Luther College Student Reviews

Reviews are sorted alphabetically by author’s last name.

Max Cassidy: Escape from Shadow Island. Adam, Paul. HarperCollins Publishers (Walden Pond Press), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 295pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-186323-3.

Max is a fourteen-year old boy living in London. A few years ago, his life was turned upside down when his father died and his mother was put in jail for committing a crime. He now lives with his guardian and performs stunt shows. Just as his life seems to be regaining some normalcy, a man comes to see his show and tells him his father is still alive and his mother is innocent. Max sets out on a grueling and exciting journey to a country called Santa Domingo to find out the truth of what really happened to his family. Readers must pay attention to the details of each page in order to follow this thriller. Max’s journey will teach readers how with determination a person can accomplish anything, as they experience feelings of adventure and terror as they await the outcome of Max’s journey. (CKB)

Don’t talk to me about the war. Adler, David A. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 216pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241372-2.

Although the Dodgers are a part of life in Brooklyn in the 1940’s, the war is much more important. Tommy, a thirteen-year-old boy, is upset because the war updates are broadcasted over the Dodger games. His mother is also diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. He learns of the pain and suffering that the Jewish people of Germany are experiencing from his Jewish friend Sarah. This historically accurate depiction of life in Brooklyn during WWII demonstrates Tommy’s struggles as he deals with many hardships, some of which readers will be able to relate to today. (PM)

Super Duck. Albourough, Jez. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-89-0.

Make way for Super Duck! In this lively story Super Duck, Goat, and Sheep set out on a mission to fly a kite. However, a dilemma arises when they realize there is no wind to help their kite fly. Super Duck and his friends are determined to fly their kite, so they come up with creative ways to get the kite soaring. Unfortunately, the trio’s creativity is no match for the windless day. Suddenly, the wind picks up and Super Duck must save the day as the kite and Frog take off into the sky.

Children will love the rich, vibrant text in this rhyming super hero story. Each page is filled with onomatopoeia and action words, bringing the sounds and movements of the story to life. Students can see the kite as it “flips and flaps” in the sky and are able to imagine the crash of the kite with a “thumpity thump”. The colorful text is complemented by the lively illustrations that depict the adventures of Super Duck and his friends. The rich language, along with the inspiring story of a not-so-super super hero and his friends, makes this story an excellent choice for young readers. (KRR)

A gift of days: The greatest words to live by. Alcorn, Stephen. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 113pp. $21.99. ISBN 9781416967767.

The concept of this book is simple: to ponder a quotation a day collected from a wide range of great authors, athletes, musicians, activists, politicians, scientists, and more. The easy-to-read layout and Alcorn’s fantastic portraits scattered throughout make this book appropriate for students of all ages, or anyone who needs a daily dose of inspiration. (MC)

Buzz Aldrin: Look at the stars. Aldrin, Buzz. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24721-7. Illustrated by Wendell Minor.

Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon, wrote this great history picture book to discusses Newton’s discoveries and future ideas for space stations. The beautiful paintings enhance the text, and allow the reader to appreciate the beauty of space. This book would be very useful in elementary school classrooms. (EMR)

Max and the dumb flower picture. Alexander, Martha. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-156-1. Illustrated by James Rumford.

Max is a child who never listens in class and refuses to color a picture of a flower for Mother’s Day. Max runs out of the classroom and hides in the bushes. While he is in the bushes, he draws his own picture of a flower. The theme of the story is to have an imagination of your own. However, the author’s message could also portray that kids can disobey directions without facing consequences. Overall the storyline and idea of the book is appropriate for children. (BCHM)

Quiet in the garden. Aliki. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $17.99, ISBN978-0-06-155207-6.

This book is about a boy who loves spending time in his garden. He enjoys listening to the birds nibbling on berries, mice munching on trash, and squirrels eating their nuts, and the other sounds of nature. It is a peaceful book that young children might enjoy. The illustrations are done well; they are flushed out which makes the story more engaging. (SE, NH)

Riding invisible. Alonzo, Sandra. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion-Disney), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 234pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-142311898-5. Illustrated by Nathan Huang.

This book is the journal of Yancy Aparicio, a quiet fifteen-year-old boy who lives in the shadow of his violent and hostile older brother, Will, who suffers from a mental condition. After Will attacks Yancy’s beloved horse, Shy, he decides to run away. Yancy finds a safe place to stay and work at a ranch under the protective care of Tavo, an immigrant worker. Soon, however, Yancy’s parents discover where he is and he is forced to return home. After gaining confidence in himself as a result of his solo journey, Yancy goes back home feeling more determined than ever. The conversational tone and clever artwork of Yancy’s journal create a funny and touching account of this young man’s endeavor to stop being invisible and to step into his true identity. (NO)

Our grandparents: A global album. Amjera, Maya. Charlesbridge, 2010. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 30pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-459-1.

Our Grandparents: A global album does a great job of serving as a tribute to Grandparent’s roles in the lives of their grandchildren. Large, full color, action photos capture the love and laughter of such a special and universal bond. While the U.S. is represented several times, a comprehensive glimpse of people from around the world is complemented by simple, powerful, statements that convey the importance of passing on tradition and nurturing subsequent generations. (LG)

Chains. Anderson, Laurie Halse. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), First published in 2008, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 316pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-0586-8.

This heart-wrenching story written by Laurie Halse Anderson is one for all ages. Finalist of the National Book Award and winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction shows the reader how impressively written this book is! Isabel’s story of fighting for freedom and individual internal strength will force the reader to ponder and leave them with an unexplainable feeling in their gut. (KM)

The hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher goes to school. Anderson, Laurie Halse. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-85809-3. Illustrated by Ard Hoyt.

The wild hair of Zoe Fellfenbacher is the star character in this children’s book by Laurie Halse Anderson. Zoe’s hair is a blessing to everyone, but not to Zoe’s new first grade teacher, Ms. Trisk. Ms. Trisk believes the only way to control the hair is to hide it. But soon, she finds out that the very thing she thinks is a hindrance is actually a huge help in her classroom. The hair challenges Ms. Trisk’s acceptance, just like Anderson challenges children’s imagination in this wonderful story about acceptance. (EMR)

Jasper Dash and the flame-pits of Delaware. Anderson, M.T. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 423pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8639-3. Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus.

Boy Technonaut and his friends Lily and Katie try to solve the mystery of the curse of the jaguar. This well-written comic style book is different from other children’s novels because it uses many pictures and the text is formatted in a non-traditional manner. Readers will enjoy following the mysterious adventures of Jasper and his friends. (PM)

Freefall. Anhalt, Ariela. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected] (617-351-1185). 250pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206567-6.

Anhalt’s Freefall is a thrilling book sure to keep readers on their toes. The story follows two best friends, Hayden and Luke, who are involved in similar groups and activities at school, but have extremely different personalities. When the new “big shot” student, Russell, moves into town, Hayden thinks he must ‘mark his territory’. However, after an initiation activity goes wrong, Luke must serve as the only eyewitness against his friend, Hayden. The plot and conflict in the story are very clearly and easily identified, making it able for young readers to follow. The use of suspense, scandal, and deep moral development in this book is geared toward a mature audience and thus more appropriate for readers aged 13 and up. (MAM)

Brand-new baby blues. Appelt, Kathi. HarperCollins Publishing, 2010. [email protected], 212-207-7000. 29pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-06-053233-8. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy.

Brand-new baby blues tells the story of a young girl who is an only child. She is very happy because she gets all of her parents’ attention and spends lots of time with them. This all changes when the little girl’s mother has a baby. Now she has a baby brother to share the attention with, and this does not make her happy. Initially, she is upset because her parents are unable to play games anymore and her new brother wears her old pajamas, sleeps in her old bed, and has taken her favorite teddy bear. Over time the little girl begins to tolerate her new baby brother more and more, and before long she realizes that her brother is not so bad after all. She begins to think of different things she can teach him as he gets older. Readers will relate to the ordinary child who experiences something new in her life. The brightly colored illustrations set the mood for the book, while the detailed expressions of characters portray their emotions well. This book is great for young elementary students, especially those who are expecting a new brother or sister in their family. (AD)

Up close: Bill Gates. Aronson, Marc. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 192pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06348-2.

Up close: Bill Gates, is a biography written of Bill Gates and the start of the Microsoft Company. It answers questions that are relatable and of interest to teenagers, rather than simply listing facts about Microsoft and Bill Gates. This well written book will be enjoyable to readers as it describes Bill Gate’s idea and how he put it into action. (CF)

Slow down for manatees. Arnosky, Jim. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-399-24170-3.

Jim Arnosky’s book Slow down for manatees tells the fictional story of a manatee’s journey inspired by true events. A manatee has an encounter with the propellers of a boat and is badly injured. The manatee is rescued and brought to an aquarium where it is taken care of until it is released back into its natural habitat. While the manatee is at the aquarium it gives birth, and the aquarium employees must take care of the two manatees until their release. Employees place signs in the water saying “Slow Down for Manatees” to advise boaters to be cautious while driving. Vibrant colors used by the illustrator are appealing, and the use of different shades of blue, green, and yellow appeal to the natural aspect of the book. The detail used in the landscapes of the drawing adds to the text of the book. Although the manatee is harmed, the use of color and line in the illustrations do not portray the manatee as being in great danger. This book is both very informative and enjoyable for any beginning reader. (AD)

Rita and Whatsit at the beach. Arrou-Vignod, Jean-Philippe. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 26pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6551-7 Illustrated by Olivier Tallec.

Rita and Whatsit at the beach follows Rita, a little girl with a large personality. Rita’s dog does not have a name, so she calls it Whatsit. Rita and Whatsit are a perfect pair who love to play silly, imaginative games together. While spending a day at the beach, Rita pretends that she is a bikini princess and Whatsit is the beach captain. The illustrations by Olivier Tallec are simple, reflecting the artwork of a child, and contain a sweet sense of humor. (KAR)

Here comes gosling! Asher, Sandy. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399250859. Illustrated by Keith Graves.

This book deals with one of the most prevalent struggles in a younger child’s life: patience. Every child and even many adults struggle with the fact that they need to wait for things to come to them, and one must work for something instead of sitting and waiting for it to come to them. Through colorful pictures and song, Sandy Asher creates a story of an impatient frog that is excited to see his friends Gander and Goose, as well as their new baby Gosling. Froggie and his friend Rabbit prepare all day for the friends’ arrival by cooking, baking and preparing a picnic. The first half of the book teaches the reader that no matter how excited one is, they must be patient and work for the reward. In this case, Froggie’s reward is seeing his friends. When his friends arrive, the baby Gosling needs time to warm up to Froggie, but eventually does with the help of a stuffed animal called Mr. Green. Patience and friendship is emphasized in this charming song and picture book. (PM)

Leonardo DaVinci. Augarde, Steve. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 63pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6174-7. Illustrated by Leo Brown.

Leonardo DaVinci is a brilliant tool for teaching children what the life of the mastermind artist Leonard DaVinci was truly like. DaVinici’s life story is told through the diary of a young, fictional boy named Paolo who grew up in Milan, Italy in the mid 1400s. Working as an apprentice to DaVinci, Paolo witnessed first hand what his life was like during the Renaissance. The personal stories, along with the beautiful, bright pictures will draw readers in as they imagine what their life might be like working with one of their present day idols. Told from the heart, the story seems completely realistic and includes accurate historical content in excerpts on several pages. The pages, which resemble parchment, along with the print set the mood for the time period. Readers of both genders will enjoy this fantastic learning tool and touching story. (CKB)

Murder at midnight. Avi. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 254pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780545080903.

When Mangus the Magician is accused of treason in 15th century Italy, his young servant Fabrizio must prove his innocence by discovering and exposing the true traitor. Much of Murder at midnight revolves around the event of the printing press coming to Fabrizio’s small village for the first time. This book gives readers a twist, when the townspeople and accusers in the story blame unexplained things on the devil. Avi does a wonderful job realistically portraying the mindset of people living in this time period. (MC)

The mitten. Aylesworth, Jim. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhlep.com, (212-343-6100). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-92544-0. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock.

Jim Aylesworth’s The mitten encompasses a plethora of wonderful literary elements teachers will absolutely love. It has rhythm and repetition, which is great for getting students involved and helps beginning readers improve reading skills. The story also encompasses a message of sharing. Near realistic pictures, created by Barbara McClintock, take the reader on a journey and make the unrealistic story seem almost possible, while still leaving a sense of wonder and amazement. This book will help spark the imaginations of its readers as they think about what could happen to things they have left or lost outside. (NB)

Our Abe Lincoln. Aylesworth, Jim. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-92548-8. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock.

Repetition and a song-like style are used to tell the story of Abe Lincoln’s life from childhood to presidency. Readers will learn of Lincoln’s life in the wilderness, as he reads by the firelight, cuts down oak trees, and performs good deeds. Readers follow Lincoln as he goes to Washington, becomes president, abolishes slavery, and gives the infamous Gettysburg address. Included is a song about Abe Lincoln, adapted from a song used during his campaigns for presidency. (ESS)

Panda and polar bear. Baek, Matthew J. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3359.

When people think about race, they usually do not think in terms of animals; however, Matthew Baek did just that as he wrote a children’s book that chronicles the adventures of a mud-covered polar bear that falls down an icy cliff and lands in the home of a panda bear. The mud makes the polar bear resemble a panda bear so the actual panda bear and the imposter do panda bear things. Towards the end of the book, the mud washes off, and instead of rejecting him, the panda shows that he has a good heart and helps the polar bear back home. The illustrator uses a unique contrast of blues and white to show the snow-covered world of the polar bear as well as an interesting mix of greens to show the habitat of the panda bear cub. (PM)

The prince of Fenway Park. Baggott, Julianna. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 322pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-087242-7.

Oscar has been sent to live with his adoptive father. While living there, he discovers an enchanted Celtic fairy world underneath Fenway Park that exists because of a curse on the Red Sox. Upon learning this, Oscar makes it his mission to free the team from the curse. The author incorporates baseball history into this engaging novel for young readers. (NH)

LMNO peas. Baker, Keith. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 33pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4-4169-9141-0.

With charming rhymes and playful, colorful illustrations, readers will be delighted as they make their way through the alphabet with the LMNO peas. These are no ordinary peas; they are acrobats, builders, climbers, dancers, and so much more! Readers will be inspired by these ambitious peas to dream big and be all they can be. (SEB)

Dragon kiss. Baker, E.D. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 279 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-348-4.

Audun is a dragon that falls in love with a human named Maria. Throughout the book, Audun has to face many adventures in order to become human so Maria’s family will accept him as a suitor. While the storyline may be hard for readers to follow, it is heart warming and thought provoking. The simple, sweet story would be appropriate for middle school girls at a lower reading level. (EMR)

Just how long can a long string be?! Baker, Keith. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-08661.

Just how long can a long string be?! focuses on a discussion between an ant and a bird. The ant is wondering how long a string can be. The bird answers the ant through a series of questions about what the string will be doing. The bird asks the ant if it will be tugging balloons or used to fish. Through these questions the ant eventually finds the answer he needs about exactly how long a long string can be.
This book is meant for young students and would be great to use in a classroom setting during a math unit. Children will love this story due to the fact that it is written in rhyme. This book can assist children with word sounds and how endings of words can rhyme as well as with measurement. Readers will also learn how long a long string can be. (KW, CF)

LMNO peas. Baker, Keith. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 33pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4-4169-9141-0.

With charming rhymes and playful, colorful illustrations, readers will be delighted as they make their way through the alphabet with the LMNO peas. These are no ordinary peas; they are acrobats, builders, climbers, dancers, and so much more! Readers will be inspired by these ambitious peas to dream big and be all they can be. (SEB)

All of me!: A book of thanks. Bang, Molly. Scholastic Inc. (Blue Sky Press), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-04424-0.

Molly Bang’s book focuses on the importance of recognizing all the different aspects of a person. Bang introduces ideas about using the five senses. The illustrations are full of texture and add depth to the book. All of me!: A book of thanks helps demonstrate the importance of our bodies and the importance of all the senses we are gifted with. This is a great book to help young children understand their bodies. (EEE)

First come the zebra. Barasch, Lynne. Lee & Low Books, 2009.
[email protected], (212-779-4400). 38pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-365-5.

In the picture book First come the zebras, there are two little boys who are from different African tribes in Kenya. The story focuses on these little boys and the conflict between them. Because of their differing tribes, both feel that the other is inadequate and has done something to make his life harder. As the story goes on, the boys watch the animals: the zebras, wildebeests and gazelle, and notice that they all seem to get along with each other. The boys learn to be like the animals, and try to get along with those who are different from them. This story would help children develop because it revolves around the issues of problem solving, working together and accepting people who are different from one’s own culture. (CF)

Dinosaurs roar, butterflies soar! Barner, Bob. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5663-8.

The history of dinosaurs and animals can be very confusing for young children with so many different names and time periods, but Bob Barner’s children’s book Dinosaurs roar, butterflies soar! does an excellent job of simplifying the history and pairing it with easy to follow drawings and texts. Instead of focusing solely on dinosaurs, Bob includes a butterfly in his book because they have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and have survived mass extinction. This book does a good job of introducing the basic history of animals and dinosaurs to younger readers. (PM)

Guess again. Barnett, Mark. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 3299. $16.99. ISBN 978-1419655665. Illustrated by Adam Rex.

Guess again is perfect for children who are tired of books that are too simple and predictable. Providing a laugh with every page turn, the unexpected yet reasonably logical, will keep even the adult readers guessing what will be on the next page. Silly and fun, these pictures have vivid colors that clash and add to the wacky feel of the whole work. Children who like order and things that make complete sense may not be impressed, but it is a refreshing take on the “what is that silhouette” concept in children’s literature. (LME)

Joe Rat. Barratt, Mark. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 307pp. $9. ISBN 978-0-8028-5356-1. Illustrated by David Frankland.

Mark Barratt paints an in-depth and sensory picture of life as a tosher, or garbage collector, in the dark side of Victorian London. Joe Rat is a captivating story about a young man named Joe who digs through the sewer to find jewelry or other prized possessions for the lady he calls his mother, a woman who exploits orphaned and poor homeless children. Joe then meets a poor young girl whose mother had been trying to sell her as a prostitute. Together, with the help of a mad man, Joe and the girl defeat all odds to escape the cruel underworld of Victorian London. Through the captivating story filled with graphic descriptions, readers will feel as if they are in the sewer and other horrific and disgusting places. This is most appropriate for middle school ages; readers will also learn about the history and government of Victorian London from this wonderful literary work.(NB)

Merlin’s dragon: Doomraga’s revenge. Barron, T.A. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. insidesales @us.penguingroup.com, (212-366-2000). 238 pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25212-9.

Most people know all about Merlin and his adventures at Camelot with King Arthur. But what was Merlin up to before he met King Arthur? T.A. Berlin answers this question with his trilogy of books, Merlin’s Dragon. In the second book of the trilogy, Doomraga’s Revenge, Merlin is with his dragon, Basilgarrad. Basilgarrad is the strongest dragon in Avalon, the tree root world made by Merlin. Throughout the book, Merlin and Basilgarrad work together to find the reason behind the unhappiness in Avalon. Their teamwork appears to be quite effective until something happens to make Merlin leave Avalon for forever. This exciting book is full of adventure and imaginary creatures, and is great for readers at middle school level. (EMR)

My goldfish. Barroux. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 32pp. $15. ISBN 978-0-8028-5334-9. Illustrated by Stephanie Barroux.

The narrator leads the reader through all of the amazing things that a pet goldfish can do. The colors are bright and compliment the prideful tone of the narrator. Brushstrokes are apparent on each page as well as the overlapping of color. The lines are rough and uneven due to the brushstrokes, which add a child-like feel to the illustrations. (KMT)

Peter and the sword of mercy. Barry and Pearson, Dave and Ridley. Hyperion Books, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 515pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-1423121134-3.

Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Sword of Mercy is a captivating story that puts a spin on the popular and classic Peter Pan tale. Peter and the Lost Boys have not returned to the island of Rundoon for twenty-three years, and have ceased aging since their last visit. When they finally return to the island, they continue their normal life including a long lasting relationship with their enemy Captain Hook. In London, Molly Darling, mother to Wendy, John, and Michael, has suddenly gone missing after James comes to her house one night and confesses that the shadow creatures are looking to capture the treasures known as starstuff. The treasure is hidden in a vault and can only be opened with the Sword of Mercy. Wendy enlists the help of Peter Pan to protect the treasure and get her mother back. A perfect mixture of reality and fantasy, the plot allows the characters to move seamlessly between two worlds. Fantastic descriptions will pull in any young reader. The book is also filled with humor and teaches the values of family and friends along with the lesson of courage. Peter and the Sword of Mercy is a must read that both boys and girls will equally enjoy. (CKB)

Now hiring: White House dog. Bazer, Gina and Renanah Lehner. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0802784865. Illustrated by Andrew Day.

The first family is searching for a new dog to call their own. Although the plot is enjoyable, it may be too long for beginning readers. The rhymes may become repetitive rather than imaginative, yet the storyline portrays the pleasurable relationship between humans and dogs. (LM, AO)

The raucous royals. Beccia, Carlyn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185), 64pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-89130-6.

The raucous royals allows readers to uncover the truth about famous historic figures such as King Richard III and Napoleon Bonaparte. This fun, engaging book dispels myths about historical figures in ways children can understand. (LM, NH)

Past world. Beck, Ian. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 355pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-040-7.

Ian Beck’s book, Past world is about a place where two worlds collide. Past World is a theme park where visitors from the present day 2048 can travel back in time to London’s Victorian past; however, this theme park is not all fun and games. When Caleb, a present day visitor, enters Past World theme park, he finds himself in real trouble. His father is kidnapped and Caleb is a prime suspect in a mysterious murder. It is up to Caleb to save himself from an all too real reality. Caleb meets Eve Rose, a Past World citizen who has no idea of the “real world” outside the park. Together, they discover the truth about Past World. The suspenseful storyline of this mystery novel will appeal to readers. (KAR)

Tango: The tale of an island dog. Beha, Eileen. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 256pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-262-3.

While on a traumatic boat ride in stormy weather, Tango is thrown overboard and is washed ashore in an unfamiliar place. The people that find Tango take him and nurse him back to heath. After Tango regains his strength, the people who took care of him show him around the town and he eventually begins to feel welcome in his new home. Despite the friendliness of his new town, Tango desperately wishes that his old family would come and take him home; however, Tango learns to be grateful of the new life he has and the new friends he makes. He also learns how to overcome obstacles associated with a new life. (KW, KMT)

Mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle. Belanger, Jeff. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), (2010). [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45227-2. Illustrated by Stephen Marchesi.

Readers will learn all about the paranormal occurrences that have happened within the Bermuda Triangle. The book includes many fascinating stories about real people who have experienced strange phenomenon within the Bermuda Triangle. Each tale is brought to life with vivid yet simplistic descriptive retellings. Illustrations emphasize the reality and mystery of the stories by utilizing realistic images in dark, foreboding colors of light purples, dark blues, and fire oranges. Readers will not only be interested in this novel, but will also gain educational benefits as they form connections to historical events such as Christopher Columbus’ discovery of America as well as building geographical recognition. (NB)

Player’s ruse. Bell, Hilari. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 384pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0060825096.

A novel for middle school and early high school readers, The player’s ruse is great for readers who like to be kept guessing. The narration is in first person, but alternates between the perspectives of two main characters. One or both of these narrators should be relatable to almost any reader. Love and adventure are the predominant themes in this tale of vigilantes inhabiting a world with traditional and modern characteristics. (LM, LME)

Snore, dinosaur, snore. Bendall-Brunello, John. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5626-1. Illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello.

Snore, dinosaur, snore! is a cute preschool book about a family of dinosaurs waking up in the morning. Three little dinosaur kids try to wake up their mother in many different ways. With its simple plot and few words, this is a perfect book for an inexperienced reader. Furthermore, the large text size and pictures makes the story even easier and more enjoyable. The placement of words on each page creates an exciting sense of movement. Fun illustrations incorporate bright greens and oranges to create an enjoyable book that will get children excited about reading. (NB)

The butt book. Bennett, Artie. Macmillan Publishing, 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 28pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-1-59990-311-8. Illustrated by Mike Lester.

This book provides an adorable way of assuring children that all animals have a butt. Children will become comfortable with their behind as they discover that they are not alone. With a humorous element, children will be reassured by the story that they do not have to be serious about their bums! (KM)

Shark in the dark. Bently, Peter. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151) 26pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9841-1. Illustrated by Ben Cort.

Shark in the Dark is a colorful story about a group of fish tricking a shark out of eating them for lunch. This clever story includes very entertaining rhymes, making it easy to read. Creative illustrations portray the fish outsmarting the shark. Young readers will enjoy this story. (MM)

Forever friends. Berger, Carin. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 34pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-03-191527-4.

Forever friends is a heartfelt story about a bunny and a bird that become friends just before they must separate because of the cold, harsh winter. The seasons are wonderfully demonstrated in both the text and cut-and-paste illustrations. This medium creates texture students can recognize and identify. Furthermore, the use of different colors for each season allows students to recognize the changing colors that can be used for the same object depending on the season. Most importantly, Berger teaches the reader a wonderful lesson about the strength of friendship, despite great difficulties. (NB)

Don’t throw that away! Bergen, Lara. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7517-5. Illustrated by Betsy Snyder

Don’t throw that away! is a delightful book filled with playful illustrations, reminding readers that, though recycling is good, it is even better to re-use materials first. Throughout the book, readers will uncover new found uses for empty jars, cans, boxes, and jugs. A perfect book for the eco-friendly family, this book practices what it preaches; it is made from 100% recycled material. (SEB)

Yum yum! What fun! Bergman, Mara. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168860-7. Illustrated by Nick Maland.

Yum Yum! What Fun! is a cute, imaginative book for young children ages three to seven. The story tells about two young children and their dog cooking while all sorts of animals big and small sneak in their house. This book uses sounds as words to entice its readers, as they can not only picture but also hear the story playing out in their imaginations. The rhyming of words throughout the book makes the story quite silly and clever. The illustrations by Maland are full of patterns and pastel colors. Any child would love this upbeat creative book. (KAR)

The potato chip puzzles. Berlin, Eric. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 244pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25198-6.

Winston Breen is a puzzle addict who enters the town puzzle hunt, created by a potato chip company, with his best friends and his math teacher. The puzzle hunt includes traveling all around town solving a variety of puzzles in hopes of winning the grand prize of $50,000. Puzzle-solvers soon discover that someone is cheating and must be stopped. Readers will enjoy being able to help Winston solve this mystery in this entertaining, fun-filled story of problem solving and determination. (KRR)

The hidden boy. Berkeley, Jon. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 262pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168758-7.

Young Bea Flint is the only person who can save her brother Theo. While the family is on an underwater trip to Bell Hoot, the adventurous seven-year-old disappears. Bea’s Granny Delphine teaches her about Mumbo Jumbo so she can find Theo and save him from the dubious Ledbetter clan that lives in Bell Hoot. The plot is fast paced and rich details paint a portrait of an unusual world inhabited by eccentric clans of people. Berkeley creates an intriguing tale appropriate for upper elementary students. (LG)

Let’s look at brown bears. Berman, Ruth. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-3890-1

Let’s look at brown bears will provide young children with some basic facts about brown bears. The book is geared toward young readers, because the font is large and the words are simple yet informative. Animal lovers will particularly enjoy this book. (KAR)

The amaranth enchantment. Berry, Julie. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 308pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-334-7.

The amaranth enchantment is a modified version of a Cinderella story. The main character Lucinda is a young girl who is stuck living with her evil aunt after her parents leave for a dance, never to return. One day Lucinda finds a special stone and also meets a boy named Peter. She soon discovers the stone has the ability to counter spells. Preteen girls who enjoy action would primarily be interested in this book, but boys will also be able to relate to Peter. Through the development of Lucinda, the author demonstrates the possibilities of what one can accomplish through hard work. Lucinda uses her persistence to work harder than most fairytale characters to get to her happy ending. (PM)

The Hallelujah flight. Bildner, Phil. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24789-7. Illustrated by John Holyfield.

It is 1932 and James Banning, along with his co-pilot Thomas Allen, dreams of flying from sea to shining sea. Although they are in the midst of the Great Depression with odds against them, Banning and Allen find success through hard work and help from friends. Readers will enjoy the magnificent illustrations that light up every page as they read the inspiring story of persistence and courage. (SEB)

Summer according to Humphrey. Birney, B, G. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2010. [email protected], (212-336-2000). 167pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24732-3.

Summer according to Humphrey is appropriate for elementary readers because of its easy to read text and short, documentary style chapters. Readers will follow the thoughts and emotions of a small hamster, Humphrey, as he believes he is going to be abandoned for the summer and his feelings of joy as he experiences camp life. As the story primarily takes place at a summer camp and a 5th grade classroom, the level of fantasy is low. Humphrey can talk to his other classroom pet friends; a snake, a frog and a dove. Humphrey acts as a kind, loyal friend to all of the classroom students, no matter how they treat each other. As the story progresses, readers see the love Humphrey has for his friend when he disappears. Humphrey does all he can to bring his friend back home, demonstrating to readers the importance of friendship. (MAM)

Marsupials. Bishop, Nic. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 47pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-439-87758-9.

Readers will be provided with enthralling information about the different types of marsupials along with facts about where they live, what they eat and their classification. Readers will easily understand key concepts through the use of bold, colored writing. Impressive pictures allow the reader to connect with and visualize these animals. Students will gain knowledge of marsupials through this wonderfully written and beautifully photographed book in a fun and interesting way. (NB)

The purple kangaroo. Black, Michael Ian. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5771-3. Illustrated by Peter Brown.
Readers will follow the mind-reading monkey as he guides their imaginations to the most interesting places in The purple kangaroo. Amusing illustrations encourage readers to let their minds wander. Both witty and endearing, The purple kangaroo is an excellent choice for all who love to imagine. (SEB)

Scarlett & Crimson: Darqstarz rising. Black, Allyson. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 111pp. $6.99. ISBN 9781416958307. Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante.

Scarlett and Crimson are two girls who refuse to conform to any of the cliques at school. They are trying to popularize their own style of music, which they hope will help their classmates learn to be themselves; however, Scarlett and Crimson’s clear opposition to the popular clique, the Leetz, contradicts their ideology about breaking down cliques. While the format and illustrations are interesting and the story fairly harmless and engaging, there is not much substance to this short novel. (MC)

In control, Ms. Wiz? Blacker, Terrence. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 64pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5557-8. Illustrated by Tony Ross.

The fourth book in a best-selling series originally published in the United Kingdom, In Control, Ms. Wiz? is a delightful read for children aged seven to nine. When a local library is about to be closed down, Ms. Wiz resolves to save it by sprinkling magic powder over a few books and bringing the characters to life. Soon, the greediest man in the world, Flopsy Bunnies, a royal couple, and a number of zombies, vampires, and werewolves are on the loose. Jack and Podge wonder if Ms. Wiz can keep them under control and succeed in saving the library. Full of surprises, enchantment, and excitement, this charming story affirms the magical ability of children’s stories to come to life within our imaginations. (NO)

Little devils. Blake, Robert J. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (800-631-8571). 38pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-2432206.

Little devils is a precious story of a family of Tasmanian devils. One night, the mother does not come home. Left to fend for themselves, they all split off into different directions. Each animal comes across various scary things found in the wild. Eventually, the three kids are reunited and work together to find and rescue their mother. Robert J. Blake does an excellent job of creating an entertaining book filled with knowledge about Australia and its wildlife while also teaching the important moral of sticking together and fighting for family. The beautiful illustrations help the reader to better visualize the animals and landscapes of Australia. (NB)

Classy. Blasbert, Derek. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Razorbill), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 230pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-279-5.

This book was interesting to say the least. Although I believe the author’s intentions were to guide woman in a wholesome and “classy” direction, I do not think this goal is accomplished. I would absolutely not recommend this book for any school child. The subject matter and pictures are not appropriate for an immature audience. (KLM)

A friend. Bley, Annete. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 36pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-965279-00-6.

