition period between elementary school and high school takes some getting used to. Agnes Parker is a young girl in seventh grade struggling to make this adjustment. With the loud school, intimidating older boys, and an unfamiliar setting, Agnes simply wants to become invisible and survive. In time she realizes that becoming invisible is not realistic and begins to enjoy her seventh grade year. She even finds out a boy, Aram, has a crush on her, but struggles with whether or not she wants that relationship to go any further. This book is perfect for students preparing to enter middle school, as it would provide insight to what the next few years will be like. Overall, Agnes Parker is a good, wholesome book with a believable plot that young students soon to enter middle school would be able to relate to. (LJ)

Airplanes. Hubbell, Patricia. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 30pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5388-8. Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.

This book informs readers about many different kinds of planes and their uses. Each page has a short rhyme describing a type of plane, such as cargo planes or propeller planes. Adjectives and pictures help students learn how planes move through space. Illustrations promote linguistic development by providing ample details for discussion of elements such as color, categories, and relationships. This book would fascinate any lower elementary student interested in planes. (NMG)

Alaskan night before Christmas. Brown, Tricia. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-589-80554-5. Illustrated by Alan Stacy.

This story is an amusing retelling of the classic Christmas story. Instead of a reindeer named Rudolf, readers get to know a caribou named Kotzebue. Kotzebue vainly anticipates Christmas and the glory of being lead Caribou when Santa and his sleigh depart North Pole, Alaska. However, while visiting a zoo, Kotzebue’s selfishness gets him in trouble with Santa, resulting in the sleigh leaving Kotzebue behind. This book includes vibrant, humorous illustrations and teaches a lesson about vanity. (NMG)

Alfred digs. George, Lindsay Barrett. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 37pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-078761-5.

This story begins with a brief explanation of what an aardvark is, and then contrasts an average aardvark with Alfred the aardvark and his mother. Unlike the aardvarks we know, these two live in a tiny burrow, eat apple pie, and have a pet ant. In addition, Alfred, his mother, and Itty Bitty go on adventures digging into the dictionary. This story is better suited for children with broad imaginations. (LJ)

All aboard science reader: Fireflies. Bryant, Megan E. Penguin Group Inc., 2008. [email protected], (800-531-8571). 48 pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-44834-3. Illustrated by Carol Schwartz.

Fireflies not only light up the summer skies, but they are also being used in laboratories to help find cures for diseases. This book not only helps beginning readers learn about fireflies, it helps them connect with science, which is essential for today’s students. I would highly recommend this book for every classroom and school library. (ACZ)

All the lovely bad ones. Hahn, Mary Downing. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 182pp. $16.00 ISBN 978-0-618-85467-7.

After getting thrown out of summer camp, Travis and his sister Corey are forced to stay with their Grandmother at her bed and breakfast, the Vermont Inn. They find out that the inn is supposedly haunted, even though a ghost hasn’t been spotted for years. Travis and Corey devise a plan to scare the guests, and in doing so they thrill the guests, but also wake the real ghosts. It turns out that there are two separate types of ghosts roaming about, some vivacious young boys and one ghastly old woman. Travis and Corey successfully devise a plan to allow the young boys to rest peacefully, but they still have to deal with the stubborn wrath of the old lady, Miss Ada. This book would be a great independent read for students interested in frightening tales of terror and mystery. (PP)

Almanac 2009. Slepian, Curtis. Lerner (Twenty-First Century Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 256pp. $13.99. ISBN 978-0-7613-4052-2.

From art to religion, sports to technology, and presidents to nutrition, this Almanac is filled with fascinating information that is geared toward children. The kid-friendly graphics combined with easily comprehendible information makes this the perfect source of a plethora of information for kids. This book would be a great addition to any home or classroom. (LJ)

Amadi’s snowman. Saint-Lot, Katia Novet and Dimitrea Tokunbo. Tilbury House Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (207-582-1899). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-884-48298-7.

In this picture book, the main character Amadi does not want to learn to read, but finds a fascinating book that makes him rethink his reasons for not reading. This book contains a mystery, but he can’t solve it because he can’t read. This book will satisfy children ages 4-8. (AD)

American bison. Berman, Ruth. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-323-4929). 48 pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7513-9.

The American bison has been a symbol of the ruggedness of the American West for hundreds of years. This informational book helps young readers learn the physiology and nature of the American bison; however, it does little to teach readers about the near-extinction of the animal or the long attempts of preservation, including the use of cow-bison mating to continue the species. This book is lacking specific emphasis to help readers relate to the book, and its dry facts lack the emotional connection that could be made by describing man’s impact on this marvel of the plains. (ACZ)

Americans who tell the truth. Shetterly, Robert. Penguin Group (Puffin), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 46pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-10-241108-7.

This book is a collection of portraits and quotes from well-known figures in our nation’s history. Each page has a portrait accompanied by a quote. The last couple pages of the book include a paragraph explaining each figure’s significance in history. The title of the book is misleading; surely, as great as many of them may seem, the Americans pictured did not always tell the truth. In fact, some of the quotes are ignorant, inaccurate, egotistical, and misleading. Many of the other quotes are insightful, thoughtful, and even inspiring, but students should not take these sayings as the truth without thought. Students may read this book as early as fifth grade. (NMG)

Animals Christopher Columbus saw: An adventure in the new world. Markle, Sandra. Chronicle Books LLC, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 46pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-4916-6. Illustrated by Jamel Akib.

In this picture book, author Markle and illustrator Akib work together to inform children about the fascinating animals Christopher Columbus encountered on his search for the East Indies. Readers follow Columbus from the launching of his three ships in Europe to the Canary Islands, through the Sargasso Sea, to the lands that would one day be called the Americas, and back home. Based on professional field studies and Columbus’s ship logs, this historical fiction account accurately acquaints readers with biodiversity of the 15th century while challenging readers to think about historical relationships among humans and the environment. This book can be used to compliment history, social studies, and science curriculums. (NMG)

Animal heroes: true rescue stories. Markle, Sandra. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2009. lernerbooks.com, (800-382-4929). 64 pp. $29.27. ISBN 978-0-8225-7884-0.

This book contains ten stories of amazing animals that have, in one way or another, saved a human life. Many of the animals that saved lives have been greatly rewarded in one way or another. These true stories also contain some explanations of why the animals may have done some of the things they did. This book is great for 9-12 year old children who wish to know about some real animal heroes. (AD)

Araminta Spookie: Ghostsitters. Sage, Angie. Harper Collins (Katherine Tegen Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 214pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-06-144922-2. Illustrated by Jimmy Pickering.

Araminta is very sad when her Aunt Tabby and Uncle Drac inform her that they will be out of town for her upcoming birthday. Araminta is even less thrilled when she finds out her boring Great-aunt Emilene will be coming to watch her. However, when her great-aunt is delayed, her cool and crazy cousin, Mathilda comes instead to watch her. Araminta thinks it’s great that her cousin will be babysitting her because now she will be able to throw the best birthday party ever. Just as Araminta thinks everything is going perfectly according to plan, everything goes extremely wrong. Ned and Jed, two troublemaking ghosts show up and start causing trouble. Will Araminta be able to get rid of Ned and Jed and still have the best birthday ever? This imaginative story is filled with ghosts, wizards, vampire bats, and spiders. The creative plot line will keep the reader engaged and wondering what will happen next. This chapter book would be appropriate for young adults. (JN).

Artemis Fowl: The time paradox. Colfer, Eoin. Hyperion Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 391pp. $17.99. ISBN978-1-4231-0836-8.

In the continuation of the acclaimed Artemis Fowl series, Artemis must go back in time to help save his mother from certain magical death. Along with Captain Holly Short and Mulch Diggums, Artemis plots to recapture the only animal that can save her, but it is now extinct because of his own black market actions. The irony of the situation and plot twists will keep the reader guessing what is to come and is easily read with basic knowledge of the Artemis Fowl book series. (ACZ)

Arthur and Guen. Koons, Jon. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0525479345. Illustrated by Igor Oleynikov.

This original story is a retelling of the tale of Young Camelot. The personalities include familiar characters such as Arthur, Princess Guenevere, Merlin, and the sword Excalibur. Vivid illustrations capture the attention of readers as young as 5 years old; children will enjoy hearing the tale of Arthur and his fantastic adventures as a boy. (NMG)

Augusto Pinochet’s Chile. Childress, Diana. Lerner (Twenty First century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 160pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8667-8.

This biography tells the history of Chile from the 1800s through 2006, when Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship came to an end. The history is well researched and is supported with pictures, quotes, and articles. The reader is forced to face some gruesome aspects of life under a ruthless dictator. Students over the age of 11 who are interested in history will be fascinated with this book. (NMG)

Autism and Asperger syndrome. Rodriguez, Ana Maria. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 128 pp. $33.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-7291-6.

Information on autism and Asperger’s syndrome is presented in this book through life examples of real people and how these people and their families have coped with these “problems.. The book gives details about the disabilities and defines terms associated with the diseases. This book is great for ages 9-12 because it gives in-depth details about the disorders and how to react to the disorders. (AD)

Baseball hour. Nevius, Carol. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 29 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5380-2. Illustrated by Bill Thomson.

Baseball practice has started! Join a group of children as they warm up, bat, and work together to create a winning team. Young readers can read about America’s favorite pastime in this rhyming book. While it is fun to read, the rhymes and writing of the author are very underdeveloped. I would recommend this book with reservations; continued editing could be made to create a better book. (ACZ)

Bats at the library. Lies, Brian. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-99923-1.

This book sparks the imagination using a unique poetic form. In this story, bats find an open window to a library. The bats see themselves acting out the events of all the books. The book is appropriate for ages 4-8 and creates opportunities for children to see various books through another’s eye. (AD)

The bedtime train. Cowley, Joy. Boyds Mills Press (Front Street), 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-493-8. Illustrated by Jamison Odone.

Oh no! You can’t sleep again, but thankfully the bedtime train has come to whisk you off on an adventure with bears and wolves, dinosaurs, and breaking bridges. Children will find their eyes closing as they fall to sleep to the creative rhymes and beautiful illustrations in this new bedtime book written for fathers everywhere! (ACZ)

Bees, snails, & peacock tails. Franco, Betsy and Steve Jenkins. Simon and Schuster (McElderry Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 31 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-0386-4.

Shapes and patterns are hidden everywhere in nature. Even animals have shapes and patterns hidden on them. This book is designed to help young children learn and discover patterns and geometry that occurs not only in math class but in nature as well. I would highly recommend this book as an example to help children learn about nature and mathematical concepts. (ACZ)

Belva Lockwood: Equal rights pioneer. Norgren, Jill. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 112pp. $31.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-9068-2.

This biography tells the story of Belva Lockwood and includes a detailed history of the United States from Lockwood’s birth in 1830 to her death in 1917. Belva provides a female role model for young readers. Rich in detail, this book helps the reader understand some of the driving forces behind the United States’ move to equal rights. Black and white pictures and detailed captions compliment the text. Readers get to know Belva as an individual, including her quirks and stubbornness. Readers as young as 11 years old can enjoy this biography. (NMG)

The best Hanukkah ever. Goldin, Barbara Diamond. Marshall Cavendish, 2007. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5355-0. Illustrated by Avi Katz.

In this picture book, the Knoodle family misinterprets the rabbi’s words, “It is hard to give the perfect gift, one that will be treasured forever.” Readers follow the Knoodle family through the preparations of Hannukah as each family member tries to decide on the perfect gift for someone else. Readers become acquainted with Jewish culture as the family opens gifts that are far from perfect. Elementary students will identify with the family’s frustrations and learn from the characters as they turn the worst Hanukkah ever into the best Hanukkah ever. (NMG)

Big and bad. Delessert, Etienne. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected], (617-350-5000). 32pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-889034.

Big and Bad is a contemporary version of the classic Three Little Pigs story. Instead of focusing on the impact the wolf has on all of the pigs, it describes how the mean wolf affects the lives of numerous animals, and how they attempt to trick the wolf in order to get rid of him forever. This book is very creative version of the classic tale, making it a good choice for any young reader seeking amusing entertainment. However, compared to many children’s books, the plot of this story is a bit awkward and hard to follow at times. (LJ)

Big chickens fly the coop. Helakoski, Leslie. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47915-4. Illustrated by Henry Cole.

After always being cooped up in their chicken coop, the four chickens finally decide they are going on an adventure to the farmhouse, which they have always wanted to see. The chickens are faced with many obstacles, including dogs, tractors, and horses. After much discussion, the distraught chickens are able to rise above their challenges and pursue their adventure to the farmhouse. This fun book is filled with vivid descriptions and verbs that capture the attention of the reader, and makes this story perfect for any young child. (LJ)

The big game of everything. Lynch, Chris. Harper Collins Publisher, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 275pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0060740344.

Thirteen-year-old Union Jack is a relatively normal guy with a very unusual and humorous family. Union’s parents own a barbershop, but they have little concern with making money. Union’s younger brother Egon takes great pleasure in picking on Union, both physically and verbally. Then there is Union’s unique grandpa, who is called Grampus. Unlike Union’s parents, Grampus thinks life is about making money. Union and Egon are spending their summer at Grampus’s golf course and helping him construct the fourteenth hole. Union loves everything about the golf course and enjoys his time with Grampus. However, the summer takes a turn for the worse when Grampus has a stroke and the family discovers that his golf course has financial trouble. As Grampus recovers from his stroke, he starts to realize that money is not the most important thing in life. The whole family pitches in to save the golf course, and along the way Jack’s family experiences a life changing summer. This young adult fiction book is filled with many relatable and colorful characters. For example, Union is a humorous character that is struggling with what is important in life and dealing with getting constantly picked on by his brother. This inspiring novel will remind readers of the important things in life, love and family. (JN).

Bill Clinton. McPherson, Stephanie Sammartion. Lerner, 2008. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 48pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7986-1.

In this fascinating biography, the author takes the reader through the life of Bill Clinton, from his time as governor of Arkansas to his time in white house. This informational and entertaining biography gives a brief overview of Bill Clinton's childhood, family, and the challenges that he faced as President of the United States. At the end of the book the author provides a timeline that outlines the major events that have occurred in Bill Clinton’s life. I would highly recommend this book for children ages 9 to 12. This would also be a great book for children who are interested in past presidents and American politics. (JN)

Bird lake moon. Henkes, Kevin. Harper Collins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2008. 179pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-147076-9.

After dealing with his father leaving, the main character Mitch, a twelve-year-old boy, leaves with his mother to his grandparent’s house for some time to relax. While at the house, Mitch continually admires the abandoned house next door. When the homeowners return, Mitch continually refers to them as “intruders” but soon realizes that he and Spencer, the ten-year old boy living in the house, may have more in common than he initially thought. Mitch learns about the death of Spencer’s brother, which caused his family to abandon the house for a few years. Eventually they get to know one another and develop a special friendship. Since this book deals with some heavy issues, it may not be best for all young readers; however, it is a great, well-written book that is perfect for anyone who has gone through a divorce or death, as it shows methods for coping with difficult life challenges. (LJ)

Birds on a wire. Lewis, J. Patrick, Paul B. Janesczko. Boyds Mills Press (Wordsong), 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 27pp. $17.95. ISBN978-1-59078-383-2. Illustrated by Gary Lippincott.

Birds on a Wire is a book that leads the reader through a day in an old fashioned American town. The journey begins on the countryside, slowly weaving through the city streets at multiple angles and heights, and displaying the actions of everyday small town life. The reader follows around a hound, a cat, the florist, the doctor, the paperboy, and many more. The authors Lewis and Janesczko depict this story through the use of renga, a style of poetry where one poet writes a verse and another poet responds, repeating this pattern on each page. This book would be great for introducing forms of poetry by having pairs of students work together to create a poem in renga. (PP)

The blacker the berry. Thomas, Joyce Carol. Harper Collins Publishing (Amistad), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-025375-2. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

This book uses rich, comforting lyrical text, giving first person narrations of children comparing their shade of black to a berry. The vivid yet soft sponge painted backgrounds contrast the dark skin color tones of the children, supporting the first line of the story “Colors, without black couldn’t sparkle quite so bright.” The vibrant smile on each child’s delicate face describes the marvel and beauty of diversity. This book is an excellent source for the classroom and great for all ages, celebrating the importance of diversity. (PP)

The blind faith hotel. Todd, Pamela. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336) 312pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1416954941.

This is a touching story about a fourteen-year-old girl named Zoe. Zoe’s father is a fisherman who would often leave for long periods of time in order to go crab fishing in Alaska. Every time Zoe’s father left, her and her siblings would worry that their father may never come back alive. One day, Zoe’s mother decides she has had enough and she no longer wants her children to go through the pain of saying goodbye to their father. She decides to pick up and move the kids to an old farmhouse located in the Midwest. The move makes Zoe feel as though she has lost everything familiar in her life. Zoe soon starts to act out and eventually finds herself in trouble with the law. Zoe must now examine her life and figure out who she wants to become. This is an inspirational and humorous story that is filled with unexpected events all the way to the end. I would highly recommend this book for young teens. Many young teens will be able to relate to the struggles that Zoe is dealing with, including a loss of self-identity, moving away from home, relationships, and family issues. Readers will fall in love with Zoe’s character as she discovers the real meaning of home and family. (JN).

Bloom!: A little book about finding love. Van Lieshout, Maria. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], 646-307-5770. 35 pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36913-2.

This adorable and delightful book is about a little pig that gets his heart broken. After his heartbreak, the little pig is depressed and feels like he will never find love again. However, when he least expects it, the little pig finds love once again. This is a simple book that touches on big subjects, like friendship and love. Children will be able to identify with the emotions of the pig as he loses something he loved. The lines and splotches of color are very elegant yet simple. The beautiful illustrations do a great job of capturing the little pigs changing emotions. This is a great book for children of all ages. (JN)

Board buddies: Pirates! Garofoli, Vivian. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 24pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-07614-5455-1.

This little board book for young children is adorable. It leads the reader on a simple, stereotypical pirate adventure where the characters hoist the anchor, set sail, and dig for treasure. Children could easily act out the book’s story. The illustrations are appropriately colorful, and the pages are easy to turn. (NMG)

Bodies from the ice. Deem, James M. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 58 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-80045-2.

Glaciers are quickly disappearing from the Earth and so are the mysterious bodies they hold. Join scientists and mountain climbers as they uncover bodies and their secrets that have been hidden within the depths of glaciers for 100 to 5,300 years. The perspective that this book is written from will allow readers to fly through its pages and experience wonders from the past. This is an excellent book, written from a very interesting perspective that will draw readers of many ages. (ACZ)

Bon voyage Connie Pickles. Durrant, Sabine. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 234 pp. $17.89. ISBN978-0-06-085483-6.

Connie Pickles is an eccentric English teenager. When she travels to Paris for a school exchange, the world seems to change around her. Her host mother walks out on her host father for another man. Her hostess, Pascale, is a Goth who can’t stop crying. Her best friend who is also on the trip is cheating on her boyfriend while in Paris, and the boy she’s always wanted to date just happens to fall into her lap. The challenges that Connie faces dealing with a different culture and meeting new people are overshadowed by the melodrama of the story. This detracts from the story and the main character, turning the entire book into a soap opera. (ACZ)

Book! O’Connell George, Kristine. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion Books). 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 30pp. $5.95. ISBN 978-0-547-15409-1. Illustrated by Maggie Smith

This small sturdy book for preschoolers has thick, easy to turn pages and boldly colored illustrations. The book tells a story about a little boy and all the things he can do with his book, including wearing it like a hat, taking it on a wagon ride, and, of course, reading it. The book appeals to adults and caters to children’s short attention spans. It helps introduce very young children to what books are all about. (NMG)

The book of wizards. Hague Michael. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 141pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-688-14005-2.

Michael Hague, the author and illustrator of The book of wizards, tells nine separate magical tales and folklores. He describes magic and sorcery in The Tempest, a play by William Shakespeare, stories of Merlin, and also reaching back to Ulysses and Greek mythology. Every story is detailed with richly colored illustrations, expressing the feelings and emotions within text. These nine short stories would be great for an elementary classroom. The magical tales are both interesting and appealing. This book could also be used as an anticipatory set for a lesson or as a read-aloud in a fantasy unit. (PP)

Bone soup. Evans, Cambria. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 31 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-80908-0.

This picture book is a parody to the book Stone soup, which is a well-known tale that is continually retold in many languages. In this version, a little skeleton, Finnigin, brings a small village of Halloween creatures together to make a soup fit for such beings, adding ingredients like bat wings, frog legs, and spider legs. With this little skeleton’s big appetite, the other creatures are not sure what to make of his creating this soup with a ‘magic bone’, but everyone eventually pitches in, and the soup becomes “fabulous” and “fit for a king”. This story is good for 4-8 year olds who enjoy Halloween creatures. (AD)

Boy, were we wrong about the solar system! Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Penguin Group (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 30pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-525-46979-7. Illustrated by John Rocco.

This informational book compares how the human race understood the solar system thousands of years ago to how we understand it now. This book is effectively uses simplistic, yet informative text and intriguing illustration. The reader is led through the history of space exploration in a unique and original way, leaving him or her curious and willing to learn more. This book would be great for elementary students and a good resource to have in the classroom. It covers multiple areas of reading, science, and history. (PP)

The boy who wouldn’t swim. Lucke, Deb. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 31 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-91484-5.

Eric Dooley is a boy who will not swim, and because he refuses to swim, he decides everyone else in the pool shouldn’t swim either. As his sister begins learning how to swim, his envy is apparent as he repeatedly clears the pool. As the people in the pool start to ignore him, he has a choice to finally set foot into the pool or sit out in the sun and remain uncomfortably hot. This book would be great for any child learning to swim. (AD)

Boycott blues. Pinkney, Andrea David and Brian. Harper Collins Publishers (Greenwillow), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 35 pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-082118-0.

The Civil Rights Movement began with one act of defiance made by a hard-working woman. Rosa Parks stood up for her equality and began a yearlong boycott of all buses in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks and black citizens’ fight for equality is presented through the use of blues music and descriptive pictures. These pictures employ the use of color and line to portray the harsh conditions black citizens lived through. This is an excellent representation of the oppression that black citizens faced during the 1950’s and 1960’s and will help young readers understand that struggle for freedom and equality. (ACZ)

Bread and roses too. Patterson, Katherine. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 275pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-547-07651-5.

This historical fiction novel is set in 1912 during the labor strike. Readers follow Rosa, a young Italian girl, as she leaves her family and the textile mills of Massachusetts to live with a foster family in Vermont. Along the way she meets Jake, an orphan looking for companionship and safety. The two pretend to be siblings as they embark on a difficult journey. This book helps students as young as age 10 understand the roles ethnic rivalries, prejudices, and social status played in American society during the early 1900s. (NG)

Buffalo music. Fern, Tracey E. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion Books), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-72341-6. Illustrated by Lauren Castillo.

This picture book, based on the real story of Mary Ann Goodnight, tells the story of Molly, a settler of Palo Duro Canyon in Texas during 1876. Molly takes care of a small herd of buffalo calves after hunters destroy most of the buffalo population. As word spreads that she’s caring for orphaned buffalo, people bring her more buffalo. Eventually she helps Yellowstone National Park repopulate their buffalo herds. This historical fiction picture book will help young readers appreciate the history and importance of the American buffalo. (NG)

Buffalo song. Bruchac, Joseph. Lee & Low Books, 2008. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 36pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-58430-280-3. Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth.

This book is a story about a Nez Perce family and their quest to preserve a small buffalo herd. The story is set in the 1870s and takes young readers back to the time when buffalo were in immediate danger of extinction. Written by a Native American, the book shows the relationship and respect Natives had for buffalo. The illustrations are well researched and will delight readers from first grade on. (NMG)

Captain Cheech. Marin, Cheech. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113206-3. Illustrated by Orlando L. Ramirez.

This book is written about a well-respected bus driver, Cheech, and the story takes a unique and surprising turn when the children decide to have a boat race. How does the bus get involved in a boat race? Find out in this fun tale of a friendly bus driver and the children who ride his bus. This enjoyable and entertaining book would be great for any young reader. (LJ)

The castaway pirates. Marshall, Ray. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-758-0190). 18pp. $19.99. ISBN978-0-8118-5923-3. Illustrated by Wilson Swain.

The pirates of the stinky toes are left to survive in their life raft after their ship sinks, but now are in trouble because their raft is sinking. This pop-up book will inspire children to continue reading as the pirates struggle to survive on the high seas. Children will easily relate to the rhymes and repetitive nature of their adventure. (ACZ)

Cat. Dumbleton, Mike. Kane/Miller Books Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (800-968-1930). 32pp. ISBN 978-1-933605-73-9. Illustrated by Craig Smith.