The importance and complexities of a close friendship are described simply in A Friend. Children are able to relate to the narrator as she provides examples of when friends are important to have around. Although there is not a progressive story throughout the book, each instance of a good friendship is continued in the illustrations when the page is turned. Children are able to hypothesize what the following picture may be by reading the sentence and looking at the picture on the previous page. Friends are an important part of anybody’s life, and this book encourages children to see the importance of their friendships. (KMT)

Out of this world. Blishen, Edward. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Kingfisher), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 272pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0753462461.

Out of this world is a compilation of twenty futuristic stories by different authors. Some of the stories take place on the moon and the earth, but other planets are also included. This book is great for children readers because it shows many different perspectives on one topic using a variety of writing styles. Out of this world would help young readers to make the transition into chapter books because it appears to be a chapter book, but it is actually several short stories. Each story will allow the reader to think outside of his or her usual mindset and imagine the future. (BCHM)

Luke on the loose. Bliss, Harry. RAW Junior, 2009. [email protected], (212-431-9106). 32pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-935179-00-9.

Luke is a hyperactive kid who is with his father at the park. While his father is talking with a friend, Luke decides that it would be a good idea to run after the pigeons. In doing so, Luke runs all across town finally stopping of exhaustion on the top of a building. He messes a lot of things up throughout the town while he is chasing the pigeons. This book does not have a hidden message within it, other than little consequences come with being a troublemaker. (BCHM)

Pretty dead. Block, Francesca Lia. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 195pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154785-0.

Vampires are all the rage; powerful, blood-sucking, and sultry. Francesca Lia Block’s Pretty dead is no exception, reaching all the elements of passion and horror. For any teen swept away by the vampire frenzy, Pretty dead is sure to please, with the exciting story of Charlotte’s pursuit to discover friendship and love. (SEB)

The waters and the wild. Block, Francesca Lia. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 113 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-145244-4.

The Waters and the wild is a complex story about a thirteen-year-old girl, Bee, and her unusual friends, Sarah and Haze. Haze believes himself to be an alien, and Sarah believes herself to be an African slave reincarnated in present day America. Bee believes that she has a “doppelganger,” a creature that is the mirror image of her. The twisted plot makes it difficult to determine if the novel is realistic or fantastic fiction. Due to its high level of complexity, this book would be ideal for readers at a superior reading comprehension level. (EMR)

A mighty fine time machine. Bloom, Susan. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1590785270.

Three animals create a time machine out of an old cardboard box. Packing all their favorite possessions, they get into the time machine and start it up. This book is good for a leisurely read aloud because it is entertaining and shows kids the fun of imagination and inventing new things. (AO)

Lulu the big little chick. Bogan, Paullete. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. 16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-343-9.

When you’re little, being big seems like the best thing in the world. Lulu learns a lesson about growing up when she decides to venture out into the real world on her own. As she travels through the farm, Lulu meets huge sheep, big smelly pigs, tall horses, and gigantic cows. Each time she is almost squished by the animals and they all tell her she is too little. Lulu soon finds herself alone and scared in the woods and decides that being big can wait. Children will easily relate to Lulu’s desire to grow up. Students will be entertained by the vibrant, comical illustration in this children’s story of courage and acceptance. (KRR)

The worst-case scenario survival handbook: Middle school. Bogenicht, David. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 128pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6864-8. Illustrated by Chuck Gonzales.

Middle school is difficult and unfamiliar for many people. Changes occurring during this time can cause students to feel very lost and nervous. This book covers an array of topics related to surviving middle school. Every day, students find themselves lost or stuck within middle school; the objective of this book is to help these individuals feel comfortable in their environment. The author provides great advice on how to get out of sticky situations such as not knowing an answer when called or how to deal with bullies. This book is a great choice for upper elementary students, to help them prepare for the changes ahead. It is also ideal for middle school students. (BCHM)

Up close: W.E.B. Du Bois. Bolden, Tonya. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-06302-4.

W.E.B. Du Bois was a highly respected, well known activist of the early twentieth-century. This book explores the ups and downs of Du Bois’ life. He lived through both World Wars and the Civil War and protested against both of them. Du Bois fought to achieve equality and happiness between African-Americans and Whites. The author does a fine job of including details and important events that defined Du Bois. Up close: W.E.B. Du Bois is a great book for advanced readers looking for a challenge and an interesting topic. Although the vocabulary and language used are advanced, the words are very understandable within the context. (BCHM)

In the belly of an ox. Bond, Rebecca. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00 ISBN 978-0-547-07675-1. Photographs by Rebecca Bond.

Richard and Cherry Kearton, two nature loving young men from Yorkshire, are on a mission to photograph birds and their nests. These young men are willing to go to great lengths to achieve their goals, even if it means hiding in the belly of an ox. Readers will enjoy the ambitious story of these devoted young men who marked a new era in natural history. (SEB)

Paddington at the beach. Bond, Michael. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168767-9. Illustrated by R.W. Alley.

The seagulls know almost everything that happens seaside. One morning, Paddington the bear goes to the beach and nothing goes according to his plan. One by one, the seagulls join Paddington at the beach. They follow him everywhere and try stealing his food. This book is great for young children learning how to count. R.W. Alley’s beautiful, fun illustrations compliment the story well. (KAR)

Never ask a bear. Bonnet-Rampersaud, Louise. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780061128769. Illustrated by Doris Barrette.

Never ask a bear depicts the rules that you should probably enforce if you are planning to have a wild animal as a house guest. The bear seems to personify the friend everyone has who seems to break or ruin many things unintentionally, yet this book simply gives silly rules for dealing with these situations. Rules warning children not to allow their friends to do many things seem discouraging, and put the bear down. I am afraid children will learn to do the same to their friends or classmates who are less than graceful. The illustrations seem to float off of the page at impossible angles, and almost without gravity. It is perhaps a well-intentioned book, but should probably not be read to a child without some explanation about how the ‘bears in our own lives’ should be treated. (LM, LME)

The steel man of Harlem. Bootman, Colin. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 34pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8255-9026-2.

Colin Bootman’s The Steel Man of Harlem is a beautifully written and illustrated retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin set during the Harlem Renaissance. Harlem is faced with a major problem, one that the Steel Pan Man is present to solve. The city is being invaded by rats and no one knows how to get rid of them, besides the Steel Pan Man. He asks the Mayor to give him one million dollars to get rid of the rats by playing his steel pan. The peculiar story line works because the illustrations are so captivating and gorgeous, using a contrast of dark and light colors to give a glimpse of the hope the people have for solving the awful problem in their thriving city. The illustrations are soft and smooth, but also edgy and frightening when the rats are shown. Readers will learn about the importance of honesty and remaining positive in grim situations. This story would serve as a wonderful read aloud, as several interesting discussions could come out of each page. (CKB)

Mentoring beginning teachers. Boreen, J. Stenhouse Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (800-998-9812). 192pp. $21.00, ISBN 978-157110-742-0.

Mentoring beginning teachers is a reference book appropriate for professionals looking for information about guiding new teachers. The reference is concisely written in a very organized fashion. The book is organized into chapters with testimonials, bullet point information, and an end of the chapter summary highlighting the basic themes of each topic. The book highlights topics ranging from: why people might want to mentor, why the profession needs mentors, how to positively encourage beginning teachers and successfully working as a team. This book emphasizes that mentoring is an important part in keeping new teachers in the schools by providing essential tips, ideas and encouragement for doing so. (MAM)

No easy way. Bowen, Fred. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 30pp. ISBN 978-0-535-47877-5. Illustrated by Charles S. Pyle.

No easy way is a biography about the Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams, focusing on his last .400 season in baseball. The biography takes readers through his career and dreams of becoming the best hitter in the major leagues. Through thick and thin, the reader is cheering for him to accomplish his goal of obtaining a batting average of .400! A mixture of drawings, paintings and photographs are used to compliment the text. Bowen provides an accurate, engaging portrait of Ted Williams. (LM, MM)

Cosmic. Boyce, Frank Cottrell. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061836831.

This novel is very humorous, and has much more meaning and depth than the cover or title would initially suggest. Liam, who is unusually tall and physically developed for his age has a great time getting away with a lot of things, but he also struggles a bit with the world around him. When Liam and his friends go to space, with Liam as their adult chaperone, problems arise and they all learn that physical maturity does not equal adult capability. The structure of the book is a bit confusing because the time of the setting changes several times. Surprising and unconventional, Cosmic remains relatable and fun. (LME)

Young samurai: The way of the sword. Bradford, Chris. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion-Disney), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 422pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142312025-4.

Young samurai: The way of the sword is the second book of a trilogy in which a young male is fighting off the stereotypes and prejudices that are held against him by his Japanese classmates. However, these are the least of Jack Fletcher’s worries. Jack is one year into his samurai training and vigilantly preparing for the possibility of the evil Dragon Eye striking any day. In the mean time, he must prove himself a worthy samurai by succeeding in the ‘Circle of Three Test’. Readers will be kept on the edge of their seats as Bradford uses descriptive language and fascinating character development to tell the story of Jack Fletcher. (MAM)

Tess’s tree. Brallier, Jess M. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009.
[email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168752-5. Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds.

Tess is a young girl with a playful spirit and a big heart who loves a tree. In a quick turn of events, Tess’s heart breaks when her tree is destroyed by a ferocious storm. However, in dealing with her loss, Tess forms bonds with those around her who shared a love for the same tree. Nature lovers everywhere will enjoy Jess M. Brallier’s heart-warming story, Tess’s tree. (SEB)

The history of vampires. Branzei, Sylvia. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset and Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48 pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45032-2. Illustrated by Jack Keely.

This book is an informational book about vampires and other animals and creatures that drink blood. The book is organized into chapters about different kinds of bloodsuckers. Although very informative, the book describes the bloodsuckers in detail and is slightly graphic. (KMT)

Dogs you can draw. Brecke, Nicole and Patricia M. Stockland. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-4159-8.

This book is intended to help children learn how to draw all their favorite kinds of dogs. Although readers may find the directions difficult and complicated, children who are interested in art may find this book appealing. (BCHM)

Horses you can draw. Brecke, Nicole and Particia M. Stockland. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-4160-4.

This interactive book will appeal to those students who have talents in art or an interest in horses. Also, this book will give the reader a sense of accomplishment not only for finishing the reading, but also for creating a new illustration. (KLM)

Darkwood. Breen, M.E. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 273pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-259-3.

Darkwood is a place full of darkness. However, Annie, a young orphan who lives with her cruel Aunt Prim and Uncle Jock, can see in the dark. She gets sent to the Dropoff, which is where her adventures begin. Breen does an excellent job of creating lovable characters in such a threatening world. The suspenseful plot will keep readers engaged. (EMR)

Battle box: Revolutionary War. Brewer, Paul. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 60pp. $21.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7126-9. Designed by Jeni Child and Dave Allen.

Battle box: Revolutionary War is an interactive book that provides children with detailed information about the Revolutionary War. Its creative format makes it fun, engaging and easy to understand. (NH)

Hero.com: Rise of the heroes. Briggs, Andy. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 272pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9503-8.

A group of friends stumble across a website allowing them to download powers to help fight crime. There is also a website allowing people to become villains. As the book progresses, the action and surprises heighten, keeping the reader completely in tune with the storyline and encouraging him or her to continue reading. The end of the book is engaging, allowing the reader to feel excited for the next book in the series. Children will become hooked on this exciting adventure series. (BCHM)

G.I. Joe the rise of cobra: Ninja showdown! Bright, J.E. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7882-4. Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante.

J.E. Bright’s G.I. Joe the rise of the cobra: Ninja showdown is action packed with adventures, comic-like illustrations, and lots of favorite G.I. Joe characters. Popular G.I. Joe characters Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are each other’s greatest enemies. In this book they decide to end their feud once and for all with a “Ninja Showdown”. Readers will sit on the edge of their seats waiting to find out who will finally win this feud of good versus evil. The illustrations and text include some violent references, but they are done in a subtle manner. This book will captivate young mature readers who love action stories and of course, G.I. Joe. (CKB)

America in the 1980s. Brill, Marlene Targ. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 131pp. $36. ISBN 978-0-8225-7602-0.

America in the 1980s allows children to discover the events of the 1980s that were significant in United States history. Readers learn about the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the lifestyles of citizens of the eighties. Children will find this an interesting book. (NH)

America in the 1900s. Brill. Marlene Targ. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 131pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-3436-5.

The 1900’s included wars, inventions, controversy, and happiness that were crucial to shaping the way America is today. Both World Wars happened during the early parts of the 20th century. The plane, television, and computer were all invented within the 20th century. This is a book full of useful knowledge for anyone who has an interest in American history. Some of the more graphic photographs in the book may be inappropriate for children. The length of the book and the vocabulary used makes this book appropriate for advanced middle readers and above. The photography used in this book is inspiring and amazing because it draws the reader into the book and makes him or her want to continue until the very last page. (BCHM)

Barack Obama. Brill, Marlene Targ. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-1-57505-950-1.

America elected its first non-Caucasian president on November 4, 2008. Many history classrooms would benefit from having the book Barack Obama by Marlene Targ Brill. The book is a great autobiography of Barack Obama written for younger students, possibly to be used in writing a presidential report on their current president. Barack Obama provides information about Obama’s life growing up, his family in Kenya, and his presidential campaign. The book is not biased, and does not speak too much of his political opinions; instead, it focuses on the President’s life. (EMR)

Forget me not. Broad, Michael. Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2009. barronseduc.com, (800-645-3476). 25pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-07641-6200-8.

This silly, heart-felt story about Morty the elephant relates to young children everywhere. The author begins the story by introducing the reader to Morty and his mother. Morty gets lost and then spends the story meeting all types of other groups of animals. On his journey, he remembers the most important thing his mother told him, which ultimately leads Morty back to her. Broad helps young readers develop with his creative, repetitive storytelling. Overall, the story is great for young readers just getting started. (EMR)

The ghost who was afraid of Halloween. Brooke, Samantha. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 31pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45197-8.

This is an easy book to read that promotes reading as a fun and cool activity. It portrays the four main characters of the book as super heroes with special reading powers. The main characters use their powers to help a ghost who is scared of witches and vampires. The book has big, colorful illustrations that go well with the story, making it easier to understand for children who are just learning to read. (FCW)

Soup for breakfast. Brown, Calef. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30pp. $16. ISBN 9780618916412.

Poems, as silly as they are imaginative, make up Soup for breakfast. Paired with the colorful paintings throughout the book, the poems will make children laugh or scratch their heads, or perhaps some of both. All in all, however, the poems are good nonsensical fun. (MC).

Teedie: The story of young Teddy Roosevelt. Brown, Don. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-17999-2.

By reading this book, students can learn about the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. This biography will inform them about his early life, and the ways his childhood differed from their own. Additionally, readers may be surprised by the differences between the young Teddy Roosevelt and the Teddy Roosevelt as president. (LM, NH)

Black angels. Brown, Linda Beatrice. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 260pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780399250309.

During the end of the Civil War, three very different children isolated in the wilderness of the South must band together to form an unlikely friendship. Brown tells the story from three unique perspectives: a young runaway slave, a young black orphan who has witnessed horrific murders, and a white boy whose home was burned down by Yankee soldiers. The book is painfully honest about the horrors of war and how conflict affects children. (MC)

A child’s good morning book. Brown, Margaret Wise. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0061288647. Illustrated by Karen Katz.

A child’s good morning book will certainly help any child who would rather sleep or grumble than get out of bed to start his or her day on a happy and inspirational note. Colorful and upbeat, this story’s bright illustrations are far from life-like, but they are joyful and full of morning hues of yellows and oranges. Children from different backgrounds all greet the morning with different animals and insects in their environment, and all coexists peacefully. Gently yet energetically, each character is roused awake with repetition and cheer, starting a morning off happily and full of promise. (LME)

Sleepy abc. Brown, Margaret Wise. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 38pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-12-8863-0. Illustrated by Karen Katz.

Margaret Wise Brown creates a beautiful bedtime story in Sleepy ABC. Children will follow their way through the alphabet as the story prepares them for a good night’s sleep. Young readers everywhere will enjoy this perfect bedtime story. (SEB)

Night wings. Bruchac, Joseph. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 194pp. $15.99. ISBN 9780061123184.

A thirteen-year-old Abenaki boy, Paul Fortune, gets swept up in a greedy man’s search for a legendary beast rumored to live on Mount Washington. Paul and his laconic grandfather are captured to aid the sinister television show host Darby Field in his search for the legendary creature. Interwoven with Indian folktale elements and full of suspense, this short novel goes by quickly. (MC)

March toward thunder. Bruchac, Joseph. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Speak), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 298 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241446-0.

Usually, stories about the American Civil War are told from the perspective of a white man. March toward thunder provides an alternative view on the war through the story of a Native American fighting for the Union. Louis, a brave fifteen-year-old, registers for the war in order to provide for his mother. During his time in the war, Louis meets new friends, but also has to face death. Readers will enjoy being able to look at the American Civil War from a different point of view. (EMR)

All things bright and beautiful. Bryan, Ashley. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4169-8939-4.

Ashley Bryan’s book, All things bright and beautiful, falls into its title’s category; the book itself is truly bright and beautiful. Brilliant collage illustrations make the familiar words of Cecil Frances Alexander’s song come to life. The magnificent beauty found on every page reminds the reader of all the beauty and splendor to be found in the world. (SEB)

The redwood forests. Bullard, Lisa. Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-4452-0.

Readers will be informed about the redwood forests, including their location, tree colors, weather patterns, tree ages, and animals residing in the forests. The vibrant photographs portray this ecosystem where many animals and plants live depending on each other for survival. Readers will see the importance of protecting the unique and exquisite forests, home to the tallest trees on earth. (ESS)

Tarra and Bella: The elephant and dog who became best friends. Buckley, Carol. Penguin Group, Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25443-7.

Carol Buckley offers a compelling real-life account of the unlikely friendship between a retired circus elephant and a stray dog. When Tarra comes to live at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, everyone has a friend except for her. One day, much to her surprise, Tarra wakes up to find a fluffy, white dog sleeping beside her. The two animals soon become inseparable. When the dog, Bella, suffers an injury, it is the strength of their friendship that speeds her recovery. Striking photographs of the two friends enhance the readers’ perception of the unique duo and Buckley’s juxtaposition of pictures enhances and complements the text. Tarra and Bella’s friendship is a wonderful model for middle-elementary aged students to show how two very different creatures can form a meaningful relationship. (LG, MM, NO)

The Erie Canal. Bullard, Lisa. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. i[email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-9405-5.

This is an easy to read informational book about the Erie Canal. Because there is not much text and the printing is large, this book would be a good choice for young children just learning to read. (FCW)

The banshee. Bunting, Eve. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-82162-4. Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.

In Eve Bunting’s book, The banshee, a young boy is frightened by the noises outside his room while he sleeps. His mother tells him it is just animals making noises, but when the noises continue and he cannot fall asleep, what should he do? Emily McCully contributes dark and frightening illustrations, enhancing the mood of the text. McCully’s use of watercolors adds depth and a realistic element to the illustrations. Readers can learn about overcoming their fears from this book, especially those related to darkness or night. (LM, EEE).

Hurry! hurry!. Bunting, Eve. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-15-206686-4. Illustrated by Jeff Mack.

This is a book for pre-kindergarten/kindergarten children about animals and the sounds they produce. The end of the book is about a chick that hatches from his egg. The story line allows the child reading the book to practice different animal noises. The book has good illustrations that keep the child interested in the book. (BCHM)

Our library. Bunting, Eve. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp, $16. ISBN 978-0-618-49458-3. Illustrated by Maggie Smith.

The library in Raccoon’s town is closing forever, and his friends are upset by this news. They use books to find a way to save the library. Our library encourages children to read more books and tells them that they can gain a wealth of knowledge through reading. The illustrations help connect the story with the reader. This picture storybook is intended for young readers from K-3rd grade. (SE, NH)

All the broken pieces. Burg, Ann E. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 219pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-08092-7.

Matt Pin lost his family members during the Vietnam War. Matt struggles to come to terms with his brother’s death and his attempts to break free from the prejudices set against him. The book is written in verse, which helps children gain a better understanding of Matt’s narration of the story and his inner thoughts. Although this book is historical fiction, readers can relate to Matt’s struggles to fit in. Readers can also identify with Matt’s concerns about telling his story and what people will think when they know the truth. Readers will be introduced to the less known side of the Vietnam War. (CF)

P is for police. Butler, Dori Hillestad. Pelican Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 300pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-589806-858. Illustrated by Joan C. Waites.

Police are an extremely important part of all our lives whether we realize it or not. Yet, the police system can be hard to understand and seems unfamiliar to many people. This is a great book for early elementary students because it incorporates both the police system and practice with the alphabet. The illustrations really add to the interest level of the readers of this book. Children will both have a good time reading and understanding this book. (BCHM)

Supersister. Cadena, Beth. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 28pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-01006-9. Illustrated by Frank W. Dormer.

Supersister is an empowering story of a young girl who is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her new younger sibling. She is well on her way to being an excellent big sister, working hard to be as helpful as she can. Teaching children the importance of family and responsibility, Beth Cadena’s delightful story is perfect for a young family awaiting the birth of a new baby. (SEB)

Harry and Horsie. Can Camp, Katie. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bay), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-175598-9. Illustrated by Lincoln Agnew.

Katie Van Camp takes the reader on an imaginative journey into space, and takes along the young boy Harry and his best friend, Horsie. Harry is supposed to be sleeping, but instead, he takes out his new toy bubble gun! Although the bubble gun is fun, a bubble picks up Horsie and brings him to outer space. Throughout the book, Harry searches for Horsie. This book is a great beginning level book, but the illustrations are dull, and do not help children with their imagination. (EMR)

The life of glass. Cantor, Jillian. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 340pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168651-1.

Jillian Cantor’s The life of glass captures the reader’s attention by immediately bringing the characters to life by telling their personal stories. Melissa, the story’s main character is in a constant battle of emotions with herself as well as with other characters in the book, such as her sister Ashley, or the new girl in town, Courtney. In the beginning of the story, the reader learns Melissa’s father had suffered with cancer and finally lost his battle. Since her father’s death, Melissa has stumbled across many questions and mysteries regarding her father’s life; these questions indirectly affect the relationships most important to Melissa. With all the emotional ups and downs Melissa experiences, she realizes relationships are just like glass: fragile if you are careless, yet strong enough to last a million years if you’re careful. Through her journey, Melissa is forced to make decisions that shape the young woman she develops into. (MAM)

Mini library: A storybook gift set. Carle, Eric. Simon and Schuster. 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 148pp. $14.99. ISBN978-1-4169-8516-7.

This mini library contains four wonderful books for children. With the use of dramatic and excessive color, Carle captivates the reader. His illustrations are beautiful and unique since he uses water color as well as other methods in his work. (KLM)

Skeleton creek. Carman, Patrick. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 185pp. $14.99, ISBN 978-0-545-07566-4.

It is undeniable that everyday our world is becoming more and more in tune with technology; it has even reached the realm of books. Skeleton Creek: Ryan’s Journal is a book written in journal format that uses a website to provide another dimension to an already scintillating mystery story. The book begins with Ryan’s first entry in his journal, describing the importance of his journal’s secrecy. Ryan and his good friend Sarah sleuth around, and try to solve a mystery that occurred in their hometown of Skeleton Creek, Oregon back in 1957, and was covered up by city officials. Throughout the book, as the two amateur investigators search for the truth behind the death of Old Joe Bush, they communicate secretly using codes and secret emails that the reader can use to plug into a website that corresponds with the book. In order to solve the mystery, the reader must go to sarahfincher.com and use the clues from the journal.

This book does a great job of grabbing the reader’s attention and getting the reader involved in the story. This engaging novel combines technology and a unique sense of voice to put the reader in the middle of the plot and conflict. Skeleton Creek: Ryan’s Journal is a great read for older elementary to middle school students. (PM)

Watch out for Wolfgang. Carrick, Paul. Charelbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-689-2.

Watch out for Wolfgang is a story about a mother that sends her three robot kids out into the world for the first time. They are supposed to build safe houses to live in so the bad robot, Wolfgang, does not harm them. The robots are all bright colors, providing a contrast to the background, which is cold and grey. The colors in the story are repeated over on each page; new colors rarely appear. The lines and shapes in the illustrations are created by cutting and placing the shapes in a collage to create the robots and their backgrounds. (KMT)

How beautiful the ordinary. Cart, Micheal. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 350 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-115498-0.

The issue of homosexuality has been discussed in literature for years. This book takes the issue and collects twelve wonderfully told stories of homosexual characters. Each character has a different story that is uniquely written. Although the book is very well-written, some parents may feel that it is inappropriate for their children to read. However, high school aged readers should have this book available to them, as many students struggle with homosexuality at this age. (EMR)

Good fortune. Carter, Noni. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 489 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8480-1.

This inspirational and moving novel follows Anna on a journey from slavery to liberation and girlhood to womanhood. Kidnapped and sold into slavery from her African village at age four, Anna once had a brief taste of freedom and now desires it again more than anything. She risks all she has to head north and be free, leaving the man she loves behind. When Anna finally reaches freedom however, her life is not as complete as she had once hoped. Anna encounters discrimination and other obstacles that prevent her from living the life she had dreamt of. A life filled with education and earned success. However, when faced with the impossible, Anna overcomes her hardship and is miraculously reunited with her love. Although the novel presents a somewhat romanticized picture of life during this historical era in this way, its compelling, enjoyable storyline and endearing characters are sure to delight and inspire readers. (NO)

The story of snow: The science of winter’s wonder. Cassino, Mark and Jon Nelson, Ph.D. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6866-2. Illustrated by Nora Aoyagi.

The story of snow: the science of winter’s wonder informs readers about how snowflakes are made. The story takes students through the stages of a snowflake’s formation. It also discusses the many unique shapes of snowflakes. Children who enjoy playing in the snow will find this book fascinating. (LM, NH).

The books of umber: Dragon games. Catanese, P.W. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 383pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7521-2.

P.W. Catanese creates a thrilling adventure that young readers will adore. This book will appeal to many readers as its genres range from mystery and suspense to action and thrill. Its many pages make it challenging while the large print and illustrations do not overwhelm the reader. (KM)

The Books of Umber: Happenstance Found. Catanese, P.W. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 342pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5382-1.

Lord Umber is a man from another world who seeks out adventure, supplies new technology to his Kingdom and leads a mysterious and fast paced life. When Happenstance appears from nowhere and joins Lord Umber on his journey, they soon discover that escaping an enemy is more difficult than it seems. Detailed imagery and complex action is not enough to salvage the minimal character development and inconsistent other-world overlap, confining this book to a limited audience. (LG)

Mousie love. Chaconas, Dori. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-111-4. Illustrated by Josee Masse.

Frill falls in love with Tully the first time he lays eyes on her. Frill and Tully are two mice that live a very exciting, and sometimes dangerous, life inside a family’s home. Throughout the story Frill constantly tries to win Tully’s affection by stealing her crumbs, finding her a home, and taking her on a journey to the roof to see the stars. The illustrations in this book bring their adventures to life through vibrant colors, interesting page designs and perspectives, and vivid depictions of the action occurring in the text. Masse’s use of highlighting and shading to portray light and shadows enhances each illustration and brings it to life. This is a genuine story of love, friendship, and adventure that could be adapted to many grade levels. (KRR)

Mission control, this is Apollo. Chaikin, Andrew and Alan Bean. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 114pp. $23.99. ISBN 9780670011568.
The Bean brothers chart the history of the Apollo program from Apollo 1’s disastrous launch to Apollo 17’s third moonwalk, and they do so in a fascinating way. By combining text, paintings and photographs, the authors ensure readers will be swept away by a captivating, in-depth look at the ships, the missions, and the people behind them. (MC)

Who’s that snoring? Chapman, Jason. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8937-0.

Early readers are sure to love this interactive book. The incorporated pull-tabs engage readers and the colorful illustrations depict both main ideas and difficult words, making it easier for the reader to decipher their meaning. (LM, KLM)

Be a genie in six easy steps. Chapman, Linda and Steve Cole. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 326 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125219-8.

Four siblings discover an ancient book that teaches them how to become genies. Through a series of six steps, the reader follows these children as they try to accomplish each task and find themselves in crazy, dangerous situations. The children train to become “proper magical beings” with the help of a former genie, who is now a bookworm, and encouragement from each other. When two real genies begin searching for them, the children must face the rules and dangers of the magical world. Chapman’s fun-filled fantasy novel is an excellent story about choosing to do the right thing, resisting temptations and valuing family. (KRR)

Only one year. Cheng, Andrea. Lee & Low Books, 2010. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 97pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-252-8. Illustrated by Nicole Wong.

Sharon is shocked when she finds out her parents have decided to send her two-year-old brother, Di Di, back to China where her grandparents will care for him for a year. After Di Di leaves, Sharon and her younger sister Mary, miss their brother and are eager to see the pictures of him their grandmother sends each week. However, as the year passes, the girls grow accustomed to life without Di Di and think of him less often. When Di Di eventually comes back home, it is as if a stranger has come to live with them. Sharon even finds herself wishing that Di Di would have stayed in China! As the siblings struggle to sort out their mixed emotions, they soon discover that their bond is stronger than the distance that had separated them. Readers will get a glimpse into the cultural values of an Asian-American immigrant family and be comforted by the family’s enduring love, even when tested by difficult choices. (NO)

I am going to save a panda! Child, Lauren. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 22pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45328-6.

Lauren Child’s I am going to save a panda is educational and humorous. In the newest adventure of Charlie and Lola from the Disney channel television series, it is Save an Animal Day at the siblings’ school. Charlie, Lola, and their classmates learn what it means when animals are extinct or endangered. They also learn how they can help save endangered animals by raising money from sponsors. Child does a marvelous job of explaining challenging vocabulary words in the book by putting them in bold and giving a definition of each bolded word embedded in the story. The cartoon-like illustrations along with different colored backgrounds make the story easy and enjoyable to read. Important life lessons about caring for the environment and working to save endangered animals are presented to readers in a lighthearted manner in I am going to save a panda!. (CKB)

I am extremely boiling. Child, Lauren. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45180-0.

There are plenty of stories out there about sharing, one of which is called I am extremely boiling by Lauren Child. However, Child’s book is unique in the fact that humor and multiple characters are added. Lola’s ice cream falls on the floor, and when Arnold fails to share his ice cream with her, a whole chain of events occurs to lead to the big finish, where Arnold and Lola learn how to share. This book is great for preschoolers through first graders, teaching the valuable lesson of sharing. (EMR)

Goddess boot camp. Childs, Tera Lynn. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0525421344.

Summer has just begun and Phoebe cannot wait. She is starting her training for the Pythian Games in Greece. Normal, right? Wrong, Phoebe is not your normal seventeen-year-old girl. She is a descendent of the Greek goddess Nike. With her bloodline comes the power of magic. Magic that Phoebe cannot control, so instead of just training with her boyfriend for the games, she has to attend Goddess Boot Camp. At camp, she must learn to control her powers in order to pass the test of the gods. The predictable characters and obvious story plot make this book ideal for reading by the pool or on the beach. (AO)

The demon king. Chima, Cinda Williams. Hyperion Books, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 506pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-142311823.

The Demon King is dramatic and powerful with wonderfully constructed characters that readers will feel as if they truly get to know them. Hans Alister cannot seem to shake his reputation of being a thief in the past. He still wears the “magic” silver cuffs he has worn for his whole life. While hunting in the mountains with his friends, Hans encounters two young wizards and a magical amulet that once belonged to the almighty Demon King. However, Hans does not realize the power the amulet still possesses. Princess Raisa, the other main character, is about to take over as Queen. These two characters’ paths rarely cross, but they go on individual journeys to discover who they truly are. Chima’s writing is eloquent, yet easy to read. A well crafted ending leaves readers eager for the next book in the series. Additionally, Chima’s attention to detail and precise construction of settings in history makes this book a fabulous read. (LM, CKB)

Al Capone shines my shoes. Choldenko, Gennifer. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. insidesales @us.penguingroup.com, (212-366-2000). 274pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780803734609.