With only two to four words per page, the illustrations communicate the action in this children’s book for ages 4 and up. Readers follow Cat to see what trouble he gets into. After being chased by a dog, getting wet from a sprinkler, and spilling milk, among other adventures, Cat curls up in a ball for a nap. This book would be excellent for asking young children to describe illustrations and actions in their own words, getting children to think critically and develop their oral language skills. (NMG)

Cat jumped in. Weaver, Tess and Emily Arnold McCully. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-61488-2.

A portrayal of typical cat antics is cleverly interwoven into this children’s story. A cat and an unsuspecting house owner struggle to get along. The cat gets into the house and creates several messes. The owner keeps trying to throw him out, but the cat keeps getting away. By the end, the owner has a change of heart after looking past her cat’s many messes. This book would be appropriate for children ages 4-8. (AD)

Catch a ride to the moon. Mack, Lizzie. Simon & Schuster (Little Simon), 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $10.99. ISBN 1-4169-2764-6.

This little book is a collection of several familiar rhymes and songs, some of them slightly altered. Such rhymes include Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Hickory Dickory Dock, Thank You God, and If You’re Happy and You Know It. Built for preschoolers, it has thick, easy to turn pages and sturdy binding The patterns and repetition in many of the poems encourage language development and play. Each rhyme is accompanied by an illustration of one or more cuddly animals acting out the poem. This excellent bedtime read comes with a CD of the songs in the book; the child may follow along in the book or be lulled to sleep by the soft music. (NMG)

Chalice. McKinley, Robin. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 263pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24676-0.

Avid fantasy fiction readers as young as upper middle school will enjoy Chalice. Young women will especially identify with Mirasol who starts out as an ordinary beekeeper, but soon is charged with the greatest responsibility of her people. She must find the strength and courage, as the newly appointed Chalice, to bind her people to a fearful, powerful Master. Readers, drawn into McKinley’s elaborate fantasy world, will encounter themes of healing, leadership, courage, and love. (NMG)

Charlie Cook’s favorite book. Donaldson, Julia & Axel Scheffler. Penguin Group (Puffin), 2005. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 26 pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241138-4.

Charlie Cook’s is a pirate who finds a great book while he is stranded on an island. It turns out that this book is about Goldilocks being caught reading her favorite book. This circular tale finds that there are lots of different types of books and that everyone has a favorite. Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book is a wonderful read and an excellent addition to any children’s library. (ACZ)

Charlie hits it big. Blumenthal, Deborah. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-056354-7. Illustrated by Denise Brunkus.

Charlie starts out as an ordinary guinea pig, but he has dreams of Hollywood. After running away from home and breaking his owner’s heart, Charlie gets famous in Hollywood only to find out that he is extremely lonely. He misses his owner, his cage, and his food, so he decides to return home where he is welcomed with open arms. This light-hearted children’s picture book can be read to children in kindergarten and older to teach lessons about the importance of friends and family over fame and fortune. (NMG)

Chee-Lin: A giraffe’s journey. Rumford, James. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected], (617-350-5000). 38pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-71720-0.

This children’s picture book tells the story of a giraffe, Tweega, as he journeys through Eastern Africa, Southern India, and Eastern China. Along the way Tweega meets many friends and experiences several different cultures. The story acquaints readers with Asian culture in the early 1400s. Intertwining historical fact and Chinese mythology, author and illustrator James Rumford uses pictures and text to fashion a historical world of adventure and discovery. Educators can use Tweega’s experiences to teach young readers about Asian culture, history, and customs. (NMG)

Chess! Gilson, Jamie. Houghton Mifflin (Clarion), 2008. [email protected], 617-351-5000. 82pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-618-97790-1. Illustrated by Amy Wummer.

This fun and lively picture chapter book involves everything from chess playing to magic. Richard has joined the chess club, even though he usually loses, he still can’t get enough of it. The only bad thing about chess club is Patrick, he is constantly annoying Richard. To make matters worse, the principal thinks the two are alike and tells the two that they both need to concentrate and learn how to plan ahead in order to become better chess players. Will Richard and Patrick be able to put aside their differences in order to work together to become amazing chess players? This entertaining book contains many great themes, including: teamwork, friendship, loyalty, and hard work. The emotions and actions of Richard and Patrick are very believable and relatable. This would be a great book for children who are just starting to read chapter books. The occasional black and white illustrations will give the reader a better idea of how the characters are feeling. I would highly recommend this book to children age’s five to nine. (JN)

Chess rumble. Neri, G. Lee & Low Books, 2007. [email protected], (212-779-4400. 64pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-58430-279-7. Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.

This book tells the story of Marcus, an eleven-year-old boy living in poverty and coping with the death of his sister. Written in free verse and first person point of view, the text flows richly across the pages of this book. Marcus is struggling with violence and school when one day his principle introduces Marcus to a chess program. He learns to fight on the chessboard instead of with his fists as he meets new people and learns new life skills. This story is excellent for readers starting around 9 years of age. (NMG)

The chicken of the family. Amato, Mary. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24196-3. Illustrated by Delphine Durand.

Henrietta is constantly being teased by her two older sisters. When they try to convince her that she is a chicken, but Henrietta does not believe them. They try to convince her by claiming she sheds feathers, and she lays eggs at night, but doesn’t notice because they collect them before she awakes. Henrietta slowly starts to believe them, and becomes convinced that she really is a chicken when she awakes one morning with a bed full of feathers. She then runs away to a nearby farm to find her real chicken family. Henrietta feels as though she is the family outcast, which will allow children to identify with the main character. This picture storybook would be appropriate for children age’s five to nine. The humorous plot line and illustrations will catch children’s attention. (JN).

Chuck’s band. Anderson, Peggy Perry. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Walter Lorraine Books), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-96506-8.

Chuck and his barnyard friends Tuck, Huck, Nip, big cow Lou, the duck Luck, Sue, Lou, and Fat Cat Pat join together to create a band. The bright, exuberant illustrations and catchy rhymes create motion and rhythms, making it appear as if the reader is part of the band. This energetic story would be entertaining for lower elementary students to help them develop the concept of rhyming. Chuck’s band is also a concept book, displaying various farm animals and musical instruments. (PP)

Classic animal stories. Edens, Cooper. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 154pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5769-7.

This book is a collection of children’s animal stories from sources including Aesop’s fables, Mother Goose Rhymes, and various fairy tales compiled by Cooper Edins and illustrated by many well-known children’s illustrators. With such familiar characters as Mary and her little lamb, Peter Rabbit, the Three Little Kittens, Old Mac Donald, and many others, Edins’ book will captivate and fascinate children of all ages. Each story, poem, or fable is accompanied by a fitting illustration. (NMG)

Colonial voices, hear them speak. Winters, K.. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0525478720. Illustrated by Larry Day.

Author Kay Winters and illustrator Larry Day combine their talents to create a children’s picture book about the day of the Boston Tea Party. Ethan, the printer’s errand boy, stops at various shops, homes, and schools to confirm and spread the word of the meeting that would start the famous boycott. Along the way, readers learn about colonial life through poetry and illustrations about various people in society, including a schoolteacher, a baker, and a slave. Students as young as third grade will enjoy learning about colonial times in America and the events leading up to the Boston Tea Party. (NG)

Come fly with me. Ichikawa, Satomi. Penguin Group, Inc. (Philomel), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 32 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24679-1.

Join Woggy and Cosmos as they fly away on a grand adventure. Through storms, sunshine, and with birds, the two friends fly towards a beautiful place, the white dome of a distant building. While the friendship of an airplane and a puppy is unlikely, the author does a good job of building a bond between the two characters throughout the book. At the end, the reader learns the valuable lesson of friendship, teaching that anyone can be friends and share an adventure together. This story of friendship will win over the hearts of children everywhere. (ACZ)

Cool daddy rat. Crow, Kristyn. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 31 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24375-2. Illustrated by Mike Lester.

As always, his daddy sets out into the city to rock the city with his smooth jazz, but tonight, Ace is coming along. His father discovers is his son’s unusual talent, an ability to sing jazz with the best of them. While this book uses a creative rhyme scheme, and jazz onomatopoeia, the book doesn’t flow very well for children, as they will be hard-pressed to understand the lingo that the book uses, as well as follow the story with its broken speech pattern. I believe there are better books available to teach young children about jazz music and the passion it can inspire in people. (ACZ)

Cottonball Colin. Willis, Jeanne and Tony Ross. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008. eerdmans.com, (800-253-7521). 26 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5331-8.

This story is of a small mouse named Colin who is so small that his mother fears for his safety. This prevents him from ever leaving the house. His grandfather cleverly suggests that Colin gets wrapped in cotton to prevent injury should he fall, jump, or do anything that could hurt him. This book is perfect for children ages 4-8 that love little bits of adventure and who wish to see a miniature hero triumph over his problems. (AD)

Curious George’s dictionary. Editors of American Heritage Dictionaries. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Harcourt), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 127pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-618-98649-1. Illustrated by Mary Young O’Keefe.

This dictionary is intended for children ages 4-6 and incorporates about 600 developmentally appropriate words. Pictures are combined with each word to increase comprehension and retention while using this dictionary. In addition to the dictionary component, there is also a short Curious George story at the beginning, and additional information such as numbers, months, shapes, colors, and more at the end of the book. This would be a helpful addition to any household or a preschool classroom. (LJ)

Curious you: On your way!. Zoehfeld, Kathleen W. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 29pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-618-91975-8. Illustrated by H.A. Rey.

Curious George offers phrases of congratulations, encouragement, and advice about life and living one’s dreams. He congratulates the reader for all accomplishments, but poses challenges of going after dreams and reaching for new heights. Curious you on your way would be a perfect present for any child entering a new phase of their life, as it is full of insightful wisdom about life and what the future will hold. (LJ)

Daddy hug. Warnes, Tim. Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 78-0-06-058950-9. Illustrated by Jane Chapman.

This fun and lovable picture book for early readers depicts various kinds of daddies from the animal kingdom. Children encounter characters such as slow daddy tortoise, slimy daddy slug, and fluffy daddy ostrich in simple, colorful illustrations. The story exposes readers to a variety of species and promotes linguistic development through words and associated pictures. Adjectives take on the attributes they describe, like giant written in big, bold letters and scurry written staggered across the page. The final page shares a touching moment where each daddy gives his child a hug. This book lends itself well to preschool whole group reading. (NMG)

The dangerous alphabet. Gaiman, Neil. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-078333-4. Illustrated by Gris Grimly.

This concept book takes an unusual approach to learning the alphabet. The reader is lead through the sewers on a frightening but thrilling treasure hunt with two children, their gazelle, and many mysterious creatures and monsters. The author uses twenty-six short phrases to tell the story, each phrase beginning with a letter in the alphabet. For instance, “E’s for the Evil that lures and entices” and “F is for Fear and its many devices.” The illustrations are unique for a children’s book, as they are extremely sinister and disturbing. Even though the book pertains to the alphabet, this book would be appropriate for upper elementary students, primarily students who are able to discern between reality and fantasy. (PP)

Dark dude. Hijuelos, Oscar. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 439pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4804-9.

Dark Dude is about a 15-year-old kid named Rico. He is from New York City and must deal with a rough and intense lifestyle, which includes school shootings, drug dealers, and muggings. To make matters worse, Rico is a mix of Irish and Cuban, making him a target for his Latino and African American classmates. After his mentor Gilberto wins the lottery, they head to Wisconsin to start over in a new place. The scene shifts to the Midwest, but Rico quickly learns that crime and hatred are not just in the big city. Though the book appears large, the text is easy to read and flows smoothly. This book is geared towards middle school students; teaching about diversity and the effect crime and race have on people’s lives. (PP)

The debutante. Williams, Kathryn. Hyperion Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 248pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-0045-4.

This young adult contemporary novel is about an emotional girl named Annie who is experiencing the trauma of moving from Connecticut to Alabama right before her senior year. Annie believes that moving to Alabama where her crazy cousins and traditional grandmother lives will be the worst experience ever. To make matters worse, Annie’s grandmother expects her to make her debut into society at the debutante ball, and in return her grandmother will help pay for college. Throughout the book Annie struggles with the move and other teen issues, like her boyfriend breaking up with her and then dating her best friend. In the end, Annie discovers that life in Alabama is not as bad as she thought. She discovers many new experiences in Alabama, and along the way she realizes the importance of family and friends. Teens will be able to relate to Annie who is a typical high school student that is dealing with many stressors, like college applications, school, family, ex-boyfriends, and the betrayal of a best friend. (JN).

The Devil on trial: witches, anarchists, atheists, communists, and terrorists in America’s courtrooms. Margulies, Phillip and Maxine Rosaler. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 218 pp. $22.00. ISBN 978-0-618-71717-0.

This book presents five famous trials that prosecuted people referred to as “the Devil”. From the Salem witch trials to the trials of Zacarias Moussaoui, this book describes some of the most dangerous trials in American history. It is interesting to see both sides of the cases, as both sides are presented in the book to show what the defendants were thinking as well. This book is appropriate for those who are interested in a darker part of U.S. history, but would probably be preferred for those ten years old or older. (AD)

Dirt on my shirt. Foxworthy, Jeff. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 27pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-120846-1. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman.

Dirt on my shirt is a collection of witty poems written by comedian Jeff Foxworthy. The illustrations are entertaining and engaging, full of excitement and actions that correlate with the sly humor and rhyme of the poetry. A variety of themes are apparent within the poems, including friendship, family, imagination, acceptance, and many more. This book is geared towards upper elementary students because of the style of humor. In the classroom it could be used in a poetry unit, giving an example of humorous poetry and the use of rhyming words. If not used in the classroom it would be an enjoyable read for many students. (PP)

Dirty Joe the pirate. Harley, Bill. Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-623780-0. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis.

Dirty Joe is a pirate no one dares to mess with. Leading his crew, he seeks other ships to steal, and hang their socks. Then the crew encounters the infamous Stinky Annie, who finds other ships to steal and hang their underwear. Joe is not ready to give up his intimidating reputation, so his crew sets sail to find Annie’s ship in hopes of obtaining all of their socks. After a fierce battle, there is an unexpected surprise that changes everything. This entertaining pirate tale is sure to capture the attention of any young child with its clever rhymes and fun illustrations. (LJ)

Doctor All-knowing. Orgel, Doris. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1416912460. Illustrated by Alexander Boiger.

This story is a retelling of a folktale from the Brother’s Grimm collection. A man and his daughter start out dirt poor and starving, but when the father sees that doctors have plenty of money, he asks a doctor how to make money. The advice is to hang a sign on the door that says “Doctor All-knowing.” Soon the doctor is busy solving a mystery, and through a series of surprising, humorous events, he is able to crack the mystery and earn a fortune. (NMG)

Dodger and me. Sonnenblick, Jordan. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 171 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-37793-9.

Willie’s best friend has just moved away from home, and he’s feeling alone in the world. He is teased by his classmates for being bad at baseball and for the girl that constantly follows him around. Luckily for Willie, his fortune changes when he rubs a McDonald’s bag and a genie appears, but this genie doesn’t grant wishes, he helps you solve your problems. This book is hard to believe because Dodger lacks magical qualities that are expected of a genie. While Willie’s problems are solved at the conclusion, it leaves the reader wanting more out of the book. (ACZ)

Dodsworth in Paris. Egan, Tim. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 45 pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-618-98062-8.

Dodsworth and his mischievous friend the Duck have just arrived in Paris for a vacation. It’s the Duck and Dodsworth’s first trip to Paris, and they are very excited to explore the magnificent city. The two enjoy walking the streets of Paris, going out to eat, watching performances, and visiting the Eiffel Tower. Dodsworth and Duck are having a great time, however it doesn’t take long until Duck starts causing trouble. Duck loses all of their money, and the trouble doesn’t stop there. Dodsworth and Duck now need to think of a brilliant plan in order to make money. Will Dodsworth and Duck be able to save their vacation? This humorous picture storybook will grab the reader’s attention with the unexpected entertaining plot and captivating illustrations. This book would be appropriate for children between the ages of four and nine. Children will be able to relate to both Duck, who is curious and mischievous, and Dodsworth, who gets frustrated when nothing seems to go right. The book relays great themes such as never giving up and things are not always as they appear. (JMN)

Does a sea cow say moo? Harshman, Terry Webb. Bloomsbury, 2008. [email protected], (888-330-8477). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58234-740-0. Illustrated by George McClements.

Flash, an alien visitor to Earth, has some questions about animals in the sea that have the same names as animals on land. For example, can sea cows moo or can you saddle a sea horse? Jack is his Earthling guide. The author uses rhyming and wordplay to make this picture book fun and lighthearted; the illustrations add quirkiness to the playful atmosphere. The book includes a small glossary of sea facts in the back. Children as young as four years old will learn about creatures in the sea while developing linguistic skills. (NMG)

Dog gone. Willis, Cynthia Chapman. Macmillan (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (212-677-7456). 215pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-37123-4.

Twelve-year-old Dill Macgregor has been grieving ever since her mother passed away. She tries to keep her sorrow hidden, but her father, Lyon, and Grandfather, G.D. constantly try to get her to talk about her feelings. Dill’s mother loved animals and after her death, Lyon gave away all the animals except, Dead End the dog. Now that her mother is gone, Dead End starts roaming. When farmers report that dogs are killing their livestock, Dill fears Dead End is involved. If this turns out to be true, he’ll be shot and there will be one less thing to remind Dill of her mother. So, Dill and her best friend Cub search for her missing dog. This is an excellent story for upper elementary student, focusing on the theme of losing a loved one. The author creates authentic characters and really focuses on Dill and the grief she is experiencing. (PP)

Dogfessions. Moustaki, Nikki. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 160pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-157561-7

Anyone who has a great love for dogs will appreciate this book. This is a compilation of photos of dogs and their owners. It includes confessions from the dog’s point of view that are hilarious, as well as others that express a more serious and emotional side. A large portion of the profits made from this book benefit two charities, Petfinder Foundation and the Sabbath Memorial Dog Rescue Center. This book is a good read and beneficial for finding homes for dogs. (MAH)

Dolphins on the sand. Arnosky, Jim. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24606-7.

When dolphins beach themselves, they get into deep trouble. This book details the dramatic effort humans take to help these stranded dolphins and return them to their home, the ocean. This is an uplifting book, teaching humans how to care for nature and animals instead of destroying the environment and habitats all around us. This book teaches young readers how easy it can be to make a difference and have a positive impact on the world. Overall it is an excellent book for all children. (ACZ)

Don’t bump the glump! And other fantasies. Silverstein, Shel. Harper Collins Books,1964 (renewed 1992). harpercollinschildrens.com (212-261-6500). 64 pp. $18.89. ISBN 978-0-06-149619-6.

Shel Silverstein re-publishes his first collection of poetry. The author uses his imagination to create creatures no one has ever heard of before, and uses poetic language to describe these creatures. This book is great for the imagination of all ages, but targets children ages 4-8. The colored illustrations appear as if a kid has drawn them, which allows children to relate to these poems. (AD)


Don’t worry bear. Foley, Greg. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 29pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0670-06245-4.

This charming picture storybook is about the friendship of a young bear and a caterpillar. Bear becomes very concerned when the caterpillar disappears into a cocoon. However, the caterpillar assures Bear that she will be back soon. Bear visits the cocoon during rainstorms, snowfalls, and strong winds to make sure the caterpillar is still all right. When spring comes along, Bear can stop worrying because the caterpillar has returned into a beautiful butterfly. The plot line and illustrations are very simple, yet they address a big concept of the emotions that one goes through when a loved one leaves for a while. The illustrations do a wonderful job of expressing the emotions that Bear is feeling. This story would be an excellent choice for children who are struggling with a friend who has moved away or if they are a missing a relative who lives far away. I would highly recommend this book for children ranging from ages five to eleven. (JN)


Ecuador in pictures. Behnke, Alison. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 80 pp. $30.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8572-2.

This book describes in great detail the land, people, economy, etc of Ecuador. The data in the book is as up-to-date as it can possibly get for today. Giving information on Ecuador’s past until current, readers can see how this country has developed. By adding interesting tidbits to the book, like real Ecuadorian recipes, children ages 9-12 years can appreciate the information that is provided in a very detailed manner. (AD)


Elephants never forget! Ravishankar, Anushka. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 39 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-99784-8. Illustrated by Christiane Pieper.

When a sudden storm leaves a young elephant all alone without his family, he tries to associate with new groups. The monkeys are mean and are cruel to him, but the buffaloes are nice and even though he isn’t one of their species he feels at home with them. After many years he is finally reunited with his real family but chooses to stay with his adopted family since they were the ones who took care of him when he was a baby. This story is an excellent example of loyalty and family values that children can relate to. The illustrations and story blend together wonderfully to create a story that almost every child will fall in love with. (ACZ)

Ellie McDoodle: New kid in school. Barshaw, Ruth McNally. Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books, 2008. 188pp. $12.99. ISBN978-1-59990-238-8.

Ruth McNally Barshaw’s novel is about a young girl named Ellie, whose family moves to a new house, thus making her enter a new school. As a bookworm, Ellie tends to focus more on reading and her studies rather than making friends and establishing relationships with her teachers. The story takes a surprising turn as Ellie helps the rest of the student body fight against the problems in the cafeteria. This book is ideal for any children who have ever moved to a different school or have felt like they do not fit in. Ellie McDoodle: New kid in school is an uplifting story that can provide hope for those who struggle with the social aspects of school. (LJ)

Emily’s sharing and caring book. Senning, Cindy Post and Peggy Post. Harper Collins Publishing (Collins), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-111698-8. Illustrated by Leo Landry.

This cheerful and colorful book teaches the concepts of sharing toys and food, helping others, taking turns, and other basic rules of etiquette. The two children in the story demonstrate appropriate manners, supporting the concepts in the text. This story is a fun way for lower elementary students to learn about basic concepts of empathy and etiquette. (PP)

Encyclopedia of the end. Noyes, Deborah. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 143pp. $25.00. ISBN 978-0-618-82362-8.

This encyclopedia is an extensive compilation of many topics concerning death. The author researched just about anything known to humans about death. Entries in the encyclopedia include diverse topics ranging from embalming, to reincarnation, to suicide. Anyone interested in death and how various cultures view death would enjoy this encyclopedia. Each entry has a few paragraphs of information written at a level appropriate for readers as young as fourth grade. (NMG)

Even firefighters go to the potty. Wax, Wendy and Naomi Wax. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 20pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2720-4. Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin.

This story is geared towards younger children who are struggling with potty training. It allows children to see that everyone uses the bathroom (even firefighters, policemen, baseball players and zookeepers) and despite their busy schedules, everyone finds time. The text is easy to read and easy for younger children to comprehend. The illustrations are colorful and intriguing, and there is a flap on each page that allows children to interact with the story. (PP)

Ever. Levine, Gain Carson. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008.
[email protected], (212-207-7000). 244 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-122962-6.

Love can be difficult, especially when it’s a love between a mortal and a god. Kezi, a mortal girl, and Olus, a god, fall in love, creating problems in both their lives. They know that their love can never be as they face trials during Kezi’s life. The ultimate trial, however, is Kezi’s upcoming death, but can the two overcome even this obstacle with their love? This book is great for children 10 and older who enjoy reading about mystery, love, and adventure. (AD)

Fancy Nancy’s favorite fancy words: from accessories to zany. O’Connor, Jane and
Robin Preiss Glasser. HarperCollins Books, 2008. harpercollinschildrens.com (212-261-6500). ISBN 978-0-06-154923-6.

This book represents the alphabet by going through “fancy” words that the main character, Nancy, enjoys. These words usually represent Nancy’s wardrobe or describe pieces in her wardrobe. With each word, Nancy the uses the difficult word in a sentence that the reader can relate to, or at least understand better. This book is best for girls ages 4-8 as they learn about different clothes and accessories, along with other interesting words. (AD)

The fat stock stampede at the Houston livestock show and rodeo. Enderle, Dotti. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1589804432. Illustrated by Chuck Galey.

Jake wasn’t having the greatest time at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As he walked up the isle, he ran his fingers along the rails of the pens. As he was doing it, he was opening all of the gates of the cages! As the heifers, chickens, rabbits, and pigs run wild around the rodeo got out and caused total chaos, but Jake works out a way to end the chaos. Children will be entertained by the madness of the livestock and Jake’s solution to end it. (LS)

Find the constellations: Second edition. Rey, H. A. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 72 pp. $20.00. ISBN 978-0-547-13140-5.

This book teaches readers about the constellations and when to look for them, such as which seasons and times of night. By including information about the planets in the book, readers can learn to distinguish planets from stars. This book is perfect for readers young and old, as the descriptions enable anyone to use it for stargazing and a new, fascinating experience. (AD)

Flamingo sunset. London, Jonathan. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], 914-332-8888. 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5384-0. Illustrated by Kristina Rodanas.