In the sequel to Al Capone does my shirts; Choldenko continues the story of Moose Flanagan, who lives on the island of Alcatraz with his father, the prison guard. Life is still complicated for Moose, who struggles to keep all of his friends happy, make sure his autistic sister Natalie likes her school, and squeeze in time for baseball. Things take a bad turn when Moose becomes involved with some of the convicts’ schemes. Always engaging and often hilarious, this is a worthy sequel to the first novel. (MC)

Rhymes round the world. Chorao, Kay. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780525478751.

This collection of rhymes and children’s songs from all over the world features illustrations of children in traditional cultural costumes having fun. Additionally, the inclusion of a goose on every page pays homage to Mother Goose. The rhymes demonstrate that children across the world are much the same. The rhymes could be used to promote acceptance of other cultures in early elementary classrooms. (MC)

Far out!: Animals that do amazing things. Clarke, Ginjer L. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-44826-8. Illustrated by Pete Mueller.

Animals all around the world are both unique and intelligent. This book reveals a variety of animals from Africa to Antarctica that most early childhood readers probably have never encountered or heard of. This clever picture book includes random, humorous facts about all the animals. The most exciting parts of this book are the illustrations accompanying the animal descriptions; they are both humorous and charming. Early elementary readers will be very interested in this book. (BCHM)

Persephone. Clayton, Sally Pomme. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 26pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5349-3. Illustrated by Virginia Lee.

One beautiful spring day Persephone, the daughter of Demeter the earth goddess, is kidnapped by Hades, the god of the underworld, and taken to his kingdom. Based on one of the many legends from Ancient Greek mythology, the story gives a mythical explanation as to why the season of winter occurs and why spring always follows it. The beautifully colored illustrations clearly inspired by the artistic style of Ancient Greece enhance this traditional story of love and loss. (FCW)

Skin like milk, hair of silk: What are similes and metaphors? Clearly, Brian P. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-9151-1. Illustrated by Brian Gable.

Skin like milk, hair of silk: What are similies and metaphors? will help readers fully understand the concepts of similes and metaphors. The fun graphics and creative word selection will allow readers to enjoy the learning process. This book would be ideal for those beginning to learn about similes and metaphors or those who are struggling with the concept of figurative language. (KAR)

Lazily, crazily, just a bit nasally: More about adverbs. Cleary, Brian P. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2008. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-1-58013-937-3. Illustrated by Brian Gable.

Lazily, crazily, just a bit nasally: More about adverbs introduces students to the concept of adverbs in a fun and unique manner. The silliness of this book engages students in learning while still teaching the key components of an adverb. The illustrations further the silliness by demonstrating each adverb using a cat. Adverbs are shown in a clear and obvious way to ensure that the student both understands the specific meaning of each word as well as the overall concept of adverbs. (NB)

The punctuation station. Cleary, Brian P. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 37pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8255-7852-9. Illustrated by Joanna Lew-Vriethoff.

The punctuation station is a colorfully illustrated informational text designed to teach students the basic rules of punctuation. This book is designed as a story book, bringing readers through a train station with stops along the way to introduce new concepts. Facts about punctuation are listed in the top corner of each page leaving plenty of room for the examples of the concept dispersed along the page, disguised as a scene. Although the content of this book is primarily factual information, the author, Brian Cleary is still able to capture the reader’s attention through the use of rhyming language: “ “ ” These are called quotation marks. You’ve seen them when you’ve read. They go before and just behind the words that someone’s said.” (MAM)

Extra credit. Clements, Andrew. Simon and Schuster (Antheneum), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 183pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4929-9. Illustrated by Mark Elliot.

Extra credit discusses the difficulty of forming and maintaining international friendships. Abby Carson is a sixth grade student who does not like doing homework. When she realizes her poor grades could cause her to be held back, she decides to start doing extra work. In order to earn extra points, Abby must find a pen pal from another country. She receives a letter from an Afghani boy. Since his cultural traditions forbid him from speaking to a girl who is not related to him, the two must communicate through his sister. Eventually the boy becomes frustrated with the arrangement and decides to write to Abby himself, which causes tension between both communities. (NH)

Drizzle. Cleve, Kathleen. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 358pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3362-6.

Drizzle is an enchanting story about a middle school aged girl named Polly living on a magical farm. The farm consists mostly of magical rhubarb, in varieties like chocolate. As well as being flavorful, the rhubarb can also communicate with people. Polly’s best friend is Harry, a giant rhubarb plant. The weeping willows, dragon flies, and vines also have the ability to speak to humans. Every day on the farm it rains at one in the afternoon, until one day when there is not a cloud in the sky. The magic from the farm starts dying and Polly is determined to figure out why. While trying to save the farm she learns about herself. She keeps her faith in the farm alive while others in her family seem to let it fade away, especially when her brother gets sick. Readers will love Polly and her efforts to save the farm in this powerful fantasy about finding ones self and sticking up for what needs to be believed in. (MM)

Your body battles a broken bone. Cobb, Vicki. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-7468-2. Illustrated by Andrew N. Harris.

Your body battles a broken bone is a great resource for children who have broken a bone. The book explains everything that happens in the body from the time a bone is broken to when it is fully healed. Cells are portrayed as the superheroes of the body and the author uses this metaphor to help readers understand the role each cell plays in healing the bone. The illustrations in the book are well done, and include drawings as well as magnified pictures of real cells. (CF).

Your body battles a cold. Cobb, Vicki. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-8225-6813-1. Illustrated by Andrew N. Harris.

Your Body Battles a Cold discusses in detail the process by which the human body fights a cold. The book goes through a step by step description of how your body reacts to a common cold. Readers will find the illustrations to be detailed and interesting. Because the reading level may be above that of younger children, parents could read the book to them. The book would be useful in an upper elementary science classroom. (EMR)

Three dogs, two mules, and a reindeer. Cochrane, Marjorie. Mountain Press Publishing Co., 2010. [email protected], (800-234-6455) 66pp. $12.00. ISBN 978-0-87842-564-8. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle.

This book creates a nice balance as the messages are portrayed in a child friendly way. The illustrations are engaging as they alternate between drawings and real photographs. I would not recommend this book for beginning readers, because the vocabulary is fairly mature. (KLM)

The lost children. Cohagan, Carolyn. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 313pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8616-4.

Carolyn Cohagan’s The Lost Children is quirky, mysterious, humorous, slightly creepy, and delightful. Josephine is an extremely lonely twelve-year-old girl who lost her mother and is living with her father who does not enjoy speaking to her. To make matters worse, Josephine is resented by her classmates when her father passes a town law stating everyone must wear gloves everyday. One day a mysterious boy named Fergus shows up at her house and Josephine follows him to the magical world of Gulm. In Gulm, she learns secrets about her family that will change her life forever. Cohagan creates a mixture of one real world and one fantasy world, allowing readers to suspend disbelief when reading about the magical world of Gulm. Details provided about Josephine’s emotions show readers how lonely she is and will cause them to sympathize and or empathize with her difficult situation. A book about loss, strength, and hope will have readers at the edge of their seats waiting to find out what happens next. (CKB)

Nachshon, who was afraid to swim. Cohen, Deborah Bodin. Lerner Publishing Group (Kar-Ben Publishing), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 30pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-8225-8765-1. Illustrated by Jago.

This picture book tells the story of the Passover and the Israelites’ escape from Egyptian slavery through the perspective of Nachshon, a young boy afraid to swim. When Nachshon learns to have faith and faces his fear of the water by walking into the Sea of Reeds, the waters are parted and the Israelites are able to walk across into freedom. Although the story is based more on Midrash or Rabbinic lore than the biblical account, readers will enjoy an entertaining and inspiring story of faith and courage. (NO)

Better answers. Cole, Ardith Davis. Stenhouse, 2009. [email protected], (800-988-9812). 209pp. $22.50. ISBN 978-157110-748-0.

Classroom teacher and literary specialist, Aridth Cole, provides constructive analysis and promotes self-evaluation in her second edition of Better answers. These great teaching strategies will improve students’ writing immensely by focusing on details and structure of effective writing. Cole breaks down the writing process into steps, making it easier both to teach and understand. Her sandwich method, for example, with introduction, body, and conclusion, can be utilized in order to fully answer questions and prompts. The included CD has resources for the classroom that employ interesting ways to teach writing in the form of posters and charts. (ESS)

Trudy. Cole, Henry. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 27pp. $17.99, ISBN 978-0-06-154267-1.

Trudy is a touching story about a girl who adopts a goat as her pet and later learns that the goat has a special talent; she can predict the weather! Cole uses soft shapes and textures to emphasize the cool winter landscape. There is a noticeable difference between the warm colors that are used for the interior of the warm house, and the cool muted colors used for the wintery outside. Throughout the book Cole has illustrations that span across both pages and are very effective in conveying the mood of the text. (KMT)

Dear vampa. Collins, Ross. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780061355349.

Told from a vampire family’s point of view, this story is a humorous look at two very different sets of neighbors. Children familiar with vampire stories will appreciate the numerous references to vampire lore. Especially entertaining is the unexpected twist at the end of the story. Dear vamp would be a fun story to share during the Halloween season. (MC)

Sweet little lies. Conrad, Lauren. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 309pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-176760-9.

Lauren Conrad’s Sweet Little Lies, provides a glimpse into the lives of four college-aged women who have signed up to live out their lives on a reality television show entitled “L.A. Candy”. From friendships and romantic relationships to heart-break and betrayal this novel is relatable and meaningful to a wide population of young women readers. Conrad’s use of realistic emotions and situations allows readers of this novel to reflect on their own personal friendships and relationships. Her informal writing style is easy and enjoyable to read. Sweet Little Lies is filled with different challenges each of the four girls has to face. Like any young lady, the girls of L.A. Candy seek advice and support from their friends in order to face the challenges ahead of them. Through this journey of confusion each girl discovers important lessons, including who their true friends really are. Although the novel is filled with topics such as sex, drinking, and superficial concepts that many parents would not like their daughters to read about, there are vital underlying messages throughout the novel that might be able to help any young reader face a similar challenge in her own personal life. Sweet Little Lies is a novel for entertainment, but can also serve as a tool for girls to take a glimpse into their own lives. (CKB)

What Katy did. Coolidge, Susan. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 212pp. $4.99 ISBN 978-0-141-32-671-9.

Katy Carr is the eldest of six children and intends to be charming, caring, and beloved…eventually. For now, she enjoys frolicking through the woods as leader of the young Carr children, leaving her good intentions for another day. It is not until a dreadful accident that will change her life forever that Katy must make a conscious effort to become the young lady she hopes to be. Readers will enjoy Susan Coolidge’s classic story of the joys of youth and the honored responsibility of becoming “the heart of the house.” (SB)

Up close: Theodore Roosevelt, Cooper, Michael L. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 208pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01134-6.

This biography of President Roosevelt is both engaging and informative. Readers learn about the many accomplishments of the two-term president over the course of his life, from protecting millions of acres that eventually became our national parks to winning a Nobel Prize. The author also does an excellent job of portraying Roosevelt’s humorous and audacious personality through the inclusion of many direct quotes. Roosevelt’s life story of strength, perseverance, and courage—rising from sickness and frailty in childhood to become one of America’s great leaders—is sure to inspire readers. (NO)

The trouble gum. Cordell, Matthew. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0312387747.

In The trouble gum a bubblegum-loving pig gets in a lot of trouble when he causes bubblegum messes. The illustrations show the plot’s activity yet leaves room for the imagination. Recommended for children between the ages of six and eight. (LM, AO)

Shakespeare kids. Cox, Carole. ABC-CLIO, 2010. www.abc-clio.com, (800-368-6868). 124pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-1-59158-838-2.

Although the magnificent works of William Shakespeare may at first seem challenging and far too complex for young students, Shakespeare kids helps bring these classic tales to life in the elementary and middle school classrooms. Carole Cox has created an easy-to-use guide for how to cast, rehearse, produce, and perform Shakespeare’s plays in the elementary and middle school setting. With clear summaries and bright production ideas for ten of Shakespeare’s best plays, Shakespeare kids provides a well guided route to successful Shakespearian performances within the classroom. (SEB)

The case of the purloined professor. Cox, Judy. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5544-8.

The case of the purloined professor is a fantasy style book written for students ages 8-12, although the language used in developing the plot could be used with older students as well. Three rats: Frederick, Ishbu and Natasha travel the world in search of Natasha’s missing father, leaving behind the comfort of their 5th grade classroom. Readers will discover Frederick’s bravery, Ishbu’s constant hunger and finally Natasha’s beauty through the characters’ development. The plot is further developed through the use of historical background, as detailed descriptions of the history and culture of each place the rats travel to are included. Readers of all interests will enjoy the history, culture, romance and suspense integrated into the story. (MAM)

The unfinished angel. Creech, Sharon. HarperCollins Publishers (Joanna Cotler Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 164 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-143095-4.

Zola, a young American girl, meets angels and helps them to discover their purpose. The angels struggle to figure out why they do not belong in their heavenly world until Zola helps them. Many young readers will enjoy this heart-warming story of hope, love, kindness, and friendship. (EMR)

Faces of the moon. Crelin, Bob. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-322-8755). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-785-1. Illustrated by Leslie Evans.

To children, the moon is a very curious, mystical place up in the sky. They see the bright shape in the sky and are enthralled by it. Bob Crelin’s Faces of the Moon gives young readers an in-depth look into the different phases of the moon. The book is organized very uniquely; the book tabs represent each phase of the moon. Teachers will find this book easy to use in a science classroom.(EMR)

Nanook & Pryce: Gone fishing. Crowley, Ned. HarperCollins Publishers. 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 23pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-06-113641-6. Illustrations by Larry Day.

Two friends go on a fishing trip and have many exciting adventures. Children will interact with the story through the use of rhyming language. The detailed illustrations of ocean life allow readers’ imaginations to soar. (KM)

Angry management. Crutcher, Chris. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 246pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-050247.

Angry management by Chris Crutcher is a book that chronicles the stories of three groups of people: Angus Bethune and Sarah Byrnes, Montana West, and Matt Miller. The author develops three background stories to show how anger can hurt people and ways to handle the stress anger causes. Each of the three stories confronts many problems teens face such as insecurity, anger, and prejudice. Although some foul language is used, it services to capture the emotions of anger as well as love, power, and freedom. This quality book will help teen readers to deal with the pressures and emotions of being a teenager. (PM)

Boom bah! Cummings, Phil and Nina Rycroft. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-22-8.

Boom bah!, a charming tale of a barnyard band, is filled with excitement. With each page, sounds of the band will come to life for readers. Incorporating sound, number, and rhyme, Phil Cummings creates a delightful book to be read to a young child. Boom bah! is a must read for all who love to make music of their own. (SEB)

Old magic. Curley, Marianne. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse), 2000. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 369pp. $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-4169-8991-2.

The moment they first lock eyes, Jarrod and Kate can sense a strange yet powerful connection between them. Readers will follow Kate and Jarrod as they discover their remarkable powers and uncover the Old magic. Written in a shared narrative, readers will enjoy hearing both Kate and Jarrod’s accounts of their astonishing happenings. Combining supernatural suspense and the familiarity of high school romance, Marianne Curley has created an exciting tale to delight adolescent readers. (SEB)

Dirk Bones and the mystery of the missing books. Cushman, Doug. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-073768-9.

A mystery is taking place in the town of Ghostly. For some strange reason, a particular type of book continues to disappear. These books are by Edgar Bleek, an author who writes spooky stories. Detective Dirk Bones decides to try and solve this mystery. At each place that the books have gone missing, a unique looking spotted blue leaf is found. These leaves eventually lead Bones to the culprit. Dirk Bones is both fearless and curious as he solves the mystery of the missing books in this silly, yet creepy book. (KAR)

The cow that was the best moo-ther. Cutbill, Andy. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-166472-4. Illustrated by Russell Ayto.

When a mother cow wants to enter her baby into the farm’s beauty contest, she doesn’t think twice about it, even though her baby is different from the others. Her baby is a chick! This silly story is illustrated with collages that add texture and depth to each page. The collages are full of bright colors and lines that create motion and interest for the reader. The shapes and figures are unrealistic, but since the premise of the book is also unrealistic, the pictures compliment the story. (KMT)

Bullies never win. Cuyler, Margery. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-86187-1. Illustrated by Arthur Howard.

Jessica has a big problem; she worries about everything! Her biggest worry is the bully in her class. Jessica worries night and day about what the bully will say or do next. After sharing her feelings with her family, Jessica finally builds up the courage to stand up for herself. Children can easily imagine themselves in the position of Jessica. For kids, worrying about how to deal with a bully is universal. No child deserves to be bullied, and Jessica sets a positive example of how to deal with the person that is bullying her. (KMT)

We’re going on a lion hunt. Cuyler, Margery. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5454-0. Illustrated by Joe Mathieu.

A class learns about the power of imagination when they go on an imaginary lion hunt. Through mud, sticks, and water, the class takes on quite the adventure. Joe Mathieu nicely illustrates this book in a colorful, happy, and cartoon-like style. (FCW)

Hip and Hop, don’t stop! Czekaj, Jef. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1423116646.

Hip is a turtle and Hop is a bunny. Hip is very slow and Hop is speedy in everything. They live in different parts of the county, but have one thing in common: they love to rap. Both Hip and Hop spend their free time rapping and writing raps in their rooms. One day they discover a Rap-Off contest and decide to sign up. Although these two different animals usually do not work together, they become friends over a common goal. When it comes to the rap-off, they win and gain admiration from their friends and family. Jef Czekaj’s book helps to promote friendship in all forms and advocates resistance to peer pressure. Czekaj’s illustrations are filled with bright bold colors that help to make the pictures vibrant. All of the characters are distinct in their shapes and colors, giving them attitude and life. This is a great book for teaching readers about unlikely friendships. (LM, EEE)

Candle man: The society of unrelenting vigilance. Dakin, Glenn. Egmont USA, 2009. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 300pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-015-3.

Theo finds a package on his birthday and soon comes down with a mysterious “illness”. In order to get well, Theo must unravel the mystery behind this illness. The characters in this novel are well developed and readers will enjoy the interesting and engaging plot line. However, readers would benefit from reading the first book of this series in order to be introduced to the protagonist and to follow the storyline more easily. (PM)

The coyote road. Datlow, Ellen and Terri Windling. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Firebird), 2007. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 523pp. $10.99. ISBN 9780142413005. Illustrated by Charles Vess.

Every culture seems to have its own mythical trickster. This collection of short stories, from a wide variety of authors, showcases different trickster characters from all over the world. Featuring an engaging mix of scenarios and good humor throughout, The coyote road is an enjoyable collection for students in sixth grade and older. (MC)

A voice of her own. Dana, Barbara. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 346pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780060287047.

Dana spent ten years working on this novel told from the perspective of young Emily Dickenson, and the effort shows. Dickenson’s voice, sense of humor, and thoughtfulness are captured well here. Written in the first-person, the novel follows Emily Dickinson from ages nine to twenty-four, giving insight into how she became a writer and what her life was like. Those learning about Dickinson may find this book worth the read, as it will spark curiosity about her poetry. (MC)

Lifting the sky. D’Arge, Mackie. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 310pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-186-2.

Blue’s mother never stays in one place for more than two months at a time. Blue is accustomed to crossing the country with her mother, who works as a ranch hand, instead of going to school like normal children. When her mother is hired on a ranch that seems to be falling apart, Blue finds it to be a place she can call home. Readers will sympathize with Blue’s longing for a place to call home, as well as being the new kid at school. Despite the slow pace of this novel, readers will enjoy the well-written story. (CF)

The secret science alliance and the copycat crook. Davis, Eleanor. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 154pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-396-5.

The secret science alliance and the copycat crook is a book written for upper elementary aged readers using both text and graphics. The Secret Science Alliance is a group of three kids who have formed a friendship based on their shared love of science. The alliance becomes mixed up with a shady scientist who is out to steal the kids’ invention ideas. In the end, the Alliance must use its inventions to catch the crook and save the day.

This book offers a lot to further the development of its readers. There are many hidden morals and values incorporated into the story, such as acceptance and being yourself. The illustrations could be used to spark readers’ imaginations into creating and inventing something of their own. (CF)

The duchess of whimsy. De Seve, Randall. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 28pp. $17.99. ISBN978-0-399-25095-8. Illustrated by Peter de Seve.

The duchess of whimsy is a delightful fairy tale about the Duchess of Whimsy and the Earl of Norm. Known for her extravagant parties, clothing and conversations, the Duchess contrasts sharply with the ordinary Earl. He wears ordinary clothes, has an ordinary pet, and has ordinary conversations. The Earl is madly in love with the Duchess but she believes that he is simply too ordinary. To prove to her that he is not ordinary, the Earl tries bringing a giraffe to a party and wearing a brightly colored cape. One day, while the Duchess of Whimsy is getting ready for one of her parties her cook falls ill, and there is no food for the party. All of the party guests get to work and begin to cook elaborate dishes for the party, except for the Earl of Norm. He decides to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which appeals greatly to the Duchess. After dinner, the Duchess and the Earl begin talking and find that they have a lot in common.
This quirky, entertaining read is suitable for early to middle elementary students because of the author’s use of complex sentences, as well as more difficult words for more advanced elementary readers. The illustrator’s use of a large variety of pastel colors and detailed drawings allow readers to use their imagination. (LM, AD)

Malawi in pictures. DeCapua, Sarah. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty-First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 79pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-8575-6.

Malawi in pictures is an informational book about the African country of Malawi. Readers will learn the history of the country, the government, and the culture of the present day people. The book’s format will be most appealing to young readers, as it is set up to resemble a website by incorporating technology into the text. There are different “tabs” showing the chapters on the top of each page, as well as a “mouse” to point out interesting facts. The pictures, which portray a wide variety of locations and people of Malawi, greatly enhance the text. (CF)

Paula Deen’s cookbook for the lunch-box set. Deen, Paula and Martha Nesbit. Simon & Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 191pp. $21.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8268-5. Illustrated by Susan Mitchell.

Young ones always want to help out mom and dad in the kitchen with the baking and cooking for dinner. Most of the time, the kids get to crack an egg or mix a bowl of icing. However, Paula Deen and Martha Nesbit have created a cook book just for children. The book begins by introducing simple cooking vocabulary. It informs the child reader when things are too advanced for them and they need parental assistance. Included is a variety of tasty food, from muffins and brownies, to fondue and garlic bread for children and adults to enjoy! (EMR)

April fool! Watch out at school! DeGroat, Diane. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780061430428.

Gilbert can not wait to trick all of his friends on April Fool’s Day, but when he becomes the victim of all the jokes, especially from the class bully Lewis, he is about ready to give up. In the end, Gilbert tricks Lewis with the best April Fool’s trick of all! The illustrations feature “tricks” of their own, and children can go through the book to try and spot them all, then check the front page to see if they were right. This story is recommended for ages 4-8. (MC)

Gilbert, the surfer dude. DeGroat, Diane. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125211-2.

Gilbert and his family take a day trip to the beach. But, Gilbert has forgotten something…his swimming suit! Gilbert and his mom find a surf shop and Gilbert picks out a new swimming suit. The day that Gilbert and his family have at the beach is divided up into short chapters. This book will help young readers make the transition from picture story books to chapter books. (KMT)

The last apprentice: Clash of the demons. Delaney, Joseph. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 395pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-134462-6.

This is a fascinating fantasy book full of intriguing and scary characters such as the dangerous maenads and the powerful Elementals. It is the sixth book in The last apprentice series, about a boy named Thomas Ward who works as the apprentice to the Spook. Ward’s job is to help protect the town from the mysterious creatures lurking in the dark, waiting to torment his people. In this novel, readers follow Ward on his adventures as he takes on the extremely dangerous witch named Ordeen. Besides physical battles, Ward is also faced with a moral dilemma that becomes a life-changing decision. The vivid imagery and detailed accounts given throughout this story make it an engaging novel that middle school or high school students with a passion for spooky tales will love. (KRR)

Sistrsic92 (Meg). Dellasega, Cheryl. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 226pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5456-4.

This is the classic story of life for a teenage girl. Any young girl would be able to relate to this book. The issues discussed range from friends, family problems, boy troubles, and hobbies and interests. Cheryl Dellasega has outdone herself in making a book that is 100 percent relatable to teen readers. (KM)

Baby blessings: A prayer for the day you are born. Deloris, J., & Ransome J. Simon & Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5362-3.

Baby blessings: A prayer for the day you are born is a beautifully simple story that has clear, concise text appropriate for readers of all ages. The text and illustrations are placed on separate pages, ensuring no interference between the two. Its simplicity allows readers to draw on experiences from their own lives to enhance the meaning of the story. The illustrations correlate with the loving nature of the text, using light baby blues, butter yellows, spring greens and chocolate browns that project a feeling of warmth and security. Readers will be reminded of the strong support and love families can share with one another. (MAM)

Tutankhamun. Demi. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 52pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5558-5.

The history of Tutankhamun is portrayed through shimmering and bright illustrations of ancient structures, people and designs using colors of bronze and gold. Readers are informed about the gods Egyptians worshipped, different rulers, and prayers of the people. Ancient symbols and depictions of events leading up to King Tut’s burial are detailed and historically accurate. The architecture, religion, and ancestry of ancient Egypt are beautifully described for readers’ enjoyment. (ESS)

Me with you. Dempsey, Kristy and Christopher Denise. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780399250170.

Dempsey and Denise showcase a strong father-daughter relationship in this colorful picture book for early elementary students. The colorful illustrations and the four-line rhyming verses on each page make this a pleasant, and engaging read. Me With You shows how a father and daughter can have fun together playing baseball, participating in music (even if you’re off-key), and decorating the Christmas tree. More importantly, the book shows how a father can be supportive when things don’t go smoothly. When Denise attempts to run away, does something selfish, or has a bad day, her father is always there to help. Students will be able to relate to these troubles and will perhaps gain a better appreciation of their own fathers, grandfathers, or other male role models. (MC)

Strega Nona’s harvest. DePaola, Tomie. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780399252914.

Big Anthony is up to more antics in this story by the very popular Tomie dePaola. When Big Anthony helps Strega Nona plant her garden, he decides to grow his own garden and ends up with more vegetables than he knows what to do with! As usual, dePaola mixes Italian expressions with the English text, and the illustrations are engaging and colorful. (MC)

Mathilda and the orange balloon. De Seve, Randall. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-172685-9. Illustrated by Jen Corace.

A playful autumn-orange balloon floats past Mathilda, the fluffy white lamb, one day as she grazes in her pasture. Mathilda has never seen such a unique thing and is determined to become like the balloon. Along with the reluctant help of other sheep in the pasture Mathilda imagines herself as a balloon and discovers anything is possible. This simple message is complemented by the playful pictures depicting cartoonish characters. (LG)

One true bear. Dewan, Ted. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 40pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0802784957.

One true bear is a sweet and inspirational story about a bear who goes to be the teddy of a mean little boy who has destroyed his previous bears. He teaches the boy about taking care of his possessions and friends, a lesson some children struggle to learn. The official tone and uniforms in the words and illustrations will help boys who like to pretend they are in the army to connect to the book. It is a gentle reminder that others have feelings and need to be treated with respect. The realistic and urban setting will also help children to connect to the book, seeing the ‘uglier details’ of a neighborhood that may look like theirs. The colors are a bit dreamy and simplified, yet realistic, and show a real little boy who has some emotional problems. (LME)

Over in the hollow. Dickinson, Rebecca. Chronicle Books, LLC., 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 30pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5035-3. Illustrated by S. Britt.

Over in the hollow is a counting book that uses different kinds of creatures to teach children how to count. There are adult creatures and baby creatures. The illustrations will keep children engaged in the book. Children in kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy this story. (SE, NH)

Ruby bridges. Donaldson, Madeline. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929), 43pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-4220-5.
This biography of Ruby Bridges shows children the many difficulties of growing up as an African-American in the 1950s. (NH)

Stick man. Donaldson, Julia. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books), 2008. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-15761-2. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

In Julia Donaldson’s Stick man, the reader is taken on an adventure as the main character, a stick personified into a man, is mistaken multiple times for a different object rather than a person in stick form. Donaldson does a wonderful job describing in great detail the struggles this man goes through. Readers are shown the importance of perseverance by the use of repetition of words, which also helps young readers improve his or her reading skills. The wide vocabulary will also help broaden the readers’ vocabulary. Axel Sheffler’s detailed pictures make the words come to life. (NB)

Does it really take seven years to digest swallowed gum? And other questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Donovan, Sandy. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 40pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-9085-9.

The world is full of puzzling phenomena and outrageous myths, and Donovan helps readers differentiate between fact and fiction. Readers will learn about the forces of gravity, origins of Jell-O, and many other surprising facts as they read Does it really take seven years to digest swallowed gum? And other questions you’ve always wanted to ask. Answering the silliest and most curious questions, Donovan has created an excellent book to be enjoyed by inquisitive young readers. (SEB)

Falling in. Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 245pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5032-5.

Twelve-year-old Isabelle Bean, a quiet but kind social misfit, has always suspected she is a changeling. When she opens a door one day and unexpectedly falls into another world, her suspicions are confirmed. Isabelle’s journey through this new world with Hen, a young girl she meets on the trail, is marked with adventure and surprise. Before returning to her own world, the former outsider discovers the happiness true friends and family can bring. Frances O’Roark Dowell’s narrator cuts in with witty and entertaining interruptions to the storyline and her conversational tone is engaging and easy to read. Readers will enjoy following Isabelle as she falls into not only a new world, but also a better understanding of herself. (NO)

Shooting the moon. Dowell, Frances O’Roark. Simon and Schuster, 2008.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 163pp. $5.99.
ISBN 978-1-4169-7986-9.

Although they are far apart, a brother and sister share a passion that is a window into the other’s world. Jamie has always dreamed of the excitement of her brother going off to war, but it becomes all too real when he joins the medical corps and leaves for Vietnam. Their dad, the chief of staff, says, “You can live your life or watch it,” but Jamie’s brother, TJ, does both. He goes to Vietnam for new perspectives; to do what he’s always planned and felt obligated to do. TJ would rather shoot photos than shoot a gun, so he sends Jamie rolls of film, wanting his sister to actually see what letters could never describe. As people leave her life, Jamie’s view of war changes drastically. She loses her fascination with war as TJ’s photos expose completely different images than she imagined. This Christopher Award-winning novel, set in 1969, describes how one military family is strengthened as the realities of war are revealed. (ESS)

Presidential pets, Driscoll, Laura. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 64pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-488-45250-0. Illustrated by Christian Slade.

Presidential pets is a colorful book about the pets of past presidents and President Obama. Drawings and actual pictures of some of the pets that have lived in the White House are included. (CF)

Freaked. Dutton, J.T. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 296pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-137079-3.

Freaked is a story about Scotty and his relationship with himself, his family, school, friends, the Grateful Dead, and dope. The book gives a glimpse into the life of the rich and famous, and shows that having money does not always solve your problems; the grass is not always greener on the other side. Drug use is a big part of the story, and often used by the book’s characters as an escape from reality. The drug use fits into the story, but it also makes the book poorly suited for young readers. (FCW)

Mission to the moon. Dyer, Alan. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 80pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7935-7.

Mission to the moon is an informational text that would also serve as an entertaining read for students of many ages. This book is broken down into thirty-six two page chapters about subjects ranging from “Mission Control” to “Moon Structure.” Each page is set up similar to a scrapbook with unique photos, text captions and illustrations. Historical photos from the NASA database of equipment are included as well as space rock formations and real astronauts. The author provides readers with diagrams and pictures in an appendix to show readers how moons are formed and how long it would take to get to the moon via alternative transportation. This substantial book contains over 200 photos from the NASA achieves, an interactive DVD as well as a poster of the Lunar Module. (MAM)

To be Mona. Easton, Kelly. Simon and Schuster, 2009.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 213pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-0055-9

Sage Priestly’s dream is to be exactly like the most popular girl in school, Mona. Sage takes drastic measures to be just like Mona. She goes on a diet to lose weight, highlights her hair, and completely changes her wardrobe in order to resemble Mona. Although Sage tries to do everything in her power to become Mona, she has difficultly escaping the problems she faces at home. Sage’s mother is mentally unstable, and her father left the family when she was young; therefore, Sage has to take on many responsibilities around the house. She is able juggle her complicated social and home life with the help of her friend Vern. He secretly has a crush on Sage and tries very hard to win her over, but Sage has no interest in her best friend. As Sage’s life becomes more and more complicated she begins to realize that she does not want to be Mona, she is completely content with just being Sage. This book does an exceptional job of showing young teen readers they should not try to be something they are not, and each individual should be content with who he or she is as a person. (AED)

Classic western stories. Edens, Cooper. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 139pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6325-4.

There have been hundreds of stories about the Wild West during the 1800’s. Cooper Edens compiled some of the more famous ones into an informational children’s book. Classic western stories uses a variety of old pictures and paintings that depict and illustrate what the text is about. The book includes poems and songs from the 1800’s as well as modern depictions of the old era through monologues from “The Lone Ranger and Tonto” as well as others. (PM)

Locked up. Edge, Laura B. Lerner Publishing (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 112pp. $31.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-8750-7.

Locked up is a historical book about the United States prison system. Its real stories and interesting pictures keep readers interested in this informational book. Although this book is geared toward younger children its content is complex. This book would be great for any reader interested in the history of the prison system or in need of a reliable source for research about the topic. The information in this book is presented in an easy to read fashion and includes an extensive bibliography. (KAR)

Barack Obama: United states president. Edwards, Roberta. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 64pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45234-0. Illustrated by Ken Call.

Barack Obama: United States President provides accurate information about our nation’s current president for readers. Although the credibility may be questionable due to absence of a bibliography, all the key political terms are defined such that students will understand. Watercolor illustrations and photographs create moods and spark emotions such as sympathy for the poor and frustration with violence. Overall, Barack Obama: United States President would be best used in conjunction with other biographies of our President to introduce politics, but should not be used as a primary resource. (SE, NB)

Who is Barack Obama? Edwards, Roberta. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset& Dunlap), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 105pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45330-9. Illustrated by John O’Brien.

Who is Barack Obama? provides an inside perspective into the past and present life of our current President. Readers will enjoy discovering the history of our 44th President, told in a manner that is easy to read and understand. From his childhood in Hawaii, to his current seat in the White House, readers will get a chance to meet the man who leads our country and discover that he too, is a our fellow American. (SEB)

Honk! Edwards, P.D. and H. Cole. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 1998. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-078671298-1.

Honk! follows the journey of a swan’s love for dance. The impressive paintings reflect the changing mood of the swan, easily drawing readers into the story. Each painting is unique in the colors used, for example, anytime the swan is watching ballerinas dance or practicing her own ballet, the color choice is comprised of soft grey-blue tones. In contrast, scenes where the swan is desperately trying to trick her way into the theater, the color choice is much more intense, using bold reds, oranges, and dark elegant blacks. The movement present in the lines of the illustrations really brings the story to life. The shadows underneath the dancers, the depth of the theater’s stairs, and the texture of the swans feathers all give off a strong feeling of movement and realism to each object and character. (MAM)

Dodsworth in London. Egan, Tim. Hougton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 44pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-547-13816-9.

Tim Egan’s book Dodsworth in London follows Dodsworth and his duck on a trip to England. Along the way, the two get into quite a bit of trouble. First, the duck causes commotion when they stop at a local pub to eat. Then the duck and Dodsworth get separated and Dodsworth mistakes his own duck for the Queen of England’s royal duck. After Dodsworth realizes the mistake he has made, he begins to panic. Dodsworth and the royal duck search London for the other duck. Finally the royal duck suggests they ask the queen for advice, and when they get to Buckingham Palace, they find the duck is there entertaining the queen. Everyone is overjoyed to be reunited, and the queen asks them to be her special guests for the week. The illustrations describe the emotions the characters are dealing with throughout the book using a variety of colors to depict realistic settings and backgrounds. This chapter book gives children an idea of many of the famous landmarks throughout London. (AED)

Boo to you! Ehlert, Lois. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 36pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8625-6. .

Boo to you! is a story about a group of mice who are preparing their fall feast, while trying to avoid the mean old cat. The book uses colors associated with fall, and the illustrations use vegetables to create pictures of the mice and the cat. This book could be a fun way of teaching children about different vegetables, as well as encouraging them to make their own pictures like the ones in the book. (FCW)

Do you love me? Elffers, Joost. HarperCollins Publishers (The Brown Press), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-166799-2.

The Snuzzles in this book ask important questions to one another; such as Do You Love Me? They share their love by rubbing their noses together. This is a simple book that is full of color and asks questions that both kids and adults should ask one another. (KMT)

A troubled peace. Elliot, L.M. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 289pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-074427-4.

A troubled peace by L.M. Elliot is the sequel to Under a war torn sky, a book about an American WWII soldier named Henry who suffered torture and spent a long time on the run before returning home. In A troubled peace, Henry sets off to find a young French boy, Pierre, who risked everything to help Henry return to America. During his visit to Europe, Henry sees the devastation created by war. Henry must search for Pierre as well as find a way to trust the girl he loves. Readers will find this historically accurate book that incorporates French phrases to be both believable and enjoyable. (PM)

Pythagoras and the ratios. Ellis, Julie. Charlesbridge, 2010. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-776-9. Illustrated by Phyllis Hornung Peacock.

Pythagoras and the ratios is a “math adventure” book appropriate for younger readers who are just beginning to learn about measurements. Easy to understand language introduces a potentially confusing topic for young learners. “We can simplify these numbers, if we divide both the top and bottom numbers by the greatest common factor. For 24 over 12, I can divide both by 12.” When this statement is made, the neighboring page has a comparison chart of the two measurements Pythagoras is making to help readers understand. This book is based off the man behind the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras and the ratios depicts the ancient Greek people fairly well, showing traditional dress and instruments accurately. (MAM)

There was an old monster. Emberley, Rebecca. Scholastic Inc. (Orchard Books), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 28 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-10145-5. Illustrated by Adrian and Ed Emberley.

In a new rendition of “There was an Old Lady,” Rebecca, Adrian, and Ed Emberley try to liven things up a bit, making the title There was an old monster. The three family members change the classic story to be about a monster swallowing things: from a tick, to a lizard, this monster does not give up. Once the monster feels like he is going to die, he tries to eat the lion, but the lion eats the monster first. This book is targeted at young boys interested in picture books. Unfortunately, it gives off the impression that lions, not typically dangerous creatures when unprovoked, are more dangerous than monsters. (EMR)

Nikki & Deja: Birthday blues. English, Karen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 92pp. $15.00. ISBN978-0-618-97787-1. Illustrated by Laura Freeman.

Deja’s eighth birthday is coming up and the anticipation of the big day is killing her. Deja and her best friend Nikki are two African American girls in the third grade that live in an urban setting. Many unexpected events occur before Deja’s birthday which causes the highly dreamt about day of great celebration to slowly fade. As the setbacks occur, the girls realize things can still be great even if they do not go as expected. This book is great for young girls who are able to read at the chapter book level. The way the story is written and the details about the situation and the girls’ friendship can be very relatable to young girls at Deja’s and Nikki’s age. (KAR)

The girl with the mermaid hair. Ephron, Delia. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 312pp. $16.99. IBSN 978-0-06-154260-2.

Sukie is a teenage girl who is going through everything that life can throw at her. Sukie is in love with the heartthrob quarterback, but is not sure if he likes her. Her parents are in the middle of their own mid-life crises, which include plastic surgery and mistresses. Sukie has no one to turn to, because she has no friends from school. It seems like Sukie’s life is falling apart. When her mom gives her a mirror that once belonged to her grandmother, Sukie becomes obsessed with her reflection and begins to live in another world. Soon, Sukie finds that she must begin to face what is happening in her life, before it gets too out of control. Readers will relate to the hardships that Sukie endures while learning that doors can be opened for the future in times of difficulty. Although life is full of ups and downs, true friends help people get through anything. (EEE)

Snow surprise. Ernst, Lisa Campbell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Greenlight Readers), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 22 pp. $12.95 ISBN978-0-15-206553-9.

Snow surprise describes the excitement that surrounds the first snowfall of winter. This easy-to-read book is sure to delight children as they relate to the experiences conveyed in the illustrations. The post-reading activity page in the back of the book provides an opportunity for new readers to develop their reading skills. (KLM)

Stanza. Esbaum, Jill. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205998-9. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis.

In Stanza, a young dog and his two brothers are the town bullies. Everyone knows that when these three dogs come around, they are going to cause trouble. Stanza has a huge secret that he believes would ruin his tough image if it was discovered: Stanza loves to write poetry. Despite his fears, he enters into a poetry contest and is ridiculed by his tough brothers until they realize that Stanza has won a year’s supply of dog treats. This story teaches a great lesson about following your dreams, despite what other people might think. Students will also be exposed to poetry and can learn to appreciate the fact that poetry can be about anything- even chicken potpie. (KRR)

Olu’s dream. Evans, Shane W. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-072672-0.

Olu’s dream is an endearing book about a little boy who uses his imagination all the time. The book begins when Olu announces to his father that he has made a creative maze out of his toys and wants his father to come watch him speed though it. Olu’s father checks the time and realizes there is no time for the big race because it is bed time. However, bed time doesn’t mean Olu has to stop his creativity. He dreams that he turns into a super hero and scares monsters, eats a ridiculous amount of pizza, meets a giant whale, becomes an astronaut, and wins the race in his very own maze. The pictures in this book are fun and full of images that will keep any child’s attention. Along with the pictures, this book is perfect to be read aloud because of Evans’s use of rhyme. (MM)

Mystery vine. Falwell, Cathryn. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-177198-9.

The picture book Mystery vine follows two children as they work in the garden planting different vegetables during the spring. Through poetic lines, the reader watches the garden grow throughout the summer, as the children continue to care for their plants. They find tomatoes, beans, carrots, and cucumbers all growing in their garden; however, there is one vine that they do not recognize. In the fall, the mystery vine grows bright orange pumpkins. The children enjoy carving their pumpkins and eating the seeds. This is an excellent story to teach students about how vegetables look when they are growing. The illustrations are very unique, using paper cut-outs to form each shape, and the details in the garden depict the variety of ways in which vegetables grow. (KRR)

Jessica’s guide to dating on the dark side. Fantaskey, Beth. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 351pp. $17.00. ISBN 9780152063849.

In the wake of Twilight’s success, a growing market for teen vampire fiction has emerged, and Fantaskey’s novel follows the trend. When Jessica, a normal high school girl, meets the mysterious Lucius Vladescu, she discovers not only that he is a vampire, but also that she is betrothed to him. When she learns that she is nearly a vampire herself, life becomes increasingly complicated. Fantaskey’s take on teen-vampire romance manages to be an engaging read with a satisfying plot, yet doesn’t burden itself by taking itself or its genre too seriously. Teenagers, especially girls, will appreciate the dry humor, relatable main character, and of course, the romance. (MC)

The islands of the blessed. Farmer, Nancy. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 479pp. $18.99. ISBN 9781416907374.

In The islands of the blessed, Farmer uses elements from the Norse, Pagan, and Christian beliefs along with mythology, and folktales to create a compelling finale to her trilogy. Set in the 700s, this story follows adventurers Jack, Thorgil, and the Bard, who set off to Notland, to appease restless spirits by righting a murder caused by their friend, Father Severus. Readers of the previous books in the trilogy will enjoy being immersed, once again, in the fascinating setting and the intricate tales Farmer spins. (MC)

Change-up. Fehler, Gene. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 48pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-71962-4. Illustrated by Donald Wu.

This book serves a dual purpose of teaching about baseball through a poetic form. Each poem discusses different aspects of the game and shares personal experiences from baseball. This is a great book for children learning about poems and their structure. The illustrations enhance the poetry, allowing the children to understand what the poems are referring to. (BCHM)

Which puppy? Feiffer, Kate. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9147-2. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer.

Kate Feiffer’s Which puppy? will make readers of all ages let out a few chuckles. The animal community throughout the United States has gotten wind that the First Family is looking for a new puppy to join their family while they live at the White House. Every animal imaginable wants to be the puppy of choice. Eventually, the animals decide to hold a contest to decide for the First Family who should be their new puppy. From cats pretending to bark, to guinea pigs pretending to wag their tails, this story will put a smile on any child’s face and maybe even make them ask their parents, “When do we get our new puppy?” (CKB)

Dinosaurs love underpants. Feldman, C., & Cort, B. Simon & Schuster (Aladdin), 2008. consumer.customerservice.com, (800-223-2336). 24pp. $15.99 ISBN 978-1-4169-8938-7.

Dinosaurs love underpants is a beautifully illustrated young children’s book appropriate for children aged 4-7. A group of children in a museum view a display of dinosaur bones and imagine underwear long ago. The illustrations are critical in the development of the mood through the setting. Use of natural grass greens and light sky blues offer a feeling of nature, safety and tranquility to the readers, reflecting the quiet, content cavemen. But as the large, fierce dinosaurs are introduced, slowly the use of fire reds, deep oranges and unsettling purple suggest a feeling of power, danger and unpredictability. As the dinosaurs fight over the cave men’s underwear, the colors change to a midnight blue to show the seriousness of the animals, but as the conflict resolves and the young boy is reintroduced into the story, light rose pinks, vanillas and other naturally calm colors cover the page to produce a feeling of contentment. (MAM)

Billy & Milly: Short and silly. Feldman, Eve B. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780399246517. Illustrated by Tuesday Mourning.

Children will love the thirteen short stories that make up Billy & Milly: Short and Silly. A string of three or four rhyming words, paired together with fresh illustrations, become humorous, often surprising stories. The stories range from the ordinary, such as a basketball accidentally hitting an ice cream cone, to the fantastical, such as a cow that performs an elaborate balancing act in a tutu. With its few words and the formulaic rhyme scheme, the book is ideal for early readers, or for children learning about rhymes. (MC)

Pippo the fool. Fern, Tracey E. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 38pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-655-7. Illustrated by Pau Estrada.

This book is great for young readers, as it is not only entertaining but also informative about the Renaissance period. Filippo Brunelleschi, or Pippo the Fool as he is referred to in the story, is living in sixteenth century Florence. Pippo is a goldsmith, but instead of making beautiful trinkets, he makes outlandish machines and structures that no one has use for. Word spreads that there is going to be a contest to see who can design the best dome for the city. Pippo wants to win the contest so that people will no longer think of him as Pippo the Fool. Nobody believes that Pippo will succeed; they think that he will only make a bigger fool of himself by entering the contest. As children read this book they will admire Pippo’s determination and imagination. The illustrations of Pau Estrada depicts Renaissance Florence in a bold and colorful manner. (SE, KAR)

Kid tea. Ficocelli, Elizabeth. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5533-2. Illustrated by Glin Dibley.

Every day a different activity turns a child’s bath water a different color. This book can be used to help children learn about different colors and can make bath time more fun. The children may even want to change the bath water color themselves. This cardboard book is easy to read and suitable for young children. (FCW)

Congratulations, Miss Malarkey! Finchler, Judy and Kevin O’Malley. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 31pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-8027-9835. Illustrated by Kevin O’Malley

Congratulations, Miss Malarkey! follows a young boy and his classmates who are worried their favorite Miss Malarkey is going to quit teaching because she has been acting very strange. She has been laughing a lot and singing while she strolls down the halls. Miss Malarkey’s class begins to come up with ideas for why she would be quitting her job, and they all begin to worry because they do not want a substitute teacher. Finally, Miss Malarkey informs her students she will not be leaving, but she has another surprise for her class, she is getting married and they are all invited to the wedding! When Mrs. Malarkey returns from her honeymoon, the students are overjoyed to have their teacher back. The complex sentences and details, along with the use of word bubbles, make this story enjoyable to read for children in the middle elementary grades. The illustrator uses a variety of colors for his simplistic drawings and does an exceptional job of finding ways to express the emotions of the characters through the illustrations so they correlate with the text. (AED)

The sound of music. Fink, Bert. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon). 2009.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $26.99. ISBN978-1-4169-3655-8.

Interactive, engaging and fun, The sound of music will captivate young listeners. Although the language in this book may be too advanced for children to read, they are sure to enjoy the exciting story. Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy the fun pop-up illustrations. (LM, KLM)

Incarceron. Fisher, Catherine. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2010.
[email protected], (212-366-2000). 442pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3396-1.

Catherine Fisher’s novel takes place in a new-age magical prison. Not only are the prisoners locked away from everything in the outer world, they also are in a high-tech metal prison, with metal jungles, and experimental designs. Finn believes he belongs in the outer world, and once lived there. But, only one person has ever escaped from the prison. This novel is great for older readers who are intrigued by mysteries with twists and turns. (EEE)

The year the swallows came early. Fitzmaurice, Kathryn. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 273pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-162497-1.

The year the swallows came early centers on 12-year-old Groovy and her family. In the beginning chapters of the book, Groovy’s father is arrested. This comes as a big shock to Groovy, who both loves and trusts her father. Groovy eventually is told by her mother the reason her father was sent to jail: he had stolen money from Groovy’s college fund. The story focuses on Groovy’s innermost thoughts and feelings about her father and the money she had planned on using to achieve her dream of becoming a chef. She is able to work through her issues with some help from her friends and a very wise homeless man.
Children will enjoy this book because there are many lovable characters. This book can serve as a way to show how other children cope with things such as a parent in jail, being betrayed and feeling as though there is nothing they can do. This book also does a wonderful job of showing that not everyone is who they seem to be on the outside, for instance Groovy’s dad and the homeless man. (CF)

Ranger’s apprentice, book 7: Erak’s ransom. Flanagan, John. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2007. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 373pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25205-1.

In John Flanagan’s newest book in the series, we find ourselves in the middle of a raid, when Erak is caught and held for ransom. Like many of the books in the series, readers will find themselves in midst of many sword fights and long battles. Older readers will love this novel. (EEE)

You don’t even know me: Stories and poems about boys. Flake, Sharon G. HarperCollins Publishers (Disney), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 194pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142310014-0.

These stories, poems, and diaries expose the inner thoughts and feelings of boys. Real adolescent issues are addressed, written in language relatable to male teenagers. Flake’s book is a look into the less obvious aspects of every young man’s life. Their hopes, dreams, and concerns are all compiled into diaries that expose various moods, such as wanting to fit in while simultaneously wanting to stand out. Young men can easily identify with these scenarios, whether they have happened personally or to a friend. The relationships, friendships, and social expectations show the strength and courage it takes to grow up. (ESS)

The dream stealer. Fleischman, Sid. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 89pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-175563-7. Illustrated by Peter Sìs.

One night, eight-year-old Susana has her dream stolen by the mysterious dream stealer, Zumpango. She hatches a plan to capture the dream stealer and make him give the dream back to her. The story takes place in Mexico and has a folktale-like quality to it. This book is easy to read and suitable for children around ten years old. Despite the fact that the book is set in a realistic world, the fictional characters are unbelievable which causes the story to lack credibility. (FCW)

Seven hungry babies. Fleming, Candice. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 36pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5402-6. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.

Mother bird is frazzled; she has seven baby birdies to feed. Eager at first to be fed and to feed, relationship between mother and child is portrayed accurately, yet inappropriately for young children. As mother bird’s children grow hungrier she becomes more exhausted and desperate to rest. The illustrations are done in bold primary colors and the details suggest desperation from young chicks that are not receiving the care they need quickly enough. (LG)

Poetrees. Florian, D. Simon & Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 45pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8672-0.

Poetrees is a mixed media illustrated book of poems about nature, reminding children of the history and importance of the natural earth. Each page is unique with the style of poem written, the media of art, and format of the text. The arrangement of text for each poem is unique and relates to the poems content. For example, the poem describing the meaning of tree rings mimics the text as it is formatted in the shape of a ring. The illustrations each use natural, soft colors such as beach sand tans, lavender flower purples, mud browns and leafy greens to convey a feeling of clean, soft and harmless emotion. Readers of all ages and abilities will enjoy this fun and easy to read book. (MAM)

Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric poems and paintings. Florian, Douglas. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 56pp. $17.99. ISBN978-1-4169-7978-4.

This book introduces different dinosaurs using paintings and poems, in an amusing yet informational manner. Many young children are interested in dinosaurs, but not so much in poetry. This book could be a good way of getting them to read poetry, and possibly sparking an interest in this kind of literature. (FCW)

Willoughby & the lion. Foley, Greg. HarperCollins (The Bowen Press), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 97800615247508.

When lonely Willoughby moves into his new house, he meets a golden lion that can grant him ten wishes, but he must wish for the most wonderful thing of all or else the lion will be stuck to a rock forever. The simple, cartoonish line drawings turn into complex gold illustrations as Willoughby wishes for a palace of a house, a rollercoaster, a hot-air-balloon-submarine, and more. By his tenth wish, Willoughby figures out the best wish of all, and learns that being a good friend is more important than palaces and roller coasters. (MC)

Legacy of blood. Ford, Michael. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9844-2.

In ancient Greece, a prophecy threatens the Spartan way of life. Lysander, a Spartan warrior and outsider, sees the Spartan way of life, which is one of war and blood. He does not believe his peoples’ lifestyle to be the only one worth living. This historical fantasy brings the reader back in time; when wars were fought, people prayed to ancient gods, and visited oracles for guidance. Ford manages to create a believable story within the historical context by making the hierarchy of Spartan society clear to the reader. This also demonstrates how Lysander does not fit in, and has trouble figuring out who he is. (FCW)

The littlest dinosaur’s big adventure. Foreman, Michael. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0802795458.

The littlest dinosaur’s big adventure is a warm and caring tale of a very small dinosaur who finds himself fitting well in a new place, then getting lost, making a friend, being brave, helping, and eventually getting home safely. Very sweet and warm, the illustrations are soft and have a colored pencil-like look to them that makes the world of the littlest dinosaur look inviting. The woods are scary, but nothing is terrifying or too lonely for the younger audiences. A classic story progression, this book is sure to settle well with almost every child, and would make a great addition to any bedtime routine. (LME)

Older than the stars. Fox, Karen, C. Charlesbridge, 2010. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-787-5. Illustrated by Nancy Davis.

Older than the stars gives children a larger perspective of their existence, how life began, and how earth was formed. It discusses the fusing of atoms, the formation of gases, gravity, elements, and the composition of all matter. The story builds upon itself, adding a new step of creation at the turn of each page while repeating the previous one. Some may find the story to be a bit controversial as it only credits science for creation. Even so, it thoroughly discusses the scientific theory of creation, the interrelation of all people and the elements they descended from. (ESS)

Ella Kazoo will not brush her hair. Fox, L., & Plecas, J. Macmillan Publishing, 2007. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 29pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-8836-8.

Ella Kazoo will not brush her hair is an easy to read story incorporating funny, descriptive language that is sure to get young students laughing. Each line used consists of rhymes that describe Ella’s hair, her emotions and her mother’s frustrations. For example, “She covers it well in the garden with rocks. Her mother has called her a sly little fox, but Ella Kazoo with not brush her locks” is a brief excerpt that displays the rhyme language used through the book. The illustrations correlate perfectly with the text, on each page there is a simple yet brightly colored picture to show Ella’s out of control hair. Throughout the book, Ella’s hair continues to grow along with the plot. (MAM)

The goblin and the empty chair. Fox, Mem. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 26pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8585-3. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

A goblin is secretly watching a family struggling to remain happy after suffering a loss. However, the goblin does not want to be seen because he thinks he is ugly after seeing his reflection in a pond. When the goblin notices the three family members cannot finish daily tasks, he helps to finish them at night when no one can see him. One night, the daughter sees the Goblin. Once the family is aware of the friendly helper, they set a place for him at the table, and wait for the goblin to eat with them. The goblin finally gathers the courage to eat with the family and, to the goblin’s surprise the family does not think he is ugly. (KT)

Pond circle. Franco, Betsy. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books), 2009. [email protected] (800-223-2336). $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4021-0. Illustrated by Stefano Vitale.

With its beautiful illustrations done on wood, this book follows the food chain of animals in and around a pond. The chain starts with algae in the deep water, and progresses to a girl who hears and sees all of the animals around the pond. This book is informational and will keep the attention of the reader with the detailed and expressive illustrations. (KMT)

The homeschool liberation league. Frank, Lucy. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 279pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3230-8.

Katya decides to quit school and be home schooled, but once she finally gains her parents approval, she realizes that being home schooled is not what she expected it to be. Readers may become distracted because much of the story is told through emails and text messages. However, children who are tired of the normal school system will find this book interesting. (FCW)

Fairy tales readers theatre. Fredericks, Anthony D. ABC-CLIO, (Libraries Unlimited), 2009. www.abc-clio.com, (800-368-6868). 138pp. $20.95. ISBN 978-1-59158-849-8.

This book is a useful resource for upper elementary educators who wish to implement theatre in their classrooms. In Part I, award-winning author Anthony D. Fredericks offers an introduction to readers’ theatre performance, connections to national standards and educational research, and a wealth of suggestions and strategies for engaging students in this exciting literacy strategy. Part II contains scripts for 19 famous fairy tales, including six unconventional variations, in a format that is sure to motivate and delight students, while bringing literature and learning to life. (NO)

Red, white and true blue Mallory. Friedman, Laurie. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 183pp. $15.95, ISBN 978-0-8882-5. Illustrated by Jennifer Kalis.

This diary of a 4th grade girl named Mallory is filled with her fantastic and drama filled class trip to Washington D.C. Throughout the pages, Mallory accurately writes about the importance of all the monuments and buildings she has seen. Mallory also discusses the drama between her best friend and the cutest boy in class! For some readers, the plot may be frustrating, but others will love the humor and unique writing style. (LM, MM)

How to scratch a wombat. French, Jackie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 85pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-86864-3. Illustrated by Bruce Whatley.

Jackie French knows wombats. But what are wombats? French decided to share her personal knowledge about wombats in her book How to Scratch a Wombat. She writes the informative book in an entertaining way, easily keeping the attention of the reader. The book includes small illustrations and fun personal stories about French’s experiences with wombats. (EMR)

Who was Franklin Roosevelt? Frith, Margaret. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset& Dunlap), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 105pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45346-0. Illustrated by John O’Brien.

Readers will be introduced to the man who led our country out of the Great Depression and through the WWII as they read about the only president to be elected four times, Franklin D. Roosevelt. From his childhood in Hyde Park, New York, through his twelve years in office, to his surprising death at the age of sixty-three, readers will learn how FDR led our country through its most difficult times, and why he is remembered today as one of our greatest American leaders. (SEB)

Blueberry girl. Gaiman, Neil. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-083808-9. Illustrated by Charles Vess.

Blueberry girl is a book filled with joy. A mother is praying for her daughter to have joy in her life. It is a fun book for young children. When children read this book, they can imagine themselves in place of the Blueberry Girl. (TO, NH)

Crazy hair. Gaiman, Neil and Dave McKean. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 34 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-06-057908-1. Illustrated by Dave McKean.

With frightening illustrations and curious subject matter, Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s Crazy hair reaches a bit too far out of the children’s literature boundaries. The main character, who remains nameless, has hair that is out of control. A girl Bonnie comes along and tries to brush the crazy hair. However, Bonnie does not succeed. She is eaten by the hair and lives the rest of her days playing with other people who have also been eaten by the hair. (EMR)

Go, go, go, Wubbzy! Gallo, T. Simon ad Schuster (Simon Scribbles), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 16pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7133-7.

Go, go, go, Wubbzy! is a story activity book intended for a very young audience. Kids are able to read a simple sentence about activities Wubbzy enjoys doing, then “paint” a picture on the pre-colored pages with water and a paint brush. This book is very simple, but would provide for a great deal of entertainment to a child with little or no reading abilities. (MAM)

Readicide. Gallagher, Kelly. Stenhouse Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (800-988-9812). 150pp. $17.50, ISBN 978-157110-780-0.

Kelly Gallagher’s Readicide is an outstanding, opinionated, eye-opening book that will give teachers, adults, and college aged students a new perspective on the importance of making reading a high priority in the lives of every child. Gallagher uses a mixture of statistics, personal observations, testimonies, and quotes from other teachers, philosophers, and psychologists to emphasize that reading needs to be a top priority in every classroom throughout the U.S. Readicide is constructed of five chapters each with catchy titles such as, “The Elephant in the Room” which draw a reader in. Gallagher not only includes the problems of reading in schools today, but also provides specific steps of advice for teachers to make reading a fun, useful tool students will be excited to do. Readicide is a must have on every teachers shelf and a good book for parents to read so America can join together and realize the importance of reading. (CB)

The nine lives of Rotten Ralph. Gantos, Jack. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-5000). 30pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-80046-9. Illustrated by Nicole Rubel.

Throughout his existence, Ralph has been very rotten to his friends. As a result, he has used up eight of his nine lives. Ralph is starting to get sick, and now he is worried that his last life is almost over. Children will be amused by this story. The illustrations capture the cat’s emotions really well. Children in 3rd grade and under will enjoy this story. (SE, NH)

The red necklace. Gardner, Sally. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Speak), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 378 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241488-0.

Sally Gardner creates a beloved fictional story about a man named Yann living during the French Revolution. This novel contains something for everyone: romance, murder, intrigue, and excitement. As part of the mysterious plot is left to the imagination of the reader, they will be intrigued and find it difficult to put the book down. All readers will look forward to the sequel. (EMR)

The silver blade. Gardner, Sally. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 362pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3377-0.

Yann Margoza is stuck in the middle of the French Revolution where he uses his magic to defeat his enemies and help the refugees. He is on a mission to rescue his true love, Sido, before she is executed. Even though the story takes place in the late 1700s, the element of magic gives this work of historical fiction a fantastical element. Children will enjoy this story as long as they are able to distinguish between parts which are and are not historically accurate. (NH)

Voyage to the pharos. Gauch, Sarah. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780670062546. Illustrated by Roger Roth.

This storybook follows Dino, a young boy from ancient Greece as he journeys to Alexandria on a trade ship. Through the text and the illustrations, the book provides information on ancient Greece and the famous Pharos lighthouse in Alexandria. This would make a suitable historic tie-in for a class studying the ancient world. (MC)

Prairie winter. Geisert, Bonnie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 220pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-68588-2.

Prairie Winter follows a young girl named Rachel Johnson living on a very remote farm in South Dakota. She has spent most of her life living on this prairie farm, which has no phone and the nearest town is miles away. Rachel’s only connection to the outside world is the Cresbard School. At school, she is able to interact with other children, such as her good friends Winnie and Darren, learn from quality teachers, and participate in the school band. As a dangerous winter approaches Cresbard, Rachel’s connection to the world outside of the farm is threatened to be cut off, as she will not be able to attend school due to the weather. Rachel’s father suggests that she and two of her sisters live in town so they may continue the school year. Rachel’s father flies his three daughters into town and Rachel takes board in a hotel, where she lives all alone. While living in the hotel Rachel has no rules, no chores, and no adults to tell her what to do. While enjoying her time on her own and at school, Rachel starts to question whether she wants to return to life on the farm or stay in town where she loves everything that is happening and changing around her. Middle school students will relate to Rachel as she deals with many scenarios that they face all of the time. The complex sentences and vocabulary and detailed descriptions make this book both appropriate and enjoyable for this age group. (AD)

Tony and the pizza champions. Gemignani, Tony. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 38pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6162-5. Illustrated by Matthew Trueman.

Tony is very good at tossing pizza, and is asked to gather a team and compete in the World Championships. He travels around the country, picking up his friends so they can practice their routine and hopefully win the tournament. The book uses great illustrations and fairly easy language to describe the competition and the large amounts of preparation necessary beforehand. Because they travel the U.S., as well as the globe, this book teaches geography by using maps. It also has an appendix that includes instructions for making pizza as well as tossing it just like the world champions on Tony’s team! (PM)

The last polar bear. George, Jean Craighead. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-124067-6. Illustrated by Wendell Minor.