This picture storybook takes the reader on a journey as the author describes the life cycle of a flamingo. The book follows one flamingo from her birth, to the gaining of her feathers, and as she learns to fly. The book does a great job of describing the habitat flamingos live in and explaining their growth process. Children will enjoy this book because it’s both entertaining and informational. At the end of the book the author presents the reader with additional information on flamingos. The illustrator does a wonderful job of creating realistic images of flamingos. The soft pink and blue colors will captivate the reader. I would highly recommend this book for children age’s four to eight and especially for children who are interested in nature and animals. (JN)

The Floods #2 school plot. Thompson, Colin. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 249pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113861-4. Illustrated by Crab Scrambly.

This Colin Thompson book is the second addition to The Floods series, which is about a family based on and similar to the Adams Family. This second series titled School Plot, is about the adventures the Flood children have while attending school. The Floods are attending Quicklime College where students receive the best training for wizardry and witchcraft. The Flood family is thrilled with everything their school has to offer and refuse to let the biggest bully, Orkward Warlock succeed in his evil plan to force them out. Crab Scrambly accentuates the plot of the story by adding black and white illustrations on many of the pages. This story, which contains strange creatures, would be an exciting independent read for upper elementary students. The plot describes the harms of bullying. It also emphasizes the importance of staying in school and the thrill one can receive from school. (PP)

Fly, monarch! Fly! Wallace, Nancy Elizabeth. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5425-0.

This children’s informational book uses the story of a family of bunnies visiting “Butterfly Place” to teach the reader about monarch butterflies. Readers learn about monarch eggs, larvae, pupa, and butterflies. This book contains plenty of information about monarchs for curious minds, but it lacks any characterization, and the story is simple at best. The facts about monarchs are plenty and accurate, and the illustrations are fairly simple. This book also includes instructions for making a simple butterfly magnet and for planting a butterfly garden. (NMG)

Football hero. Green, Tim. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 297pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-112274-3.

Ty Lewis’s mother and father have just died, leaving him a resident at his aunt and uncle’s house. Here, he isn’t treated with respect, but with utter disdain for the trouble he is causing them. The only person who seems to notice him is the football coach at his middle school, but he can’t play because he has to work for his uncle. Luckily for Ty, his uncle’s loan shark bookie, Lucy, decides that the boy should play football and hang out with his future professional football playing brother, Thane. However, when his uncle double-crosses his bookie, things turn bad for both Thane and Ty. This fast paced football novel deals with the issues of bullying in school, the death of parents, living with foster parents, and being successful in school and on the football field. These themes make this book great for young boys. However, the author stretches the plot very thin and takes away the credibility and believability of the story when the FBI arrives and the mob suddenly seems to control Ty’s life. I would not recommend this book because of the incredibility of the plot. (ACZ)

Forbidden tales: Sword. Chen, Da. Harper Collins (Laura Geringer Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 229pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061447587.

This beautifully descriptive book is about a girl named Miu Miu who must honor her mother’s wishes by avenging the death of her father. The reader is taken on an adventure filled with battles and emotions as Miu Miu teams up with the man she was promised to at birth. The two set off to find the person responsible for the death of Miu Miu’s father, but along the way the evil emperor tries to stop them from their quest. Now the two are in for the battle of their lives, as they must rely on courage, martial arts, and wit in order to conquer the emperor. In this enchanting Chinese fairy tale, Da Chen uses vivid and expressive text that brings the story to life. This intriguing fiction book would be appropriate for children ranging from ages ten to fourteen. (JN).

Freefall. Levine, Anna. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 250 pp. $17.89. ISBN 987-0-06-157656-0.

Freefall takes place during the 2006 Lebanon War in Israel. Eighteen-year-old Abigail Jacobs is faced with two years in compulsory military service in the Israeli Defense Force. She has to gain weight, leave her childhood friends, and abandon fear to get what she wants. Even worse is that her family does not believe that she is capable. Her friends are dumb-founded, wondering why she would do something like that and why can't she just work in an office somewhere? Things start to go in the right direction when Abigail falls in love with Noah and her military unit gets promoted, but everything becomes real after she finds herself in the midst of the Lebanon War. Levine's story takes a look at the life of a determined young girl and much can be taken from her relentless personality. The real life emotions of friendship and love give credibility to the characters, giving the reader someone to relate to. This story is geared more towards junior high and high school students because the nature of war and love. (PP)

Frida. Bernier-Grand, Carmen T. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books), 2007. [email protected], 914-332-8888. 64pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5336-9. Paintings by Frida Kahlo.

This captivating biography on Frida Kahlo’s life is in picture-book format. The illustrations presented in the book are all pieces of artwork done by Kahlo. The amazingly intriguing paintings help to portray her life-long struggles and capture her emotions, as well as represent the style and talent that Frida Kahlo possessed. Kahlo’s talent helped her to become a very important and influential artist of the twentieth century. The text in the book is presented in poems which correspond with the meanings of Kahlo’s paintings. Other poems are about the major events that occurred in Kahlo’s life. The unique style of this biography makes for the book to be captivating and fascinating to read for children ages 5 to 12. (JN)

Fun with hieroglyphs. Roehrig, Catharine. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 48pp. $24.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6114-7.

For any parent or teacher wanting to educate children about the ancient Egyptian culture and history, this book is a perfect tool to help children better understand the hieroglyphs used by this group of people. With real hieroglyph stamps at the beginning, and an informational book filled with fascinating information and activities, this book is ideal for gaining the students’ attention and teach them about this unique form of writing. Fun with Hieroglyphs would be a perfect book for the classroom or at home. (LJ)

Garmann’s summer. Hole, Stian. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008. eerdmans.com,(800-253-7521). 42 pp. $17.50. ISBN 978-0-8028-5339-4.

This story contains a realistic character facing his first day of school. As time gets closer to the first day, Garmann, goes around to all of this family members asking them if they have fears. As each person confesses their fears to him, he realizes that he can make it through the first scary day, just as they can face their own fears. At the summer’s end, Garmann feels that he can face the fear of going to school for the first time. (AD)

Ghost files. The Ghost Society. Harper Collins , [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-128395-6.

This interactive picture book is a collection of ghost stories from around the world. The stories are put together and retold by the “Secret Ghost Society.” Each story is unique and has its own interesting way to present the story, with moving objects and other interactive pieces. This book would be great for elementary students who are interested in scary stories. The text and illustrations effectively depict each story; giving the reader the ability to engage in the illustrations and making each story come to life. (PP)

The girl who drew a phoenix. Demi. Simon & Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 44 pp. $21.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5347-0.

This is a story of a girl who learns wisdom and self-discovery from a phoenix as she tries multiple times to draw one. The reader experiences wonder and self-discovery as the girl’s journey continues. Through her wisdom, she is able to draw the most exquisite phoenix that anyone had ever seen, and learn a more valuable lesson than the phoenix could have taught her. Recommended for children ages 4-8. (AD)

Girlwood. Dean, Claire. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 246pp. $16.00. ISBN978-0-618-88390-57. Illustrated by Aya Kato.

On one mysterious night Polly's older sister, Bree, disappears into the woods. Even though Polly’s friends and family have given up, Polly still believes that Bree is alive in the woods. Polly goes as far as leaving her sister food in the woods. While doing so, she discovers a hidden grove where she believes her sister is making a fire each night. As Polly continues to visit the mysterious woods, she learns about herself, her family, and nature. The story is believable because the plot intertwines with both the modern and fantasy world. Many preteen girls will be able to relate to Polly because she has to deal with all sorts of coming of age issues, such as her relationship with her mother, mistakes, peer pressure, discovering who she is, and love. This magical book also has many relatable themes including: the understanding that it’s alright to be different, finding the value and magic of nature, and the challenges of growing up in a complicated world. This enchanting fantasy book will captivate the reader from start to finish. (JMN)

Give a goat. Schrock, Jan West and Aileen Darragh. Tilbury House Publishers, 2008.
tilburyhouse.com, (207-582-1899). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-301-4.

This book is meant to inspire the reader to give to people less fortunate than they are. The story begins with a teacher reading a story to her students about giving a goat, and how doing so not only benefits one family, but at least three other families as well. The children aspire to do just that. They fundraise enough money to send a goat to someone in need. This book is great for children ages 4-8 that want to learn how to make the world a better place. (AD)

Go long! Barber, Tiki and Ronde. Simon & Schuster Inc. (A Paula Wiseman Book), 2008. 153pp. $15.99. ISBN978-1-4169-3619-0.

Go Long! is a story inspired by the childhood of NFL Football players Tiki and Ronde Barber. This motivational football story is perfect for any young boy interested in athletics. In the story, the twin boys Tiki and Ronde are beginning their second year on the junior high football team. After the loss of one key player, Matt Clayton, as well as their previous coach, Coach Spangler, the two boys worry that they won’t reach their goal of the State Championship this year behind the new Coach Wheeler. (LJ)

Gobble gobble crash! Stiegenmeyer, Julie. Penguin Group (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47959-8. Illustrated by ValeriGorbachey.

This is a concept counting book, which begins at one, counts up to ten, and then back down to one again. The text flows smoothly with lyrical rhyming text. The theme of the book is farm animals, and throughout the story the reader will see exciting and busy illustrations of horses, pigs, turkeys, geese, cows, and chickens. This book is great for younger students because it combines two important concepts of counting and rhyming. (PP)

The gold rush kid. Waldorf, Mary. Houghton Mifflin (Clarion Books), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 232pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-97730-7-51600.

After Billy and Edna's mother dies suddenly of typhoid fever they feel obligated to search for their father, who left the family to go to the Klondike in search of gold. Edna disguises herself as a young man and the two set off on the grueling trail over the mountains into Canada. They soon meet a fellow traveler named Jack, who is also headed for gold country. They run into adventures and dangers on the way when Billy saves Jack from the deadly waters of the Dyea River. Continuing their journey and eventually locating their father, the kids and Jack find an old abandoned cabin to use as a shelter. At this cabin is a set of sled dogs that Billy quickly becomes friends with, especially the lead dog that he names Percy. Times are tough, though, and the dogs must be sold to make it through the freezing winter. Billy misses his dogs terribly and also feels like he needs to give his mother a proper gravestone. He has a difficult decision to make between his family and Skagway. Is he strong enough for whatever he decides? This historical fiction effectively describes the hardships of a family during the Klondike Gold Rush and would be an interesting read for junior high students and could also be an enjoyable read-aloud for a classroom. (PP)

Golf: The best instruction guide ever!. DeNunzio, David. Lerner (Twenty-First Century Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 144pp. $39.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-7278-7.

Filled with pictures and helpful diagrams, this book is geared toward first time golfers. From explaining the proper swing techniques, to avoiding tough situations on the golf course, this book teaches all of the basic information needed to play golf. This is a phenomenal book that utilizes an easy to follow layout in order to teach the fundamental elements of the golf game, and appears to be geared toward older children or adults. (LJ)

Goodnight, me. Daddo, Andrew. Bloomsbury, 2005. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 30pp. $11.95. ISBN 978-1-59990-153-4. Illustrated by Emma Quay.

This charming easy-to-read bedtime story takes the reader through the actions that one monkey goes through before he goes to bed. Before going to sleep, the monkey must say goodnight to each of his body parts. The warm calming illustrations and simple plot line would make this a great book for pre-school aged children. Children of this age will be able to relate to the monkey who knows its time for bed, but is not yet tired. (JN).

Gorgonzola: A very stinkysaurus. Platini, Margie and Tim Bowers. HarperCollins Books, 2008. harpercollinschildrens.com (212-261-6500). 29 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-073897-6.

An orphaned dinosaur thinks he is one of the biggest, baddest dinosaurs in his territory because all the other dinosaurs run away from him. In reality, he is the worst smelling dinosaur around. A little bird gets tired of her nest getting ruined as the other dinosaurs flee, so she is honest with the dinosaur. She decides to help him clean up, and he becomes a very fine dinosaur that everyone wants to be around. This book is great for children 4-8 years old. (AD)

The graveyard book. Gainman, Neil. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 307pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-053092-1.

The Graveyard Book tells a story of a boy named Bod who lives in a graveyard and is being raised by ghosts. As Bod grows up, he starts to figure out and learn more about the death of his family and the mysteries of the graveyard. Bod discovers that the man who killed his family is still out there, and could come back to kill him as well. Bod embarks on many thrilling journeys in order to defeat the man who killed his parents. The characters come alive in this adventurous and suspenseful fantasy book. Even though Bod is dealing with many extraordinary challenges, teens will still be able to relate to him because he struggles to find a sense of belonging and growing up. The book, for young adults, is filled with ghosts, humans, surprises, and humor, will captivate the reader from the very beginning. (JN)

The great Texas hamster drive. Kimmel, Eric A. Marshall Cavendish, 2007. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5357-4. Illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Pecos Bill buys his daughters two hamsters, and before long there are ten, twenty, fifty, and then hundreds of little hamsters. With a plethora of hamsters, problems soon arise on the ranch. Soon Pecos Bill decides the best idea would be to take them to Chicago, where they can be given to other children who want hamsters. This entertaining story is a fun tale, which any young child will enjoy, especially those with pets. (LJ)

The great White House breakout. Thomas, Helen. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 0803733003. Illustrated by Chip Bok.

Sam dreams of not living in the White House anymore. He wants to run around where people don’t follow him anymore. One day, he, his cat, and rat run away so they can explore without people with cords coming out of their ears following them and watching every move he makes. After a humorous adventure, Sam and his pets return home and back to almost the same life. In the pictures, the colors are bright and the details look like they have been drawn. This book would be very informative in the classroom when talking about monuments or Washington D.C. (LS)

The great wide sea. Herlong, M. H. Penguin Group Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 283pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06330-7

After the loss of their mother, Ben, Dylan, and Gerry are forced by their father to pack up their belongings, sell their house, and journey into the great wide sea. It is apparent that this is their father’s way of coping with the loss of his wife. Ben tries to have a good attitude about their new way of life, and everything seems to be going well until one morning when everything changes. The three boys woke up with a missing father and a great storm approaching them. As the storm tosses them onto a strange island, the boys struggle to survive against nature’s challenges. The opening chapter of this book will reassure the reader that Ben does indeed survive his journey. There is still tremendous suspense throughout this book. This is a great book for children with questions about death and grief. (MAH)

Gym candy. Deuker, Carl. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Graphia), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 313pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-07631-7.

Mick Johnson has always wanted to be a football player. One wall of his basement is lined with articles about his father's high school and college football career, but not much about his professional career. The other wall was blank, left waiting for headlines about Mick's plays. Mick is hungry to succeed; he has no interest in other sports. He is a hard worker, hitting the weights every spare moment, but even with protein shakes and vitamin pills, he misses a touchdown by a foot. Tthen there is Kane, a freshman, who's threatening his position. So when his trainer at Popeye's offers him some "gym candy", or steroids, Mick agrees thinking he'll be able to get off of them once he bulks up a bit. What Mick doesn't know is that getting off of the gym candy is much harder than first taking them. Deuker takes the reader through the emotional effects of steroids and the pressures young athletes have to succeed. This book is geared towards high school students because of the topic of steroids and the realistic emotions teens go through to win. (PP)

The gypsy crown. Forsyth, Kate. Hyperion Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 396pp. $16.99. ISBN978-1-4231-0494-0.

The government in England does not approve of Emilia Finch’s family because of their gypsy lifestyle. The Finch’s try to stay out of trouble, but one unfortunate day at the market left Emilia’s whole family in jail for murder. The only two to escape were Emilia and her cousin, Luka. Now it’s up to them to save their family. In order to rescue their imprisoned family, Emilia and Luka must embark on a dangerous quest to recover five magical charms. This magical fantasy book takes the reader on an adventure with Emilia and Luka as they try to save their family. The plot is very believable because of Emilia and Luka’s realistic character traits and their urgent need to help their struggling family. The setting is described in great detail, which allows for the reader to feel as though anything can happen to Emilia and Luka as they go on their daring journey. This book would be appropriate for children ranging from ages nine to fourteen. (JMN)

Halloween night. Murray, Marjorie Dennis. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-135186-0. Illustrated by Brandon Dorman.

Trick-or-treaters beware when you come to the house of this witch on Halloween night. At her house, you just might encounter live versions of Halloween costumes. Halloween Night is a frightening and fun story featuring rhyming verses and digital art that turn the terrifying creatures into the wonders of every child’s imagination. This is a fun and frightening addition to every holiday book collection. (ACZ)

Hannah duck. Yamamura, Anji. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2008. kanemiller.com,
(800-968-1930). 24 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-74-6.

This book describes a duck that walks every Sunday to experience the outside world, but she finds she does not enjoy these walks because she is nervous about going into a park with various other animals. One Sunday, she admits this problem to her friend Gigi, who is a parakeet. Gigi decides to join Hannah on her walk to make her feel better about meeting new animals. This is a sweet story about making new friends and valuing the old ones. (AD)

Hate that cat. Creech, Sharon. Harper Collins (Joanna Cotler Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 153pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0061430923.

This entertaining fiction book is about a boy named Jack who hates two things, poetry and cats. The book begins in Miss Stretchberry's classroom, where for the second year in a row Jack must express himself through poetry. Jack struggles with poetry because while his teacher enjoys his short poems, his uncle, who is a professor, thinks his poems need to be longer with better rhyming patterns. Jack’s poems reflect what is on his mind, like his hatred of cats, silence, his family, worry, and joy. Children ranging from eight to twelve will enjoy this humorous, unique, and engaging book. Jack is a very relatable character and many young adults will relate to his struggles with poetry. Readers will also enjoy reading about how the spirited and often opinionated young boy evolves into someone who can appreciate poetry and even realizes that cats are not as bad as he thought. This book is uniquely written because of the random sentences and creatively laid out text. I would highly recommend this book for someone who is looking for a light and humorous read. (JN).

He forgot to say goodbye. Sánez, Benjamin Alire. Simon & Schuster Inc. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), 2008. 321pp. $16.99. ISBN978-1-4169-4963-3.

He forgot to say goodbye, written by Benjamin Alire Saenz, is a book where readers are first introduced to Ramiro Lopez and Jake Upthegrove. On the outside, these two teenagers do not appear to have anything in common. Ramiro is Mexican-American who does not live in a good neighborhood, where drugs and negative decisions constantly surround him. Jake, on the other hand, is a rich white boy who does not seem to fit into his environment. The one thing these two boys do have in common is that they have never met their fathers. Saenz’s book shows the value, importance, and power of friendship. This is a wonderfully written novel of overcoming obstacles. (LJ)

Health zone: Keep your cool!. Donovan, Sandy. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 64pp. $30.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7555-9.

This book explores all of the various components of stress. From the first day of middle school to dealing with endless amounts of homework or the loss of a loved one, this book is aimed at adolescent children and explains how to deal with these different types of stress in a positive manner. Through its appealing layout and design, numerous stressful situations that upper elementary and middle school children can relate to are explored, making this book a helpful tool for children. (LJ)

Helen Keller: The world in her heart. Cline-Ransome, Lesa. Harper Collins Publishing (Collins), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-057074-3. Illustrated by James Ransome.

This biography is a good read for children ages 4-8. Author Cline-Ransome tells the story of Hellen Keller, from when she became deaf and blind to when she learned how to communicate her love for her teacher. This book has a rather confusing opening, but once it gets going, it is well-crafted. Readers get to know Helen and her teacher as they struggle to get along and eventually learn to love each other. The illustrations are attractive and will encourage young students to get interested in biographical books. (NMG)

Hello, day! Lobel, Anita. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 29pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-078766-0.

This simple and charming book is all about how different animals say good morning and good night. For example, the cow goes moo in the morning and the owl goes whoo-ooo at night. Children will be able to associate a certain animal with the sound that it makes. The book starts at sunrise and takes the reader all the way to the moon rising. The large printed font and simple text makes this book great for children who are just learning to read. The illustrations are beautifully painted. Each illustration is filled with swirls, dots, circles, bright colors, and mystical images of nature. I would highly recommend this book for children in preschool. (JN)

Hen hears gossip. McDonald, Megan. Harper Collins (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113876-8. Illustrated by Joung Un Kim.

Out of all the farm animals, one thing that makes Hen unique is her love for gossip. After overhearing Cow tell Pig something, Hen rushes off and tells Duck, who then tells another animal, who tells another animal, and so on until the secret gets completely twisted. By the end of the story, Hen realizes she did not hear the conversation between Cow and Pig correctly, thus making Hen the source of the rumors. The animals learn their lesson and are surprised to find out the real exciting news Cow originally told Pig. This is a cute children’s picture book that teaches the important lesson of the negative consequences of spreading rumors. (LJ)

Here lies Arthur. Reeve, Philip. Scholastic Inc., 2007. www.scholastic.com (212-242-7737). 333 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-09334-7.

This book is yet another rendition of the tale of King Arthur. The point of view is from a girl whose village was destroyed. She is found by Myrddin (who is like Merlin in other Arthur stories) who uses her to help Arthur on his way to becoming king by transforming her into people such as the Lady of the Lake, a boy warrior, and a spy. In all this, her help in getting Arthur to the throne could backfire on her, Myrddin, and Arthur. This book is great for young adults who love Arthur legends and would enjoy a new twist on the subject. (AD)

Highway cats. Lisle, Janet Taylor. Penguin Group, Inc. (Philomel Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 118pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25070-5. Illustrated by David Frankland.

Author Janet Taylor Lisle uses play scripts, newspaper articles, and narrative writing to weave a story about a group of the roughest, toughest cats in Potterberg. The highway cats, competing for food and space in a cruel world, are surprised to find a box of three helpless kittens that are dropped from the highway and change everyone’s world. When bulldozers threaten to flatten the forest home of the highway cats, the kittens provide them with hope, love, beauty, and courage. Realizing such qualities are worth fighting for, the highway cats band together to conserve their natural home. Lisle’s story can help students gain an appreciation for the importance of protecting the natural world. (NMG)

Historias fantasticas. Dekelper, Irene and Francoise Le Glosher. Editions Hemma, 2005. [email protected], (208-643-0110). 118pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-970-220-619-4. Illustrated by Francois Ruyer.

This picture storybook is filled with enchanting fairy tales and fantasy stories. The themes throughout the tales include family, friendships, and loyalty. The soft and colorful illustrations capture the imagination involved in the tales and will engage young reader’s attention. This book of tales would be appropriate for children age four and up. Since all of the tales are written in Spanish, this would be a great book for Spanish-speaking children. Teachers could also use this book in their classroom for children who are learning Spanish. (JN)

The house in the night. Swanson, Susan Marie. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 38pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-86244-3. Illustrated by Beth Krommes.

This simple and reassuring book is about a young girl who begins reading a book before bedtime. She is intrigued by the bird in the book and slowly becomes part of the story. She soars on the back of the bird over her house and amongst the stars, and then back to her cozy bed, where she falls fast asleep. The house in the night is a classic bedtime story, displaying the comfort and safety of one’s home through contrasting colors of rich yellow and black. This story would be great for lower elementary students because of the gentle illustrations and short simplistic text. (PP)

The house takes a vacation. Davies, Jacqueline. Marshall Cavendish, 2007. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5331-8. Illustrated by Lee White.

Once the Peterson family leaves for a vacation, their house decides to do the same. After a long trip to the sea, the house stays until the morning to witness the beautiful sunrise. Then, after a dangerous dip in the water, the house finally returns home, only to shock the Peterson family with a house full of seawater. This clever and unique story would be perfect for any young child with its beautiful illustrations and simple plot. (LJ)

How do you say good night? Moore, Raina. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-083163-9. Illustrated by Robin Luebs.

Everyone says good night differently. Lambs say it with a cuddle and a hug, while ducks say it in bed after a bath. Even humans say it differently, by tucking you in, kissing your cheek, and turning off the light. While different, all of these ways to say good night are spoken with love. This book is an excellent bedtime story for young children and toddlers. The serene pictures and caring text work together to put children right to sleep. (ACZ)

How many ways can you catch a fly? Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 31 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-96634-9.

Animals are all different and use astounding natural abilities to survive in nature. They can use leaves for food, shelter, and for protection from insects. Animals also catch flies in numerous ways: by creating webs, jumping out of the water, darting through the air, or using their sticky tongue. These are just a few of animals’ unique traits that allow them to survive and flourish in the nature featured in this book. This informational book brings some complex animal functions to the comprehension level of young children. It would be an excellent addition for any classroom or library collection. (ACZ)

How to (un)cage a girl. Block, Francesca Lia. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 119pp. $16.89. ISBN 978-0-06-135837-1.

This book is filled with a collection of empowering and motivational poems. The collection of poems follows the journey of a young woman as she goes through the joys and pains of growing up. The author did a great job of incorporating a lot of imagery into the poems, which makes it easy for the reader to vividly imagine what is happening. Many young teens will be able to relate to the emotions that the girl is expressing, like dealing with the death of a father and struggling with one’s self image. I would recommend this book for young teens. (JN)

How to be bad. Lockhart, E., Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), [email protected], (212-207-7000). 325pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-128422-9.