Jean George’s The Last Polar Bear is a heartwarming children’s story with stunning pictures on every page that add to the warmth of this book. Set in frigid, beautiful tundra by the Arctic Ocean, this book tells the story of a young boy named Tigluk who has a special place in his heart for polar bears. With the help of his aka (grandmother) he follows a big white polar bear named Nanuq deep into the Arctic. He eventually discovers Nanuq’s cub who is all alone and who is the last polar bear to survive the climate change. Tigluk decides to take the cub home to help the last polar bear stay alive. The themes of compassion and love between a boy and his grandmother and a boy and the Arctic polar bears makes for a lovely feel-good story to read to any child. Cool, calming colors in the illustrations along with the use of good descriptive language create a touching story people of all ages will feel warm and cozy after reading. (CKB)

Pocket guide to the outdoors. George, Jean Craighead. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 138pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42163-4.

Based on the book My side of the mountain, this book gives readers a more realistic perspective on the character Sam and the challenges he faced outdoors. This book offers intricate details about Sam’s time in the wilderness while also including general information about nature, such as which plants are poisonous. Pocket guide to the outdoors will appeal to readers who are interested in learning more about My side of the mountain and gaining helpful knowledge about nature. (KAR)

Dragon spear. George, Jessica Day. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1599903699.

Dragon spear, the third book in the series by Jessica Day George, is a tale of dragons and humans. Creel and her prince in shining armor, Luka, visit the Far Isles, home of the dragons. They believe it is the perfect time for a wedding, because humans and dragons are finally getting along. As they arrive at Far Isles, Velika, the queen of the dragons, is abducted by a group of evil dragons. Creel, Luka, Shardas and a number of other dragons set off on an adventure to rescue their queen. On their journey they encounter many difficult obstacles, but they manage to overcome them in a satisfying ending. The new developments within each chapter make the plot of Dragon spear very exciting. This book is a must read for adventure lovers who can get past the foreign concept of humans and dragons communicating to help one another. (KAR)

Princess of the midnight ball. George, Jessica Day. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected] (646-307-5151). 280pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-322-4.

Princess of the midnight ball is based on the fairytale of twelve dancing princesses, and the tale of Galen. Galen is a young soldier returning home after a war has ended, seeking work with his uncle. Strange things are going on in the kingdom, and Galen attempts to solve the mysteries. Although the fairytale-like style is enjoyable, the storyline becomes predictable. (FCW)

Boom boom go away! Geringer, Laura. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 31pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-689-85093-6. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

Laura Geringer’s Boom boom go away combines musical sound effects, repetition, and rhymes to make a perfect bedtime story for children of all ages. A little boy who has no desire to go to bed decides to make all of his toys play different instruments. He pretends to be unable to hear his parents’ requests that he go to bed. One by one, toys playing new instruments join in the chorus of “I do not want to go to bed”. Ding ding, boom boom, and clink clink are just a few of the fun sounds a child will be able to hear as he or she drifts off into his or her own dreamland. The plot is energetic, and the illustrations help bring the toys to life. This is a perfect interactive book kids will love to read every night. (CKB)

Old house, new house. Gershator, Phillis. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s books), 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5386-4. Illustrated by Katherine Potter.

This is the story about a young girl and her family who move into an old house during the summer, only to move into a new house on the other side of the country when fall comes. The story is simple and not very engaging. The illustrations rendered in chalk pastels have trouble giving the right summer feel to the book. (FCW)

Ghost huntress: The guidance. Gibson, Marley. Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt (Graphia), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 310pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-1504-9.

Kendall is a normal high school student, she goes to class, has a boyfriend, and deals with the typical high school drama. However, she also is a ghost huntress, meaning she hunts down spirits and directs them to return to the light. Kendall is trying to balance a lot of problems in her life including her mother’s disbelief in her powers, trying to figure out her powers, and solving the mystery of her science partners dabbling in the paranormal world. Readers will be on the edges of their seats as they anticipate Kendall’s discoveries about herself and the spirits she helps. This book is best suited for mature readers, as explicit language is used to enhance the portrayal of characters. (MM)

10 kings and queens who changed the world. Gifford, Clive. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 64pp. $14.95. ISBN 9780753462522. Illustrated by David Cousens.

With dynamic comic-book style illustrations and over 3000 years of history covered, this book showcases leaders from Hatshepsut to Queen Victoria. Each leader is connected to the next, linking them with the rest of history and creating a comprehensive and appealing look at great kings and queens and their legacies. (MC).

Atlas of firsts. Gifford, Clive. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $10.95. ISBN978-0-7534-6301-7.

When one thinks of an atlas, he or she normally thinks of a plain map. Clive Gifford created a unique style of atlas for young children. The book has separate sections for continents, or in some cases, like the United States, countries. Its simple organization makes it easy to find states or regions. This book also contains useful information on each state, country, or continent. (EMR)

Abigail Iris the one and only. Glatt, Lisa and Suzanne Greenberg. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 148pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9782-7. Illustrated by Joy Allen.

Abigail Iris, a nine-year-old girl, wants to be an only child, just like her two best friends. Abigail Iris has two brothers and a sister, and she feels like she never gets time to herself. This changes when Abigail is invited to go on vacation to San Francisco with her friend, Genevieve, an only child. Children will learn from this well-written book that there are many different kinds of families and that all families are important. Readers will relate to Abigail’s struggle to find her place in her large family. (CF)

Stormy weather. Gliori, Debi. Walker Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 26pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9419-2.

Rhyming poetry provides a comforting lullaby story for little ones in Stormy Weather. Words of assurance that a special someone will always be around to protect are written in a style that suggests the reader is speaking sweetly to the listener. Gliori’s attention to shades of deep colors enhances a feeling of dusk and readying for sleep. Her use of organic lines creates gentle conflict with warm circular mother and child duos suggesting comfort and safety. (LG)

Alef-bet yoga for kids. Goldeen, Ruth. Lerner Publishing Group (Kar-Ben Publishing), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 28pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4506-0. Photos by Bill Goldeen.

Alef-bet yoga for kids teaches the Hebrew alphabet through movement. Children form poses to resemble the letter being represented. This book has no words apart from the letters of the alphabet. This book would be great for young kids who enjoy moving around and older readers who want to learn the Hebrew alphabet in a fun and innovative way. (CF)

Everything you need to know about science. Goldsmith, Mike. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 160 pp. $18.99. ISBN978-0-7534-6302-4.

Everything You Need to Know About Science combines many subjects of science, such as: fractions, motion, engineering, and the moon into one book. The variation of page layouts will keep the attention of the reader, although they might prefer to read the book over multiple sittings. (EMR)

Girlforce. Goldstein, Nikki. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). $224pp. 14.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-354-5.

Girlforce is a magazine style book all about girls directed toward older female readers. Each section highlights different topics such as diet and exercise, clothing and makeup, and relaxation. Girlforce offers advice for problems many girls face. The book also highlights girls with a variety of personalities and physical appearances. These types are then used throughout the book with suggestions based on the type of girl the reader may be. Middle school readers will enjoy reading about challenges and struggles they face with body issues in an easy to read format. (CF)

Bring me some apples and I’ll make you a pie. Gourley, Robbin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 45pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-15836-2.

I think this book might be an eye opening experience to many children in today’s society due to the fact that a majority of them believe food comes from the store, not the land. This book is delightful in its use of illustrations and the way it explores culture. (KLM)

Amelia rules!: What makes you happy. Gownley, Jimmy. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 162pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8605-8.

Amelia is a nine-year-old student in a small town. She and her friends face problems that all nine-year-old girls deal with: her rock star aunt, her first kiss, bullies, gym class, and superheroes. Illustrations, text, and comedy is used to tell Amelia’s multiple stories. This graphic novel is intended for middle elementary students, but I would recommend it for everybody to enjoy. (SE, NH)

The travel game. Grandits, John. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32 pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-56420-0. Illustrated by R.W. Alley.

Tad loves to play the travel game with his aunt Hattie. Using a globe and an illustrated world almanac, Tad and Aunt Hattie close their eyes, pick a spot on the globe, and use their imaginations to travel all around the world. Today, they find themselves far from home in Buffalo, New York and set off on an adventure to Aberdeen, a boat village in Hong Kong. R.W. Alley’s detailed illustrations bring John Grandits’ light-hearted text to life. Children will enjoy following Tad and his aunt on their imaginary adventures and will likely be inspired to try out the travel game for themselves. (NO)

White heat. Grant, K.M. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 260pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9695-0.

White heat is the second book in the Perfect Fire Trilogy. The story takes place in a medieval French kingdom where many battles are occurring; however, White heat is not quality fantasy literature. The story lacks characterization, specifically in the character of Laila. She could have been more developed as she was the most interesting character and played a key role in the book. The first chapter of the book did not capture the attention of the reader to convince them to finish the book. However, the setting does have some historical background to it, and the author did a good job of researching the events in the book in order to inform readers. (CF)

The Brooklyn nine. Gratz, Alan. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 299pp. $16.99, ISBN978-0-8037-3224-7.

The Brooklyn nine consists of nine generations of a family, nine innings of a game, and one great city, Brooklyn. It goes through an entire baseball game, with each inning representing a different generation of the Schneider/Snider-Flint family. Each generation shares a love for the game of baseball despite differing situations within their lives. The family always returns to the realization that baseball is their love and this can help them to overcome their struggles. Readers can clearly connect with each character despite their difficult situations. The characteristics and settings are realistic, making it easy for the reader to understand what each character is going though when it is his or her turn to play baseball. (BCHM)

Teaching individual words. Graves, Michael F.. Teacher’s College Press, 2009. www.tcpress.com, (800-575-6566). 105pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-0-8077-4930-2.

Michael Graves, Teaching Individual Words is a spectacular teaching tool for any teacher to use. This resource tool combines the latest research in teaching vocabulary to children with real life examples and pictures from schools around the nation. The intent of this book is to help teachers build their students’ vocabulary one word at a time. It provides helpful suggestions, activities, and things to look for when introducing a new word to a child. Graves’s book is extremely organized with bolded words, large diagrams, and helpful headings before every new topic. The most unique aspect of this resource tool is Graves clearly states he realizes not every child learns the same way. This is why he provides a variety of different teaching strategies to hopefully reach every child. (CB)

Spells. Gravett, Emily. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8270-8.

A frog decides to turn himself into a prince, but things do not go according to his plan. Through a series of silly spells using rhyming nonsense words, the frog manages to turn himself into half snake and half bird, then half rabbit and half newt, followed by a series of other humorous animals. When the frog finally manages to become a prince, a comical twist ruins his hard work. The unique illustrations allow children to turn half-pages as different combinations of animals appear through the zany spells. Students will love this interactive story with its amusing ending. (KRR)

Wolves. Gravett, Emily. Simon and Schuster, 2005. [email protected], (800-223-2336). $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1491-4.

Wolves are often depicted as frightening creatures, and in Emily Gravett’s picture book, Wolves, there is no exception. A rabbit goes to the library and checks out a book about wolves. While the rabbit is reading, an actual wolf appears without the rabbit noticing. This book sis not suggested for classrooms or childrens’ libraries because it may appear frightening to young children. Although the ending is sad and scary, the author wrote an alternative ending. However, the alternative ending is ineffective if the first one has already been read. The alternative ending would do little or no good to prevent the possible damage that this book may inflict upon the reader. (EMR)

Dogs. Gravett, E. Simon & Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 26pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8703-1.

Dogs, by Emily Gravett, is a simple children’s text appropriate for young learners from ages two to six which includes simple comparisons. For example, there are basic yet realistic depictions of dogs on each page with a description of the illustration, “I love big dogs…and small dogs.” Pictured with this text is a large Great Dane towering over a small Chihuahua. The text and illustrations collaborate well to express the writer’s intention. Although simplistic with pictures that do not necessarily stimulate creativity, readers of a particular age group will find meaning within the story. (MAM)

Hourglass. Gray, Claudia. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 339 pp. $16.99 ISBN 9780061284410

Hourglass is the third book in Claudia Gray’s Evernight series, following two teens named Bianca and Lewis. Seeking protection from the Black Cross, which is a large, elite group of vampire hunters, they have found a way to be together after escaping from Evernight Academy. There is only one problem: Bianca is half-vampire, and she and Lucas must do everything possible to keep this a secret. They face problems when Bianca tries to contact her parents without being exposed and while helping both vampire and human friends. When Bianca’s close friend Balthazar is captured by the Black Cross, Bianca must save her friend but worries her secret will be exposed. Bianca and Lucas do everything they can to stay together and save their lives. Gray’s use of detail in describing the emotions and feelings of the characters throughout the suspenseful, page-turning plot expands readers imaginations and keeps them wondering about what may happen next. The action and love story theme will appeal to both middle school and high school readers who want to be brought into a world both similar and different from their own. (AD)

Baseball great. Green, Tim. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 250pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-162686-9.

Baseball great by Tim Green is a contemporary realistic fiction book dealing with the rampant use of steroids in baseball. Most of the information on this topic is usually learned through television or sports magazines. However, by addressing the issue through a children’s chapter book, the author is able to show the harmful effects of steroids and the dangers of pushing oneself too hard in sports. Sports are meant to be fun, but main character Josh Feinstein begins to question this after his father puts him on a very competitive baseball team where most of the players seem to be using “special milkshakes”. Josh and his friend Jaden investigate the inner workings of Coach Rocky Valentine and his “Super Stax” milkshakes. This novel looks at the modern controversies of steroid use and parents pushing their children too hard in sports, as well as the importance of deciding between what right and wrong. (PM)

Football champ. Green, Tim. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 280pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-162689-0.

Troy has the ability to see the future. Because of this gift, he is granted a spot on the Falcon football team to predict the winning plays. He is ecstatic to be close to the Falcon players, especially linebacker Seth Halloway. He enjoys his time with the Falcons until a reporter begins pressuring him to destroy the team’s reputation. The careers of Seth Halloway and his mother are on the line, and it is up to Troy to prevent the reporter from ruining the team. Football Champ will appeal to children who enjoy football. (LM, NH)

Rivals: A baseball great novel. Green, Tim. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 272pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061626920.

Josh and his best friend Benji are playing for the Titans. When they arrive at the tournament they realize that Seevers, the umpire, has been paid to make cheap calls. Setting out with the help of Jaden, these three twelve-year-olds turned sleuths encounter stereotypical rivals such as Mickey Mullen Jr. Sideline romance in the novel is mature for the young characters and while baseball is integral to the plot, it is not the focus of the action. (LG)

Enchanted lions. Greenberg, David T. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47938-3. Illustrated by Kristina Swarner.

David Greenberg and Kristina Swarner make an excellent imaginative team in writing and illustrating Enchanted lions. A young girl, Rose, looks out of her bedroom window one night and sees lions climbing out of the ocean. From there, Rose and her newfound lion friend fly through the skies, identifying certain constellations and objects in space. This book could be used for several purposes, from the bedside of a child, to the science classroom of a first grader. This book is recommended for any child learning how to read. (EMR)

Brothers & sisters: Family poems. Greenfield, Eloise. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009.
[email protected], (212-207-7000) 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-06-0562847.

Brothers & sisters: Family poems is a collection of short poems about families and the issues that they face. The majority of the poems revolve around brothers and sisters and the conflicts that tend to arise between them; however there are many poems that talk about good relationships between siblings. This book would be very helpful to children who are going to become a brother or sister, or children who already have siblings. This book offers poems that can help children learn coping methods when dealing with older siblings, as well as ways of resolving problems. (CF).

Paul Robeson. Greenfield, Eloise. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 36 pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-262-7. Illustrated by George Ford.

Paul Robeson is the inspiring biography of an individual from America most readers will be unfamiliar with. He was very well-known during his time, and he used his fame to help others. Young readers will enjoy the simple, yet powerful lesson of helping others portrayed in this book. (EMR)

How to talk to moms. Greven, Alec. HarperCollins (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 47pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-171001-8.

How to talk to moms is written by a nine-year-old expert on talking to parents. The humorous story covers topics such as things that irritate moms, how to bribe moms, and how to stay out of trouble. Many of the suggestions could actually work. Children will be able to relate to the problems with moms discussed in the book. They will also be able to relate to author in his search for the right way to talk to moms. Both children and adults will find this book quite funny, yet truthful. (CF)

The orange houses. Griffin, Paul. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 147pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3346-6.

This gritty and authentic novel follows the lives of three teenagers in inner city New York—Mik, a partially deaf fifteen-year-old who prefers to turn down her cheap hearing aids and tune out the world; Fatima, a sixteen-year-old refugee who dreams of saving enough money to send for her sister but fears being caught by immigration officials; and Jimmi Sixes, an eighteen-year-old war veteran who is struggling to break free of his drug addiction and the psychological effects of the violence he experienced at war. Throughout the course of the story, these three outsiders form an extraordinary friendship that drastically changes each of their lives. Written by a teacher who lives and works in inner city New York, this book offers an accurate and poignant portrayal of the lives of those hiding in the fringes of society. (NO)

Big fat cow that goes kapow. Griffiths, Andy. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 123pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-312-36788-6. Illustrated by Terry Denton.

Andy Griffith’s The big fat cow that goes kapow is a wonderful chapter book filled with silly rhymes. With its simplistic phrases and relatable stories, this is a great transitional book to interest young readers in longer chapter books. The comic book style illustrations allow readers to ease into chapter books. However, because of the simplistic nature and chapter book format, readers may find it difficult to read on their own. It might be best utilized as a read aloud as a class or individually one story at a time. (NB)

Return of the homework machine. Gutman, Dan. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 162pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5416-3.

What sixth grade kid likes to do homework? In the sequel, “Return of the Homework Machine” by Dan Gutman, four sixth graders make it very clear they do not like homework one bit. In the first book of the series, Snik, Benton, Judy and Kelsey create a homework machine. All they need to do is put in a blank piece of paper and wait until their completed assignments pop out. However, they end up deciding to do the right thing and throw their invention into the Grand Canyon to destroy it. The students soon discover that the computer chip inside of their invention was not destroyed and has fallen into the wrong hands. They must work together to find out who stole this powerful piece of technology. This story is written from the perspective of each character in the book, each with a unique voice, style and personality. Each character describes the different events from their own point of view. Students will be able to relate to the sixth graders as they discuss their teachers, classes, relationships with friends, and, of course, their mutual dislike for homework. (KRR)

Homefront. Gwaltney, Doris. Simon & Schuster, 2006. [email protected]&schuster.com, (800-223-2336). 310pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9572-2.

Doris Gwaltney’s Homefront introduces Margaret Ann Motley, a young seventh-grader who is anticipating the day when her sister Elizabeth will leave for college so she can stop sharing a room with her grandmother and have her own bedroom. However, what she does not anticipate is the whirlwind of a year her and her family are about to embark on. Shortly after Elizabeth leaves for college, Margaret Ann receives the worst news of her life. She learns her Aunt Mary Lee and her cousin Courtney had to flee the war in England and now need to live with her family in Wight County, VA. After the arrival of her relatives things seem to spiral out of control. The U.S. becomes part of World War II and Margaret’s close-knit family is about to experience new marriages, several deaths, births, a newfound love that will test the strength of her entire family, and everything else that comes along with a war. Gwaltney’s attention to character detail enhances the excitement for readers to read in suspense wondering what their favorite character is going to say or do next. This heartwarming novel reminds a reader of any age just how precious each family member is and how valuable each moment of our lives truly is. (CKB)

Knightley academy. Haberdasher, Violet. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 469 pp. $15.99. ISBN 9781416991434.

Henry Grim, a young servant, works at a prestigious school for boys. Each student is hoping to be admitted to the prestigious Knightley Academy. Henry begins taking secret lessons from a professor, and learns enough to take the entrance exam for the school. He turns out to be the only boy qualified to be admitted to Knightley Academy. While at the Academy, Henry, along with his friends Adam and Rohan, are shunned by the rest of the students because they are commoners. The boys face discrimination throughout the book, due to the fact that Rohan is Indian and Adam is Jewish. In addition to finding adversaries among their peers, the boys have more powerful enemies who do not agree with letting commoners into the school. As the story progresses, Henry gains different allies throughout the school, including the headmaster’s daughter Frankie. The friends deal with conflicts in school and with the threat of the country of Norlands, a place where individual freedom is limited. Colorful characters, suspense, and surprising developments make this first part of an interesting series a great read for middle school aged students. (AD)

The book of ghosts. Hague, Michael and Devon Hague. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). $19.99. ISBN 978-0-688-14008-3.

This is a collection of classic ghost stories by famous writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Washington Irving, adapted for young readers. Each story creates an exciting tale by using vivid details of the interactions between humans and ghosts. From the Headless Horsemen to the Canterville Ghost, students will love these bone-chilling short stories. This book is excellent for upper elementary and middle school students as it uses more advanced vocabulary and sentence structure but is written in shortened versions to maintain student’s interest. (KRR)

Closed for the season. Hahn, Mary Downing. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected] (617-351-1185). $16. ISBN 978-0547084510.

Logan Forbes and his family recently moved into a house in a small Maryland town to discover it was the sight of an alleged murder of a woman named Mrs. Donaldson. Logan is a normal boy who enjoys adventure and his only friend in the new town is Arthur, whose classmates think he is weird. Together, Logan and Arthur try to unravel the mystery of Mrs. Donaldson’s murder. This well developed mystery plot engages readers while also confronting the painfulness of not being accepted. The book demonstrates that people can learn to appreciate one another’s special qualities. (PM)

Girl in the arena. Haines, Lise. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 324pp. $16.99. ISBN978-1-59990-372-9.

Neo-Gladiators, the world’s biggest sports stars, fight each other to the death in the Coliseums. Lyn, a young girl born and raised in Gladiator society, faces her own struggle when her stepfather dies in battle. According to new rules his killer can marry her if he chooses. This fantasy book allows the reader to evaluate society and consider different types of pressures influencing individuals. (FCW)

Dial m for mongoose. Hale, Bruce. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 110pp. $15. ISBN 978-0-15-205494-6.

Chet Gecko is not the typical private eye investigator. At school he gets into trouble, does not do his homework, and never listens to his teachers. While he is working on his cases, he is as sharp as a needle. The case Chet investigates in Dial M for Mongoose starts with a stench so strong it forces the teachers and principal of Chet’s school to evacuate. A janitor has been falsely accused of the stink and Chet makes it his mission to solve the smelly problem and prove the janitor’s innocence. Mid or upper level elementary readers will enjoy the realistic characters and captivating case. (MM)

Fat cat of underwhere. Hale, Bruce. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 165pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-085133-0. Illustrated by Shane Hillman.

This is a story of a cat, Fitz, and his four human friends, who try to defeat the evil Underlord. In order to do so, they must make several trips to Underwhere, a place where the humans and Fitz can actually talk to each other. This is a fun story with and is exciting when told from Fitz’ perspective. The simple storyline makes this book a good choice for children who are just starting to read chapter books. Illustrations and text bubbles in a comic book style make the book more interesting for newcomers to read. (FCW)

The east-west house. Hale, Christy. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 31pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-363-1.

The east-west house follows the childhood of artist Isamu Noguchi in Japan. It is a picture book written for younger readers that tells of Isamu’s struggles growing up half Japanese. Children will be able to relate to his story of being different and struggling to fit in. The illustrations are well done and add to the richness and value of the story. (CF)

Calamity Jack. Hale, Shannon and Dean Hale. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 144pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-373-6. Illustrate by Nathan Hale.

Shannon and Dean Hale’s Calamity Jack combines traditional book aspects with comic book characteristics to create a charming graphic novel. The use of witty dialogue makes Calamity Jack fun to read. The plot is a spin-off of the well-known story Jack and the bean stock. Readers venture along a journey that Jack leads his friends through in order to overcome the evil giant’s plans. Detailed comic-style artwork depicting the action scenes and the few lines of bubble text on each page capture readers into the world of Jack’s crazy life. (LM, CKB)

My heart is like a zoo. Hall, Michael. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-191510-9.

Michael Hall’s My Heart is like a zoo provides an illustration of real life emotions a heart can feel throughout a day. Emotions come to life through the use of rhyme, alliteration, and similes. Hall’s use of vibrant colors along with zoo animals constructed out of hearts demonstrates his creativity as an illustrator. Each picture fits perfectly with the emotions described. Readers of all ages can relate to having their hearts feel as “eager as beaver” or as “silly as a seal”. The idea that one person with one heart has the ability to feel more than one emotion is reinforced throughout the story. Although written with vocabulary easy enough for a young child to understand, this book presents a theme truly appropriate for all ages. Hall does a brilliant job of captivating his broad audience. (CKB, MAM)

The line. Hall, Teri. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0803734661.

This novel is a well written piece that is unashamed of its social commentary. It is clearly a representation of what the author believes could happen in America, and the story could stir a lot of controversy if it is used in a school setting. Hall’s distain for government control is clear, but it could be constructively used if explained and discussed with an adult. Although the main characters’ actions and development are easy to follow, the plot of the story becomes confusing at times. Twists and turns in the action will keep the reader interested, even if he or she does not agree with every aspect of the book’s take on society. The main character, a young girl in her preteen years is relatable to some children, at least those who have had some trauma in their life or those who need to learn to stand up and do what is right. (LME)

Saving the Baghdad zoo: A true story of hope and heroes. Halls, Kelly Milner, and Major William Sumner. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 64pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-177202-3.

The War in Iraq continues to affect the lives of many American families. However, sometimes those affected on the other side of the battle are forgotten. Readers will learn how the war has not only impacted the lives of people living in Iraq, but also the animals, specifically those at the Baghdad zoo. By discovering the remarkable story of how the abandoned animals at the zoo were rescued, readers will be reminded that war affects everyone and everything in an area, and that compassion is the first step to making peace.(SEB)

Beach day. Hamparian, Anahid. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 24pp. $7.99. ISBN 9780764155301. Illustrated by Kristin Sorra.

A young girl goes to the beach and greets various things in the area as she swims, builds a sandcastle, and eats lunch with her parents. Young students will enjoy the repetition and the colorful illustrations in this board book. (MC)

Pony crazy. Hapka, Catherine. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125533-5. Illustrated by Anne Kennedy.

This book is about a girl who lives in the city but loves horses more than anything else. Unexpectedly, her family moves to a farm with horses. The girl goes to a new school and meets other children that also love horses as much as she does. The story shows the importance of friendship and doing what you love. (BCHM)

Really riding! Hapka, Catherine. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125536-6. Illustrated by Anne Kennedy.

This is an entertaining book for anyone that is interested in horses or animals in general. This storyline follows three girls who are on a farm and enjoy riding horses. One night while they are supposed to be sleeping, they sneak off to the horses’ barn and find a newborn horse. There is an informational section about different breeds of horses at the end of the book. This book engages readers and the illustrations do a good job of enhancing the story. (BCHM)

The lost conspiracy. Hardinge, Frances. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 566pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-088041-5.

Arilou is proclaimed to be a Lost, a kind of prophetess. Her younger sister, Hathin, was born to be Arilou’s attendant. However, there is more to this arrangement than initially meets the eye. In the beginning, it seems that the main character is Arilou, but instead her “invisible” sister Hathin becomes the real heroine of the story. The lost conspiracy shows that heroes can be found everywhere and can also be the most unlikely people. (LM, FCW)

The shifter. Hardy, Janice. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzar + Bray), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 370pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780061747045.
Nya has the ability to heal people by pulling pain from one person into herself. She can also push this pain into other people, making her a potentially dangerous weapon for those who want to wage war on her people. Middle school fantasy readers will enjoy this fast-paced story that leaves much potential for a sequel. (MC).

Mr. Rude. Hargreaves, Roger. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Price Stern Slaon), 2003. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-8431-3569-5.

Mr. Rude is the most bad-mannered, disrespectful, ungracious man ever. He says terrible things to everyone and has never done anything nice for another person. One day, Mr. Happy sets out to change Mr. Rude’s gruff demeanor. He visits Mr. Rude’s house and simply smiles and acts graciously until Mr. Rude learns to be kind and gracious toward him. With amusing cartoon illustrations, this miniature book skillfully combines entertainment with sound moral instruction for children. (NO)

Snow! snow! snow! Harper, Lee. Simon and Schuster. 2009.
[email protected], (800-233-2336). 32pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-84542.

Four to eight-year-olds will enjoy reading about three puppies’ adventure on the best sledding hill in the whole wide world during the perfect sledding day. Lee Harper’s beautiful illustrations bring this story to life by perfectly portraying the soft, wintry landscape. With creative text that varies in size and shape to depict the actions it describes, this exciting picture book is the perfect read for a cold, winter day. (NO)

Weather. Harris, Caroline. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6315-4.

Harris writes an informed overview about weather, including interesting facts to help answer questions most middle grade students ask. The book is organized by topic into brief one page chapters which can be found in the table of contents, and also provides helpful definitions of key words on each page. An index is also included after a few brief pages explaining projects that can be done with children, which makes this a great supplemental resource in any classroom. (LG)

Once dead, twice shy. Harrison, Kim. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 232pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-171816-8.

When Madison Avery’s guardian angel, Barnabas, fails to protect her, she dies in a freakish car accident on prom night, which happens to be her seventeenth birthday. Madison is then thrown into a battle between the light and dark reapers. With her makeshift body, she has to deal with all of this in addition to facing normal teenage drama. The story addresses the mystery of choice verses fate by asking readers to consider if people truly make their own choices in life. Additionally, the story explores the moral dilemma of right and wrong as well as good and evil in a unique way. (LM, FCW)

The princess and the bear. Harrison, Mette Ivie. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 327pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-155314-1.

The fantasy book The princess and the bear by Mette Ivie Harrison is an excellent novel about magic, nature and love. The story follows the relationship between a king who is turned into a bear and a hound that was once a princess. They must work together to save the magic of the kingdom. The two are sent back in time in their human forms to when the king ruled and banned all magic, bringing about the start of unmagic. They must change this law and restore order in the kingdom to protect the future generations from the terrible effects of the deadly unmagic. This book teaches the importance of noticing how one’s actions affect other people. The combination of the power of magic and the power of love makes this book a fantastical story with themes that are applicable to real life. Students will enjoy the story of talking animals as well as learning the important life lessons of persistence and selflessness. (KRR)

Tiger pups. Harvey, Tom and Allie Harvey. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-177309-9.

Tiger pups is a picture book that shows some of the things wildlife rescuers must do to raise healthy tiger cubs. Three baby tigers are left by their mother on a wildlife reserve in Kansas, leaving a human family to take care of them with the help of a surrogate mother, who happens to be the family dog Isabella. Readable texts correspond with pictures of the tiger “pups” as they grow older and bigger. This book would be a good match for students who are interested in animals, especially tigers. There are many interesting pictures in the book, which illustrate how people are helping to save the species. (PM)

Winter’s tail. Hatkoff, Juliana, Isabella and Craig. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-12335-8.

Winter’s tail is inspirational for anyone to read. An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin loses her tail to a crab trap off the east coast of Florida. A fisherman witnesses the disaster, rescues her and brings her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for treatment. At the aquarium, Winter learns how to swim without a tail and becomes an inspirational icon all across the world. The descriptive yet age appropriate language combined with the large text and touching content makes for an outstanding story. Children will immediately feel connected to Winter after listening to her story. Actual pictures of Winter and her trainers at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are included for readers to enjoy. Winter’s Tail is a heartwarming story perfect for the entire family to read together. (CKB)

The web and parents: Are you tech savy? Hauser, Judy. ABC-CLIO (Libraries Unlimited), 2009. [email protected], (805-968-1911). 237pp. $40.00. ISBN 978-1-59158-795-8.

This informational and instructional guide could be helpful to parents who find the web confusing or unapproachable. There are many examples of websites with step-by-step instructions and visuals, stressing the importance of parental awareness of their child’s internet activities. This book helps form a bridge between generations through technology. (ESS)

Just like a baby. Havill, Juanita. Chronicle books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 24pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5026-1. Illustrates by Christine Davenier.