This story is written from three different perspectives, describing the lives of three girls Jessie, Vick, and Mel. Jessie and Vick are best friends and Mel has invited herself along with them to Miami. All these girls have their own problems in life that are motivating them to take this trip. Vick is going crazy trying to keep a long distance relationship with her boyfriend from Miami. Jessie is running away from her mother, and Mel just wants real friends. During the road trip the girls bicker and fight as each girl tries to run way from her problems, but they help each other get through it. Jessie and Mel help Vick find her boyfriend to talk about how they feel, and Jesse finally calls her mother. Within the story, the reader is able to see the perspective of each girl. The chapters are titled with the characters name, making it easy to follow and comprehend whose thoughts are being portrayed. This story is appropriate to teach middle school girls about friendships and getting through rough times. (PP)

The human body. Simon, Seymour. Harper Collins Publishing (Collins), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 64 pp. $20.89. ISBN 978-0-06-055542-9.

The human body is divided up into many systems, which this book helps to illuminate for readers with pictures from modern X-Ray scanning procedures. This glimpse into the human body will captivate readers’ imaginations and allow them to think about what their inside looks like. I would highly recommend this informational book for all readers wondering how the human body works. (ACZ)

Hurricane song. Volponi, Paul. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-847-5515). 136pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-06-06160-0.

Miles has recently moved to live with his father in New Orleans, but Hurricane Katrina is about to test the bonds of their family and define what type of people they will become. This story details the intense 72 hours that Miles and his father spend inside the SuperDome, including very graphic details about events that went on during the hurricane. I would not recommend this book for young readers; however, high-school age readers may find the book interesting, and it may help them relate to their own parents. (ACZ)

Hurry! Hurry! Have you heard? Melmed, Laura Krauss. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). Illustrated by Jane Dyer.

Rhyming poetry retells the Christmas story of Jesus’ birth, though without mentioning the babe’s name and with illustrations of Caucasian characters. Readers follow a little bird, filled with joy at the birth of the baby, as the bird tells all the woodland creatures to follow the star to the stable to see the baby that loves all creatures. It seems the author converted the classic Christmas story to one in a North American wood where a couple of lambs happen to be roaming around with a fox, bunnies, and moles among other animals. The watercolor illustrations give a magical air to the book that children as young as four will enjoy. (NMG)

I can read! Biscuit and the little pup. Capucilli, Alyssa Satin. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 30pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-074171-6. Illustrated by Pat Schories.

While at the park playing ball, Biscuit discovers an adorable little pup. Biscuit wants to play with the pup, however the pup is very shy and is afraid to come out of the playhouse. After many tries, Biscuit finds a way to get the little pup out of the playhouse. The two have a wonderful time in the park playing catch and climbing in and out of the playhouse. This easy-to-read book would be a great choice for children who are just learning to read. Each page has one to two sentences that contain simple words. Even though the text is simple, readers will still be able to enjoy the engaging storyline. The warm pastel colors and soft textures allow for the illustrations to be comforting and calming. Children who like dogs will love reading about how Biscuit and the little pup become great friends. This book would be appropriate for children age’s four to seven. (JN)

I can read! Hamsters, shells, and spelling bees school poems. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 48pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-074112-9. Illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.

This book is filled with an assortment of twenty poems about children going to school. The topics of the poems in this book range from making maps for the school bus driver to measles. This would be an excellent book for children who are just learning how to read because the book uses simple sentences and easy to understand concepts. The often humorous and interesting poems will get children excited about poetry. The lively and vivid illustrations will capture the reader’s attention. I would recommend this book for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

I got two dogs. Lithgow, John. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5881-9. Illustrated by Robert Neubecker.

The narrator in this simple picture book tells the reader all of the wonderful qualities of his two dogs, Fannie and Blue. Whether it’s the fact that the two dogs greet him at the door, run after squirrels, or that they are forever loyal, there is nothing the narrator would trade for these furry friends. This book, accompanied by a CD, is a fun rhyming book perfect for any child who enjoys animals or has pets. (LJ)

I know an old teacher. Bowen, Anne. Lerner (Carol Rhoda), 2008. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 29pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-7984-7. Illustrated by Stephen Gammell.

Miss Bindley is a crazy old teacher who, to her student’s horror and amazement, ate a flea because it fell in her tea. The students were even more surprised when Miss Bindley didn’t stop there. Read this funny and entertaining book to find out what else Miss Bindley will eat. The author, Anne Bowen does an excellent job of rhyming the words and creating a good flow to the text. The clever placement and size of the font will keep students excited and engaged in the story until the very end. The lively, imaginative, and busy illustrations match the plot of the story perfectly. Children will enjoy looking at the exaggerated and humorous illustrations of Miss Bindley and the expressions on the students’ faces as she continues to eat the class pets. I would recommend this fun book for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

I’ll pass for your comrade: Women soldiers in the Civil War. Silvey, Anita. Houghton Mifflin (Clarion Books), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 115 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-57491-9.

Women made great sacrifices to fight alongside men during the Civil War, disguising themselves as men and proving that men and women are equal. Their bravery and courage in defying social convention and risking their lives is immortalized in this novel. Because this book is very factual, it doesn’t always keep the reader interested. The content of this book and the authentic photographs make it worth the read. (ACZ)

I’m bad! McMullan, Kate and Jim McMullan. HarperCollins Books, 2008.
harpercollinschildrens.com (212-261-6500). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-122971-8.

A young T-rex wants to prove just how big and bad he is by trying to hunt for food on his own. But he finds that it’s not as easy as it might appear. As the other animals he is hunting disappear or fight back at the little dinosaur, he starts to get frustrated and begins to wonder if he’ll ever eat again. The story is great for all children ages 4-8, especially children interested in dinosaurs. (AD)

If Jesus came to my house. Thomas, Joan G. Harper Collins (Harper Blessings), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-083942-0. Illustrated by Lori McElrath-Eslick.

This book shares how a little boy might act if Jesus visited his house. Rhyme and rhythm combined with beautiful, detailed illustrations draw the reader in. The little boy realizes in the end that he should treat others the way he would treat Jesus, with much respect, love, and care. This book can teach children as young as four how a Christian might decide to treat other people and certainly encourages children to care for each other. (NMG)

Imagine a place. Thomson, Sarah L. Simon & Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6802-3. Paintings by Rob Gonsalves.

The paintings in this book are fantastic; the text and illustrations work together to stimulate the reader’s imagination. Children as young as age 4 can appreciate the beautiful illustrations and the power of the imagination that are suggested in this book. Readers of any age can enjoy the elaborate artwork of illustrations. This book reminds readers that the imagination can conjure up any sort of place, as each illustration has a short poem that encourages the reader to imagine a specific type of fantastic place. It is an excellent book for getting readers to think creatively. (NMG)

In the days of the Vaqueros: America’s first true cowboys. Freedman, Russell. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 65 pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-547-13365-2.

Before pioneers had settled the American West, the first true cowboys roamed the land freely. These men were called Vaqueros. They herded cattle, brought down steers, and trained wild horses, and when the pioneers finally arrived on the frontier, the Vaqueros taught them their skills that eventually made them known as cowboys. This book, complete with beautiful paintings and illustrations, details the way of life led by Vaqueros for centuries. Readers will find the information very interesting and be surprised to learn where cowboys really came from. I would highly recommend this book for readers of all ages. (ACZ)

In town all year ‘round. Berner, Rotraut Susan. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 64pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6474-9.

This illustrated picture book has minimal text and takes the reader through a town in all four seasons, beginning with winter. The book is divided into four sections, each section describing a season. Before each section there is a group of people that are described, then the reader is asked to search for the character within the busy illustrations. Each section has the same buildings but the scenery changes and the activity of the people change. This picture book would be great for younger children, helping them with their observation skills. It also describes seasons, depicting the changes in nature and what people do during each different season. (PP)

Independent dames: what you never knew about the women and girls of the American Revolution. Anderson, Laurie Halse and Matt Faulkner. Simon and Schuster Publishing Company, 2008. simonandschuster.com, (800-223-2336). 37 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-85808-6.

The women of our country did a lot to help create it, although the men have gotten most of the credit. This book discusses many important women who helped build the country and make it what it is today. Each page contains a continual timeline from 1763-1920 and the journey women took to get to where they are today. This book is great for children 4-8 years of age who would like to learn about what our ancestors did to create the country we have today. (AD)

Ink exchange. Marr, Melissa. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008.
[email protected] (212-207-7000). 325 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-121468-4.

The main character of this dark story, seventeen-year-old Leslie, sees a tattoo of a dark pair of eyes, surrounded by wings, and knows immediately that she should have it. When she gets the tattoo, she finds that it ties her to a world of fairies, including their Dark Court ruler Irial. The conflicts these two have with each other leads the reader to believe they do not have a strong relationship, but eventually it is obvious that this is not the case. This book for young adults is the second in a series, and provides a very satisfying story for those interested in dark mystery. (AD)

The invasion of Sandy Bay. Sanchez, Anita. Boyds Mills Press, 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 147pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-560-7.

Author Anita Sanchez takes the reader back to 1814 to a little place called Sandy Bay in Massachusetts. This is a fictional account of a real invasion by the British during the War of 1812. Sanchez’s characters are witty and humorous. Her plot is suspenseful and action-packed. The protagonist is a 12-year-old boy striving to protect his village from the Redcoats. This story will appeal to boys and girls alike starting at 4th grade. (NG)

Iron Jaw and Hummingbird. Roberson, Chris. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 355pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06236-2.

Roberson creates a story in the far future where the Chinese control Mars and all of its inhabitants. Gamine is rescued from the streets when she was young, where she lives at the grand lady's house and is educated as an upper class child. Here she is trained in literacy, manners, and survival skills. After serving her purpose she is yet again placed on the streets, becoming a thief and con artist, later to become a respected leader. While this was happening, Huang Fei joins the military and is quickly promoted to a trusted advisor. When Gamine (Iron Jaw) and Huang (Hummingbird) meet, they team up to overthrow the current regime. The fantastical story revolves around the two central characters Gamine and Huang. The two very different people go through tremendous ordeals and hardships, which eventually lead them to come together and aim for a common goal. The story might be somewhat unrealistic but the emotions that the characters depict are authentic and realistic. This story is geared towards high school students with an imagination and love for fantasy stories. (PP)

It was September when we ran away the first time. Smith, James. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336) 230pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1416938095.

This fictional book takes place in Orange Grove California in 1951. The story is about a boy named Paolo who has a very big family, including his deaf cousin Billy and his younger brother, Georgie. The three of them are curious boys who are always finding themselves in trouble. Paolo always has a lot on his mind. He is always thinking about Chinese communism, atomic bombs, and Veronica, a Chinese girl in his class. Paolo becomes concerned when Billy starts hanging out with Veronica. Paolo, along with many other people in the community do not agree with the two being friends since Veronica is Chinese, linking her with communistic ideals. Will Billy and Veronica be able to ignore the community’s ignorant stereotypes and change everyone’s mind about Veronica?
This novel illustrates the struggles of prejudices and discovering oneself. This unique and powerful book would be appropriate for children ranging from age’s nine to twelve. Children will be able to relate to the naive Billy who struggles with a disability and learns to be confident in his own identity. Paolo is another relatable character. Many children will be able to relate to the struggles he is experiencing, such as knowing who he can trust, insecurity, bullies, family issues, and loyalty. This book also portrays powerful themes of seeing people for who they really are and the importance of not giving into stereotypes. (JN).

It’s library day. Stoeke, Janet Morgan. Penguin Group (Dutton). 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 22pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47944-4.

This children’s informational book is written in rhythmic rhyme, telling the reader the basics of what happens on library day and why children enjoy going to the library. Large, colorful pictures accompany the text, featuring children diverse in color and race. This book encourages readers as young as first grade to enjoy going to the library. (NMG)

It’s not fair. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse, Tim Lichtenheld. Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-115257-3.

In this entertaining picture storybook, the characters learn that not everything in life is fair. The characters ask questions like, “why does my team always lose?” and “why don’t you yell at her?” This would be an appropriate book for children ranging from ages four to eight years old. Young children will be able to relate to this story because every child can think of time when something unfair happened to them. This book will teach children that life will not always go the way you want it to, no matter who you are. The colorful bright illustrations and humorous expressions on the characters faces will captivate the reader. (JN).

Jack and Jill’s treehouse. Edwards, Pamela Duncan. Harper Collins (Katherine Tegen Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-009077-7. Illustrated by Henry Cole.

This story is about a young boy and girl working together to create a tree house. They start by finding a tree, then hauling wood, building a floor, then a roof, and finally inviting friends. The reader is able to see the step-by-step process of developing a tree house. The text is created by using repeated phrases. For instance, “This is the wood, that was hauled up to the branch, that held the tree house that Jack and Jill built.” Then the next page would add another line, “This is the floor, that was made from the wood, that was hauled up to the branch, that held the tree house that Jack and Jill built.” This repetitive style was used throughout the story, each page having a new phrase. This catchy book promotes memorization through the repeated phrases, but also is great for younger children because it displays teamwork and a relationship between a boy and a girl. (PP)

Javelinas. Storad, Conrad J. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected],
(800-328-4929). 48 pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-7890-1.

This book will interest children in researching and investigation. It asks the reader to be a “word detective” and find words about javelinas while the reader investigates their lives. The pictures and detailed descriptions about the javelinas are consistent and thorough throughout the book. This book is recommended for children ages 9-12. (AD)

Jellicoe road. Marchetta, Melina. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 418pp. $18.89. ISBN 978-0-06-143184-5

Taylor was abandoned at the age of eleven by her mother and left on Jellicoe Road. Now that she is seventeen, she is asking hard questions about her past and her mother. She goes to school and lives at Jellicoe School. She is the new leader for her House and is forced to become the leader of all the House Leaders. There is a war going on between the Townies vs. Cadets vs. Houses of the Jellicoe School. There are places where some students are not allowed, and there are many rules that everyone must follow. If they don’t follow the rules, the consequences are harsh. As the territory war continues, Hannah, Taylor’s closest thing to family, has disappeared. Since Hannah has disappeared, Taylor is slowly losing her faith in Hannah since everybody in her life has run out on her. I recommend this book for young adults in high school who may be experiencing similar problems. Jellicoe Road is a story about finding friendship and persevering through hard times. (MAH)

Jessie’s mountain. Madden, Kerry. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06154-9.

Jessie’s Mountain is the third in Madden’s Maggie Valley trilogy. This book is about Livy Two, one of ten children, and her family’s battle for money to keep themselves afloat. If her family does not remain stable, they will be forced to move from their beloved home of Maggie Valley and move to Enka, North Carolina. While talking to her grandma, Livy receives her mother’s diary that she wrote in the 1940’s. Her mother’s diary was written before she was married or had any children. Livy Two gains insight to what her mother wanted her life to be like many years ago. Livy Two and her siblings work together to try and make their mother’s dreams come true. Livy Two’s family struggles with poverty, but perseveres through their love for each other. This book sends a great message to children about the importance of love and family. (MAH)

Jet set. Karasyov, Carrie and Jill Kargman. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061431777.

Lucy Peterson’s father is in the military, which means she is constantly moving from place to place. Lucy’s latest move landed her in Switzerland where she is attending a preppy boarding school called Van Pelt Academy. The school is filled with endless hallways, chandeliers, and painted ceilings. It is also filled with royalty and rich students, except for Lucy who is attending the school on a scholarship. Lucy applied to the school not thinking she would be accepted, but her excellent tennis skills won over the administration at the luxurious boarding school. Lucy plans to succeed on the tennis court and receive good grades so she can attend an Ivy League college. However, Lucy ends up upsetting the popular group of girls and finds herself dating a prince. To top everything off, her one friend turns out to be a tabloid magazine employee. Lucy is in for a wild and crazy school year. This fun and entertaining book would be appropriate for young adults. Teens will be able to relate to Lucy’s problems of moving to a new school, acceptance, and discovering oneself. (JN)

Kenny and the dragon. Diterlizzi, Tony. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 151 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3977-1.

A dragon has just taken up residence in Kenny Rabbit’s backyard, and Kenny goes out to meet this scourge of society. Instead of finding an angry, bloodthirsty dragon, Kenny finds a new best friend. The dragon, named Grahame, turns out to be a sophisticated, kind dragon that wouldn’t hurt a fly. It is up to Kenny to save Grahame from imminent extermination by the local dragon slayer. This book is an interesting shift from the traditional view of what a dragon is like and how he should act. This is an entertaining book for any young child interested in reading a fantasy novel. (ACZ)

The kid’s yoga book of feelings. Humphrey, Mary. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5424-1. Illustrated by Micheal Frost.

This children’s information book about yoga is aimed at helping young people explore feelings in connection with movement. After a brief introduction, this book lists several yoga poses and their corresponding feelings (for example, the lotus blossom pose helps one feel peaceful). Each page has a statement of affirmation that serves as inspiration or focus (for example, “I feel strong and steady, ready to start the day”). A picture of a child demonstrating each pose is shown on the opposite page of the description of the pose. This book is a useful tool for teaching young children about yoga and being healthy physically and emotionally. (NMG)

Kitchen dance. Manning, Maurie J. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 30 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-991110-5.

This story describes family bonding as children watch their parents dance around the kitchen late at night. When the children are caught peeping, instead of being mad, the parents allow them to join in the dance. With the repeated phrase “Cómo te quiero” translated into “Oh, how I love you”, children can learn a simple phrase of another language. The family love shown makes this book a warm and pleasant read. (AD)

Knucklehead. Scieszka, Jon. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 106pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01106-3.

Knucklehead is a hilarious story that retells the life of the author, Jon Scieszka. Jon was born in Flint, Michigan and was the second oldest child in a family of six young boys. The story talks about many of the things boys do when they are growing up and many male readers might find themselves reminiscing about similar stories. Jon talks about having to share a bedroom, Halloween, boy scouts, babysitting his younger brothers, birthdays, family trips, and other general mischief. The text is filled with quotations and the dialogue makes the reader feel as though they were experiencing the event with the author. This collection of stories would be perfect for male readers of all ages, and it might also be useful in the classroom to model an autobiography that is not written by a famous person, allowing students to get an idea for their own autobiography. (PP)

La petite four. Scott, Regina. Penguin Group (Razorbill), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 231pp. $8.99 ISBN 978-1-59514-208-5.

This story unfolds as Emily and her three best friends, Priscilla, Ariadne, and Daphne, graduate from Barnsley School for Young Ladies. As best friends they make a promise that nothing will keep them away from their dreams. However, Lord Robert announces that he is going to marry Emily and ruin her plans of becoming an artist and joining the Royal Society. Though her father approves of the marriage, Emily and her friends try to find a way to break the engagement. In her attempt to damage the reputation of Lord Robert, she finds that James Cropper also has something against Lord Robert. This book combines many different elements, such as mystery, history, and romance to make it an enjoyable read for young adults. (MAH)

Lance in France. MacEachern, Ashley. Harper Collins (Collins), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113192-9. Illustrated by Michelle Barbera.

Lance in France takes the reader on an adventure through the ups and downs that Lance Armstrong goes through as he competes in the Tour de France bicycle race. Lance must over come many obstacles, including rainstorms, crowds of people, sickness, crashes, and flat tires. No matter what challenge Lance is faced with, he never gives, he just keeps on pedaling faster and faster. In the end, Lance’s perseverance pays off and he wins the race! This inspirational book, which is based on a true story, sends a great message to never give up, no matter what challenge comes your way. I would highly recommend this book for children ages three to nine. Children will not only enjoy reading about the largest bicycle race in the world, but they will also enjoy looking for the humorous reoccurring characters on each page. The bright realistic illustrations capture the excitement and intensity of the Tour de France. However, the excitement does not stop at the end of the story. In the back of the book there is a letter from Lance Armstrong along with more facts about Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France. (JN).

The last invisible boy. Kuhlman, Evan. Simon & Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 233pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5797-3. Illustrated by J.P. Coovert.

The last invisible boy is about a young boy named Finn Garrett who has a sudden and drastic change in appearance. His dark hair turns white and his fleshy pink skin becomes pale. This all happens after Finn's father suddenly and tragically passes away. This causes Finn to become depressed, keeping his distance from many people and not attending school for weeks. The only interaction he has is with his mother, his little brother Derek, his grandfather, his cat Henry, and his friend Melanie, as he mourns and remembers his dad and battles to stay visible and part of this world. This book is written in Finn's first person point of view telling many stories from his past, both happy and sad. Finn also takes the reader into his present day life, describing his thoughts about life and his up and down battle with his father’s death. This is a great story for advanced upper elementary readers, junior high students, or anyone interested in a tender tale of a struggling young boy. Most people know and can relate to the struggles of losing a loved one, making Finn's character authentic and his story reassuring that this will get better. (PP)

The life of George Washington Carver. Krensky, Stephen. Harper Collins (Amistad), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-027885-4. Illustrated by Will Clay.

This picture book shares the story of George Washington Carver’s life in a format suited to the elementary classroom. Readers meet Carver as a young boy and follow his life through text and illustrations. This book emphasizes Carver’s hard work, generosity, dedication, and perseverance while accurately fashioning a world that takes the reader back to the early 1900s in the South. A timeline of Carver’s life and detailed illustrations complete the book. This publication can be used to promote respect for learning, teaching, nature, and others. (NMG)

Like people. Schubert, Ingrid and Dieter. Boyds Mills Press (Lemniscaat), 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 24 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-576-8.

This book shows the life cycle of animals and how they grow up, but just like human families, every animal family is unique and different. While this book is very informational, the illustrations detract from the reality of nature; a polar bear and a penguin couldn’t be in the same picture without fighting or violence. Hippopotamuses also wouldn’t live anywhere near a blue whale, but they are pictured touching each other in an ocean. While teaching an important lesson about how animals develop and grow up, I cannot recommend this book due to the inaccuracy of the illustrations. (ACZ)

Little boy. McGhee, Alison, Peter H. Reynolds. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2008. [email protected], 800-223-2336. 35 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5872-7.

This creative story is about a father who is nostalgically reflecting on boyhood pleasure as he watches his son go through his everyday activities. The young boy enjoys playing with his dog, jumping in puddles, playing with trucks, hanging out with friends, and baking cookies. Most of all, the boy likes to play with a large cardboard box which he turns into a ship and a space shuttle with his imagination. The cardboard box will remind readers that it’s possible to find pleasure in the simplest of things. This simple book has a deep message; enjoy each day that is given to you. Through short rhymes and expressive illustrations the reader will be able to understand the emotions that the father and son are going through. This great father-son book would be appropriate for children ranging from four to eight. (JN)

Little hoot. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse and Jen Corace. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-722-6657). 28pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6023-9.

Overall, Little Hoot is a happy little owl. He enjoys going to school, playing with his friends, and even practicing being an owl. However, Little Hoot does not enjoy his late bedtime. As an owl, he knows it is important to stay up late, but he just does not think it is fair. This cute, unique story would be great for teaching any young child that sometimes you have to do as you are told. (LJ)

Little monkey. Ainsworth, Kimberly. Simon & Schuster (Little Simon), 2008. customer[email protected]@simonandschuster.com, (800-223-2336). 6pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6175-8. Illustrated by Michelle Berg.

This soft, cuddly, machine-washable book is made out of fleece and polyester. It is made for little hands, as young as three; however, the text in the book would be better appreciated by older children (starting around age 5). Very young children will enjoy playing with the stuffed book while older children may enjoy reading about Little Monkey and his friend Little Panda. Lyrical verse and rhyming poetry encourage the reader to act like a monkey and a panda. A simple message about friendship is reinforced on the last page. (NMG)

Little Panda. Liwska, Renata. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 30pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-618-966271.

A grandfather tells a tale to his grandson about a panda and how it escapes a tiger that wants to eat it. One day the mother panda leaves her baby to find bamboo, while the baby sleeps in a tree. A tiger unexpectedly approaches the baby panda, pouncing into the tree after the panda. The panda quickly falls out of the tree flinging the branch back and soaring the tiger across the jungle. The mother panda then returns to comfort and feeds her child. This cute and lovable story would be great for younger students. The illustrations are filled with soft comforting tones. The panda feels insecure at times, like many young students might feel when going off to school, but is reassured knowing his mother will always return. (PP)

Lost time. Schmid, Susan Maupin. Penguin Group, Inc. (Philomel), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 168pp. $16.99.ISBN978-0-399-24460-5.