When baby Ellen is born, all her relatives and friends want to see her. They “ooh”, “ahh”, and “coo” at the sight of the sweet little baby. As each aunt, uncle, grandmother or cousin meets baby Ellen they tell her what she will be when she grows up. Uncle Otis says, “You will be a fisherman” and Aunt Clara says, “You will be a dancer”. After all the visitors finish telling baby Ellen what she will be, Mama picks her up and says “For now, Ellen will do just what Ellen wants.” The relatives all settle down and agree that for right now Ellen should just burble, coo, suck, burp, babble, yawn, and sleep. This book is funny because makes fun of the attention babies receive. However, it would be a great story for a family expecting a baby. (KAR)

Jamaica is thankful. Havill, Juanita. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-98231-8. Illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien.

Jamaica is thankful is a book that speaks to what is most important in life. In this story, Jamaica figures out what her priorities are. Her friend, Kristin, brings a kitten to Jamaica in hopes that Jamaica will be able to keep it. She knows that her brother is allergic to cats but agrees to care for the cat anyway. When she and her brother decide to play catch, Jamaica notices that her brother’s allergies are acting up. Jamaica realizes her brother is much more important than a cat, so she gives it back to her friend and explains how thankful she is for her brother. This is a heart warming tale to teach readers about making sacrifices for the people they love. Colorful pictures and a heartwarming message make this story perfect for kindergartners and lower elementary students. (MM)

George’s cosmic treasure hunt. Hawking, Lucy and Stephen. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-233-2336). 290 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8671-3.

The universe is an unreachable place. Or is it? Lucy and Stephen Hawking’s science fiction book for middle school aged children explores this question. George’s cosmic treasure hunt is about a boy named George who gets to explore the universe. George and his friends Annie and Emmett go on an adventure through space, using Cosmos, a computer opening a portal to places in the universe. Along with the fictional story, there are many pages of space pictures and space facts to help the reader better understand where George and his friends are on their adventure. This book is excellent for a teacher looking to incorporate space studies with reading. Students can understand what space is all about while they enjoy reading this fun story. (EMR)

Living on impulse. Haycak, Cara. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 292pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-42137-5.

Unlike most teenagers her age, Mia Morrow is more concerned with chasing boys and recklessly shopping than concentrating on school or her future. Her careless behavior finds her in a world of trouble as she must decide what is really important to her. In this humbling tale, Cara Haycak shows us that what we want is not always what we should get. (KLM)

The big no-no. Hayes, Geoffrey. Raw Junior, 2009. [email protected], (212-431-9106). 32 pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-9799238-9-0.

Benny and his little sister Penny get into trouble when they sneak over the neighbor’s fence and accidentally take something that does not belong to them. In the end, Benny and Penny return the item and form a friendship with the neighbor along the way. The illustrations are done in the form of a comic book, which lead the reader from one picture and quote to the next. (KMT)

Benny and Penny in the toy breaker. Hayes, Geoffrey. Raw Junior (Toon Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-431-9106). 32pp. $11.95. ISBN 978-1935179078.

Two young mice, Benny and his younger sister Penny, try to keep Cousin Bo from breaking their toys and ruining their hunt for treasure. Meant for younger children, this book provides an accurate reflection of the ways many youngsters interact and is appropriate for use in discussion of resolving conflict instead of avoiding it. Author and illustrator Geoffrey Hayes utilizes cartoonish characters and comic book frames to enhance the text. Little details such as facial expressions and placement of text in the scenes help to show action and convey emotions to readers in this action packed picture storybook. (LG)

Hazel. Hearn, Julie. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 389pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2504-0.

Julie Hearn chronicles the fictional story of Hazel, an inquisitive young woman growing up in London during 1913. Hazel attends a boarding school where refined young woman are instructed in the ways of propriety. After an astonishing demonstration provokes Hazel’s interest in the suffragist movement she decides to act on her beliefs. Actions by Hazel and her bold friend Gloria provoke Hazel’s parents to ship her to the family plantation in the Caribbean. Transported to another society, Hazel learns new lessons about her family’s past that are intertwined with the days of slavery. Hearn provides a fast-paced read that give the reader a glimpse of a time period full of prejudice. (LG)

Most loved in all the world. Hegamin, Tonya Cherie. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 28pp. $17. ISBN 978-0-618-41903-6. Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera.

A slave woman sews a quilt for her daughter with symbols that will aid her on the journey north to freedom, and helps her escape while she stays behind to work as an agent for the Underground Railroad, helping others to freedom. The mother assures her daughter she “is the most loved in all the world” and places her love and value for her child’s future over her own feelings by separating from her daughter so she may pursue the life of freedom she deserves. Textile collages and warm acrylic paintings combine with simple yet powerful text to create a moving story about making sacrifices for loved ones. (NO)

Big chickens go to town. Helakoski, Leslie. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0525421627. Illustrated by Henry Cole.

Country bumpkin chickens are visiting the big city, knowing nothing about getting around it. They make some silly mistakes that could be dangerous for someone lost in an urban environment for the first time. Full of energy and panic, this book is emotional and will make children squawk along with the animals. Repetition, word associations, and cause and effect are clearly illustrated in this book. Its text will help to build a child’s vocabulary beyond words used every day. Big chickens go to town is great for teaching about creative writing and really captures the chaos of the illustrations in the paragraphs on the sides of the pages. (LME)

Cool dog, school dog. Heiligman, Deborah. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5561-5. Illustrated by Tim Bowers.

In Cool dog, school dog, Deborah Heiligman takes the reader on an adventure of a dog that sneaks away from home to follow her young master to school. At school this young dog wreaks havoc at first, but then the teacher and her classroom realize the dog loves to read. Heiligman does an impressive job of telling a story simply by using descriptive adjectives such as, “Tinka is a groan dog, a moan dog, a hates-to-be-alone dog. A peek dog, a sneak dog, a spring-and-sprint-and-streak dog.” Further more, Heiligman utilizes rhythm and rhyme in a way that is apparent to the reader yet fun and exciting. The magnificent illustrations by Tim Bowers help further tell the story of this adventurous dog with the use of texture and lines to create movement that propels the story forward. Students will learn about adjectives, rhyming, rhythm and the joy of reading. (NB)

Crows and cards. Helgerson, Joseph. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected] (617-351-1185). $16. ISBN978-0-618-88395-0.

Crows and cards tells the story of a twelve-year-old boy, Zebulan Crabtree, who is sent to St. Louis to become an apprentice for a tanner. However, life has a different plan for Zeb. The author uses descriptive language to describe the sights and sounds of Zeb’s world and draw the reader into the story. Although the language is old fashioned, the reader can reference the dictionary located in the back of the book for help with unfamiliar words. Comical illustrations allow readers to get a better understanding of the characters. (FCW)

A good day. Henkes, Kevin. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), First published in 2007, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-06-185778-2.

A good day by Kevin Henkes describes a bad day for a group of animals. A yellow bird loses its feather, a white dog gets its leash tangled in a fence, an orange fox cannot find its mother, and a brown squirrel loses its nut. All of these animals are upset about the day they are having until something else happens to them, turning their bad day into a good day. The squirrel finds an even bigger nut, the fox finds its mother, the dog gets untangled from the fence, and the bird is able to fly higher than ever after losing its feather. Simple word choice and sentences make the book ideal for young children to be read to or for early elementary students just beginning to read. The descriptions of the animals in the story are a great way to help children identify colors. Many bright and vibrant colors are used in the drawings. Although the drawings of the animals are quite simple, the emotion of the animal is so exceptionally illustrated that the reader knows exactly how the animal is feeling. Readers will learn that although a person’s day may not be going very well, something good can always happen to make it better. (AED)

My garden. Henkes, Kevin. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-171517-4.

My garden is filled with bright colors of pinks, blues, yellows, and greens creating a spring-like feel for the story. A little girl loves to help in her mother’s garden, but she wishes the pretty flowers and bushes would turn into special treats and treasures instead. As she works with her mother to shoo away the bunnies from their beautiful garden she begins to fantasize what it would be like if the bunnies were to turn to chocolate, and if the bush could grow jellybeans. The little girl plays all day in the real garden fantasizing about what her perfect garden would be like. This lighthearted story reminds kids to appreciate nature, but also to not be afraid to imagine new ideas. Beautiful watercolor illustrations are perfect for the magical mood of this book. (CKB)

Pandora gets heart. Hennesy, Carolyn. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010.
[email protected], (646-307-5151). 256pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-439-9.

In the fourth book about Pandora and her mythical adventures, many elements of Greek mythology are incorporated: the characters, places, and speech give a modern twist to traditional myths. With characters like Pandora, Homer, Apollo, Zeus, Aphrodite, Hera, Hermes, and Hephaestus, the story is destined to be magical. History is in their control and danger is all around them, as they travel around Mount Pelion. While hunting for Lust, the fourth and final evil to be found, Pandora and her friends learn the strong influence past events have on their present existence. This novel would be perfect for teachers to use when discussing the Greek gods and goddesses with their students. (ESS)

Emma Dilemma and the camping nanny. Hermes, Patricia. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5534-9.

Emma is feeling left out when her best friend and favorite nanny start spending time with other people. When Emma’s mom invites the nanny and her boyfriend to go on a family camping trip, Emma has had enough! She comes up with a scheme to win her favorite nanny back so she can keep her all to herself. However, things do not go according to plan and along the way Emma learns a valuable lesson. (KT)

Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run. Hemphill, Michael and Sam Riddleburger. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 168pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3179-0.

Stonewall Hinkleman finds American history boring, he would much rather watch television than see a reenactment of the Civil War. However, his life soon becomes filled with excitement as he, with a man named Mr. Dupree and his daughter, are transported back in time to experience a battle of the Civil War. Stonewall must find a way to prevent the Dupree’s from altering American history. This book combines fantasy with an accurate portrayal of the events of the Civil War. (LM, NH)

Pandora gets lazy. Hennesy, Carolyn. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 280pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-198-5.

This mythical tale based on the historical legends of the Greek gods and goddesses is both enchanting and witty. Pandora, the main character, is separated from her three best friends while they are hurtling through the skies on their chariot to meet the evil goddess Hera. Pandora travels through the wilderness, guided by signs from the gods and surviving through prayers for food, strength, and healing. Pandora’s friends are lost as well and quickly become captives aboard a ship. Children will love the quirky adventure that unfolds as the four friends face danger and excitement traveling through the Atlas Mountains in search of the evil Laziness to capture and put in Pandora’s box. Students will be able to better understand the tales of the gods and goddesses through reading this unique and amusing story for upper elementary aged children. (KRR)

Sharp Shot. Higgins, Jack and Justin Richards. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 214pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25239-6.

Sharp Shot is a contemporary realistic fiction book set in the Middle East that follows the adventures of the Chance brothers and their father, a spy. The adventure and thrilling plots will bring readers into the Chance brothers’ world. This book does an average job of showing ingenuity works better than fancy gadgets. Overall, this book is mediocre; although the action is exciting and may appeal to teenage boys; it is difficult to find a strong theme. (PM)

Spot loves his teacher. Hill, Eric. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 14pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25279-2.

Spot loves his teacher is a perfect book for any pre-school student or Kindergartener. Eric Hill helps students become familiar with the everyday aspects of going to school. With his light-hearted descriptions, school seems fun and easy with nothing to fear. The vibrant colors used for the illustrations, along with the curved and un-jagged lines and shapes, excites the reader for all the fun that will be had in a Kindergarten classroom while making it appear to be a safe and inviting experience. (NB)

The rabbi and the twenty-nine witches. Hirsh, Marilyn. Marshall Cavendish, 1976. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5586-8. Illustrated by Marilyn Hirsh.

One village has never seen a full moon because witches terrorize it whenever a full moon is present. Rain is the only thing that can keep the terrible witches away, but a full moon and rain clouds never combine! The illustrations contrast the dreary witches and the dainty townspeople, using black, white, and hints of blue to create the frightful mood. Determined to see a full moon before they die, the townspeople inquire the Rabbi, who proposes a creative solution to their rare problem. Everyone rallies together to execute his plan and attempt to rid the town of the twenty-nine mean and ugly witches. (ESS)

Martha says it with flowers. Hirsch, Peter K. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 26pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-547-21058-2.

Martha says it with flowers is an adorable story by Peter K. Hirsch about a dog-named Martha who, although wanting to prove she is a good dog, normally does the wrong thing. Martha is trying to find just the right gift for Grandma Lucille. Hirsch’s use of limited third person narration helps the reader observe Martha’s inward struggle to understand what she wants isn’t necessarily what Grandma Lucille wants. The simple illustrations help the reader further understand the plot while not distracting from the written work. (NB)

Smile! Hodgkinson, Leigh. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-185269-5. Illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson.

In Leigh Hodgkinson’s book, Sunny seems to have misplaced her smile. Sunny looks everywhere for her smile, including in her messy room and in the couch. Even with the help of her brothers, Sunny cannot find her smile. Just when Sunny is ready to live a life of sadness, she realizes smiles come from within, making them impossible to lose. Smile! is a great choice for discussing the causes of emotions. Hodgkinson’s illustrations are easy to relate to, as they have vibrant colors that grab your attention immediately. Young children will enjoy this book as a funny way to place emotions and learn to search for missing things. (LM, EEE)

Troubadour. Hoffman, Mary. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 290 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-367-5.

Troubadour is a book about a traveling minstrel named Bertran who is living in France during the Crusades. He witnesses a murder involving Pope Innocent. Afterwords, the war against “the heretics” begins in Rome. Elinor, the daughter of a lord, plays a major role in this adventure. Hoffman does a wonderful job of incorporating facts and historical places with fictional characters. This book would be great for middle school aged children learning about the Middle Ages. (EMR)

First family. Hopkinson, Deborah. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-189680-4. Illustrated by A.G. Ford.

Readers catch a glimpse into the life of the president and his family by reading First family. The White House, home to President Barack, First Lady Michelle, First Daughters Malia and Sasha, is full of history. Although slightly romanticized, the book follows President Obama from his inauguration to present day, looking at both his presidential and familial duties. From the ordinary to the exquisite, readers see what life is like for the First Family. Their values, interests, and lifestyle are reflected in the soft and warm paintings that depict their home. (ESS)

Incredible inventions. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-087245-8. Illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach.

Incredible Inventions is a poetry book. The illustrations do a fine job of representing their poems. I would recommend this book for upper elementary students because younger children may not understand the poetry very well. (SE, NH)

Sky magic. Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 31pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780525478621. Illustrated by Mariusz Stawarski.

This picture book consists of poems about the sky, beginning with the sun, then the moon, and ending with poems about the stars. Combined with the calm, surreal illustrations, this would be a good book to read outside as children contemplate the sky in a new way. (MC)

Michelle. Hopkinson, Deborah. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780061827396. Illustrated by AG Ford.

While the text in this biographical picture book about Michelle Obama makes for an interesting and inspiring read, AG Ford’s oddly-proportioned acrylic illustrations seem amateur at times. However, the biography is an inspiring testament to the importance of dreaming big. (MC)

The humblebee hunter. Hopkinson, Deborah. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142311356-051699. Illustrated by Jen Corace.

Etty, the young daughter of scientist Charles Darwin, is spending a beautiful summer day inside learning to bake honey cake with her mother and the family’s cook. Meanwhile, Charles is outside studying the buzzing humblebees, a much more interesting task. Etty’s ruminations of being outside come true when Charles proposes an experiment requiring his children to count the number of flowers a bee will pollinate in one minute. Corace uses soft honeyed tones throughout the book, creating a calm mood. In contrast, Etty is dressed in a lovely sky blue which reflects her charming and inquisitive nature. Organic lines keep the illustrations believable, complementing the text in a way that transports the reader to the time and place of Etty. (LG)

Stagecoach Sal. Hopkinson, Deborah. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-14311149-8. Illustrated by Carson Ellis.

Stagecoach Sal is a tale inspired by a true story of a girl who drove a team of horses over thousands of mountain roads full of bandits who want to steal her precious cargo of mail and passengers. Sal was never robbed because she would sing wherever she went and did not stop till she reached her destination. Sal’s courage and determination is inspiring and reminds the reader of another famous story character, Pippi Longstocking. The illustrations capture the desert-like south. Elementary students would enjoy listening to this book being read and reading it themselves as well. (MM)

101 things you wish you’d invented. Horne, Richard and Tracy Turner. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 100pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9788-9.

This comical book describes things that have been invented and have yet to be invented. It combines factual information and learning with fun puzzles. Each invention is accompanied by a task or puzzle for the reader to solve based on that particular invention. Although readers will enjoy interacting with the story through the puzzles, some of the more complicated puzzles could be solved more easily if the format of the book were larger. (FCW)

Groosham Grange. Horowitz, Anthony. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2008 [email protected], (212-366-2000). 196pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-14-24146-3.

David is expelled from his regular school and forced to attend a new school called Groosham Grange. When he arrives, strange things begin to happen. David and his two new friends, Jill and Jeffrey, try to solve the mystery behind the strange happenings at their school. Groosham Grange is a fantasy novel many children will enjoy. (SE, NH)

Return to Goosham Grange: The unholy grail. Horowitz, Anthony. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 214pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25063-7.

Return to Goosham Grange: The unholy grail is a sequel to Groosham Grange and takes place on the island where Goosham Grange school is located. It follows the adventures of middle school students with special magical powers. The main character David goes on a quest to discover who is trying to steal the Unholy Grail and destroy Goosham Grange.

This book is well written for older readers around the age of 12. It offers readers a sense of fantasy, because it allows readers to use their imagination by using real places as part of the setting. It is a beginning level fantasy read to introduce readers to the genre. (CF)

Duck duck moose. Horowitz, Dave. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399247828.

Two ducks and a moose have quite the adventure while traveling south for the winter. The illustrations are conducive to reading aloud or helping new readers understand the plot. Readers will also learn the winter behaviors of some animals. (AO)

Squaking Matilda. Horstman, Lisa. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books), 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5463-2.

A young girl, Mae, is to look over Matilda the chicken. Mae, however, can often get caught up in different projects, forgetting old ones. She even at one point forgets about Matilda. This story can show children the importance of caring for animals, and the responsibilities that follow with owning an animal. The author herself makes the illustrations for the book, and many of them are puppet illustrations, which gives the illustrations a very life-like feel. (FCW)

Boats: Speeding! sailing! cruising! Hubbell, Patricia. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-888). 32pp. $17.99 ISBN 978-0- 7614-5524-0. Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.

Readers will enjoy learning about all the different kinds of boats as they read the brief, yet playful rhymes of Boats: Speeding! sailing! cruising! From the port side of a yacht to the starboard side of an aircraft carrier, readers will learn the ins and outs of each vessel that sail the seas. The charming, colorful, and remarkably accurate illustrations enhance the story. (SEB)

Teacher! Hubbell, Patricia. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5574-5. Illustrated by Nancy Speir.

Hubbell describes different activities a teacher plans, provides, and encourages during a school week. Teachers are portrayed in a warm, inviting, and happy environment, showing how they help students in many ways. Rhyming phrases and cheerful illustrations show readers how students can work together as well as focusing on the fun and interesting aspects of school. Whether in music, painting, reading, show-and-tell or spelling, students try their best and are rewarded for their good behavior with a special guest! (ESS)

Missing in action. Hughes, Dean. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected],com, (800-223-2336). 228pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4-4169-1502-7

Jay Thacker’s life is anything but easy. Jay is forced to grow up much faster than he expected, when his half Navajo father is suddenly missing in action during World War II. In addition, Jay also encounters an unlikely friend and battles against his conscience, as he struggles with befriending someone who is Japanese. Dean Hughes has created a compelling story, giving readers an insight into the daily joys and struggles of a young man fighting for his homeland. (SB)

Warriors: Omen of the stars: The fourth apprentice. Hunter, Erin. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 302pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-155509-1.


This book will leave you on the edge of your seat from page one! The reader will engage in this book as two cats discover who will be the third to join them in fulfilling their prophecy. This book is unique in that it is equipped with a map and character lists to help the reader become familiar with the reading and to better their understanding. (KM)

Seekers: The last wilderness. Hunter, Erin. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 265pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-087131-4.

In this fourth fictional novel by Hunter, readers continue to follow Toklo, Kallik, Lusa, and Ujurak on their journey to the Last Great Wilderness. Each bear has a unique story and personality well developed in prior installments of the series. A mysterious voice speaks to Ujurak, urging him to save the environment, which will in turn save many other animals. Hunter’s unique writing style provides first person accounts narrated by each bear. Person versus person conflict layered over a person versus society conflict provides a complex plot best enjoyed within the context of the series. This story would be most appropriate for elementary and middle grade children. (LG)

Warriors: Code of the clans. Hunter, Erin. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 176pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-166009-2.

Warriors: Code of the clans is part of a series about clans of warrior cats. In this book the Code of the Clans is described, code by code. By using imaginary explanations for cat behaviors as well as the proceedings and rules of the cat world, the author inspires the reader’s imagination and addresses alternate explanations for behaviors in cats. This book would not be appropriate for teaching scientific facts about cats, but it could be used to inspire the readers to look at things from a different perspective as well as helping them to develop skills for finding alternate explanations. (PM)

The everafter. Huntley, Amy. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 244pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-177679-3.

The everafter by Amy Huntley is an intriguing fantasy book about life after death. Madison Stanton finds herself as a bodiless spirit in an unknown space she calls Is. She has no memories of her life or how she died. In this space, she finds luminous objects she lost during her lifetime. Through these objects Maddy is able to return to moments in her life to discover new truths about herself and her death. Each of the objects take Maddy to an interesting scene in her life, from her time as a gurgling baby to her unforgettable first kiss with her crush, Gabe. Each scene is unique, entertaining, and thought provoking. Readers will explore the mysteries of love, friendship, time, and death throughout this novel and will be entertained as they journey through time and space. (KRR)

I really absolutely must have glasses. Hurst, Bridget. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 22pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45238-8. Illustrated by Tiger Aspect.

I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses follows a young girl named Lola and her brother Charlie on a visit to the optician to get her eyes tested. At first Lola says she does not need glasses because she can see perfectly fine without them. Then one day her friend Mini comes to school wearing glasses with a lovely floral design. Lola comes home from school and announces to Charlie that she really needs glasses. Charlie explains to his little sister that she will only need glasses if the optician believes her eyes are not strong enough. She is upset when the optician tells her she does not need glasses, so Charlie decides to help her make a special pair of her own. Simple sentence structure and use of simple words makes this a good book for early elementary school readers. The illustrator’s use of cartoon style characters drawn with bright colors and collage-like details makes the illustrations very enjoyable and entertaining for the reader. (LM, AD)

Tollins: Explosive tales for children. Iggulden, Conn. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 172pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-173098-6. Illustrated by Lizzy Duncan.

Hidden behind the whimsical pictures and funny jokes in the text is an underlying theme of doing what is right despite what other people think. Tollins are small fairy-like creatures who are invisible to humans. One day, a Tollin is accidentally packed into a firework, leading to an extra special show. The humans notice this and begin to capture Tollins by using special blue glasses so they can use them in their fireworks. One Tollin, Sparkler, decides he must do something to stop the Tollins from getting hurt. He discovers the chemicals Tollin dust is composed of, and he breaks the cardinal rule by talking to the humans. In the second and third parts of this book, the theme of doing what is right is further emphasized as Sparkler goes against the high ranking Tollins to fight for the importance of education and exploration, eventually saving his kingdom. This book expresses the importance of doing what is right and continually searching for knowledge through a comical and charming adventure story. (PM)

Little green books: The adventures of an aluminum can. Inches, Alison. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2009. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 24pp. $3.99. ISBN978-1-4169-7221-1. Illustrated by Mark Chambers.

This book is made from 100% recycled paper, which makes this “green” book even more valuable. It provides a great lesson for teaching about Earth Day and the importance of recycling. The author describes where aluminum comes from using words that are easy for young children to understand. Mark Chamber’s illustrations are bright and cartoon-like; the cute images of the aluminum can will grab the attention of the reader. All readers will be able to learn something from this book. (KAR)

The little piano girl. Ingalls, Ann and Maryann Macdonald. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-95974-7. Illustrated by Giselle Potter.

This is the story of jazz legend Mary Lou Williams. It begins when Mary first learned how to play the piano. She had a natural talent for being able to play notes after she had heard them only one time. Mary Lou Williams’ struggles against racism to become the most famous female jazz singer. The pictures are interesting and filled with simple lines with bright colors. (MM)

Happy belly, happy smile. Isadora, Rachel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206546-1.

In this charming book, a boy visits his grandfather’s restaurant in Chinatown. The boy discovers all the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and people at the restaurant. It is a heart warming story about a boy discovering his heritage and learning from his grandfather. Its illustrations capture the reader’s interest by using a variety of bright colors and collage cut-outs of real food and brush stroke paper. (MM)

The name game: A look behind the labels. Jackson, Donna M. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 64pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01197-1. Illustrated by Ted Stearn.

The name game: A look behind labels is a older reader informational book about names, labels and slogans. It touches on everything from nicknames, to real celebrity names, to pet names. This book is interesting as it gives both a history of names and examples of names. Older readers will enjoy reading about the meaning of names, and the comical examples of names given in the book. Although there are no illustrations, the text itself can be considered an illustration through the format of the pages. (CF)

Lebron James: King of the courts. Jacobs, L.R. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45236-4.

Lebron James is the king of basketball courts. Anyone who is interested in basketball will be interested in this book because it shows how far hard work can take you no matter your situation in life. James is an extremely talented player and has accomplished a lot for the NBA. This book includes interesting facts about James’ career and how he gained the skills in order to become one of the best players in the game. Photographs displaying James’ talent help make this a great book for early elementary readers and sports lovers. (BCHM)

The Sable Quean. Jacques, Brian. Penguin Group (Usa) Inc., (Philomel Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 408pp. $23.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25164-1. Illustrated by Sean Rubin.

In the most recent installment of the Redwall series, Vilaya, the evil Sable Quean and her subordinate, Zwilt the Shade, have devised a plan to conquer Redwall Abbey by kidnapping the young Dibbuns and holding them hostage at Althier. When the citizens of Redwall discover the plan, they embark on a rescue mission led by the brave blademasters, Buckler and Diggs. When they find that the Dibbuns have already escaped the clutches of the Sable Quean, they realize they must quickly return before Redwall is taken by Zwilt and his army of vermin. An epic final battle decides the fate of Redwall. Fans of the series and new readers alike will find themselves immersed in Jacques’s classic animal kingdom where adventures and sword fights abound and good triumphs over evil. (NO)

The heights. James, Brian. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 256pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-36853-1.

Henry is an orphan from Mexico who moves in with the wealthy Earnshaw family in San Francisco. Henry becomes incredibly close to their daughter Catherine. When Mr. Earnshaw passes away, Hindley takes control of the family and their finances. Hindley has always been very jealous of Henry, so he turns him into the family servant and denies him time with Catherine. Henry’s situation continues to become more unfortunate as the story progresses. Although this book explores the characters’ emotions, younger readers may not be able to relate to the sad storyline. (KAR)

Bea rocks the flock. Jamieson, Victoria. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-260-9.

Bea is a crazy, wild, unique sheep who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the flock. Bea always wants to do things her way and doesn’t want to be like every other sheep, so she heads to New York. There she discovers how many unique people are in the world and gains confidence in following her heart and being herself. The illustrations in this book are very creative and accentuate Bea’s uniqueness by portraying the other sheep as white and all the same and portraying Bea as vibrant and animated. The streets of New York are created with brilliant color and lively action that brings them to life. Children will be entertained by the text and the amazing, amusing illustrations, all the while learning what it means to be unique. (KRR)

Let’s look at iguanas. Jango-Cohen, Judith. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29 pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-3888-8.

Let’s Look at Iguanas includes basic information about iguanas. The text is accompanied by pictures of live iguanas and other species mentioned in the book. Young readers who enjoy learning about animals and science will appreciate this book. (EMR)

The Arab conquest of the Middle East. January, Brendan. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 160 pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-8744-6.

The religion of Islam is very complex. In the 600s CE Muhammad began a religion that would eventually become one of the present dominant religions. This informational book discusses the Islamic religion and its conquest of the Middle Eastern World, from the life of Muhammad to present Islamic religion and Jerusalem’s significance at a middle school level. This book would be a quality informational resource for middle school aged readers interested in Middle Eastern conflicts or the Islamic religion. (EMR)

The birthday pet. Javernick, Ellen. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32p. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5522-6. Illustrated by Kevin O’Malley.

It is Danny’s birthday and his father says he can have any pet he desires. After hours and hours of contemplation, Danny finally decides on his perfect pet: a turtle. Despite his constant pleading for a turtle, Danny’s family buys him other animals. Finally, Danny gets the turtle that he has so longed for. This book is a nice tale of having to wait for what you truly want. The best things do not ever come easy. (BCHM)

Undead much? Jay, Stacey. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Razorbill), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 306pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-273-3.

Stacey Jay has an incredible talent of getting into the mind of a teenage girl and writing exactly what it feels like to be one. In her book Undead much? Jay writes a tale of a seemingly average girl, Megan, who is on the pom squad at her high school, is obsessed with the way she looks, and is falling more and more in love with her steamy 19 year old boy friend. However, she also has a hidden life as a Zombie Settler, a person who fights zombies and puts them back in their crypts to rest in peace. As if that isn’t scary enough, Megan is accused of raising a new type of zombie that has been plaguing her city by using dark magic. She fears that she will be put in jail for the rest of her life. Along with her boyfriend, a Zombie that refuses to go back to his grave, and her recently befriended enemy from the pom squad, Megan tries to figure out how to prove that she is innocent. Megan has to figure out who really cares about her through the drama that is her life. This book is ideal for any girl who is faced with the same problem, and who loves a good story about zombies. Undead much? does have harsh language and talks about sexually explicit content, therefore it should be read by people who are mature enough to handle it. (MM)

Down down down: A journey to the bottom of the sea. Jenkins, Steve. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 36 pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-96636-3.

Down Down Down contains a significant amount of information about undersea life. However, the text is written in very small print, and readers may become distracted by the enormous illustrations. Advanced readers who enjoy learning about animals may enjoy this book, but intermediate readers may find it to be quite a challenge. (EMR)

How many ways can you catch a fly? Jenkins, Steve and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-9634-9.

The book How many ways can you catch a fly? asks children to think about how they catch a fly in comparison to how animals catch flies. Along with catching flies, the book looks at how different animals lay eggs, dig holes, and open up clamshells. The book uses collage-style illustrations of the animals performing these different tasks. This book would be great to use with children of all ages. Young children can learn about the different animals of the world; whereas older children will be able to read and understand the differences in how animals and humans perform the tasks. (CF)

Never smile at a monkey. Jenkins, Steve. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 28pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-96620-2. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

Never smile at a monkey is an intriguing and unique book written by Steven Jenkins. Jenkins informs the readers about various animals students should be careful around, some of which students would not normally find dangerous. This book would be best used as part of an upper-elementary science unit and would thoroughly engage that age group and create a desire to learn more about dangerous animals. Jenkins uses unique textures by working with paper to create a collage of different colors to create the various animals. Readers will become knowledgeable about the various animals and will learn that they need to be careful with all animals, not just ones that look scary. (KW, NB)

Rune warriors: Sward of doom. Jennewein, James and Tom S. Parker. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 413pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-144939-0.

Attempting to follow in his father’s successful footsteps, Dane finds himself in unfamiliar territory as he is blamed by all who once praised him. Dane discovers he is cursed and that his mother is kidnapped. The author of this book takes Dane on many chair-gripping adventures that the reader is sure to engage in and love. (KM)

Ghost Town. Jennings, Richard W. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (Houghton Mifflin), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 165pp. $16.00 ISBN 978-0-547-19471-4.