This clever science fiction book is filled with mystery, planets, flying cars, houses that can think, and time thresholds. The plot about a young girl who is looking for answers is both entertaining and engaging. Twelve-year-old Violynne lives on planet Lindos and has been alone ever since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. One night, someone breaks into Violynne’s house. She believes that the Arbiter, who is the supreme ruler of the planet, is the one that broke into her house, and she also suspects that he has something to do with her parents’ disappearance. So when Violynne gets invited to the Arbiter’s ball, it becomes the perfect chance for Violynne to snoop around and search for clues. Weird and mysterious events occur at the ball, which makes Violynne even more determined to find her parents. The good versus evil plot and well-developed characters will engage the reader. The detailed descriptions of scientific advancements, imagined technology, and the interaction of science and everyday society will keep the reader interested throughout the book. (JMN)

Lucky monkey unlucky monkey. Kaczman, James. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 28pp. $16.00. ISBN978-0-618-63153-7.

In this pleasantly clever picture storybook, the reader is able to see the side-by-side day of two monkeys’s named Ed and Ted. Ed is having a great day. He is greeted by the shining sun, blooming flowers, and fluttering butterflies. As his day progresses, his luck only gets better and everything that happens to him is splendid. On the other hand, Ted is having a terrible day. He woke up to dark clouds and swarming insects, and his day only continued to get worse. However, luck can change. Ed and Ted cross paths and Ed decides to help Ted find his way back home. The contrasting illustrations give an entertaining look at the nature of luck. Children will be able to relate to the characters in this book because every child can identify with having good and bad days. This book will help children to understand that for every good day, there is a bad day and bad days will always come to an end. (JN).

The lucky ones. Greene, Stephanie. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 278pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-156587-8.

Cecile and her siblings are considered the “lucky ones” who take their wealth for granted, but Cecile decides to be different now. She challenges her older sister’s behavior with boys, even though their mother approves. Then her brother is sent off to Canada for his summer job. It seems like everything is a mess, so Cecile gives in and buys a new dress and bra. She is finally finding out who she is as a woman. It is great to see a young girl growing up and staying true to herself when everyone around her is changing. (MAH)

Lucy’s cave. Winnick, Karen B. Boyds Mills Press, Inc., 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 29pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-194-4.

Based on the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1863 by the Union army, this story is about the impact this event had upon many families, Lucy’s in particular. While their town is being attacked, those living in Vicksburg have to seek shelter. For Lucy’s family and many others, they find shelter in a cave outside of town. This book explores the tragedies and struggles many people endured during this time, and would be a fantastic educational tool for teachers or parents to use with children who have background of this event in American history. (LJ)

M + O 4evr. Hegamin, Tonya Cherie. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 165 pp. $16.00. ISBN978-0-618-49570-2.

Opal is a drama queen, playing out her fantasies of being a goddess with her best friend Marianne, but when Marianne is killed things change drastically in Opal’s life. Everything she has ever known and loved has been torn away from her. Only her family, her own self-will, and Hannah can help her escape from the darkness that now surrounds her. This is an excellent book for anyone dealing with the loss of a friend; however, the very mature content of the book may be unsuitable for younger readers. (ACZ)

Macmillan first dictionary. Morris, Christopher G.. Simon and Schuster, 2008. (800-223-2336). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5043-1.

Designed for children ages 5-8, this dictionary utilizes helpful illustrations combined with simple definitions to create a unique resource perfect for young children. The fun pictures and kid-friendly layout makes the dictionary easy to follow. This type of dictionary would be the perfect educational tool for any home or classroom. (LJ)

Maggie L. Walker. Ransom, Candice. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 112pp. $31.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-6611-3.

This biography of Maggie L. Walker is well researched and includes plenty of black and white pictures with detailed captions. Readers as young as 11-years-old will be encouraged to change history and take positive action by reading about this black female role model. Readers follow events in Maggie’s life from her birth in 1865 to her death in 1934, but they don’t get a good sense of her personality. The events are a string of facts of Maggie’s life without any personal dynamic, which could possibly bore the reader. (NMG)

Magic pickle and the planet of grapes. Morse, Scott. Scholastic Inc. (Scholastic Press), 2008. www.scholastic.com, (212-343-6100). 140pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-439-87996-5.

In this hilarious yet strange picture chapter book, Scott Morse creates an outlandish story of a magic superhero pickle. Jo Jo Wigman is a grade school girl whose bedroom just happens to be above a secret lab. This lab belongs to Dr. Formaldehyde, a Capitol Dill scientist who creates a super hero, code name Weapon Kosher, and commonly referred to as the Magic Pickle. The Magic Pickle begins his adventures by saving innocent citizens from a sour potion in the form of lemonade at the local farmers market. The potion turns anyone who consumes the beverage into a rude and selfish person. Magic Pickle’s problems get worse when Jarek, a boy from Jo Jo’s class, drinks the sour potion and uses his powers to create Razin’. Magic Pickle must use his superhero powers to stop Razin’ from trying to rule the world and turning everyone into his loyal grapes. This unique and bizarre story would be great for the imaginations of young readers. The context of the book would not be appropriate for any subject in the classroom, but could be a good independent read for middle to upper elementary students. (PP)

The magic thief. Prineas, Sarah. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 419pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-137587-3.

Conn makes a foolish mistake when he steals a wizard’s locus magiclicus, but the wizard rewards him with training in his own art. This book leads readers on the magical journey as Conn struggles to learn how to use magic and find a locus magicalicus of his own, but along the way runs into the mystery of where the magic of Wellmet is disappearing. Readers will instantly like Conn and his enchanting personality as he begins to enter the magic world unfolding around him. (ACZ)

Mao’s last dancer: Young readers’ edition. Cunxin, Li. Penguin Group, 2003.
penguingroup.com, (800-631-8571). 290 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9779-7.

This rags-to-riches story about Li Cunxin is an inspiration for young adult readers. When he is offered a chance to be a ballet dancer, Cunxin decides to go for it, knowing that it is the best chance for him and his family to escape poverty in China. As he succeeds in ballet, he travels around the world, all the while never forgetting the family he left in China. (AD)

March toward the thunder. Bruchac, Joseph. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 295pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3188-2.

Set during the United States Civil War, Joseph Bruchac’s historical fiction novel tells the story of a young Abenaki Indian from Canada as he enlists and fights for the North in the Irish Brigade, Fighting 69th. He leaves on a mission to help the North end slavery. His journeys during the war confront readers with the mature, harsh realities of the Civil War. Readers are not always spared the gruesome details. This book will help students confront the issues of war and violence and the importance of love and harmony. It is recommended for students in 5th grade and up. (NG)

Marco Polo. Demi. Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 54 pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5433-5.

In 1271, Marco Polo began his expedition to China and became one of the greatest explorers in history. Along the way, he saw many interesting animals and inventions, and when he finally returned home, no one believed what he had to tell. On his deathbed, even a priest asked him to repent the stories he thought were untrue. This very detailed book examines the life and times of Marco Polo and describes Venice, India, and China during the 1300’s. It tells the interesting tale of his travels and service to Kublai Khan, while making it easy for children to understand everything that he went through. Wonderful artwork makes it easy for children to fall into the time period. I would highly recommend this book for children interested in history. (ACZ)

Mars and the search for life. Scott, Elaine. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
[email protected] (617-351-5000). 60 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-76695-6.

This book presents detailed information of Mars. It provides pictures of the earth from Mars and vice versa, allowing readers to see the significance of this planet. This book provides information about the satellite work, robot work, and already known information about Mars. Readers 9-12 years of age can experience a planet that is still in the process of being discovered. (AD)

Mary had a little lamp. Lechner, Jack. Bloomsbury, 2008. [email protected], (888-330-8477). 29 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-59990-169-5. Illustrated by Bob Staake.

Mary had a little lamp, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamp was sure to go. This delightful book tells the story of Mary, whose closest companion isn’t a friend, a blanket, or a stuffed animal, but a lamp. Thankfully for her frightened parents, one summer she finds a new companion – a toaster. This rhyming story is an excellent play off of the nursery rhyme “Mary had a Little Lamb” and will make a humorous addition to any children’s library. (ACZ)

Max’s bunny business. Wells, Rosemary. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 22pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01105-6.

Louise and Ruby already have matching necklaces and bracelets, and now they have their eyes set on matching rings. The rings cost two dollars, so the two best friends decide to set up a lemonade stand in order to raise the money. Ruby’s little brother wants to help, but Louise and Ruby don’t want his help because he is always getting in the way. Since Max can’t help with their lemonade stand, he decides to set up his own stand where he will sell candy. This clever story provides valuable lessons about how to run a business and competition. Max’s witty business sense brings out the humor in the story. Children will be able to relate to Max’s feelings of being left out and being the younger sibling. The colorful and animated illustrations bring the characters to life. This book would be appropriate for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

Melvin might? Shannon, David and Loren Long and David Gordon. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 36pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4134-7. Illustrated by Juan Navos.

Melvin might? is another book in the Trucktown series. In this story, Melvin the worrying Cement Mixer is constantly worrying about everything and doesn't think he can do anything. He watches nervously as Jack, Pete, and Rita roar, soar, and splash their way across a ravine. But when Rita cries out for help, Melvin knows he must do something. Melvin must overcome his fears and save Rita. This story is colorfully illustrated and the illustrations help depict the personalities of the characters. This book would be great for young readers, teaching children they can do anything and can overcome all obstacles in life. (PP)

Merlin’s dragon. Baron, T.A. Penguin Group, Inc. (Philomel Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 305pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24750-7.

The first book in T.A. Baron’s third trilogy, Merlin’s Dragon is set between Baron’s first two trilogies, The Lost Years of Merlin and The Great Tree of Avalon. Young readers will quickly fall in love with Basil, an odd, quirky creature resembling a miniature dragon, as he embarks on an epic journey to find Merlin and vanquish evil. Themes of courage, heroism, peace, love, and self-identity accompany Basil as he discovers that even the most ordinary-looking lizard has the strength and courage to be a hero of Avalon. (NMG)

Mermaid sister. Fraser, Mary Ann. Walker & Company, 2008. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 32 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-0802797469.

Narrator, Shelly, decides that she wants a sister. One day at the beach, she throws a message in a bottle into the ocean calling out for someone to be her sister. Coral, a mermaid, takes the bottle ashore and decides that she wants to live with Shelly and her family. Shelly and Coral get along great, have sisterly fights, and make up, but is having a sister what Shelly really wants? Coral begins to miss her home, so Shelly brings her to the beach to cheer her up. Coral finds a note from her “pain in the flipper” brother saying that he misses her. The girls figure out a plan so that they, along with their little brothers, can all have fun. This book is suitable for younger readers as they can relate to annoying younger siblings and wanting to have a friend or sister to play with. (LS)

Mimi. Baicker-McKee, Carol. Bloomsbury, 2008. [email protected], (530-330-8477). 32 pp. $15.95 ISBN 978-159-9900650.

Mimi carries a stuffed animal around with her and goes to a younger children’s school. Mimi also has a pet bug, Frank, who one day goes missing. Mimi and Bunny go on with their everyday routine of going to school, but when Mimi gets home, she is very upset that Frank is still not where he is supposed to be. After being tucked in, Mimi gets a surprise that scares her in her bed. The characters in this book are dolls (with the exception of Frank), but the background and props look as though they are made of clay. There is often more than one picture on each page, but with the short phrases it keeps the story flowing smoothly. (LS)

Mines of the minotaur. Golding, Julia. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 269pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5302-4.

Connie is a member of the Society for the Protection of Mythical Beasts. The members of this society each have special powers allowing them to speak to one specific mythical creature. Connie is much different in that she is a universal, giving her the power to talk to any mythical creature. The only creature that understands her potential is the evil Kullervo. The evil creature begins to manipulate Connie, and her powers begin to make her angry, summoning furious storms that almost kill her closest friends. Her dearest friend Col discovers what is happening and tells the leaders of the Society. The Society then expels her. Feeling depressed and alone, Connie visits the mine full of forgotten mythical creatures. The broken down and blind Minotaur gives Connie the courage to face the hated Kullervo, and in doing so she heals the great Minotaur. This exciting fantasy is full of many mysterious and compelling creatures that would spark the imagination of readers. This book would be great for advanced upper elementary students or any fantasy enthusiast. (PP)

The moon over star. Aston, Dianna. Penguin Group (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3107-3. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney.

The year is 1969, and young Mae and her family are watching the television, witnessing mankinds first encounter with the moon. Mae diligently watches the events unfold and gains inspiration from the historical event. This would be a great inspirational story for younger students, and it also has many key historical events and figures such as Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., Michael Collins, John F. Kennedy, and Walter Cronkite. (PP)

Morgy’s musical summer. Lewis, Maggie. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 100 pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-618-77707-5. Illustrated by Michael Chesworth.

Summer vacation has finally arrived, but before Morgy can go to Hockey Camp, he has to attend Outlook Music Camp. It is Morgy’s first time away from home, and he misses his dog, cat, and family, but things begin looking up for him when he joins the Junior Orchestra. This book features short chapters that are easy to read. It is excellent for any young person leaving home for the first time to go to summer camp or on a short trip by himself or herself. (ACZ)

Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers: Another love story. Lloyd, Sam. Atheneum Books (Simon & Schuster Publishing), 2008. [email protected] 24 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5796-6.

Mr. Pusskins was perfectly content to live alone with Emily, but she ruined his peaceful way of life by bringing a kitten into the picture. Now, Mr. Pusskins has to put up with the menacing kitten every day! This sequel to Mr. Pusskins doesn’t live up to expectations. It leaves you asking questions such as: “Why does the little kitten change how he acts so suddenly when he finally gets what he wants?” or “Why does Mr. Pusskins put up with the kitten’s antics?” The character development throughout the book was unsatisfying. I would not suggest this book to other readers. (ACZ)

Ms. McCaw learns to draw. Zemach, Kaethe. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine), 2008. www.scholastic.com, (212-242-7737). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0439829144.

Dudley Ellington was the misfit of the class. He never got what was being taught right away, and usually people gave up on him. Everyone but Ms. McCaw, that is. Ms. McCaw was a great teacher that worked one-on-one with Dudley all of the time to ensure that he understood the material. Everyone thought Ms. McCaw was the greatest teacher ever, until one day; Ms. McCaw is unable to draw on the board. With one of her students saving the day, Ms. McCaw could continue with the day, but not quite like she had planned. Texture is formed by the colors of the clothes in the pictures, but other than the clothes, the pictures did not have much detail. This book would be great for younger elementary students and many of them could relate to not being the smartest kid in the class. This book helps the reader realize that everyone is good at something, you just have to try! (LS)

Muammar Al-Qaddafi’s Libya. Sullivan, Kimberly L. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 144pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8666-1.

This biography shares the history of Libya before and during Muammar Al-Qaddafi’s dictatorship. Starting with the history and geography of the land, the book takes readers on an informational tour of the history of the country. Pictures, many in color, quotations, and captions all enhance the text. Readers starting at 11 years old can learn about the complex intricacies of socialism and politics in Libya’s history. (NMG)

My first airplane ride. Hubbell, Patricia. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0761454365. Illustrated by Nancy Speir.

The narrator is going on his first airplane ride! With short, rhyming texts, it is easy to get lost in their journey through the airport and on the plane. The pictures are colorful and full of energy. They show the reader the chronological process of taking a trip on a plane. It is suitable for younger readers and can be used as a great explanation of what a child should expect when going on a plane. (LS)

My first hike. Woolf, Catherine Maria. Dawn Publications, 2008. dawnpub.com, (800-
545-7475). 21 pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-113-6.

A young girl is unsure about her first hike with her grandfather and sister. As the grandfather takes her on a hike, she hesitates, saying she does not want to do it, but as she gets distracted by the nature that surrounds her, she realizes that a hike is not as bad as she thought it was. (AD)

My most excellent year. Kluger, Steve. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 403 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3227-8.

An English assignment for three high school students challenges them remember the greatest year of their lives, their freshman year, when they became friends forever. During that year, Alejandra falls for T.C.’s charm, even though she wants nothing to do with him; Augie finally realizes he is gay; and T.C. adopts a young deaf child as a brother. Together, they discover love, how to make a child happy, and how diverse their passions are. This spellbinding novel, told from the three student’s perspectives, examines the lives of the three characters through a modern writing style incorporating instant messaging, e-mails, and diary entries. I would highly recommend this book for readers, although it is definitely written for a mature, junior high school or high school student. (ACZ)

My Pup. O’Hair, Margaret. Marshal Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5389-5. Illustrated by Tammie Lyon.

A young girl is experiencing the joys and troubles of having a new puppy. The girl and her puppy spend their day playing catch, getting dirty, dodging cats, going on walks, and learning new tricks. This easy to read picture book has great read aloud appeal because of the bouncy rhyming text. The large full-paged illustrations are engaging and realistic. The warm colors and soft textures allow the illustrations to create a fun and friendly atmosphere. Children who have pets will be able to identify with the young girl and the emotions she is experiencing having her new puppy. This would be a great book for children who are learning about verbs, as the book includes many verbs, like roll, run, fetch, shake, and leap. (JN).

The mysterious universe: Supernovae, dark energy, and black holes. Jackson, Ellen and Nick Bishop. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 60 pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-618-56325-8.

As the title suggests, this book gives vast information on the mysteries of the universe. It explains how supernovae, black holes, etc are formed, and it includes information provided by scientists Alex and Ryan. Designed for children 9-12 years old, this book provides intense pictures of these beautiful phenomena and detailed information that many children will appreciate. (AD)

Nathan’s Hanukkah bargain. Greene, Jacqueline Dembar. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 30 pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58980-454-8. Illustrated by Judith Hierstein.

Nathan has only one gift to buy, one for him! He has collected his money and goes with his Grandpa to buy a traditional menorah. Together, Nathan and his Grandpa search through stores until they finally find the perfect one. However, it costs much more money than Nathan has. This is an excellent book that demonstrates the bond that exists between a grandfather and grandson and the knowledge that can be passed between them. I would highly recommend this book to teach children about Hanukkah, Judaism, and the bond between family members. (ACZ)

Nation. Pratchett, Terry. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 367pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-143302-3

As all of May’s possessions are swallowed up into a great wave, he must learn to survive in the harsh realities of nature. Luckily, May meets Daphne, a girl whose ship was also swallowed by the great wave. Together they work together to make a fire and feed each other. People of all ages and gender find May and Daphne’s fire in hopes of food and shelter. Together, they all try to start living again and call their new home, Nation. This is a great adventure book that many students will enjoy. There are also some fantastic action scenes in this book, more notably toward the middle and end. (MAH)

Nature’s fury: The illustrated history of wild weather and natural disasters. Sullivan,
Robert. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 128 pp. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4051-5.

Nature contains amazing forces within it like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis. This book talks about multiple earth-shattering natural destructions such as Hurricane Katrina, which changed many peoples’ lives. With the pictures that the book provides, readers can see how much damage and how incredible these destructive forces can be. This book is great for anyone who is interested in earth science and how natural destructions can occur. (AD)

Nature’s wonders. Knauer, Kelly. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty-First Century Books), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 121 pp. $39.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-4228-1.

Nature’s most beautiful and breathtaking places are showcased in this new book put together by Time magazine. The book features both stunning photography and an in-depth scientific look at how many of the Earth’s natural wonders were created. This is not just a coffee table book; it is one that everyone should read in order to better appreciate the beauty and wonder of our planet. (ACZ)

Neptune’s children. Dobkin, Bonnie. Walker & Company, 2008. [email protected], (212-727-8300). 262pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-8027-9734-6.

Families arrive daily to the world’s greatest theme park, Isles of Wonder, but when biological warfare kills all humans over the age of 15, the children on the island are left behind to fend for themselves. In order to survive, the children must band together to create a society where everyone must work together, creating a perfect utopia. When greed overcomes the leader of the society and strange events begin to occur, what will happen to the island’s residents? This book is written with passion, focusing on the emotions of children and young adults and the sorrow, greed, and compassion to survive in a new world on their own. This book would work well with young adults. (ACZ)

The new way things work. Macaulay, David and Neil Ardley. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Walter Lorraine Books), 1998. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 400pp. $35.00. ISBN 978-0-395-93847-8.

From telephones to pens, and photography to cars, this book breaks down how hundreds of things work. By using detailed, easy to understand illustrations paired with simple explanations, this book is a phenomenal tool for educating children on how various things work in our world today. This book would be perfect for middle to upper elementary school students to use within the classroom or at home. (LJ)

Night road. Jenkins, A.M. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 362pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-054604.

This fantasy fiction thriller tells Cole’s story about growing up as a hemovore, or vampire. Teens who enjoy vampire stories will find this novel rich and compelling. Dark in nature, this book is for mature readers that are not afraid to confront tough issues about life and morality as a hemovore. As Cole tries to teach a new hemovore how to survive, Cole starts questioning the very principles he has always believed. Readers will identify with Cole and his struggles to come of age and find his place as a hemovore. (NMG)

The nine lives of Dudley Dog. Hasset, John and Ann. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 32pp. $16.00 ISBN978-0-618-81153-3.

Sister had wished for a cat for her birthday, however there was a mix up at the pet store and she ended up getting a scary looking sharp-teethed dog, named Dudley. When Sister blows her candles out she wishes that Dudley would turn into the warm and soft cat she had originally hoped for. However, Dudley is still very much a dog and he immediately starts to chase cats around town. He chases them through the street, across the railroad tracks, through the park, into yards and a burning building, past a swimming pool, into a thunderstorm, and to the circus. At the end of the day, a cat comes into Sisters room that looks remarkably like Dudley, and he is even wearing Dudley’s collar. Could Sister’s birthday wish have really come true? This picture storybook would be appropriate for children in 1st and 2nd grade. While the concept of birthday wishes is easy to relate to, children will need to have an imaginative mind in order to believe that Dudley was able to turn into a cat. The warm pastel colors allow for the illustrations to be cheerful and lively. The detailed illustrations create realistic and often humorous images. (JN).

No hugs till Saturday. Downing, Julie. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion), 2008. [email protected], 617-351-5000. 31 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-91078-6.

Felix loves getting extra-special gigantic hugs from his mother. However, when Felix gets in trouble for throwing a ball in the house he decides to declare a new rule of his own, no hugs until Saturday. When Felix finds out that it’s only Sunday, he realizes that no hugs for a whole week may be harder then he thought. The warm and soft colors of the illustrations are comforting and fun to look at. This picture storybook does a great job at introducing the days of the week. The book also sends a great message of the importance of love and affection. I would highly recommend this book for children age’s four to seven. (JN)

No matter what. Gliori, Debi. Harcourt Inc., 2008. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 22pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206343-6.

This book is about two kangaroos, Small and Large. Comical illustrations and rhyming text will entertain both the children and adults reading this book. Young children will easily identify with Small when he asks Large, “do you still love me no matter what?” Large loves Small no matter what happens and no matter where they are, whether together or worlds apart. This book is about love and encouragement and is made for young children’s hands. It has sturdy binding and thick, easy to turn pages. (NMG)

No mush today. Derby, Sally. Lee & Low Books, 2008. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 32pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-238-2. Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell.

This story is about a young African American girl named Nonie who doesn’t like to eat mush for breakfast and doesn’t like all the attention going to the new baby. She leaves home to live with her grandma, but finds that she loves her family more than the grown-up things her grandma takes her to. Her family welcomes her home with much love and understanding. Children starting at age 4 will identify with Nonie’s position. This book confronts children with themes of love and family, and it may help children cope with having a new baby in the house. (NMG)

Oh my gods. Childs, Tera Lynn. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 264pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47942-0.

Written by Tera Lynn Childs, Oh my gods is a story about Phoebe Castro who is a talented cross-country runner, as well as a hard-working student who dreams of going to USC next year with her friends Cesca and Nola. However, Phoebe’s mother falls in love with a man in Greece, causing them to move to Aegean, and forcing Phoebe to alter her plans. After dealing with her stepfather as her headmaster, and students who appear to have come from Greek gods, Phoebe finds a distraction in Griffin Blake and is forced to make new plans for her future. This is a fun, romantic book that incorporates Greek mythology and explores the various changes that happen in life. (LJ)

Old MacNoah had an ark. Loyd-Jones, Sally. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Blessings), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-055718-8. Illustrated by Jill Newton.

This brightly illustrated picture book is a spoof on Old Mac Donald. Readers who know the melody feel welcome to sing the text as Old MacNoah builds himself an ark, gathers some animals, and survives the flood. The illustrations and text are humorous and silly. Young children, starting in preschool, will enjoy participating in this fun adventure. (NMG)

On the Texas trail of Cabeza de Vaca. Lourie, Peter. Boyds Mills Press, 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 48pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-492-1.

Author Peter Lourie shares his search for the story of Cabeza de Vaca in this children’s informational book. Lourie’s book is complete with maps, photographs, art, and original texts from his research. Young readers, approximately ages 7 to 12, will learn how professionals reconstruct history, while the readers explore the world of 16th century natives and conquistadors in present-day Texas and Mexico. (NG)

On rough seas. Hull, Nancy L.. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 261pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-89743-8.

Fourteen-year-old Alec Curtis is the protagonist in this historical fiction novel set in Dover England, 1940. Working as a galley boy during World War II, Alec experiences the changes the war brings to his town. Readers are confronted with the dangers and realities of war. This story ultimately leads Alec to participate in the evacuation of Dunkirk. This novel is well researched and will enrich the WWII understanding of students ages 10 and up. (NG)

Otis and Rae and the grumbling splunk. Espinosa, Laura and Leo. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-350-5000). 30pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-618-98206-6.

On a beautiful summer day, Otis and Rae embark on their first camping trip. While walking through the forest, they finally find the perfect spot to set up their tent. After eating their favorite PB&J sandwiches, Rae begins to tell scary stories about grumbling splunks, as Otis listens and continues to get more frightened. Then in their tent that night, Otis hears a loud noise and the two are soon running after the grumbling splunk. By the end of the story, Otis realizes that his preconceived notions of this creature are wrong. This fun adventure of Otis and Rae is an exciting story that helps to teach children not to “judge a book by its cover,” as things are not always as they seem. (LJ)

Otto runs for president. Wells, Rosemary. Scholastic Inc., 2008. www.scholastic.com, (212-242-7737). 28pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-545-03722-8.

It’s election time at Barkadelphia School and Tiffany the popular girl is running against Charles the football captain. Otto decides he needs to run for president too, because unlike the other candidates, Otto actually cares about the future of his school and listens to his voters. When the results are in, it’s no surprise that Otto has won by a landslide. This picture storybook would be suitable for students ranging from ages five to nine. Children will be able to relate to Otto because he is not the most popular or athletic student, but he proves that all you need to be is hard working and willing to listen in order to get what you want. (JN).

Ottoline and the yellow cat. Riddel, Chris. Harper Collins Publishing, 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 171pp. $10.99. ISBN978-0-06-144879-9.

A string of burglaries and high society dog-nappings occur across Big City. Only the dynamic duo of Ottoline Brown and Mr. Munroe, a bog-creature from Norway, can solve the case. Using an odd-assortment of family collections and creative humor, Ottoline and Mr. Munroe are able to bring the pets and their owners together as well as their family jewels with deliberate planning and spy work. Readers will enjoy the pictures that bring the text to life, as this easy-to-read book will have readers guessing what comes next in the story. (ACZ)

Our library. Bunting, Eve and Maggie Smith. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-49458-3.

This story revolves around animal characters who decide to save their library. How do they find out how to save it? They read about it in books. And with each book they read, they start to feel smarter and less “ignorant”. The greatest problem these little animals face is a beaver that owns the land that the library could be moved to. They decide to read another book to find a way to face him, but they are still don’t know how they will deal with him or if they can save the library. (AD)

Out of the pocket. Kongisberg, Bill. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. 264pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-525-47996-3.

Bill Konigsberg’s Out of the pocket is a story about Bobby Framingham, a talented high school quarterback who is hoping to get a scholarship to play for a big Division I school. If he were to be able to play football at college, he plans on playing professional football. However, Bobby soon comes to terms with the fact that he is gay. This book then delves into the issue of how to deal with this situation—being gay and deciding whether or not to tell one’s family, friends, and/or teammates. This fantastic story is great for teenagers and older, as it discusses a deep, controversial issue and emphasizes being comfortable in your own skin. (LJ)

Paddington here and now. Bond, Michael. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 169 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-147364-7.

Paddington returns to life in his first novel in nearly 30 years. In this new novel, Paddington lives a fun and exciting lifestyle in which he plays in a concert, and even catches a burglar! Anyone who has read a Paddington novel in the past will love this new installment in the Paddington series, while newcomers will find Paddington to be funny and loveable. This is an excellent book for young readers. (ACZ)

Painting the wild frontier: The art and adventures of George Catlin. Reich, Susanna. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 160 pp. $21.00. ISBN 978-0-618-71470-4.

George Catlin is known for his paintings of the frontier as it was being developed. He traveled across America battling the same dangers that the pioneers faced. As he journeyed, he aspired to meet and document the natives of the land through his paintings. This book tells his story and contains the paintings of his westward travels. This book is appropriate for 9-12 year olds who wish to learn about westward expansion and the land and people before the land was developed. (AD)

Peace Jam: A billion simple acts of peace. Suvanjieff, Ivan and Dawn Giffor Engle. Penguin Group (Puffin), 2008. [email protected], (800-531-8571). 197 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241234-3.

Peace Jam was founded in 1996 to help bring young people together with Nobel Laureates to change the world for the better. Today, they work to promote human rights, fight poverty and disease, and protect the environment. While this book is a great informational guide to the history of Peace Jam and its goals for the future, its title is very misleading for many readers because the book doesn’t list a billion or even a hundred simple acts of peace, but it does encourage every reader to work for change in the world. I would recommend this book for readers looking for examples of ways to change the world, but I would also caution many readers that this is not light reading and can be very dry at times. (ACZ)

Phillis’s big test. Clinton, Catherine. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 30pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-73739-0. Illustrated by Sean Qualls.

Set in Boston, Massachusetts, 1772, this book recounts the story of African slave, Phillis Wheatly. Phillis’s poetry was in danger of not being published because printers in Boston did not believe such beautiful writing could have come from a slave. The printers decided to have some of the most distinguished writers in Boston test Phillis on her poetry. Readers get to know Phillis as events leading up to her test unfold. This story can help students critically examine the life and struggles of an African slave in the 1700s. This book for elementary readers can be integrated into history, social studies and literature lessons. (NMG)

Pirate treasure hunt! Peck, Jan. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-5898-05491. Illustrated by Adrian Tans.

This highly colorful, humorous children’s picture book takes the reader on a pirate adventure. Children as early as Preschool will enjoy the illustrations, style, and language in this book. Repetition, rhythm and rhyme encourage the readers to physically participate in the plot. As readers follow Captain Dare in a quest to find treasure, they encounter such obstacles as cliffs, jungles, snake pits and lagoons. In the end the readers learn that the real treasure is much more valuable than gold. Encouraging students to get involved in reading, this book is recommended for young children (NMG)

The pirates of turtle rock. Jennings, Richard W.. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 152pp. $16.00 ISBN 978-0-618-98793-1.

The pirates of turtle rock is a story filled with numerous comical adventures created by the eighteen-year-old pirate Coop Deville. The young intrigued pirate scans the coast with his telescope spotting a beautiful young woman, Jenny Snow. After a few arguments and scuffles, these two teenagers develop a meaningful relationship. Coop, Jenny, and the crew use a map to seek fortune, but they run into some minor dilemmas on the way. This present day story of piracy would strike the imaginations of many young adult readers. The clever humor and comical characters lead the reader on a thrilling treasure hunt. This book would be great for advanced upper elementary students or teacher read-alouds. (PP)

Pirates of underwhere. Hale, Bruce. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 164pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-085128-6. Illustrated by Shane Hillman.

In the story Pirates of Underwhere, twins Stephanie and Zeke, along with their pal Hector are given the task to help out their friends in Underwhere, an alternate world that they reach through a construction area in their town. Stephanie and Zeke are heirs to the throne of Underwhere, which is why they must help maintain the tranquility. While trying to maintain order in Underwhere, the trio is trying to locate and protect the “Brush of Wisdom,” a golden toilet brush that reveals truth when rubbed three times on a person or object. Stephanie’s also has conflicting thoughts between her duties as Princess of Underwhere and her desire to be a member of her school’s Mathletes. Every third chapter, Bruce Hale changes his writing technique, switching from a novel to comic strip. The novel version of the story takes place in reality while the comic strip portrays their adventure in Underwhere. This unique style allows younger readers to visualize the strange features of Underwhere. (PP)

Pitching in for Eubie. Nolen, Jerdine. Harper Collins Publishing (Amistad), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.89. ISBN 078-0-06-056960-0. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

This children’s picture book is about a little girl named Lily. Lily’s older sister, Eubie, has the opportunity to go to college, but she needs $3,000 for room and board. Everyone in the family gets extra jobs so they can pitch in money for Eubie. However, Lily is too young for most jobs. She struggles with trying to find a job she can succeed in. Finally, she has an offer for a job that she will be very good at. Young readers will identify with Lily and the limitations she struggles with. Readers will encounter themes of family, love, and hard work. (NG)

Playing with fire: Don’t try this at home. Landy, Derek. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 389pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-124088-1.

In the second book of Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant fantasy book series, smart-witted Skulduggery Pleasant is back and ready to save the world again. Skulduggery is teaching the tricks of magic to his young partner, Valkyrie Cain. In the meantime, a villain named Baron Vengeous has escaped from jail and has plans to awaken the evil monster that has the power to destroy the world. It’s now up to Skulduggery and Valkyrie to stop Baron before he takes over the world and enslaves all of the non-magical people. This thrilling fantasy book is well suited for readers who range from ages nine to thirteen. I would especially recommend this magical book to young women because they will be able to relate to Valkyrie’s young age and her strong and inspirational characteristics. The books central message of good versus evil will engage the reader with all the action packed scenes involving the evil Baron and the heroic Skulduggery and Valkyrie. (JMN)

Please don’t tease Tootsie. Chamberlain, Margaret. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47982-6.

Animals will treat you the same way you treat them, so be kind to the animals around you. This book has an important message of how to act around animals. They don’t like being hurt any more than you would and can react rather viciously if you do tease or taunt them. Children will learn to respect animals after reading this book. The book could have done a better job focusing on a wider range of animals and teaching children to respect animals that aren’t theirs as well. (ACZ)

Pol Pot’s Cambodia. Weltig, Matthew S. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 160pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8668-5.

This book reads more like a history book than a biography, covering the major events from 1928 through 1975 when Pot became dictator over Cambodia. The reader does not get to know Pol Pot as a character, but rather reads about events and influences in Cambodia. The subject matter is intriguing for anyone who enjoys reading history, but the writing may be too dry for younger audiences. Students should probably read this book when they are 11 or older. Color pictures and helpful diagrams accompany the text. (NMG)

Portraits of Jewish-American heroes. Drucker, Malka. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dutton), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 96pp. $22.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47771-6. Illustrated by Elizabeth Rosen.

This collection of short biographies traces the lives of Jews deemed American heroes from 1740 through 2002. Author Malka Drucker’s criteria for being a hero include being an example of courage and uprightness, and pride in being a Jew. Drucker shares the stories of twenty heroes including Levi Strauss, Albert Einstein, and Harry Houdini. The themes teach elementary school readers to overcome challenges, be honest, and be proud of heritage. This book gives any young child, especially Jewish children, role models of honesty and perseverance. It also teaches readers about Jewish immigration to the United States and the complex roles of individuals and society. (NMG).

Power of three warriors: Dark river. Hunter, Erin. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 322pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-089206-7.

This fantasy novel, aimed at readers as young as fifth grade, is a welcome addition to Erin Hunter’s extensive Warriors series. Current fans of the series will love the book; new readers may want to start at the beginning of the series to fully understand the fantastic setting and numerous characters. Young fantasy readers will love getting to know Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw, the three main characters in this world dominated by cats. These three characters confront the darkness within themselves as they hone their powers and skills in each of their apprenticeships as warrior cats. (NMG)

Power of three: Warriors: Outcast. Hunter, Erin. Harper Collins, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 317pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-0899208-1.

In this newest installment of the Warriors series, Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw are back with new problems and more adventures. When Thunder Clan is threatened by another clan, Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and Jaypaw are determined to help save their tribe. The intriguing and creative plot line that involves intense battles and thrilling adventures will keep readers interested to the very end. All of the main characters grow and develop throughout the book. Along their adventures, the three cats learn more about one another and discover some of the secret powers that they possess. This fiction chapter book would be appropriate for children from ages nine to twelve. (JN)

Pretty face. Hogan, Mary. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 211pp. $17.89. ISBN978-0-06-0841126.

Hayley just doesn’t fit in with the crowds around Santa Monica, California. She is a little chubby, pale-complexioned young woman in a world of tanned and toned bodies. When her mother offers her a trip to meet one of her best friends from college and spend the summer in Italy, there is nothing that could be better for Hayley. She discovers how to truly love herself for who she is. This is an excellent book for all young women dealing with self-image issues. (ACZ)

Princess Ben. Murdock, Catherine Gilbert. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 344pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-95971-6.

Lovers of fairytales, especially teen and pre-teen girls, will thoroughly enjoy this fantastical tale, told from Princess Benevolent’s point of view. Readers identify with princess Ben as she is forced to become a proper princess and take responsibility for protecting her kingdom from war. In a world where anything can happen, readers learn the importance of love, perseverance, and hope in the face of danger. (NMG)

The princess gown. Strauss, Linda Leopold. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], 617-351-5000. 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-86259-7. Illustrated by Malene Reynolds Laugesen.

This is a charming story about Hannah and her family, who have entered a wedding gown competition for the princesses wedding. Hannah’s father has finished the dress and it looks absolutely stunning, that is until Hannah notices a spot on the dress. The whole family starts to panic; will Hannah be able to come up with a creative solution in order to save the dress? Will the princess pick their dress? The suspenseful plot is filled with twists and turns and will keep the readers interested all the way to the end of the story. The characters in the story are very relatable; Hannah is a creative young girl with an imagination and the princess behaves just like any other girl and loves nature. The warm and rich colors make the illustrations to look mystical and dreamy. This book would be appropriate for children ranging from ages four to eight. (JN)

Princess Peepers. Calvert, Pam. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books), 2008. [email protected], 914-332-8888. 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5437-3. Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning.

This empowering picture book is funny, magical, and inspiring. Princess Peepers loves to wear glasses; she has a different pair for each occasion. However, Princess Peepers love for glasses changes when she attends the Royal Academy for Perfect Princesses. At the academy, none of the other girls wear glasses and they all tease her because of her glasses. Princess Peepers decides she will get rid of all her glasses in order to fit in with the rest of the girls. The princess struggles without her glasses; she trips over people and mistakes the Grand Matron for a dog. In the end, Princess Peepers finds out that the Prince wears glasses as well. The two fall in love instantly, and Princess Peepers learns it’s always best to be yourself. This book would be great for children who do not want to wear their glasses. Children will be excited to read that even princesses wear glasses. The dazzling illustrations are lively and colorful. I would recommend this book for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

Punk Wig. Ries, Lori and Erin Eitter Kono. Boyds Mills Press, 2008.
boydsmillspress.com, (800-490-5111). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-486-0.

A young child learns about cancer when his mother gets what she calls “alien blobs” in her stomach. But, as time passes, she keeps an uplifting spirit about her condition. When the time comes for her to get a wig because of her treatment, she makes it more light-hearted so that her son doesn’t get scared about the situation. This book is perfect for children who know someone going through cancer, showing them that cancer isn’t always horrible and can be defeated with support from family and friends. (AD)

Puppies and piggies. Tylant, Cynthia. Harcourt Inc., 2008. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 23pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-202321-8. Illustrated by Ivan Bates.

This picture book uses rhythm and rhyme to tell young children what animals love to do on the farm. Readers journey through the farm encountering baby animals including puppies, piglets, ponies, and more. Each animal has something it loves to do most. Adults can encourage kids (ages 4 and up) to act out the animal actions to make the story more engaging. Adults may also use this book to stimulate discussion about children’s favorite things to do outside. The illustrations compliment the text wonderfully. (NMG)

Puppy’s first steps. Dodman, Nicholas. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2007. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 286pp. $13.95. ISBN 978-0-547-05361-5.

Giving important information about first getting a dog, this book is ideal for anyone deciding to add this type of pet to the family. Though upper elementary age children would be able to read and comprehend the information in this book, it appears to be written more for adults, rather than being geared toward young children. This book contains excellent information for raising a healthy, happy dog. (LJ)

The puzzle of the platypus and other explorations. Myers, Jack. Boyds Mills Press, 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 64pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-59078-556-0. Illustrated by John Rice.

Writer Jack Myers, “Uncle Jack”, and illustrator John Rice combine their passions to create a book of natural science for elementary readers. Rooted in the scientific tradition, the text recounts professional dilemmas, ideas and solutions; reminding readers that scientific progress is an ongoing process. Uncle Jack has collected and fashioned eleven of his best nature stories for children. Readers learn about dolphin sonar games, matriarchal elephant societies, and the unusual diets of parrots. The illustrations add beauty and clarity with appealing pictures and diagrams. (NMG)

Queen of Halloween. Engelbrett, Mary. Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-008190-4.

On Halloween night, Ann is dressed in a perfect yellow lacy queen dress and her friend Michael has a sword and an eye patch because he’s going as a pirate. Ann and Michael are very excited to go trick-or-treating, that is until they realize that the dark night with all the witches and ghosts running around can be scary. Ann and Michael decide that they are brave enough to walk to the last house without Ann’s father. The old house is scary, with bats surrounding the house and a skeleton in the window. However, Ann and Michael overcome their fears and ring the doorbell, and to their surprise a nice old lady greets them with a bowl full of candy. This picture storybook would be appropriate for children age’s four to eight. The illustrations are vibrant and will stimulate the reader. (JN).

Rabbit & Squirrel: A tale of war & peas. LaReau, Kara. Harcourt Inc., 2008. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206307-8. Illustrated by Scott Magoon.

This tale is about Rabbit and Squirrel who live next each other and love their vegetable gardens. One day, Rabbit wakes up to find her garden destroyed, and immediately blames the mess on Squirrel. The very next day Squirrel wakes up to find his garden destroyed as well. He angrily blames Rabbit. They continue to argue and bicker back and forth day after day, but what they don’t know is that it is someone else who has been destroying their gardens. This is a humorous and entertaining book that is filled with great messages, such as don’t blame someone without getting the facts and it doesn’t pay to be stuck in your ways. The captivating illustrations are filled with emotions, texture, patterns, and colors. The illustrator did a great job of matching the expressions of the characters faces with the mood of the story. This book is great for children ages four and up. (JN)

Racecar driver’s night before Christmas. Townsend, Una Bella. Pelican Publishing Company, 208. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 26pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58980-565-1. Illustrated by Rick Anderson.

Told in the rhyming style of the classic Night Before Christmas poem, this story will interest any children (ages 8 and older) who enjoy racecars. This story shows what comical events can happen when Santa enters a car race on Christmas Eve. Though Santa uses some sketchy tactics to win, everyone is happy in the end when Santa has presents for everyone at the race. This book provides an interesting alternative to the Night Before Christmas that may especially appeal to young boys. (NMG)

Rachel Fister’s blister. MacDonald, Amy. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion), 1990. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 32pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-0-618-72642-4. Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman.

This read-along picture book comes with a CD recording with two readings of the book; one with and one without page-turn signals. Rachel Fister gets a blister and as the rhyme goes on her mother enlists the help of many people including family members, a doctor, the priest, firemen, and others. Each of them has a more absurd cure than the one before. When applying broccoli, tea, lemonade, and other remedies does not cure Rachel’s blister, they enlist the help of the queen and find the cure they need. The comical text and light-hearted rhymes will entertain children starting at 4 years of age. Students can follow along with the CD, have an adult read to them, or read on their own. (NMG)

Raining cats & dogs. Moses, Will. Penguin Group (Philomel), 2008. [email protected], (800-531-8571). 32 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24233-5.

What is that person saying? Puzzling phrases in today’s society are demystified for readers through short informational sketches that will leave readers holding their sides with laughter. This book is a very entertaining read and will definitely find the funny bone of its readers. (ACZ).

The raucous royals. Beccia, Carlyn. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 64 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-89130-6.

For centuries, rumors have been started about people, from your next-door neighbor to royal families. Today, several of these royal rumors have been solved or are waiting to be solved by you! This is an excellent book that gives readers a chance to be a history detective and discover the truth about the past. I would highly recommend this book for any reader interested in history, nonfiction, or gossip. (ACZ)

The red necklace. Gardner, Sally. Penguin Group, Inc. (Dial), 2007. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 384 pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0803731004.

Author Sally Gardner masterfully weaves a bit of fantasy in with history as she tells a story of a young Gypsy boy and his adventures in 1789 France. This boy, Yann Margoza, is a magician who finds himself fighting to save a young woman from marrying an evil Marquis. Some of Gardner’s characters are a bit over the top, but they are either lovable and entertaining or villainous and fascinating. Students are confronted with some of the horrors of the French revolution; this suspenseful novel is recommended for readers over the age of 12. (NG)

Richard Nixon. Donaldson, Madeline. Lerner, 2008. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 48pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-8225-8896-2.

This biography highlights the influential and entertaining events that have occurred during Richard Nixon’s life. The book allows the reader to take a closer look into Richard Nixon’s childhood, his family, and his career. The book does an excellent job of describing what life was like while Nixon was a boy in the 1920’s, and then describes Nixon’s life as he grows up, starts to work, gets married, and joins the U.S. Navy. The book then moves into Nixon’s political career where the reader will get a brief overview of the events that led up to Richard Nixon’s decision to run for president for a second time. The book then goes into Richard’s Nixon life as a President by explaining the events, triumphs, and failures that occurred while Nixon was president. The real life photos of Richard Nixon are entertaining to look at and will also give the reader a better idea as to what life was like in the early 1900’s. This book would be appropriate for children age’s 9 to 12. (JN)

Ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool. Cooper, Elisha. Penguin Group Inc. (Dial), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 257pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3169-1.

This book by Elisha Cooper describes the diversities within our schools today, particularly at Walton Payton High School, where Cooper spent a year observing and talking to a select group of eight students. These students from all walks of life come together in this one location, high school. Anais is the dancer, spending every day going to dance practice, hoping that one day she will be able to attend Julliard. Daniel is the school's class president who is all business when it comes to academics and his future. Emily is the star athlete and has been the captain of the girl’s soccer team since her junior year. Maya is the actress, always in every school play. Her acting is the only way she can shake off her little spasms and her obsessive-compulsive personality. Diana is very proper and polite. She is also very smart, but never shows it; never talking in class, even though she knows the answers, she keeps to herself, having only one true friend since the other one left. Aisha is the new girl, transferring from her last school located in Florida. She knows that this is only for a year, since her parent’s move all the time, so she is afraid of building relationships. Zef is odd, and he knows it and isn't ashamed of it. Loving the sound of his own music and talking to himself, for some reason students are intrigued and are drawn to him. Finally there is Anthony. His comfort zone is located in only one place in the school, the cafeteria. Cooper’s charming and clever descriptions depict the diversity of personalities found in our schools today. Many of the characters are relatable, making the book great for junior high or high school students. (PP)

The river. Watts, Bernadette and Brigitte Sidjanski. Penguin Group, Inc. (Minedition), 2008. will.weissle[email protected], (800-631-8571). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-698-40077-1.

This enchanting picture storybook follows the journey of five little pinecones as they travel down a river in the hopes of finding a perfect home. Along the journey, the pinecones experience changes of weather and pass through farms, mountains, and cities. As each pinecone finds a desirable place to live, they leave the current, while the rest of the pinecones continue to drift down the river. Soon there is only one pinecone left. The last pinecone follows the river all the way to the ocean and finds a perfect place to live. The book does a wonderful job of introducing nature to children and capturing the exciting and adventurous mood of the story. This is a book for children ages four to eight. (JN)

Roberto walks home. Harrington, Janice N. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06316-1. Illustrated by Jody Wheeler.

When Roberto’s older brother Miguel doesn’t show up to walk him home like he promised, Roberto gets angry and scared. Roberto is mad because he has to walk home alone. Roberto walks past the basketball court on his way home, and to his surprise he sees Miguel playing basketball with his friends. Roberto is so mad at his brother for completely forgetting about him that he drops his green coat that his brother had gotten him on the ground. The next morning Miguel goes to apologize to his brother, but Roberto wants no part of it. How will Miguel make it up to Roberto? Will Roberto be able to forgive his brother for forgetting about him? This engaging story has a great plot line and the characters are very relatable. Children will be able to relate to Miguel’s feelings of regret and sorrow for forgetting about his brother. Roberto is also very relatable because he looks up to his brother and wants to hang out with as much as possible. The illustrations are creative, lively, and will captivate the reader. I would recommend this book to children age’s four to nine. (JN)

Ronald Reagan. Sutcliffe, Jane. Lerner, 2008. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 48pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8894-8.