Spencer Honesty lives in the small town of Paisley, Kansas with his mother. After a plant closes in town, the many people move away in search of other work, leaving Spencer and his mother as the only two people left in Paisley because his mother works at the post office, which remains open. Spencer gets quite lonely, and must find ways to entertain himself, so he invents an imaginary friend named Chief Leopard Frog. Spencer’s imaginary friend gives him advice throughout the book, and the two have a very complex relationship. One day Spencer finds an old camera that turns out to be a ghost camera that photographs the former residents of Paisley. He documents the city of Paisley and tries to give the photographs to a company called One Thousand Things You Will Never Find in order to save his town. The characters are very interesting and make the story fun and at times unpredictable. The author’s use of detailed descriptions of the characters, plot, and setting, along with the complex words and sentences, make this a great coming of age read for an older group of students. (AD)

The reformed vampire support group. Jinks, Catherine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 368pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206609-3.

Unlike the portrayal of vampires in recent popular culture, The reformed vampire support group tries to set the record straight. Vampires cannot fly, they are not powerful, hot, sexy, or even the slightest bit attractive as recent books and movies have made them out to be. The “reformed vampires” in this story have joined a support group to help them resist the temptations of human blood and to keep their identities secret. Nina, the main character, is an old reformed vampire stuck in the body of a fifteen year old. When one of her fellow support group members turns to ashes, she and the other vampires must discover the culprit and protect themselves from harm. By defying the Hollywood vampire stereotype, this book gives readers a fresh perspective. Although the storyline is not adventurous, it provides an alternative to other vampire novels. (KAR)

My little red fire truck. Johnson, Stephen. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 16pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-1416925224.

Comprised of cardboard, yet certainly made for a child with developed fine motor skills, this interactive book has cardboard tools, a key, and other items that pop out of the book for the child to play and interact with. Many other parts spin, open, move, and interact with the reader as they learn about the inner and outer workings of a fire truck. This book will bring excitement to children young and old, because it is so bright, interactive, and informative without being the least bit boring. A simple story is told from the perspective of a firefighter, and a picture of a clock in the corner that shows how long every step would take a real firefighter. This is a dynamic book that will be a delight both to read and to play with. (LME)

Sweet, hereafter. Johnson, Angela. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 128pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-689-87385-0.

In the third book of the Heaven Series, Sweet, hereafter, Angela Johnson introduces the reader to a character who recently moved to a new house in a new neighborhood. Johnson does a wonderful job of demonstrating the main character, Shoogy’s, feelings of loneliness and lack of connection to all of those around her except her boyfriend Curtis. Johnson does a wonderful job of explicitly describing scenes with amazing detail that can make one weep in pity for the main character. However, Johnson’s descriptions are not the only thing that makes this book so enjoyable and intellectually inspiring. Johnson’s almost sporadic scene selection forces the reader to stop and think about what is going on in the book and helps students develop context clue skills that are crucial in advanced reading. This strategy also leaves spaces the reader must fill in on his or her own. This book will stimulate and intrigue middle to upper elementary readers of all types. (NB)

Henry’s night. Johnson, D.B. and Linda Michelin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-05663-0. Illustrated by D.B. Johnson.

Henry’s Night is inspired by David Thoreau’s famous book, Walden. One night when Henry cannot sleep, he hears a bird singing and tries to find it. Henry takes his jar and begins on a journey through the town and forest. On his way he collects multiple objects in his jar including water from the stream, fireflies, and tadpoles. The illustrations are serene and compliment the mood of Henry as he travels through the night. (KMT)

Legends of the shadow world. Johnson, Jane. Simon and Schuster, 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 1120pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1416990826. Illustrated by Adam Stower.

A trilogy in one book, this set of novels should keep a late elementary school or early middle school reader that has a passion for reading fantasy entertained for weeks. In this very believable story of an alternate world with magical creatures, the main character Ben and his friends and family are trying to save the magical world for the creatures they have discovered and have grown to love. A work that will remind readers of the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe series, this novel may become a staple among fantasy works. (LME)

Farley follows his nose. Johnston, Lynn and Beth Cruikshank. HarperCollins Publishers (Bowen Press) 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 33pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-170234-1.

In Farley follows his nose, Farley the dog, has to take a bath. However, the bath makes Farley hungry and he begins to smell all the smells of the neighborhood. Some of these smells were food, such as hot dogs, and ham and cheese sandwiches. Farley runs out of his yard, without his collar and begins to follow the smells to get to the location of the food. Farley gets dirtier and dirtier as he follows his nose around the city looking for food. He ends up at a birthday party, construction site and even a camp ground. Once eventually begins to get tired he realizes that is lost in the woods! He meets a young boy, who is also lost, that he had met at the birthday party and the two of them work together to get home.

Though this book is intended for young children, readers up to fifth grade will be able enjoy it. Children will be able to identify with Farley’s need for adventure and love for exploring. They will also be able to sympathize with the lost boy from the birthday party. The style of the book appeals to readers because of the colorful string of words on each page that indicate what Farley smells. Children will love the illustrations and the humorous expressions on the dog’s face throughout the story. (CF)

Need. Jones, Carrie. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 306pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-338-5.

After the death of her stepfather, Zara White goes to Maine to live with her grandmother to stay out of her mother`s way. While in Maine, she makes new and interesting friends, but she continues to notice a creepy man following her and leaving a trail of gold dust behind him. Although this is a fantasy book, it also incorporates several fairy tale elements such as pixies and gold dust, were-animals, a princess and the battle of good verses evil. Need is an interesting read with several twists and turns that will keep readers intrigued. (FCW)

The enchanted quest. Jones, Frewin. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2010.
[email protected] (212-207-7000). 356pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-06-087158-1.

Frewin Jones’ book The enchanted quest is the fifth book in the Faerie Path series. The reader follows Tania and her friends on an adventure to help save Faerie, which is being plagued by a deadly illness. The friends must set out to find the Divine Harper, the only thing that can help restore the Faerie Covenant of Immortality. During their quest, Tania and her companions encounter many dangers and problems. Not only are they faced with the difficulty of being in an unpleasant and unfamiliar land, but they also have to deal with obstacles concerning pirates, mystic beings, and the powerful dark arts. Tania also has an encounter with a young man, Edric, whom she has many feelings for, but he seems to cause conflict throughout the excursion. As time goes on, Tania is forced to make difficult decisions that affect not only her, but also the people around her who she cares for very much. This book is a good example of the lengths people will go to in order to protect the ones they love, and how sometimes in order to protect these people, one must make the ultimate sacrifice to save them. (AED)

Warrior princess. Jones, Frewin. HarperCollins Publishers (Eos), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 346pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-087143-7.

The historical fantasy Warrior princess by Frewin Jones is a tale of Princess Branwen and how her life changes after her family members find themselves in harm’s way. To ensure her safety, Princess Branwen is forced to leave behind the life she knows. She must go from defending her homeland from enemies to being surrounded by wealth, luxuries, and a patriarchal system that prevents her from doing anything “unladylike”. Throughout this book readers will follow the Princess as she is faced with many difficult decisions based on what is expected of her as a woman and her idea of where she belongs. Princess Branwen is an excellent model of a strong, independent woman fighting for her rights, and young teenage girls will admire and relate to this heroic character. Jones has written a quality historical fantasy novel allowing readers to become enthralled with the plot, characters, and setting. (KRR)

Warrior princess book two: Destiny’s path. Jones, Frewin. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 329pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-087146-8.

In the second book of the series, Branwen is a strong willed princess who does not want to listen to anyone but herself. Gods rule over the land where Branwen lives and they have a plan for her. They want her to be their chosen one, but Branwen does not feel ready to take on such a responsibility. When the gods show her a glimpse into the future if she abandons her destiny, it is bleak and violent. Branwen needs to decide to either make her own plans or follow her destiny. (KT)

The dragon’s pearl. Jordan, Devin. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 341pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6410-0.

The dragon’s pearl is a story of the adventures of Marco Polo. Marco Polo goes off in search of his father after he is reported missing. Marco Polo and his friend Amelio travel to Asia in search of the vanished Niccolo Polo. This book is able to effectively suspend disbelief for its older readers. Even though the adventures happen in real places, the author does a good job of taking readers into a world they know nothing about, such as the Unknown Lands. Marco and Amelio must cross these lands in order to reach Niccolo. The dragon’s pearl offers literary value for readers because of the morals the author weaves throughout story. The author chooses to make Marco the unlikely hero since he was originally supposed to become an accountant rather than an explorer. Readers discover that they too can accomplish the unlikely. (CF)

Higgledy-piggledy chicks. Joosse, Barbara. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 36pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-075042-8. Illustrated by Rick Chrustowski.

Higgledy-piggledy chicks depicts the life of a group of chicks on a farm as they learn about the dangers of their environment. Joosse uses many onomatopoeias in her book, bringing the characters to life for young readers. Rick Chrustowski’s illustrations are amazing collages of construction paper, which add to the reader’s perception of the characters. The use of bright colors help keep readers engaged in the story. This book is great for talking about living on a farm and the life of farm animals. At the end of the book, there is an informational section about the growth and development of chicks and the illustrator’s interactions with them. This book is great for students who are interested in the life cycle of chickens and farm operations in general. (LM, EEE).

Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American west. Judge, Lita. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780670011322.

Through dynamic, colorful illustrations of her own, Judge tells the story of Thomas Moran, the painter famous for his paintings of Yellowstone and other places out west. This picture book tells the tale of Moran’s journey through the west and how his artwork brought the mysterious west to the public in the east. The inclusion of maps, scraps of writing, and faux-photographs add an interesting extra dynamic to the book. (MC)

Benjamin and the silver goblet. Jules, Jacquline. Lerner Publishing Group (Kar-Ben), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 28pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-8225-8758-3. Illustrated by Natascia Ugliano.

While the Bible tells the story of Joseph, a boy who is sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt, this book tells the story of his youngest brother, Benjamin, born after Joseph is sold into slavery. Although seeing a story from a different angle usually gives the reader a new perspective, in this case the story remains similar as Benjamin does not provide new or interesting insight. Readers who enjoy the biblical story of Joseph may also enjoy this similar story. (FCW)

The secret of the yellow death. Jurmain, Suzanne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 104pp. $19. ISBN 978-0-618-96581-6.

Suzanne Jurmain’s The Secret of the Yellow Death is fascinating, eerie, and eye opening. Readers are taken to the island of Cuba during the awful outbreak of the disease known as yellow fever. Four brave American doctors are sent to Cuba to assist in solving the deadly and bizarre epidemic. Authentic black and white photographs, journal entries and historical facts combine perfectly to provide information for the reader. Jurmain’s attention to detail and unique page design create a thrilling and mysterious plot that is fast paced and full of factual information. Young adolescents who enjoy mysteries, medicine, and history will enjoy this graphic and interesting book. It is also a perfect teaching tool for informing students about yellow fever and its impact on millions of people’s lives. (CKB)

Outside beauty. Kadohata, Cynthia. Simon and Schuster (Antheneum Books for Young Readers), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 265pp. $8.99 ISBN 978-1-4169-9818-1.

Shelby, a thoughtful young girl living in Chicago, has a life that can only be described as complicated. When asked about her family, she dutifully replies with her well rehearsed explanation; “My mother had four different daughters by four different men.” However, despite their different origins, these sisters are as close as can be. In Cynthia Kadohata’s Outside beauty, young readers will experience a story of growing up, dealing with complications, and true sisterly love. (SEB)

The aftermath of the Sandinista revolution. Kallen, Stuart A. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 160pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-9091-0.

The aftermath of the Sandinista revolution is an informational book meant for older readers looking to research this event. Although the book is laid out in an easily readable format, readers may get confused with the many different group names. Since the groups are not clearly defined the reader may have to re-read portions of the book to understand what is going on and who is involved. The book is a credible source that includes many photographs to aid the reader’s understanding of the text. (CF)

Starring Lorenzo and Einstein too. Karlins, Mark. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected] , (212-366-2000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3220-9. Illustrated by Sandy Nichols.

Starring Lorenzo and Einstein too is a book that deals with a common anxiety for kids to fit in. Lorenzo Fortunato is the youngest in a family full of theater performers, but he is not like the others. He can’t do gymnastics like his twin sisters, he can’t sing like his mother, and he can’t juggle like his father. He tries trick after trick and skill after skill but he just can not seem to get the hang of anything. Instead, Lorenzo uses his smarts to write a formula that only one man can understand, and that man is Einstein. Einstein shows up right when Lorenzo is at his lowest because he can’t seem to find something that he is good at that could be used in the show. Lorenzo and Einstein use his formula to build a spaceship and they travel all over space. It is not until Lorenzo looks down at his family on Earth that he realizes although he may think he does not fit in, he still is a part of the family and they all love him very much. This book is good for young kids as well as older kids that are struggling with their identity and fitting in, such as kids in middle school. (PM)

Ready for anything. Kasza, Keiko. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399252358.

A cute story that incorporates getting over irrational fears, and being prepared, Ready for anything is great for all ages of young children. The pictures are drawn with thoughtful details, and the words are placed outside of the main picture, but still inside the outer illustrations. This melding of words and pictures helps them to mix together and support the overall story. Great for teaching children to get over their irrational fears, and to think ahead, this book is also a silly story that will entertain and inspire a love of everyday adventures. The sweet and supportive friendship between the duck and the raccoon shows how two very different beings can compliment each other, and that friends don’t necessarily need to be similar to each other to have a good time together. (LME)

Baby at the farm. Katz, Karen. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $7.99. ISBN978-1416985686.

Baby at the farm is a touch-and-feel board book with bright illustrations. The pictures are simple and far from life-like; resembling pictures children themselves would draw. This causes some of the animals to appear strange and unlike the animals they are supposed to portray, as well as cause the baby to appear unrealistic. A simple story of a baby farmer who does his chores and plays with his animals, the story includes some material for readers to feel. Although the materials do not accurately convey what the animals actually feel like, they will keep readers interested in the story. (LME)

More pocket poems. Katz, Bobbi. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 28pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780525420767. Illustrated by Deborah Zemke.

This anthology, a follow-up to the award-winning Pocket Poems, includes poems by a variety of famous poets, such as Emily Dickinson and Ogden Nash. The poems are organized by seasons, and are interspersed with colorful, lively illustrations of children enjoying the outdoors. The poems are short so that children can easily slip them into their pocket, which makes this book a great tie-in for Poem in Your Pocket Day. (MC)

Black Indians. Katz, William Loren. Simon and Schuster (Antheneum), First published in 1986. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 198pp. $18.95. ISBN 9780689311963.

Katz’s overview of the “forgotten heritage” of black Indians gives insight into the lives of a people many others have never learned about. While the topic is certainly worthy of discussion, Katz’s writing is likely too dry for most junior high students. However, his research does not go deep enough to make it appropriate for anyone older than middle school, so this book may not be the best choice for teaching the subject. (MC)

Gifted: Out of sight, out of mind. Kaye, Marilyn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Kingfisher), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 240pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0753462836.

One day, Amanda Beeson wakes up and realizes she has become someone completely different from her usual self. Amanda is a typical popular schoolgirl who thinks she is better than everyone else. Suddenly, she awakens to find herself in the body of her less popular peer, Tracey. Eventually, Amanda realizes she is feeling Tracey’s emotions as well. This truly puts life into perspective for Amanda, making her realize her faults and the pain they inflict on people. This smooth, flowing book would appeal mostly to young female readers, as they will be able to relate to the situation. (BCHM)

Sloppy Joe. Keane, Dave. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-171020-9. Illustrated by Denise Brunkus.

Sloppy Joe is a picture storybook about a boy who is always messy. He is very good at being sloppy. One day he decides to show his family that he can also be Neat Joe. He cleans his room and makes himself look presentable. His parents realize that when he tries to be Neat Joe, he really isn’t any different than Sloppy Joe. It is a humorous book that most children will find amusing and engaging. Middle elementary students will enjoy the story. (SE, NH)

The pied piper’s magic. Kellogg, Steven. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009 [email protected], (212-366-2000). 34 pp. $16.99, ISBN 978-0-8037-2818-9.

In this version of the classic Pied Piper, a small elf, Peterkin, is wandering through the forest with in old tattered clothes when he finds a woman who is sitting on a rundown porch, sad as can be. To cheer her up, the elf cleans up the house. In return, the lonely woman, Elbavol, gives Peterkin a magical flute. Peterkin practices with the flute and finds out it has magical powers to create words and flip those words around that are already played. Instead of being selfish with his new gift, Peterkin decides to help set a city free from the overpowering Grand Duke. By permanently shooing the rats away and eventually squashing the Grand Duke, the elf is able to give the city to the people as well as flip the sad lady from Elbavol to Loveable. This story teaches good morals and shows that one person can cause a lot of change and happiness for many people with a few kind gestures. (PM)

The van. Keller, Holly. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Greenlight Readers), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 22pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206577-5.

The van, by Holly Keller, is a great book for beginning readers. Repetition of words and simplistic illustrations will help young readers stay focused on the text. The included post-reading activity suggestions will also help children further develop their reading skills. (KLM)

A recipe 4 robbery. Kelsey, Marybeth. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 282pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-1288432.

A recipe 4 robbery follows sixth grader Lindy and her friends as they unearth a mystery at the Bloomsberry Cucumber Festival. When Lindy and her friends find a stolen locket in one of Granny Goose’s pies, they set out to find the culprit. The intriguing plot line and well developed characters will engage readers, especially those at fourth and fifth grade levels. (CF)

Wizards and witches. Kerns, Ann. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 43pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-9983-8.

Reading Wizards and witches will teach children about the history of these magical beings. It is a fascinating book that will entertain children, especially if they are interested in fantasy characters and novels. (NH)

If I love you, am I trapped forever? Kerr, M.E. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). $16.99. ISBN978-0-7614-5545-5.

This witty novel written from the perspective of a high school student named Alan Bennet includes school dances, breakups and full-blown high school drama. Alan is the typical popular high school jock who thinks he has everything going for him. Alan’s life is flipped upside down when a new kid comes and starts his own school newspaper, which is adored by everyone in the community. The new kid replaces Alan as Mr. Popular. In this novel, Kerr creates a humorous story with vibrant, unique characters that could be found in any real high school hallway. Students will be able to connect with the characters’ troubles as well as enjoy the humorous and entertaining writing throughout the novel. Life lessons about accepting change and discovering one’s self will hit home with young adult readers as they enter into new and unfamiliar situations. (KRR)

News girl. Ketchum, Liza. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 327pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01119-3.

In 1851, Amelia arrives in San Francisco with her family. She then disguises herself as a boy in order to sell newspapers for the East Coast Newspaper Company. The author vividly describes the sights and sounds of the city so the reader can picture Amelia’s world clearly. Although readers may find it difficult to believe that Amelia dress as a convincing boy, they will enjoy this entertaining and exciting story. (FCW)

Swamp songs. Ketteman, Helen. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5563-9. Illustrated by Ponder Goembel.

Swamp songs brings awareness to the wide diversity of animal species found with in the swamp lands in a fun and creative manner. Young readers will adore the rhyme, rhythm and repetition of the story. Not only is this book a great way to improve literacy and teach about swampland creatures, students will also learn to appreciate the sounds around them and find music in their own world. The swamp is portrayed in a magical light, allowing readers to connect with the natural world in hopes that they will one day work to protect it. This connection is furthered by the illustrations through the use of clothing to personify the swamp animals. Readers will enjoy this lesson on animals and their specific habitat, rhythm, rhyme and many other concepts. (NB)

The year of the bomb. Kidd, Ronald. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 202pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5892-5.

As the Cold War ends in the late 1950s, many U.S. citizens are accused of being communist. Paul and his close friends live in a town outside Los Angeles where they are relatively unaffected by the war. While Paul and his friends are exploring the set of a horror movie being filmed, they find themselves in the middle of a communist investigation. Although the story gives a clear depiction of life during the Cold War, some of the mysteries are left unsolved. (KAR)

How does a seed grow? Kin, Sue. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2010. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 12pp. ISBN 978-1-4169-9435-0. Illustrated by Tilde.

How does a seed grow? is not intended to be a science book that details the essential requirements for all seeds, however it does a nice job of introducing students to the diversity of seeds and their plant products. Each seed mentioned in the book requires unique and specific circumstances to grow. For example, blueberry seeds require loose dirt. Full color, themed, expanding photos of children with the fruit product of each seed connect the beginning growth with the eatable portion of the seed life cycle. (LG)

What bluebirds do. Kirby, Pamela F. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 48pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-614-7.

What bluebirds do takes readers on a journey through the life of a bird. Children learn about how male and female bluebirds meet, how they start families, and how they raise their young. Readers who are interested in animals and their behaviors will enjoy this book. (LM, NH)

What’s wrong with my hair? Kitamura, Satoshi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 16pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23934-7.

Lionel the lion tries numerous hairstyles in preparation for his big party. He even goes to a barber for help with his hair. Each new hairstyle is more ridiculous than the last, but artistically witty as well. The bright watercolor illustrations vividly reflect every detail of Lionel’s hair discoveries. Readers will be surprised to find themselves star guests of the party at the end of the story. (ESS)

The girls of Gettysburg. Klein, Lisa. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 393pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-105-3.

Lizzie and Rosanna are two cousins living in Gettysburg during the Civil War. Lizzie’s father and brother leave to fight with the Union army, and Rosanna goes back to her home in Richmond, Virginia, after her ex lover is killed fighting for the Confederates. Lizzie and Rosanna find themselves having opposing views about the war and they must struggle overcome their differences as the war rages on. The book is written from each of the girls’ point of view in a diary format. Rosanna discusses her life as a nurse for the South, while Lizzie accounts for the days leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg. This is a quality historical fiction novel that will enhance students’ understanding of the Civil War through two relatable characters struggling to maintain a relationship despite different beliefs. (KRR)

43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to meet you. Klise, Kate. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 155pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205727-5. Illustrated by M. Sarah Kline.

I.B. Grumply is an author who goes to the house at 43 Old Cemetery Road to cure a case of writer’s block. The story is written in an unusual style, communicated by a boy writing letters to a dead woman. It follows Grumply and depicts his reactions to the house as he writes a children’s book. Young readers who are looking to transition into chapter books would enjoy this book. Although it is a quick and easy read, the book allows the transitioning reader to develop the skill of remembering information for later in the story. Children of all ages will enjoy reading this book. (LM, BCHM)

Over my dead body. Klise, Kate. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 116pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205734-3. Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise.

The format of the book is different on every page leaving the reader always guessing. This quick read book is good for undeveloped readers as a starting place. It’s ever changing format and illustrations keep the reader engaged. (KM)

The twilight zone: The big tall wish. Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 68pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9725-4. Illustrated by Chris Lie.

Rod Serling’s graphic novels of The Twilight Zone series are quite a journey. Serling creates interesting plots paired with intense illustrations that increasingly engage readers with each page. The big tall wish tells of a small boy’s effect on a downtrodden boxer. Henry watches Bolie as he struggles to stay on his feet during his boxing match. Henry makes a wish, believing in Bolie when Bolie doesn’t believe in himself. Anything is possible in the Twilight Zone, unless Bolie rejects the wish that could save his career. (ESS)

The twilight zone: Deaths-head revisited. Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2008. [email protected], (914-322-8888). 70pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9723-0. Illustrated by Chris Lie.

Rod Serling’s easy read will appeal to young children, especially those not particularly interested in reading. Written in a comic book style, the illustrations on each page will draw in readers. Although advanced readers may not find it challenging enough, this book provides a great starting point for beginning readers. (KM)

The twilight zone: The midnight sun. Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2008. [email protected], (646-3007-5151). 64pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9721-6. Illustrated by Anthony Spay.

Mark Kneece’s series of novels about the twilight zone are full of action and have many unexpected twists and turns. In this novel, the characters must fight to save the town, under the blazing sun that can melt plastic. Written in a comic book style, this novel is great for younger readers who are just getting into chapter books. Anthony Spay contributes realistic illustrations of the main characters as well as vivid colors throughout the book. Young readers will be immediately drawn into the different world of the twilight zone. (EEE).

Will the real martian please stand up? Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 66pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9727-8. Illustrated by Chris Ellis.

Chris Ellis illustrates a classic Twilight Zone graphic novel utilizing shadows and light to cast a mood of eerie uncertainty and doubt. Two state troopers receive a phone call about an unidentifiable object landing in Tracy’s Pond one cold snowy evening. Foreign tracks lead them to a diner where the seven occupants are being questioned. Kneece supports the pictures with conversational text that cues the reader along a straightforward plot leading to a surprising twist at the conclusion. Simple good versus evil conflict provides a springboard for developing interest in more challenging reads. (LG)

The monsters are due on Maple Street. Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 68pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9713-1. Illustrated by Rich Ellis.

The monsters are due on Maple Street is a story based on The Twilight Zone in which accusations and paranoia stem from a power outage with an unknown cause. All the community members are scared beyond reason, which leads to chaos. This mystery provokes readers to question actions and the source of problems. Dark and eerie graphics depict the fearful street in search of someone to blame. (ESS)

The odyssey of flight 33. Kneece, Mark. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2010.
[email protected], (646-307-5151). 68pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9719-3. Illustrated by Rich Ellis.

On Flight 33, the destination is a mystery, as the plane is set off course. It is not merely traveling across states, it is traveling through centuries! This graphic novel, based on The Twilight Zone, takes the reader on a high altitude journey with passengers and crew that could end up in any place or time. An action-packed story that tests patience and logic, The odyssey of flight 33 leaves readers wondering about its fate. (ESS)

Giants, trolls, and ogres. Knudsen, Shannon. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-9985-2.

Giants, trolls, and ogres are both in stories and, according to this book, in real life. This is an informational book discussing both fictional and non-fictional giants, trolls, and ogres. Giants, trolls and ogres takes the reader through history to explore where and when these creatures were present. The illustrations and photography in this book truly grab the attention of the reader and encourage them to continue reading. This book would be enjoyed by both early and advanced readers. (BCHM)

Rock ’n’ roll soldier: A memoir. Kohler, Dean Ellis and Susan Van Hecke. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 278pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-124255-7.

Dean Kohler is a musician who plays Rock ‘n’ Roll for a living. When he receives his draft notification, his dreams of making it big are shattered until he learns he has been ordered to form a rock band for the troops. He will play music for the soldiers to allow them a brief escape from the war and keep their morale high. Rock ‘n’ roll soldier: A memoir is a true story about Dean Kohler’s experiences in Vietnam. Children will enjoy reading about the experiences of a soldier who had a positive impact on one of the biggest wars in American history. (NH)

Jackson and Bud’s bumpy ride. Koehler-Pentacoff, Elizabeth. Lerner (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-8225-7885-7. Illustrated by Wes Hargis.

In the year 1903, Jackson is with some wealthy friends when someone bets him 50 dollars that he can not drive from California to New York in three days. The tale of Jackson and his dog Bud driving across America is told in different stories of the trip from state to state. By the end of the book, Jackson has spent over 5,000 dollars of his money on a 50 dollar bet, however he is put in the record books. This book shows that with life comes struggle but if you keep working on it, you can achieve anything. (BCHM)

I Trixie, who is dog. Koontz, Dean. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399251962. Illustrated by Janet Cleland.

A dog named Trixie teaches readers about dogs. Trixie’s experiences with human emotions and her performance of human tasks may confuse younger readers, but provides an interesting twist on life as a dog. (LM, AO)

The story of Queen Esther. Koralek, Jenny. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 27pp. $17.50. ISBN 978-0-8028-5348-6.

The story of Queen Esther is a picture book about a queen named Esther. She was a beautiful courageous Jewish girl who became the queen of Persia. She is most famous for saving her people from a mass execution. This story will engage readers of all backgrounds and faiths. Its lovely illustrations are inspired by Persian pieces. This book could be used in classrooms to increase awareness of other cultures and religions around the world. (KAR)

Pop. Kordman, Gordon. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzar + Bray), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 260pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-174228-6.

People in small towns are not able to live without the exciting and intense game of football. In this book, Marcus has the pleasure of moving to a small town filled with football enthusiasts. Charlie, a former NFL starter, becomes a good friend to Marcus. Charlie’s son is also on Marcus’ football team, but they do not get along. The Popocvich family continues to run into obstacles throughout the story, including a secret within the family. Kordman makes it easy for readers to understand what the football team and the town endure for the love of football. (BCHM)

Saga. Kostick, Conor. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Firebird), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 367pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241422-4.

Saga is written as though the characters are in a videogame. Throughout the story, characters keep disappearing and reappearing, which confuses the main character, Ghost, and her friends. Eventually, Ghost discovers that the Queen is behind the disappearances and she and her friends struggle to stop her. Because this book is a sequel, the reader would best understand the unbelievable setting and concepts presented in the story by reading the preceding book. (KMT)

Wonderland. Kovac, Tommy and Sonny Liew. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion-Disney), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 159pp. $19.99. ISBN978-142310451-3.

This is a graphic novel directed towards older children. It follows the character Mary Ann, who works as a housemaid for the White Rabbit. Alice is mistaken for Mary Ann when she arrives in Wonderland. In order to follow along with the book, it would be useful to have seen the Disney movie; however, it is engaging and would be an exciting read for older children. The illustrations are clearly inspired by the Alice in Wonderland movie, but the book still manages to create its own feel and look. (FCW)

What do you see? Krensky, Stephen. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 16pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7123-8. Illustrated by Amy Schimler.

This is a great interactive pop up book for early elementary students that allows readers to guess which animal is being described. This book not only helps with the student’s ability to read but it also works as a great lesson in improving a child’s reading comprehension. This is a great book for students who need hands on materials to process knowledge. (BCHM)

Michael Jackson: Ultimate music legend. Krohn, Katherine. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $26.60 ISBN 978-0-7613-5762-9.

Katherine Krohn’s Michael Jackson: Ultimate music legend follows Michael Jackson through his illustrious career and puts the information into a format upper elementary to middle school aged kids can read and comprehend. It introduces students to a musician who had his heyday well before they were born. The part of the book detailing child molestation charges brought against Jackson may be inappropriate for some readers. (LM, PM)

Stuff! : Reduce, reuse, recycle. Kroll, Steven. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5570-7. Illustrated by Steve Cox.

Pinch, the pack rat, undergoes a long series of events until he eventually realizes it is beneficial to give possessions that are no longer used to other people. While the sentiment for environmental concerns pervades the narrative; the growth of the packrat does not undo the stereotypes portrayed about people (personified packrats) who hold on to material objects as it is a legitimate disorder. (LG)

Barbarians! Kroll, Steven. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 48pp. $18.99. ISBN 9780525479581. Illustrated by Robert Byrd.

In this picture book, Kroll takes a deeper look at four “Barbaric” groups throughout history: the Goths, the Huns, the Vikings, and the Mongols. Each overview explores daily life as a member of the group, complete with traditions and religion. The conquests and battles of each group are also covered. Highly detailed illustrations and interesting connections between these groups and the rest of the world make this a useful book for showing the impact they had on world history. (MC)

Katie Kazoo swicheroo: Going batty. Krulik, Nancy E. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 80pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-0448450421. Illustrated by John and Wendy.

Katie Carew’s class just got new pets! Unfortunately, they are not fuzzy or cuddly; they are bats. This book is follows Katie as she overcomes her fear of bats and gives readers a chance to learn about other nocturnal animals as well. A good read for children between the ages of seven and nine due to its simplicity as a chapter book. (AO)

Heart of a snowman. Kuryla, Mary and Eugene Yelchin. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30PP. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125926-5. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.

Heart of a snowman is a feel-good story for any imaginative child who has ever built a snowman. Each Christmas eve, Owen builds a flawless snowman, only to find it in a puddle the next day. Along with most children, Owen believes that it is the sun melting his snowman and taking it away. However, one Christmas Eve, Owen discovers a machine that abducts his perfect snowman and Owen is able to follow his captured snowman into a mysterious plant. While inside, Owen witnesses a crew of workers trying to discover how to make the most perfect snowman. With Owen’s help, the crew learns that it has nothing to do with any machine; it has everything to do with the love put into the making of the snowman that warms the snowman from the inside and melts it. Owen is proud to discover that his joy in the process of building a snowman has such a prominent impact. The illustrator does a fantastic job of creating detailed pictures that still leave room for the reader to imagine what the big picture setting is exactly like. (MAM)

Blue plate special. Kwasney, Michelle D. Chronicle Books, 2009. [email protected], (800-579-0190). 304pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6780-1.