This brief biography on Ronald Reagan is entertaining and informational. The book highlights the influential events that occurred from Reagan’s birth all the way to his death. Readers will enjoy reading about Reagan’s time at school, his acting years, and his time spent in the U.S. Army Air Corps. The book also talks about Reagan’s political years. Reagan became the governor of California in 1966 and then went on to become the President of the United States in 1981. Reagan is a fascinating man who overcame many challenges in order to achieve greatness. The illustrations allow for the reader to get a better understanding of what life was like in the early to mid nineteen hundreds. The timeline in the back of the book along with helpful websites and further reading suggestions allow for this book to be a great resource for further information on Ronald Reagan. This book would be appropriate for children age’s nine to twelve. (JN)

Sam’s new friend. Robberecht, Thierry. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion Books), 2007. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 29pp. $12.00. ISBN 978-0-618-91448-7. Illustrated by Philippe Goossens.

In this picture storybook, Sam is a strong brave boy who will only play with boys on the playground, and never with the girls. He doesn’t think girls can be strong and brave, until he meets Ellie. Sam is forced to get to know Ellie when she moves to his school and spends the night at his house. Sam realizes how tough girls really can be when he discovers that Ellie’s parents may be getting a divorce. The next day at school Sam plays with his new friend Ellie on the playground. The bold colors used on each page, friendly animal characters, and the theme of the story make this book well suited for a preschool to kindergarten audience. Children will be able to relate to Sam’s feelings and his decision to get to know Ellie. Children who have parents going through a divorce will identify with the emotions that Ellie is experiencing. (JN).

Samuel Blink and the forbidden forest. Haig, Matt. Penguin Group, Inc. (Puffin Books), [email protected], (800-631-8571). 316pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241191-9.

In this children’s fantasy novel, Samuel Blink’s account of his adventures into the most dangerous forest in the world, the Forbidden Forest, will fascinate young and old readers alike. Author Matt Haig creates a detailed world of fantastic creatures appealing to the reader’s imagination. Quirky, interesting characters and themes including love, hope, and perseverance in the face of despair make this book appealing to young readers. Following an orphaned Samuel and his sister, Martha, to their aunt’s house, readers are introduced to the forbidden forest where Martha is lost and Samuel must save her. (NMG)

Science warriors: the battle against invasive species. Collard III, Sneed B. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. [email protected] (617-351-5000). 48 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-75636-0.

This book features three species that have invaded the United States; brown tree snakes, red fire ants, and Melaleuca trees. The author explains how each of these three species is a threat in the United States, and the precautions that have been taken to control them. To finish, the book tells how these species can be controlled, and how people can help in their everyday lives. (AD)

Scoot!. Falwell, Cathryn. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $17.89. ISBN 978-0-06-128883-8.

At a secluded pond, frogs leap, beetles creep, and herons lurch, but only the turtles stay still. This book details the daily actions of animals, birds, and reptiles. While this is a perfectly good book and very well written, I believe children can go outside and experience this book themselves, creating a personal connection to what this book has to say. (ACZ)

The sea serpent and me. Slater, Dashka. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 37pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-723942. Illustrated by Catia Chien.

This fun picture storybook is about a young girl who discovers a lost sea serpent in her bathtub. The plan is for the sea serpent to stay in the girl’s fish tank until it stops raining, so she can then carry him back to the sea. The only problem is that the sea serpent keeps growing larger and larger and the rain shows no signs of stopping. However, neither one of them minds because they are both having fun spending time together. The two become close friends, but when the sea serpent gets too large for the girls room, they must learn how to say goodbye. This sentimental book has great themes of growing up, friendship, and letting go. The bright colors and imaginative drawings allow for each page to come alive. This magical book is recommended for children ages four to eight. (JN)

Seamore, the very forgetful porpoise. Edgemon, Darcie. Harper Collins Publishling, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 48 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0060850753. Illustrated by J.otto Seibold.

Seamore couldn’t remember much of anything. He forgot how to play his favorite games and where he was suppose to be at what time. He even tried to tie reminders to himself, but then forgot which reminders were for what. One day when swimming in the ocean, Seamore ran into Kevin, a killer whale. Kevin and Seamore became good friends, and soon Kevin became friends with Seamore’s other friends. Just because Seamore was different didn’t mean he couldn’t have friends, and that is exactly what this book teaches us: everyone is different. Friendship and wanting to be included are two main themes of the book. The pictures are very fun and show texture and detail in the colors. (LS)

Seekers: The quest begins. Hunter, Erin. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 293pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-087122-2.

Three juvenile bears embark on separate journeys to reach the last great wilderness as the first book of the Seekers series begins. Kallik, a polar bear, loses her family and begins to journey toward the last wilderness at the same time as Toklo, a grizzly bear and Lusa, a captive black bear. Their journeys are intertwined as they meet one another and struggle to survive in a foreign, adult world. Children will appreciate the uncertainness of the future and adventures that the bears experience as they experience the same feelings in their own lives. This book would be a great addition to any juvenile library collection. (ACZ)

Sharks. McMillan, Beverly and John A. Musick. Simon & Schuster, 2008.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 61 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3867-5.

This informational book describes the many different types of sharks beginning with generalizations about sharks with their cartilage skeleton, teeth, and how they breathe, and then moves to information on specific sharks like the great white shark, cookie cutter shark, and more. With the information in the book and how it is presented, children ages 9-12 years will enjoy this book if they wish to learn in-depth details about sharks. (AD)

She touched the world: Laura Bridgman, deaf-blind pioneer. Alexander, Sally Hobart and Robert Alexander. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 100 pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-618-65299-4.

At the age of two, Laura Bridgman lost her sight and hearing, and most of her smell and taste. Being left as a lost cause, most of the world (including her parents) didn’t think she had much of a future. One doctor, who also became her teacher, proved them wrong. This inspiring story of a girl with no conceivable future is perfect for 9-12 year old children who feel lost. It gives them an opportunity to see that there are people who are worse off than they are, but are able to overcome extreme obstacles. (AD)

The shepherd’s trail. Urbigkit, Cat. Boyds Mills Press, 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-509-6.

Shepherds and their flocks still range across the American West, just as they have done for more than a hundred years. Natural and realistic pictures, as well as informative text help to bring this book to life and make every process of raising sheep understandable for young readers. This informational book is very well written and perfect for children. (ACZ)

Simms Taback’s great big book of spacey snakey buggy riddles. Hall, Katy and Lisa Eisenberg. The Penguin Group, 2008. us.penguingroup.com, (212-366-2000). 64 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01121-6.

This book cleverly catches the attention of the reader with a riddle on each page. With colorful illustrations, the reader experiences creativity with each new riddle. This book is appropriate for children ages 4-8 who enjoy outer space, reptiles and bugs. (AD)

Six innings: this time, it’s for the championship. Preller, James. Macmillan (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (212-677-7456). 147pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36763-3.

This story is about a little league championship baseball game between Earl Grubb’s Pool Supplies and Northeast Gas & Electric. The boys range in age from 11 to 13. The game means something different to the players, but the game itself is equally important to all of them. For some of the players it will be the last game they ever play, and for others is only a stepping-stone to the professional baseball, but at that very moment the game is the most important event happening to them. The story recaps one game, inning by inning and is told by through the perspective of each player, whether he as the star player or sat on the bench. Each player has a vital role in the game and story. This quick reading story would be great for upper elementary students, primarily male readers. Though the story is told from various perspectives, the story flows smoothly and the author makes it clear on who is speaking. (PP)

Sketches. Walters, Eric. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 226pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06294-2.

Sketches is about three teens Dana, Brent, and Ashley living on the streets because of their broken home lives. Each teen has their own individual story. Dana begins to get in trouble at school and home because of the abuse she receives from her stepfather. In her mind, the only way to solve the issue is to leave home. Dana fortunately runs into Brent and Ashley who both have experience with living on the streets. Brent's unsuitable family life causes him to leave his home while Ashley's exotic dancing mother acts more like her sister than a mother figure. This trio works together performing odd jobs on the street to scrounge up enough money to buy food and other essential products for survival. After a counselor from Sketches, an organization that providing a creative outlet for homeless children, notices Dana's artistic abilities through her graffiti art, the friends find a new hope in life. They are given shelter, food, and art supplies for their creative side and life begins to look up for them. This book speaks to the children on the streets and the children with struggling family lives. The issue is a problem in many of our schools and is a relevant topic in many students’ lives today. This book gives these children a positive and reassuring outlook on life and is a great read for high school students. (PP)

Skinned. Wasserman, Robin. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336), 361pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1416936343.

Lia Kahn had the perfect life. She was popular, beautiful, had great friends, and had a perfect boyfriend. However, Lia’s life flips upside down when she is involved in a fatal car accident that completely changes her life. Lia wakes up in the hospital and realizes her worst nightmare has come true. Lia has become the latest patient of the “download process,” where her memories and brain functions are downloaded onto a computer-based body that is made to look and act like a human. Now Lia’s perfect life has turned into a constant struggle. Lia is unsure of who she is and has lost all of her friends including her boyfriend. This science fiction book gives the reader an interesting look at what makes a person human. It explores a variety of contemporary issues, such as medical ethics, humanity, relationships, and the importance of life. Many teens will be able to relate to Lia’s believable character as she struggles to realize who she is and where she belongs in society. (JN).

Smelly locker: Silly dilly school songs. Katz, Alan. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderr Boosky), 2008. [email protected] Schuster.com, (800-223-2336). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-0695-7. Illustrated by David Catrow.

This book is filled with various funny and rhyming lyrics. The book is a collection of well-known songs with different lyrics that are humorous and clever. The poems are about the things that children experience while they are in school. Some of the topics include, heavy backpacks, hard tests, eating in the lunchroom, and having fun at recess. For example, there is a song called, “Stressed about the test” that is to the tune of “Miss Mary Mack.” Children will enjoy singing the new lyrics that correspond to old familiar songs. The bright illustrations of animated faces are just as entertaining as the songs. This book would be appropriate for children age’s five to eight. (JN)

Smiles to go. Spinelli, Jerry. Harper Collins (Joanna Cotler Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 248pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-0281335.

Will’s world is falling apart around him. The proton has died, the girl he likes Mi-Su is kissing another boy, and his sister won’t stop tormenting him. Finally, something goes right for Will when his sister isn’t allowed to come to the chess tournament. However, while trying to get back at him, she ends up in the hospital after skating down Deadman’s Hill. Only now can Will finally realize that his sister loves him and wants to be like him. This story is good for readers new to the realistic fiction genre, but the plot may be predictable for more experienced readers. (ACZ)

Someone for Mr. Sussman. Polacco, Patricia. Penguin Group (Young Readers), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 40pp. 16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25075-0.

Jerome’s Bubbie (Grandmother) is one of the greatest matchmakers around and she always seems to find the right person for everyone, except for Mr. Sussman. Bubbie enjoyed Mr. Sussman’s company and each time he would come over he would tell Bubbie the kind of woman he was searching for. For example, he said he like a woman who’s favorite color is blue, so Bubbie went out and bought every piece of blue fabric she could find and re-decorated her house. When Mr. Sussman saw the room he was overwhelmed and said it was too much blue, and did not take the hint. These same failures happen throughout the story until Mr. Sussman shows up randomly and is able to see Bubbie for who she really is. The plot of the story is kind of strange and may not be suitable or appropriate for younger children. The illustrations are well done, having a variety of color and depicting the story well. (PP)

Sometimes you get what you want. Gary, Meredith. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-114015-0. Illustrated by Lisa Brown.

This picture storybook by Meredith Gary teaches an important concept to children. It emphasizes the fact that sometimes you get to do what you want, but other times you must learn to take turns, be patient, listen to your parents, and allow other people to do what they want. Gary’s book would be a great tool to help children understand the importance of cooperation, as well as following directions from teachers and parents. This book would be ideal for young children. (LJ)

Soup for breakfast: poems and pictures. Brown, Calef. Houghton Mifflin Company,
2007. houghtonmifflinbooks.com (617-351-5000). 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-91641-2.

This book contains witty poems that any child will enjoy. With poems about random objects such as donuts, cats, and a “parking lot that time forgot”, the reader’s imagination will grow. Children can learn about rhymes through the wacky words sometimes used, and can appreciate the fun pictures that accompany the poems. (AD)

Sourpuss and sweetie pie. Juster, Norton and Chris Raschka. Scholastic Inc., 2006.
scholastic.com (212-242-7737). 29 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-439-92943-1.

A story of a child that is constantly changing her mood from happy to grouchy creates a fun experience that children can relate to. Will the main character in the story be a sourpuss or a sweetie pie? Each turn of the page answers this question throughout the young girl’s day. The illustrations are done in a style that represents a child artist, making facial features that are hard to discern, but in all, the story presents something that children struggle with. It is perfect for children ages 4-8. (AD)

Sparrows. Post, Hans and Kees Heij. Boyds Mills Press (Leminscatt), 2008. [email protected], (800-490-5111). 24pp. $16.95. ISBN978-1-59078-570-6. Illustrated by Irene Goede.

This charming yet informational book depicts the lifecycle of the House Sparrow. The reader is sent on a journey through the life of a sparrow, discovering how they are born, how the parent sparrows nurture their young, predators of the sparrow, how they build nests, and what they eat. The lifecycle of the sparrow is colorfully represented through the warm and vibrant illustrations of Irene Goede. This book is great for all elementary grade levels. It contains an appealing storyline and has interesting visuals for younger students, yet it could also be used in the upper elementary for research. The final page of the book has a brief informative summary of sparrows, focusing on how they were transported from Europe to North America as pets. (PP)

Spellbound. Dale, Anna. Bloomsbury, 2008. [email protected], (888-330-8477). 288pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-599-90006-3.

Athene does not get along with her younger brother Zach one bit. When Athene’s family decides to take a summer holiday at a farmhouse in Somerset, Athene makes it her goal to torture her pesky and naïve little brother. However, Athene becomes distracted when she goes wandering one night and discovers a magical group of gnome-like creatures called the Humble Gloam. Athene realizes that the Humble Gloams are very friendly and inviting, however their rivals, the Low Gloams are evil creatures who hate all humans. Athene is having a great time with the Humble Gloams, until her curious brother follows her into the woods and ruins Athene’s fun. Athene decides to play a trick on Zach by convincing him to enter a tree stump that would turn him into a slave for the evil Low Gloam’s. At first Athene believes she has achieved the ultimate goal of getting rid of her brother. However, Athene soon discovers that life is not the same without her pesky little brother. Athene must now go on a dangerous adventure with the Humble Gloams in order to rescue her brother. This captivating fantasy book is funny, entertaining, and suspenseful. The characters are believable and easy to relate to, especially Athene who strives for attention and is sick of her pesky younger brother. The descriptively charming plot is very believable and will make the reader wanting to learn more about the secret world of the Gloams. This book would be appropriate for children ranging from ages nine to twelve. (JMN)

Splash. Lieshout, Maria Van. Macmillian (Fiewel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], 212-677-7456. 34pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-312-36914-9.

This delightful book is about a young seal who is feeling blue. However, the seal finds a way to bounce back and be cheerful once again. The little seal is a relatable and charming character that is having a bad day, and children will be able to understand the author’s simple approach to a rather serious subject of bouncing back after tough times. The simplicity of the artwork adds to the mood and message of the story. I would highly recommend this book to children of all ages, as everyone will be able to relate to the emotions that the little seal is going through. (JN)

Splat the Cat.Scotton, Rob. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-083154-7.

Splat the Cat is nervous for his first day of Cat School. Splat comes up with all sorts of crazy excuses for why he should wait until tomorrow to go to school. After Splat’s mother finally gets him to school, Splat finds out that school is exciting, and he makes many new friends. This book would be great for younger students who are unsure about their first day of school. (PP)

Spuds. Hess, Karen and Wendy Watson. Scholastic Inc., 2008. scholastic.com (212-242-7737). 28 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-87993-0.

Three children try to help their mother get food by attempting to collect potatoes from a nearby farmer’s field. They do all that they can to collect these potatoes, but the children return home only to find the majority of their crop consists of stones. Their mother finds out and makes them return all that they took. But, when they try to return everything, the farmer has a surprise for them. This book is perfect for 4-8 year old children. (AD)

Sputter, sputter, sput! Bell, Babs. Harper Collins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-056222-9. Illustrated by Bob Staake.

This simple picture storybook would be great for young children. The easy-to-read text describes a boy’s journey in his car and the noises that a car makes. The boy is having a great time driving around town, until his car stops moving. The boy soon realizes that he needs more gas. Once the boy fills his car back up with gas, he is back on the road and enjoying his ride once again. The illustrations are creative, colorful, and entertaining. Each page is engaging as the reader follows the car up and down windy and twisting roads. This simple book will help to teach young children simple concepts, like up and down. (JN)

The starry rift: Tales of new tomorrows. Strahan, Jonathan. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 525pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06059-7.

Any reader of short story science fiction will enjoy this book. This anthology is a collection of 16 recent science fiction stories written by several respected science fiction and fantasy authors. The book is aimed towards young adult readers. Readers encounter artificial intelligence, space colonies, robots, and many other aspects of science fiction in the 21st century among these excellently written short stories. (NMG)

The stars: A new way to see them. Rey, H. A. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 160 pp. $27.00. ISBN 978-0-547-13279-2.

Constellations are brought into focus in this second edition of The stars. Again, H. A. Rey does a spectacular job helping the amateur stargazer understand how to locate and understand the stars, constellations, and their changing cycles throughout the year. Everyone who reads this book is sure to learn basic concepts of stargazing. (ACZ)

Stay clear!: What you should know about skin care. Donovan, Sandy. Lerner, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 64pp. $30.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7550-4.

Written for children entering the puberty stage, this book explains the importance of taking care of your skin to prevent breakouts and keeping it healthy. The techniques discussed include using sunscreen, washing your face, getting plenty of sleep, and much more. It also addresses the different skin products out there, and when to consult a doctor if skin problems continue. This would be a good book for any middle school age child beginning to deal with the changes associated with puberty. (LJ)

Stella stands alone. LaFaye, Alexandria. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 245pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1164-7.

Author Alexandria LaFaye takes a look at what might have been different in Southern America during the 1860s had common individuals viewed slavery differently. LaFay’s alternative fiction confronts the reader with the very real issues of slavery and freedom and explores the possibilities that arise when an individual is willing to stand outside the norm. Readers get to know Stella, a young Southerner fighting to save her family’s farm, as she works alongside her plantation’s slaves and challenges the freed men of her time. Students in 4th grade and above may enjoy this historical fiction novel. (NG)

Stroll and walk, babble and talk. Cleary, Brian P. Lerner (Millbrook Press), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-7850-5. Illustrated by Brian Gable.

This children’s book makes synonyms fun and playful by encouraging readers to explore language creatively. It is appropriate for students as early as first grade. The illustrations cleverly depict the text. The rhythm and rhyme of the text makes reading fun and natural for children. (NMG)

Sugar gliders. O’Sullivan, Elizabeth. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48 pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-7891-8.

This book gives in-depth descriptions about sugar gliders and their natural habitats. These cute little animals are becoming popular in several parts of the United States as pets. By beginning the book with making the reader a “word detective”, it immediately engages the reader, making the information interesting for younger readers, around 9-12 years of age. (AD)

Sweet dreams, dulces sueños. Mora, Pat. Harper Collins Publishing, [email protected], (212-207-7000). 22pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-085042-5. Illustrated by Maribel Suarez.

This story is about a grandmother tucking her two grandchildren into bed. It is a classic bedtime story written in both English and Spanish. The text and illustration are very warm and comforting, making the reader feel as though they are at grandma’s house. It is a quick read and would be great for younger children before they go to bed. (PP)

T is for tugboat. Kirk, Shoshanna. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-722-6657). 32 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6094-9.

Put on your sea legs and climb aboard as this book teaches you both the letters of the alphabet as well as maritime facts. Interesting facts like what hardtack and old salts are, as well as the mixture of nautical pictures and illustrations in the book will excite and help children learn the letters of the alphabet. This is a good addition to any collection of alphabet books, although I would not suggest it as the first alphabet book a child learns. It would make a good supplemental reading for further instruction. (ACZ)

Talent is overrated. Colvin, Geoff. Penguin Group, Inc., 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 228 pp. $25.95. ISBN 978-1-95184-224-8.

What really separates extraordinary people from the rest of society? Were they born talented? No, it is their constant training in what they want to be good at. This book is an excellent source of motivation for anyone looking to be successful in their occupation, whether it is sports, music, or business. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for motivation and keys to success. (ACZ)

Teacher’s night before Halloween. Layne, Steven L. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 30pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-0-5898-05859. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt.

Told in the rhyming style of the classic Night Before Christmas, this poem will entertain students and teachers alike. The setting is the night before Halloween at an elementary school. The students decided to dress for Halloween early and cause all sorts of shenanigans that drive the teachers insane. The teachers are dreading the next day when Halloween will be in full swing, but the students and their parents have something wonderful planned for these teachers. Told in a playful, humorous poem, this story will amuse most readers. (NMG)

The temptress four. Triana, Gaby. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 2470pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-088567-0.

Fiona, Alma, Killian, and Yoli are best friends and have just graduated from high school. The story is written from Fiona’s point of view as the four girls decide to take one last trip together before they all go their separate ways. The night before the girls are to set sail on a Caribbean cruise, they see a fortuneteller who is at their school fair. The fortuneteller tells the girls that one of them will not come home from the trip. The girls worry about their predicted fortune but they decide to put their fears aside and have the best trip ever. However, the trip does not exactly go according to plan. Between boys, parties, secrets, impulsive acts, insecurities, and relationships, the cruise ends up becoming a test of the girls’ friendships. Will the four best friends be able to survive the cruise without separating forever?
This entertaining light read is filled with humor and laughter. I would highly recommend this book to high school girls. Every girl who reads this story will be able to relate to at least one of the four girls, as each one is distinctly different and is struggling with different issues. The commonality between all the girls is that they are all debating what they want to become as they grow into young adults, which is something that a young teen reader will relate to. (JN).

Ten-gallon Bart and the Wild West Show. Crummel, Susan Stevens. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5391-8. Illustrations by Dorothy Donohue.

After retiring from being sheriff, Ten-gallon Bart is tired of sleeping, howling, and fishing. Out of boredom, Bart goes in search of something new and exciting. He discovers that Buffalo Chip’s Wild West Show is coming to his city. Bart gets more and more excited at the thought of becoming a star of the Wild West show. When the day finally comes, Bart is faced with the challenge of waking the bull and successfully riding him. This book is filled with intriguing illustrations full of texture that bring this story to life, making it perfect for any young child. It also teaches children to follow their dreams and remember what really is important in life. (LJ)

Texas Aesop’s fables. Davis, David. Pelican Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 28pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-58980-569-9. Illustrated by Sue Marshall War.

This book includes thirty of Aesop’s famous fables retold with wit and humor in an obvious Western style. It provides a fun new spin to familiar fables. Each fable has the traditional moral listed at the end and is accompanied by detailed illustrations. Written and illustrated by Texas natives, the text and illustrations work together seamlessly to create a Texan atmosphere for the fables’ characters. The text is appropriate and interesting for young readers. (NMG)

Timothy and the strong pajamas. Schwarz, Viviane. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine), 2007. www.scholastic.com, (212-242-7737). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-03329-9.

This delightful children’s picture book features Timothy and his best friend, a monkey. When Timothy’s mom sews Timothy’s old, worn-out pajamas with the strongest thread available, the pajamas aren’t plain anymore; they are super pajamas! Timothy can do all sorts of amazing things wearing his strong pajamas and he uses his super hero powers to help others. But what happens when Timothy gets himself in too much trouble? This tale promotes values of friendship and community. Elementary students will fall in love with Timothy, sharing his dreams and super-hero aspirations. (NMG)

Tiny on the farm. Meister, Cari. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 27pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06246-1. Illustrated by Rich Davis.

Tiny, the biggest dog in the world, helps uncle John search for some lost kittens on the farm. Tiny uses his gigantic nose and a little bit of luck to discover the kittens’ hiding place after searching through most of the farm. With simple text and lovable illustrations, this book introduces children as young as four years old to farm life. (NMG)

Trainstop. Lehman, Barbara. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.children’[email protected], (617-351-5000). 30pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-75640-7.

Trainstop is a wordless picture book that describes a young girl’s adventure on a train. The young girl boards the train with her parents, and after the train passes through a tunnel, all of the adults on the train have fallen asleep. The setting moves from the city to the countryside. When the train stops, the girl finds herself amongst tiny people that fit in the palm of her hand and need her help getting their plane out of a tree. The girl helps them out and gets back on the train to head back to the city. The girl wonders if it was all a dream, but later she sees the tiny people outside of her apartment building. This book has simple illustrations, but it tells an intriguing story that will appeal to the imagination of all young children. (PP)

Troll blood. Langrish, Katherine. Harper Collins (Harper Teen), 2008.
[email protected] (212-207-7000). 340 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-111674-2.

The final novel in the troll trilogy describes a journey on a Viking ship from Troll Fell (in “England” area) to Serpent’s Bay in Vinland (North America). Dangers follow Peer and Hilde on their journey as they travel on the ship with the captain, his wife, and their son. When they arrive in Vinland, Peer and Hilde must face struggles in the strange, new land. This book is recommended to those who love fantasy and who are 10 or older. (AD)

The trouble begins at 8. Fleischman, Sid. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 224pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-06-134431-2.

The author does an excellent job of telling the story of Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Clemens. This book highlights the main events of Twain’s life while acquainting the reader with Twain’s amusing personality. Told from Clemens’s point of view, not all of the facts are undoubtedly true, but the text holds to the true spirit of Twain’s philosophy; “A lie well told is immortal.” Pages of black and white pictures with informational captions enhance the book. Anyone over the age of 8 can enjoy reading this biography. (NMG)

Tupelo rides the rails. Sweet, Melissa. Houghton Mifflin Co., 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 32pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-71714-9.

Tupelo is a dog that has been abandoned on the side of the road and is in search of a place to belong. After finding a group of dogs that make wishes to the star Sirius, Tupelo watches in amazement as all of their dreams come true, and all of the dogs are placed in homes. But once again, Tupelo finds himself alone, and he decides to make a wish upon the star in hopes of his wish coming true too. This is a great book perfect for any child, especially animal lovers, as it gives insight to a dog’s perspective on life. (LJ)

Tyrannosaurus drip. Donaldson, Julia. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 29pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-37747-2. Illustrated by David Roberts.

Told in playful rhyme, this book will appeal to young children (ages 4 and up) who are interested in anything to do with dinosaurs. The T-rex’s are portrayed as evil, supporting war, hunting, and the eating of meat, and the duckbill dinosaurs are good, supporting peace, rivers, and eating veggies. One day a duckbill egg accidentally gets mixed in with the T-rex eggs; T-rex’s are not very bright and don’t notice. The egg hatches and the T-rex’s name the new creature Tyrannosaurus Drip. Drip, not fitting in with his family, runs away and finds other duckbilled dinosaurs to live with. In the end the T-rexes are drowned. The illustrations compliment the text wonderfully, but educators should be wary of the themes presented in the book. (NMG)

Tyson the Terrible. Fox, Diane and Christyan Fox. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2006. [email protected], (212-674-5151). 22pp. $12.95. ISBN 1-58234-734-4.

All of the dinosaurs are talking about how terrible the tyrannosaurus is, but they soon realize that they are wrong when they have a surprise meeting with Tyson. With an intriguing plot, thick pages, kid-friendly illustrations, and a fun pop-up page at the end, this book would be perfect for a young child. (LJ)

The umbrella queen. Bridges, Shirin Yim. Harper Collins Publishing (Greenwillow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-075040-4. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo.

Set in Thailand, this story is about a celebration called the Umbrella Parade. All throughout this small town in Thailand, the women and girls paint beautiful bamboo umbrellas. Then, when the time comes for the Umbrella Parade, the best one is chosen and that individual is named the Umbrella Queen, who then leads the Umbrella Parade. Noot is a young girl who begins painting umbrellas, but then frustrates her parents with her unusual ideas. This is a cute story of an underdog rising above, with a cultural twist. (LJ)

The underneath. Appelt, Kathi. Simon & Schuster Inc. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), 2008. 311pp. $16.99. ISBN978-1-4169-5058-5.

The underneath is a story about a calico cat left in a lonely forest by her family. After becoming extremely lonely, this cat hears a hound dog, and they both go find each other through the forest. The calico cat is about to have babies and the hound dog suggests that she go underneath the porch to protect them. Once the adventurous babies are born, many events begin to take place. Then, the reader is introduced to another story about a crabby snake that has been stuck in a jar for years. Throughout the book, these two stories intermingle to create a wonderful book for any animal lover. (LJ)

United tweets of America: 50 state birds: their stories, their glories. Talbott, Hudson.
Penguin Group, 2008. penguingroup.com, (800-631-8571). 62 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24520-6.

From Alabama to Wyoming, the 50 state birds compete to prove they are the best bird, with the national bird directing the competition. The birds show off their states starting with state nicknames, followed by the state capitals. The book then describes each state bird. This book is perfect for children ages 4-8 years old who wish to learn about geography and information on the 50 states. (AD)

Up all night: Six sunsets, six stories. Abrahams, Peter, Bray, Levithan, McCormick, Weeks, and Yang. Harper Collins Publishing (Harper Teen), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 225 pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-137076-2.

Up All Night includes six stories, all of which relate to the current lives of teenagers. The six different stories deal with issues like drugs, sexual relations, homosexuality, and death. These stories are mature in nature and should not be read by young readers. However, many high school readers will be able to relate to the feelings and situations that the characters in the stories experience. The endings of some of the stories are predictable, but readers should be able to relate to the character’s situations. (ACZ)

Up close: Primatologist Jane Goodall. Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 218pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-0663-8.

This biography will interest young readers who enjoy primatology, environmental science, and animal behavior. Readers are taken on a journey through Jane’s life, from her birth to her years as a seasoned philanthropist and celebrated speaker. This book provides a female role model for young girls; however, it often glosses over Jane’s imperfections and spins circumstances so that Jane seems almost inhumanly talented at everything she does. Readers should be around 12 years old in order to navigate the vocabulary and enjoy this biography. (NMG)

Up close: Rock legend Elvis Presley. Hampton, Wilborn. Penguin Group, 2007.
penguingroup.com, (800-631-8571). 197 pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241148-3.

The story of “The King of Rock and Roll” is told by Wilborn Hampton. He tells the journey of Elvis’ life growing up and his journey to fame as well as his death and the causes for all of what happened in his life. This book is perfect for the reader who wishes to know about The King and as much about his life as Hampton can provide. (AD)

Up close: Thurgood Marshall. Crowe, Chris. Penguin Group (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 248pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06228-7.

Rich in history, this book draws the reader into the life of Thurgood Marshall. Portraying a highly relatable character, this book gives children an African-American role model who truly made a difference in America’s history. It forces the reader to confront Jim Crow laws and segregation. It also has a message worth passing on; with hard work, anyone can change history for the better. Twelve is the recommended age for reading this biography. (NMG)

USA Today lifeline biographies: Bill Gates. Lesinski, Jeanna M. Lerner (twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 112pp. $33.26. ISBN 978-1-58013-570-2.

Bill Gates has become a household name ever since he co-founded Microsoft and became a billionaire computer tycoon. This fascinating biography goes through the events that led up to Gates success and also gives the reader an inside look at his family, interests, and the charitable work that he is involved in. The book starts with Gates as a child living in Seattle. The book then moves into his time at Harvard, joining the Microsoft team, and working for Windows. This biography not only describes his career, but it also talks about the inspirational things that he has done outside of his work. This book does an excellent job of providing not only factual information on Bill Gates but also events and inventions that were occurring during the time period that Gates was living in. I would highly recommend this book for children ages 9 to 12. The life of Bill Gates will captivate readers and this biography will inspire children to want to learn more about the life of Bill Gates. (JN)

USA Today lifeline biographies: Oprah Winfrey. Krohn, Katherine. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 112pp. $33.26. ISBN 978-1-58013-571-9.

This exciting biography on Oprah Winfrey is a great snap shot of the successes and failures that Oprah has achieved over the years. The book briefly describes Oprah’s family life, schooling, her career decisions, her many organizations, and her successful magazine. Oprah, who grew up living in poverty, is an inspirational woman because she was determined to make a better life for her and her family. Even though Oprah faced many challenging obstacles, she stayed focused on her goals and never gave up on her dream. Oprah’s success has given her the opportunity to give back and help people who are in need. This biography serves as a great introduction to Oprah Winfrey’s life. I would highly recommend this book to children ages eight to twelve. (JN)

USA Today lifeline biographies: Vera Wang. Krohn, Katherine. Lerner (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], 800-328-4929. 112pp. $33.26. ISBN 978-1-58013-572-6.

This biography book takes the reader on a journey through the life of Vera Wang. Wang is widely known as a very accomplished fashion designer and an entrepreneur. This biography not only takes the reader through Wang’s successful career, but it also describes Vera Wang’s childhood, schooling, family, and her first jobs. Vera Wang has done a lot in her lifetime and readers will be surprised to learn all of the things that she’s experienced, including competitive figuring skating. The book includes many entertaining and fascinating photos of Vera Wang and examples of the dresses that she has designed over the years. At the end of the book, the author has included a brief timeline of the influential events in Vera Wang’s life. The book also includes a glossary and brief excerpts about what events were occurring during the given time period of the book. This would be an excellent book for children ages 9 to 13. (JN)

Vampires: And other monstrous creatures. Pemberton-Smythe, Professor Julius. Harper Collins Publishing, 2007. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 79pp. $12.99. ISBN978-0-06-145412-7.

This information book reveals to readers everything there is to know about vampires and other dark, evil creatures in a picture-filled retelling of Dr. Cornelius Van Helsing’s diary of his journey across Transylvania. Grotesque and graphic pictures may be too much for many readers to handle and won’t fit many classroom settings, although readers may enjoy the advice that Van Helsing gives to readers who may encounter monstrous creatures of the night. (ACZ)

Voss: how I come to America and am hero, mostly. Ives, David. Penguin Group, Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 200pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-0-399-24722-4.

Voss: How I Come to America and Am Hero, Mostly written by David Ives consists of a series of comic letters between Vospop Csklzwczdztwczky or Voss, a boy who has smuggled himself to America in a crate of cheese puffs, and a friend back home. In broken English, the Slobovian immigrant recounts his experiences in his new world, America. Voss finds out that life in America isn't as easy as he thought it would be; having to find a job, rescue his father from a hospital, escape from gangsters, and deal with everyday problems in his new fast pace environment. This hilarious story would be good for middle school readers. At times it is a tough read because of the broken English and strange slang used by Voss in his letters; the book is by no means grammatically correct, which adds to the authenticity of his character. This book would not be particularly effective for a classroom, but would be an interesting independent read for students. (PP)

Vroom! It’s color time. Shannon, David and Loren Long and David Gordon. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4174-3.

This short and simple book takes us through another day in Trucktown, discovering various road signs and their colors. The book allows the reader to remove the signs and at the end of the story they are able to match the correct sign and create their own Trucktown scene. This story would be great for young male readers who are learning their colors. (PP)

Vunce upon a time. Seibold, J.otto. Chronicle Books, 2008. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 40 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0811862714. Illustrated by Siobhan Vivian.

This entertaining book is about finding one’s identity and wanting to fit in. Dagmar was different from all of the other vampires from the beginning because he was a vegetarian and also loved chocolate. When he realizes that his candy stash is almost out, a friend tells him about Halloween and Dagmar decides he must go trick-or-treating to replenish it. Dagmar runs into some conflicts as he can not figure out what to dress up as, costumes being ruined, and encounters with humans. The pictures are dark and kind of gloomy, but connect with the theme of Halloween. A lot of detail, texture, and color were used in each picture to make the story more appealing. (LS)

War of the witches. Carranza, Maite. Bloomsbury, 2005. [email protected] (888-330-8477). 341 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-102-2.

Anaid’s mother has a secret, and Anaid doesn’t know about it until her mother mysteriously disappears. After this disappearance, the truth behind her mother’s background is revealed: she’s a witch prophesied to end a war between her own clan of witches, the Omar, and another clan, the Odish. As she journeys to search for her mother, she starts to find her own powers and tries to build on them. This book is perfect for young adults who love adventure and the idea of magic. (AD)

Warriors: Cats of the clans. Hunter, Eric. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 90pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-06-145856-9. Illustrated by Wayne McLoughlin.

This unique narrative begins when three StarClan kits get lost and end up in Rock’s cave. Lucky for the three kits, Rock knows all of their families and offers to tell the kits all about the most worthy and influential cats from the past. The book is then divided into one-page biographies of important cats from the ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, ShadowClan, and cats outside the Clans. The descriptive text and incredibly realistic illustrations gives the reader a great look into the adventurous lives of the different cats and their Clans. At times the text is complex and wordy, so it is recommended for children ranging from ages nine to twelve. (JMN)

The way we work: getting to know the amazing human body. Macaulay, David. Houghton Mifflin (Walter Lorraine), 2008. [email protected], (617-351-5000). 336pp. $35.00. ISBN 978-0-618-23378-6.

The way we work: getting to know the amazing human body is essentially a simplified version of a traditional biology textbook, breaking down the human body into the each individual part. This book begins with the beginning concepts for understanding the body, by going into ions, atoms and molecules all the way to each individual system of the body. This is a phenomenal textbook for upper elementary age children, as it breaks down the information in an easily understood manner that children can comprehend, and illustrations throughout the book that aid learning. A word of caution for teachers and/or parents, this book goes into how babies are conceived and born; however, the rest of the book would be extremely beneficial for children to grasp the concepts for how the body works. (LJ)

We the people: The story of our Constitution. Cheney, Lynne and Greg Herlin. Simon
and Schuster Publishing Company, 2008. simonandschuster.com, (800-223-2336). 33 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5418-7.

This is the story of how and why the Constitution was formed. Perfect for 4-8 year old children, this book describes the fight between farmers and the government after the Revolution was won, and the struggle that was going on among the thirteen states. In May 1787, several distinguished members of the country came together to form the words that would state the ideals of America and inspire the world. (AD)

We’re going on a lion hunt. Cuyler, Margery and Joe Mathieu. Marshall Cavendish
Corporation, 2008. marshallcavendish.com, (no phone number). 32 pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5454-0.

This remake of a common story begins in a classroom setting with the teacher telling her students to use imagination so they can go on a lion hunt. As the story continues, the children face obstacles that they can’t go over, under, or around, but they find ways to get past them so they can face the lion. But, what happens when they meet this lion? This book is appropriate for imaginative children ages 3-8. (AD)

Welcome spring! Bryant, Megan. Penguin Group, Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2008. 32 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0448447780. Illustrated by Paul Nunn.

The Treetures go on an adventure to study trees. They learn about photosynthesis, how to protect trees, and the benefits of having them. They use poems and experiments to add to the excitement. This book would be great in the classroom as it could definitely be used as a learning tool for children. The book also provides some examples in ways that we can all help to preserve trees and “go green”. The pictures help explain what is being said in the text. The illustrator used a lot of colors you would find in the forest, but added in pinks, blues, and reds to add character to the pictures. (LS)

Welcome to your world Baby. Shields, Brooke. Harper Collins Publishing, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125311-9. Illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld.

Written about a young girl who becomes an older sister after a new baby girl is brought home, this book explores all the joys of sisterhood. From having secret sleepovers to teaching the ABCs, the older sister in this story provides numerous examples of ways to embrace a sister-sister relationship. This book is filled with beautiful, fun illustrations that bring the story to life, making it a perfect story for any young girl making the transition to an older sister. (LJ)

What a wreck! Shannon, David and Loren Long and David Gordon. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4177-4.

This brief, easy to read toy book describes a day in Trucktown. The reader is able to interact with the story by opening garage doors, touching a pile of dirt from Dump Truck Dan, and picking up wood and tires with a pay loader. This would be a great interactive story for beginning male readers. (PP)

What’s going on? O’Callaghan, Elena. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2008. [email protected], 800-968-1930. 32pp. ISBN 978-1-933605-65-4. Illustrated by Africa Fanlo.

This entertaining story is about a young boy who has noticed that everything has changed around his house. Everything used to be calm and clean around the house, and now everyone is busy and the house is a mess. In the end, the reader finds out that the reason why everything is so chaotic is because the young boy has just recently become a big brother and everyone is busy taking care of his new little sister. Children will enjoy the unique layout of the pages. On one side, there is an illustration and a description of what a room used to look like and then on the next page the reader is able to compare what the room now looks like. The illustrations are humorous and creative because of the use of mixed-media collages. The young boy is a very relatable character because many children will be able to understand what he his going through as a new big brother. This book would be appropriate for children age’s four to eight. (JN)

When it happens. Colasanti, Susane. Penguin Group, Inc. (Speak), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 310pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241155-1

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti is about a young girl, Sara, who is looking for true love. It is her senior year of high school and she is bound and determined to get her crush, Dave. Not only does she want to be his girlfriend, but she also wants him to truly love her for all she is, good and bad. When she finally gets together with Dave, she forgets about her other girl friends as she tries to become friends with Dave’s friends. Meanwhile, Tobey, the artist in his band, has completely fallen for Sara and is trying to win her over. Later, Tobey and Sara become music partners and learn about how much they have in common with each other. Sara learns that Dave is not what she is looking for in her search for true love. The point of view changes between Sara and Tobey throughout the chapters. This book is great for teens that are exploring love. (MAH)

Where is home, little Pip? Wilson, Karma and Jane Chapman. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books) 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-85983-0.

Little Pip is a small baby penguin that always listens to her parents when they tell her to stick close and when they sing about home. One day she chases after a black feather and soon finds herself lost, alone, and scared. Trying to find her home, she asks a whale, a gull, and some huskies how to find home, but none of them can help. Eventually, cold and sad, she sings her song about home to try to feel better, and her parents hear the song. The family is finally reunited. This story is beautifully illustrated, giving the penguins expressive faces. This story is great for younger children because it emphasizes the importance of family and the comfort of being at home. (PP)

Who was Queen Elizabeth? Eding, June. Penguin Group (Grosset & Dunlap), 2008. [email protected], 800-631-8571. 103pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-44839-8. Illustrated by Nancy Harrison.

This simple biography on Queen Elizabeth is both entertaining and informational. Queen Elizabeth was a strong, powerful, and fearless leader of England, and June Eding does a wonderful job of depicting both Queen Elizabeth’s strengths and weaknesses. Even though Elizabeth led a rare lifestyle, children will still be able to relate to her and all of the obstacles that she had to overcome in order to achieve her goals. Queen Elizabeth had to deal with many conflicts, including death, an unloving father, and having little privacy. The book also allows for readers to take a glimpse into what life was like in the 1500’s. The book includes a timeline of Queen Elizabeth’s life and a timeline of the events that were going on in the world. The sources that are presented in the back of the book allows for this book to be an excellent reference for students who are conducting research on Queen Elizabeth. This would be an excellent book for children age’s 8 to 12. (JN)

Whoosh around the mulberry bush. Ormerod, Jan. Barron’s, 2007. [email protected], (800-645-3476). 24pp. $8.99. ISBN 0-7641-9313-9. Illustrated by Lindsey Gardiner.

This book begins with a group of happy children dancing around a mulberry bush. Each page that follows shows different kinds of animals from around the world and how they like to dance. The pages are filled with dancing chickens, monkeys, crabs, whales, lizards, polar bears, zebras, and birds. In the end, all of the animals and children join together and happily dance around the mulberry bush. This book will encourage children to learn more about different habitats and wildlife. The illustrations are complete with bright colors and exciting patterns. The book includes a sing along CD that goes along with the book. This book would be appropriate for children age’s three to six. (JN)

Winnie’s midnight dragon. Thomas, Valerie, Korky Paul. Harper Collins Publishing, 2006. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-117314-1.

After Winnie the Witch follows her normal bedtime routine, she falls fast asleep until her cat, Wilbur, finds a mysterious visitor at the door. This visitor reveals himself as a dragon, frightening Wilbur and causing quite a ruckus in the house as the two chase each other. Winnie the Witch wakes from all the noise and is forced to come up with a solution for what to do with the unexpected visitor. For children who enjoy a good adventure with many unexpected events, this book will be perfect. (LJ)

Won’t you be my hugaroo? Ryder, Joanne. Harcourt, Inc. (Red Wagon Books), 2006. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 27p. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206298-9. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

With easy to turn pages and short rhyming text, this book shows preschoolers a world of different hugs. There are friendly, twirly, good-job, and cheer-up hugs among others. Each kind of hug has a beautiful, sometimes silly, illustration showing different animals sharing hugs in different circumstances. Ending with a cozy good night hug, this book is an excellent nighttime or naptime story for preschoolers. (NMG)

Won’t you be my kissaroo? Ryder, Joanne. Harcourt, Inc. (Red Wagon Books), 2004. [email protected], (407-345-2000). 29pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206060-2. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

With easy to turn pages and short rhyming text, this book shows preschoolers a world of different kisses. There are morning, hello, goodbye, puppy, kitten, and playful kisses among others. Each kind of kiss has a beautiful, sometimes silly, illustration showing a different animal pair sharing a kiss. Each of the parent/child pairs is a different animal, suggesting that kisses are shared in families of all shapes and sizes under many different circumstances. Ending with a bedtime kiss, this book would make an excellent nighttime story to share between guardian and child. (NMG)

Yes we can: A biography of Barack Obama. Thomas, Garen. Macmillan (Feiwel and friends), 2008. [email protected], 212-677-7456. 200pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-312-56709-8.

This excellent biography allows readers to get a closer look at the fascinating life of Barack Obama. The biography takes the reader on a journey from Barack’s childhood days spent in Indonesia and Hawaii, all the way to his inspiring presidential campaign. The book includes photos of Barack’s childhood, travels, his family, and his life on the campaign trail. The book also highlights many important and influential quotes that Barack Obama has said over the years. Children will enjoy reading about all of the obstacles and failures that Barack Obama had to overcome in order to achieve his goals. The book does an excellent job of explaining the American political system in a way that young adults will be able to understand. This would be a great book for children ages 9 to 13. (JN)

Yoko writes her name. Wells, Rosemary. Hyperion Books, 2008. [email protected], 800-238-0190. 23 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-078680371-2.

Yoko is very excited because she has just learned how to write her name. Unlike the rest of the students in her class, Yoko is Japanese, so she writes her name in Japanese printing, not English. The teacher is very proud of Yoko, however two girls tease Yoko because they think she is just scribbling. The girls continue to tease Yoko and convince her that she will not graduate Kindergarten because she does not know how to write her name the way they do. With support and enthusiasm from her teacher and mother, Yoko is able to appreciate her uniqueness and offers to help teach the whole class how to write their names in Japanese. In the end, all of the students learn how to write their names in both English and Japanese. This book has many great messages, like the importance of ones culture, individuality, and tolerance of those who are different. Second language learners will be able to relate to the struggles and emotions that Yoko is going through. I would highly recommend this book to all children age’s four to eight. (JN)

You can do it! Dungy, Tony. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1416954619. Illustrated by Anne June Bates.

Tony Dungy’s little brother, Linden, is having a bad day at school. He is also struggling with finding his “it”. Tony knows what he wants to do when he grew up, but Linden does not. But one day, due to a cavity needing to be filled, Linden goes to the dentist and realizes that the dentist likes to make people smile, just as Linden does. The dentist helps him find his “it”. The pictures seem to be drawn and show great detail (down to Tony’s freckles). The encouragement from his family, especially his older brother, helped him achieve his dreams and keep his faith in God. Family importance is a key theme in this book along with having faith and achieving dreams. It is suitable for readers young and old as we can all be inspired by Linden and Tony’s story. (LS)

You can’t go to school naked. Billstrom, Dianne. Penguin Group (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 30 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24738-5. Illustrated by Don Kilpatrick III.

“You must wear clothes when you go to school,” said a boy’s parents, but all he wants to do is go to school naked. Going against social norms, his parents try to steer him in a more modest direction that will leave readers laughing. This is one of the funniest books I have read, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone. (ACZ)

The youngest templar: Keeper of the Grail. Sprandlin, Michael. Penguin Group (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), 2008. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 248pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-399-24763-7.

Tristan is a young man brought up by monks during the Dark Ages. After meeting Sir Thomas and enlisting with the Knights Templar, Tristan fights to learn who he is and protect the Grail, given to him by his master, Sir Thomas. As he travels with the knights to fight in Richard the Lionheart’s Crusade, readers will discover, along with Tristan, the meaning of friendship, valor, and courage that everyone possesses. The only question left to readers is will Tristan be able to thwart the evil Templar, Sir Hugh? Only the sequel will reveal this information in the continuation of The Youngest Templar series. (ACZ)

Zombie blondes. James, Brian. Macmillan (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (212-677-7456). 232pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-312-37298-9.

After numerous location changes throughout her life, Hannah Sanders has changed homes yet another time, this time landing at Maplecrest High. Her father always seems to be in financial trouble, and he runs from his problems by moving somewhere new. From the beginning Hannah could sense something different about her new neighborhood. Being used to new schools, Hannah is immediately able to identify the cliques. The most noticeable among the cliques at Maplecrest High are the cheerleaders lead by Maggie Turner. The cheerleaders share many similar characteristics, all with blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. Her only friend Lukas warns her about the popular crowd, describing them as flesh eating zombies that are killing the town. Hannah doesn’t believe his warning, and she tries out for the cheerleading squad anyway. What will she have to do to be accepted? James Brian creates a believable fantasy story containing many real life situations. Young readers will be pulled into the fantasy elements while understanding the underlining messages of bullying, making friends, acceptance, and starting over. (PP)