In Blue plate special, Kwasney writes about three different teens from three different decades all going through difficult times in their lives. Kwasney does an outstanding job making each and every character different yet similar enough that they are able to have their stories connect in an outstanding way. This novel is a perfect for students who are not too fond of reading since it has shorter paragraphs and is engaging right from the beginning with the immediate use of story plot to introduce characters. Kwasney also utilizes the use of free verse, which can help slowly introduce students to poetry in a new and creative way. (NB)

Stella stands alone. LaFaye, A. Simon and Schuster (BFYR), 2008. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 242pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8647-8.

LaFaye, the author of Stella stands alone, does a magnificent job of bringing the readers back into the year 1866 when the story takes place. Stella, the story’s protagonist, experiences the harsh realities of the Deep South at the young age of eleven years old. Both Stella’s father and mother passed away, leaving her, in a sense, alone on their large plantation, Oak Grove. Stella is not the ordinary plantation girl; she is white and was taught loyalty and respect to each of their workers by her father. Her father always reminded her to never make a plantation worker do something she wouldn’t do herself. Since the time of her parents’ deaths, Stella has been searching for papers or money that would allow her to keep Oak Grove in her family. Stella is in a constant battle with her fellow Deep South white population who want Oak Grove as badly as she does. Because of her unique situation, Stella is forced to make decisions and think very creatively for someone of such a young age. (MAM)

Nathaniel Fludd beastologist: Flight of the phoenix. LaFevers, R.L. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-5000). 138pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-23865-4. Illustrated by Kelly Murphy.

Nathaniel Fludd comes from a lineage of explorers and map makers. When Nathaniel’s parents pass away he is sent to live with his Aunt Phil. No sooner has he arrived than they are off on an adventure to the desert to witness the mystical Phoenix lay its egg. Bedouin tribe members capture Aunt Phil and Nathaniel is left to care for the egg and rescue his aunt with the help of a small gremlin. This easy to read fantasy is perfect for elementary students with its simple yet exciting plot line, descriptive language, and unusual occurrences that create a captivating fantasy novel. (LG)

Blood ninja. Lake, Nick. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 369pp. $16.99.
ISBN 978-1-4169-8627-0.

Taro’s life is changed forever when his father is murdered and he and his mother must move into the protection of the ninja Shusaku. As Taro begins to master the skills of a young ninja, he discovers more and more about his true identity and those who are trying to kill him. Combining the appeal of vicious vampires and highly skilled ninjas, Nick Lake creates a thrilling story of a young boy marked by a destiny. (SEB)

Lost and found. LaMarche, Jim. Chronicle Books, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 40 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6401-5.

Jim LaMarche creates a masterpiece with Lost and found. LaMarche creates three fictional dog characters and gives them each a story. In each story, the dogs do realistic actions, and their owners fall in love with them or grow in their love for them. The realistic illustrations help the young reader enjoy the book even more by bringing the story to life. (EMR)

Once upon a Saturday. Lammle, Leslie. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125190.

This fabulously illustrated book entitled Once upon a Saturday makes the routine Saturday morning chores of a young girl seem like a fairy tale. In order for her fun Saturday to begin, she must finish all the boring chores first. Her first task is eating breakfast, and then she must pick up the mail. To do this, she and her dog June fly down the path to the mailbox and get the mail. Next she brushes off the stairs leading up to the house and finally she cleans under her bed. The illustrator’s use of light colors and soft brush strokes give the book a fairy tale kind of feel. (PM)

Portuguese water dogs are the best! Landau, Elaine. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-5060-6.

Elaine Landau’s Portuguese Water Dogs are the Best is an informative, darling book all about Portuguese Water dogs. The pages are colorful, with realistic photographs, and fun graphics. The page layouts are different on every page making an interesting read. Four, short, well-organized chapters make up the book. Facts about the breed of dog, historical background of the Portuguese Water dog, and fun facts are included within the text. The text is engaging, clearly written, and easy for children to understand. In addition to great content, this book is full of visual appeal. Adorable photographs range from the puppy days to the older days of a Portuguese Water dog. This charming, accurate book will have children asking their parents for a new addition to their family: a Portuguese Water puppy! (CKB)

Labrador retrievers are the best!. Landau, Elaine. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-1-58013-556-6.

According to this book, man’s best friend truly is a dog, in this case the Labrador Retriever. Labs come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and this book gives insight to all of them. For dog owners, the content in this book is a great start to making sure that your dog is healthy, clean and happy. This book encourages people to consider Labradors when choosing pets. The illustrations enhance the text and portray Labradors as friendly and cute. This book would be an ideal choice for early elementary students. (BCHM)

The faceless ones. Landy, Derek. HarperCollins Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 422pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-124091-1.

The faceless ones is a fantasy book filled with monsters, magic, and evil doings. Though the book is written for older elementary and middle school readers, adult and high school readers will also enjoy the high intensity of this book. First in its series entitled the Skullduggery Pleasant, this book follows the adventures of Skullduggery and Valykrie. It contains many fantasy elements, making it slightly difficult to truly suspend disbelief. The faceless ones is well written and enjoyable. Although the book captures the readers’ attention, it would not be useful as an introduction to the genre. (CF)

Nana cracks the case! Lane, Kathleen and Cabell Harris. Chronicle Books, 2009. [email protected] , (800-759-0190). 112pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6258-5. Illustrated by Sarah Horne.

Nana cracks the case is a simple chapter book that serves well as a transition from picture books to chapter books. This story combines humor and suspense as Nana tries to capture the Yum Dum thief; her two grandchildren sneak out of the house and explore the town, but eventually meet up with Nana to solve the mystery. This is a great way for more advanced readers to increase their reading ability while still being able to enjoy the pictures that accompany the story. (KRR)

Camping day. Larkin, Patricia. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3309-1. Illustrated by Scott Nash.

Colorful cartoon illustrations help tell a story about the family of four crocodiles who one day decide to go out camping in the woods. The woods during the day can be a very different place than during the night. This story can encourage children to tell about their own camping trips and how scared, or not, they were – especially during the night. On a funnier note, the book could be used to encourage children to imagine all the sounds you might hear in the woods at night, where they come from, and what makes them. The language of the book is very simple and has both rhythm and rhyme. This book could be used as a tool to encourage the development of language, as the text and illustrations go well together. (FCW)

What’s inside. Laroche, Giles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-11185). 38pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-86247-4.

A little bit of information and a little bit of fun is offered to the reader by this book. Readers are presented with a picture of a building accompanied with information, and when they flip the page they get to see what is inside the building. The illustrations allow readers to easily recognize different historical buildings from around the world. Readers will enjoy using their imaginations to figure out what will be inside each building before they flip the page. (FCW)

Scared silly: 25 tales to tickle and thrill. Las Casas, Dianne de. ABC-CLIO (Libraries Unlimited), 2009. www.abc.clio.com, (800-368-6868). 96pp. $30.00. ISBN 978-1-59158-732-2. Illustrated by Soleil Lisette.

Whether read on Halloween or during a night around a campfire, readers are sure to enjoy these scary stories. Complete with tips on how to tell a scary story, determining which stories are appropriate for each age group, as well as over twenty chilling tales, this book can make any situation a little more exciting! (KM)

Ashes. Lasky, Kathryn. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 315pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-670-00185-5.

Starting in 1914, Ashes follows one family’s life leading up to World War II and the beginning of Hitler’s reign. Both historically accurate and linguistically authentic, this novel allows students to see the significant changes that would have occurred in their own lives had they lived in Nazi Germany. It even incorporates other literature from the time period to emphasize the main character, Gabriella’s, passion for reading. These passages mirror her struggle and foreshadow the war. As Einstein and Gabriella’s father study astronomy and astrophysics, they discover the universe is expanding. Gabriella can feel the world contracting, and in a twist of fate, loses her most valued possessions. Through these hard times Gabriella’s father becomes her source of strength and comfort. She lives by his description of life, “We are all made of stardust. Every single atom in our bodies and every living or nonliving thing, not just humans – butterflies, horses, mice, flowers, bugs, me, and Adolf Hitler – all stardust forged in the hot core of an ancient star.” Although they are all connected, the elements of Gabriella’s world will never be the same. (ESS)

Poodle and the hound. Lasky, Kathryn. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 48 pp. $12.95. ISBN978-1-58089-322-0. Illustrated by Mitch Vane.

This soap opera of a picture book may be fun for some, but definitely not for all. While Kathyryn Lasky may have had the best of intentions with her book, Poodle and hound, her intentions went awry when she started giving Poodle and Hound “couple-like” qualities. In Lasky’s picture book, there are three stories. One story, Poodle gets a haircut, but doesn’t want to show Hound because she knows he won’t appreciate it. The book is aimed for young readers, but the story goes into too much detail about real life couple situations. (EMR)

Leaving gee’s bend. Latham, Irene. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 230pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25179-5.

Irene Latham’s Leaving gee’s bend is a heartwarming story set in small town Alabama in 1932 during a time of trouble and hardship for a lot of American families. Ten-year-old Ludelphia Bennett is a girl with an amazingly strong work ethic and sense of determination to achieve what she sets her mind to. She is blind in one eye, but still loves to sew and make quilts. Ludelphia’s family lives in a tiny town called Gee’s Bend. When her mother becomes gravely ill, Ludelphia decides to embark on a journey across the Alabama River to a town called Camden to find Doctor Nelson, the only person who may be able to help her mother. On her strenuous journey, Ludelphia sews the entire time and tries to stay positive even after learning from the doctor her mother may not survive her illness. The author incorporates factual qualities of the 1930s into Ludelphia’s story, like how she experiences racial discrimination when people look at her differently because of the color of her skin. Ludelphia also encounters kindness from families who have nothing, but are still willing to give. Latham does a spectacular job of using accurate Southern vernacular within the text. Although some readers may have a hard time connecting to Ludelphia simply because she is wise beyond her years, her charm will win them over in this must read book. (CKB)

Really, really big questions. Law, Dr. Stephen. Macmillan Publishing (Kingsfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 63pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6309-3. Illustrated by Nishand Choksi.

Really, really big questions does exactly what the title implies. Pressing questions are asked and answered for people of all ages. The questions are divided in a very organized format. Text appears in many different arrangements and alignments to fit around the cartoon like illustrations. Questioning topics include the universe, the human brain, morals, and knowledge. The book ends with a section that gives thinking tips and some further readings. (MAM)

The duck & the kangaroo. Lear, Edward. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000) 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-136683-3. Illustrated by Jane Wattenburg.

The duck & the kangaroo is a charming story that will appeal to young children. Duck desires to see the sights of the world. However, Duck is stuck in his pond while his friend Kangaroo is able to go wherever he pleases. Duck tries his best to convince Kangaroo to take him somewhere else. The illustrations are an interesting mix of drawings, paintings and photography that make the characters appear realistic. Young readers will easily be able to comprehend the story with little adult help. (CF)

Cat dreams. Le Guin, Ursula K. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 25pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-04216-1. Illustrated by S.D. Schindler.

Ursula K. Le Guin uses a flow of rhyming words and simple sentences to describe what a cat dreams about when it is sleeping. The cat dreams about a number of things including: mice falling from the sky, dogs running away, finding a catnip tree, and taking a nap on a person’s lap. S.D. Schindler’s illustrations encompass realistic, detailed backgrounds by using many light, pastel colors. Each cat is drawn to look very friendly and inviting because the illustrator uses texture to make the cat look soft and gentle. Cat dreams gives children the motivation to expand their own imaginations and think about what other animals dream about when they are asleep. This book is recommended for early elementary children. (KW, AED)

The hungry ghosts. Lester, Julis. Penguin Group Inc (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 35pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8937-2513-3. Illustrated by Genaldo Valerio.

Malcolm David lives next to a haunted cemetery and is often awakened at night by the cold breezes and spooky calls of ghosts entering his room. One night, Malcolm David finds enough courage to go searching for the ghosts. To Malcolm’s surprise, the eerie noises made by the pale ghosts are actually their tummies grumbling. The ghosts are not trying to hurt Malcolm; they are just hungry and not sure what to eat. Malcolm is determined to find something for his new ghost friends to eat. (KAR)

Tacky goes to camp. Lester, Helen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-98812-9. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.

Tacky is not your typical penguin, so when he heads to camp, he is not your typical camper. Tacky brings very odd things to camp, makes very interesting crafts, sings odd songs and tells odd stories. His unique qualities pay off in the end when he saves his friends from a bear. He is delightfully wacky character all ages can enjoy. The great illustrations in this book will appeal to readers as well. (MM)

The year of goodbyes. Levy, Debbie. HarperCollins Publishers (Disney-Hyperion), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 136pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-143212901-1.

The Year of Goodbyes is a book consisting of poems from classmates to Jutta, a Jewish girl who is forced to leave Germany with her family to flee from the Nazi regime. After each poem, another poem incorporates what the classmate has said into what is happening to Jutta. The poems tell the story of Jutta’s journey and hardships in Germany before going to the United States. This book is based on a true story and contains all the original poems. The Year of Goodbyes is a humbling and creative way of telling a sad tale of the horrors of the Holocaust appropriate for upper elementary readers. (MM)

Balarama: A royal elephant. Lewin, Ted and Betsy Lewin. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 46pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-265-8.

This book is based on the authors’ trip to India. An elephant in Balarama will lead a parade during an Indian festival. A glossary and pronunciation guide is available for readers to learn some of the foreign words included in the text. The gorgeous paintings are very detailed and compliment the text. (KAR)

Spot the plot: A riddle book of riddles. Lewis, Patrick J. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 28pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-8118-4668-4. Illustrated by Lynn Musinger.

This book is a compilation of comical riddles, to which all the answers are book titles. The illustrations fit the text very well and provide readers with further hints as to what the answer to the riddle might be. The books that are answers to the riddles are well known so that readers will be able to connect them to the clues without having read them. These riddles may encourage children to read the other books that are mentioned. (LM, FCW)

For just one day. Leuck, Laura. Chronicle Books, 2009. [email protected],
(800-759-0190). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5610-2. Illustrated by Marc Boutavant.

For just one day is a story about a little boy who is daydreaming about what he would do if, for just one day, he could be an array of different animals. He wants to be a bumblebee, a chimpanzee, and a number of other interesting animals, for just one day. This book is easy to read; beginning readers could read this book with little or no help from an adult. Children will be able to relate to the boy’s desire to become something else for a day. The biggest benefit children will get from this book is the lesson that although it is fun to become something else, everyone is special in his or her own way. (CF)

T4. LeZotte, Ann Clare. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-651-1185). 108pp. $14.00. ISBN 978-0-547-04684-6.

Paula Becker is a deaf girl who writes poetry about the things she experiences living in Germany during WWII. Part of Hitler’s mission is to kill mentally or physically disabled adults and children. In order to ensure her survival, Paula must avoid the Nazis. On her journey she makes new friends and falls in love. The author is also deaf and includes information about subjects discussed in Paula’s poems at the end of the book. (KT)

The king’s rose. Libby, Alisa M. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 297pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47970-3.

Catherine Howard is a fifteen-year-old girl whose scheming family brings her to court in hopes that she will catch the eye of King Henry VII. The king does take notice of Catherine and is determined to marry her. After he disposes of his current wife, Catherine’s cousin, the pair wed. She tries to secure her place on the royal throne by giving the King a son, but events from her past come back to haunt her. This thrilling historical fiction novel will draw readers into the happenings of the royal court. (KAR)

Archibald’s swiss cheese mountain. Lieberman, Sylvia. Seven Locks Press, 2007. [email protected], (800-354-5348). 40pp. $17.95. ISBN 9780979585258. Illustrated by Jeremy Wendell.

Archibald, a loveable mouse, learns how to explore and be independent and how to be careful in this cautionary tale. There are consequences when Archie doesn’t “measure with his whiskers” before climbing in a hole, and also when he tries to take a dangerously big piece of cheese from a store. Young elementary students can use the book to try to predict what will happen to Archie based on whether or not he follows his mother’s advice. While the story is good, the illustrations appear sloppy. For instance, the painted portrayal of a man looks disproportionate and strange. This would be a good story to read to children, but now the best showcase of literary art. (MC)

Manolito four-eyes. Lindo, Elvira. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected] (914-332-8888). $15.99. ISBN978-0-7614-5470-0. Illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga.

Manolito four-eyes is a quirky story of a boy who has a life full of adventure and excitement which he wants to share with the world through his stories. Being the second of the two books, Manolito Four-Eyes allows for more stories to be told and more adventures to be understood. Originating in Spain, the series of books was originally in published in Spanish but is now available in English. The book allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the life of a Spaniard, which is useful for students who are learning about different cultures. The stories in this book allow the reader to continually be engaged and interested. (BCHM)

America in the 1950s. Lindop, Edmund and Sarah Decapua. Lerner Publishing Croup, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 131pp. $38.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7642-6.

America in the 1950s depicts both the positive and negative aspects of American society during this time period. For example, Americans used to listen to Elvis Presley while living in the suburbs. However, Americans also struggled during the Korean War and the Civil Rights movement. This book relates the history of the 1950’s to the recent trends and occurrences in the 20th century. The photos are very realistic and give readers further insight into this time period. (KAR)

Dancing through the snow. Little, Jane. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 256pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-15-0.

Right before Christmas, Min is dropped off at Children’s Aid by her third foster family. Dr. Jess Hart, who was once a foster child herself, invites Min to live with her. Min enjoys living with Jess but still has trouble dealing with her lack of identity. Min has a change of heart when she finds an abandoned puppy. Children will be able to relate to Min’s struggle to figure out who she is and who she wants to become. This book also can assist readers’ development by demonstrating to readers that identity can be formed from experiences during childhood. (CF)

Pete the cat: I love my white shoes. Litwin, Eric. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), First published in 1999, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 34 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-19062200. Illustrated by James Dean.

Pete the cat: I love my white shoes is a charming book by Eric Litwin about a cat named Pete who loves to wear shoes. Beginning readers will enjoy the repetition and color recognition as they learn valuable lessons about not getting upset when little things go wrong. The illustrations enforce learning of different colors by presenting the background of each page in a different color, as well as including items in that color on the page. Golden rod yellow is utilized to create a sense of happiness and friendliness to ensure that this simple and fun story is not too scary for children. Preschool and Kindergarten aged readers will enjoy learning a wonderful moral through this perfect addition to any teacher or parent’s library. (NB)

Paris Pan takes the dare. Liu, Cynthea. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 224pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25043-9.

Paris Pan takes the dare is a great scary story for younger readers. Paris Pan is a twelve-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Oklahoma. Her home life is a little crazy and her new friends are not very nice. To make matters worse, she discovers twenty years ago a girl her age went missing in the woods near her house. In order to fit in with her friends, Paris takes a dare to explore a mysterious noise coming from the woods. Through this event, Paris discovers the untold truth about the missing girl and also who her real friends are. The author creates an excellent storyline through believable and easy to follow clues. This book is a great mystery story, and it should be added to any young girl’s coming of age book collection. (KAR)

Darklight. Livingston, Lesley. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2010.
[email protected], (212-207-7000). 310pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-157540-2.

Lesley Livingston’s novel Darklight is a sequel to her first, Wondrous strange. In Darklight, a young girl discovers that she is not just of our world; she is of a Faerie world. Kelley the Faerie princess is caught between her world in New York, and her love and war back home Faerie world. Full of action and intrigue, Darklight will engage a young feminine audience that likes romance to be a bit extraordinary. (LME)

Ask Dr. K. Fisher about weather. Llwellyn, Claire. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Kingfisher), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6254-6. Illustrated by Kate Sheppard.

Ask Dr. K. Fisher about weather is an informational book about the many different kinds of weather. It covers a wide range of weather related topics, from lighting and thunder to tornadoes, and more. Readers will enjoy learning about the different types of weather. (LM, NH)

Odd owls & stout pigs: A book of nonsense. Lobel, Arnold. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 31pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-180054-2. Illustrated by Adrianne Lobel.

Have you ever met an owl that likes to knit or pigs that play the guitar? Readers will meet such characters and many more in Arnold Lobel’s Odd owls & stout pigs: A book of nonsense. Filled with clever rhymes and witty illustrations, Lobel’s book is sure to please all who enjoy a little nonsense from time to time. (SEB)

Alibi junior high. Logsted, Greg. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin Paperbacks), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). ISBN 978-1-4169-7659-3.

Cody is having a hard time adjusting to his new life. He is accustomed to traveling around with his undercover CIA father, dodging bullets, and always staying on his toes. Now, he lives with his aunt in a suburb in Connecticut, goes to school daily, and falls in love with his first crush. However, Cody cannot leave all of his old life behind and spends much of his time wondering if he will ever be reunited with his father. He begins to sense that he and his aunt are in danger, and that he needs to find protection. (KT)

Little swan. London, Jonathan. Marshall Cavendish (Cavendish Children’s Books), 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5523-3. Illustrated by Kristina Rodanas.

Little swan is a sweet and simple story about the life of a little swan named Ko-hoh as he grows up with his family. This book takes the reader through the different seasons while little Ko-hoh grows older. The story is very informative about the changes of the swan as it begins to fly and become more independent. Kristina Rodana’s illustrations are full of color and dimension. Little Swan is a great book for young eager readers! (KAR)

Sluggers: Blastin’ the blues. Long, Loren and Phil Bildner. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 434pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1867-7.

The fifth book in the Sluggers series, Blastin’ the blues takes readers further into the adventures of the Travelin’ Nine as they travel across the U.S. in an attempt to pay off the Payne family’s massive dept. In this book, the Paynes are trying to reunite with the rest of the team and along the way learn a lot about their own family’s heroic past. Through the enticing adventure, readers will learn about baseball terminology and accurate historic events that are intertwined seamlessly into the plot of the story. Despite its gruesome and sad ending it would be a wonderful read for an upper elementary to lower middle school student, particularly one who loves baseball. (NB)

Sluggers #4: Water, water everywhere. Long, Loren and Phil Bildner. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 259pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1890-5.

As the fourth book in the Sluggers series, Water, water everywhere, is full of mystery and whisks the reader away to a land made for children. The children in the story journey around America in search of adventure. Old-time baseball and working together are the central themes, which will engage young baseball fans. Heartfelt and wholesome, this book will engage young readers while showing them all about how to interact with people that they care about, and teach many other moral lessons along the way. (LME)

Otis. Long, L. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 36pp. $17.99. ISNB 978-0-399-25248-8.

Otis is a heartwarming story about the importance of a true friend. Otis, a little red tractor, and a young calf have a loving friendship, but when Otis is replaced by a more powerful banana yellow tractor, he feels alone, disappointed and sad. The emotions of the book are very effectively depicted through the illustrations. In each picture, the landscape, farm structures and plants are all in a neutral tone, while Otis is always emphasized by his apple red color. Otis sends forth an important message for elementary students: friendship is crucial. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, the only way to get yourself out is through the help of a friend. (MAM)

The best family in the world. Lopez, Susana. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 28pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1935279471. Illustrated by Ulises Wensell.

A story of love and compassion, The best family in the world follows an orphan, Carlotta, who learns she has been adopted by a new family! The night before she goes to her new home she sits in bed and wonders what her new family will be like. This book would be a great bedtime story for younger kids because it illustrates the love between all families, no matter how different they are. (LM, AO)

Conspiracy 365: January. Lord, Gabrielle. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 192pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-49-5.

This thrilling first book in a series of twelve sets up a suspenseful mystery, but ends suddenly, leaving readers with a cliffhanger that requires them to keep reading the next books in the series to uncover answers. The book begins when a man warns fifteen-year-old Callum Ormond that he is being hunted by the men who killed his father and he must survive the next 365 days. As the story unfolds, Cal is sabotaged and kidnapped multiple times by members of two criminal organizations. He learns that his pursuers are after the information Cal’s father left him in the form of symbolic drawings and a vague letter mentioning a family secret that will change history. Readers will be drawn into this series’ suspenseful plot and want to keep reading to discover along with Cal what his father had learned before his death. (NO)

Whaling season: A year in the life of an arctic whale scientist. Lourie, Peter. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 77pp. $18. ISBN 978-0-618-77709-9.

Whaling Season: A year in the life of an Arctic Whale scientist is an informational book that provides a glimpse into the life of John Craighead George, an arctic whale scientist who studies bowhead whales. The book portrays Craig’s job in a personal manner to offer the reader a thorough and in depth resource about the bowhead whales, the methods used to collect data, and the role the whales play in the lives of the Inupiaq people of Barrow, Alaska. The pages throughout are accompanied by large, full color, captioned photos of the landscape, Native peoples, whales, and maps to orient the reader. Divided by chapters, it includes a glossary and extended resources at the back of the book, making this a complete teaching tool for children in upper elementary and middle school. (LG)

Sleep, baby, sleep. Love, Maryann Cusimano. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24753-8. Illustrated by Maria von Leirhout.

Using the words of the Mother Goose rhyme and additional created verses, Sleep, baby, sleep is the perfect lullaby for a young child. With every page readers will be encouraged to behave as the animals who laugh, grow, dream, and soar. Maryann Cusimano Love has created a beautiful bedtime rhyme to be enjoyed by families everywhere. (SEB)

The entomological tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella saves nearly everyone. Low, Dene. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 196pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-15250-9.

The events in this book are quite out of the ordinary. Petronella’s uncle starts eating bugs like crazy, her very abnormal relatives show up unannounced, and three of her party guests, including her best friend, get kidnapped. This book definitely brings something different to the table. It is a book like none other. There is some use of Victorian language throughout the book that might make it a little more difficult for young readers to understand and enjoy. This chapter book is very unique and may entice readers between the ages nine to fourteen. (KAR)

Crow call. Lowry, Lois. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-03035-9. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

Liz’s father has just returned from war so the two decide to spend some time together hunting crows. The text of the book, which is ideal for upper elementary students, uses great detail to describe the different settings, as well as the different emotions of the main character. Illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline uses many shades of brown, yellow, and orange to capture the feeling of nature during the fall. Use of detail and texture helps illustrations of landscape and trees look realistic. The emotions used in the drawings of the characters help the reader understand the feelings of the characters. Lois Lowry sends readers the message that both parents and children can learn things from each other, and they should embrace the very special and powerful relationship they have. (AED)

Something to do. Lucas, David. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 26pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25247-1.

Something to do, written by David Lucas, tells the tale of a father and son in search of “something to do”. The crayon-like illustrations and simplistic backgrounds allow the reader’s imagination to soar. Repetitive language reinforces the message and helps beginning readers understand the text. (KLM)

Princesses are not perfect. Lum, Kate. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-432-0. Illustrated by Sue Hellard.

Within Kate Lum’s dialogue filled story, Princesses are not perfect, lies a heartfelt message about being happy with whom you are and not needing to be perfect at everything. Lum’s comical tale about three princesses trying to prepare for a children’s party helps convey the message of being proud of your own talents by showing the three princesses struggle to make, bake and decorate for the party. However, after a day of trying to make the prepare decorations and food, the princesses realize how much they missed doing their own respective jobs and talents. The illustrator Sue Hellard does a wonderful job of creating in-depth illustrations that help further Lum’s message. Overall, Princesses are not perfect is a good children’s book that will help students understand that they do not need to be perfect at everything and that everyone has their own unique talents. (NB)

Goth girl rising. Lyga, Barry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 390pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-547-07664-5.

Goth girl rising is a dark story following the life of Kyra, a teenage girl who has recently been released from the mental ward of a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. This book is well written with descriptive language and thorough character development. Readers are brought into Kyra’s thoughts and feelings regarding life, love and family. Although this book is well written, the issues discussed in this text are extremely sensitive and quite controversial. There are numerous references to suicide, self mutilation, homosexuality, sex and drug issues inappropriate for younger readers. This book would be best suited for mature young readers, to be accompanied by guided discussions of the social issues prior to and during the time spent reading. (LM, MAM)

You and me and home sweet home. Lyon, George Ella. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum). 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 39pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-689-87589-2. Illustrated by Stephanie Anderson.

You and me and home sweet home is a heart-warming story about a girl and her mom who have hit some hard times and are without a home. The author, George Ella Lyon, takes the reader on the adventure of these two women as their church helps build them a house of their very own. Along this adventure, Lyon does a wonderful job of introducing new vocabulary about house building by using correct terminology with a definition that is easy to understand and fits effortlessly into the story. Illustrations by Stephanie Anderson help further the excitement and happiness felt by the main character through bright, warm hues of yellow and orange backgrounds with smooth lines that create the sense of safety and compassion. Overall, this book is a wonderful addition to the classroom to help teach about building a house, compassion or socioeconomic differences and ways students can help others in need. (NB)

Once a witch. MacCullough, Carolyn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books),
2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 292pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-22399-5.

Tamsin is supposed to be the most talented witch in her family, but when her magic skills never develop she struggles to find something she is truly good at. She also struggles to find her place in her family and the wizarding world. MacCullought’s novel is great for young readers who are also trying to find their place in the world and finding out that they are loved no matter what. (KW, EEE).

Shape by shape. MacDonald, Suse. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 18pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7147-4.

Young readers are introduced to new shapes while reviewing basic ones. Each page reveals a new shape and eventually the shapes come together to build a prehistoric animal. The layering of contrasting, bright colored shapes will entertain readers and allow them to interact with the story. While learning all the shapes that are important in creating a dinosaur, children are encouraged to look for shapes in the world around them. (ESS)

Wicked Will. Macdonald, Bailey. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 201pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8660-7.

This historic fiction book is a mystery involving a young William Shakespeare who is traveling with his father and his acting company. William stumbles on a dead body in the water and becomes determined to solve the mystery of the man’s murder. In order to keep his father from being tried as a defendant, little Will must solve the mystery to prove his father innocent. This book could be used to introduce William Shakespeare and his language, something that confuses even modern scholars. Wicked Will is appropriate for kids in the late elementary or early middle school. (PM)

Galileo’s leaning tower experiment. Macdonald, Wendy. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-255-3214). 32pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1570918704.

Galileo’s Leaning Tower Experiment takes place in the late 1500’s during a time of many new scientific discoveries. Galileo and a young boy named Massimo test the laws of physics using the leaning tower of Pisa as an experiment. Readers will enjoy learning about world geography, history, and science. (KAR)

Pendragon, book ten: The Soldiers of Halla. MacHale, D.J. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 594pp. $17.99. ISBN 9781416914204.

In the final installment of the popular Pendragon fantasy series, readers will have their questions answered as loose ends are tied up for Bobby Pendragon and his fellow travelers by the battle against Saint Dane for Halla. Those who have been following the series will find the conclusion satisfying, despite a questionable epilogue. New readers, however, should start at the beginning of the series, as this is not a stand-alone book. (MC)

Road to revolution. Mack, Stan and Susan Champlin. Macmillan Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 121 pp. $10.99. ISBN978-1-59990-371-2.

The American Revolutionary War is one of the most crucial parts in our history. Stan Mack and Susan Champlin’s graphic novel, Road to revolution is a great way to help students understand the actions leading up to the Revolutionary War. Although the two main characters, Penny and Nick, are fictional, Mack and Champlin add a bonus at the end of the book that tells who did the actual actions that Penny and Nick did in the novel. I would recommend this book to any student studying the Revolutionary War, especially those students who have difficulty reading hard subject matter. (EMR)

Tangled. Mackler, Carolyn. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061731044.

At Paradise Resort in the Caribbean, lives will change for four people. Dakota, Skye, Owen, and Jena are all realizing that life isn’t always what they planned. Jena lives vicariously through books, mostly of the romance variety; but when she encounters romance in reality she finally starts living her own life. Dakota has always been a jerk. However, at Paradise Resort, he discovers things about his past and realizes that just because he is viewed as a jerk doesn’t mean he has to be one. Skye, on the other hand, has led a life of fame as an actress, where she can get away with almost everything. During her time at Paradise Resort, she realizes that she has to stop playing the role of the naïve, beautiful actress and take responsibility for her actions. Lastly, Owen, who has lived his life through online games, must break out of his shell and discover what real life is all about. Teens can relate to the characters in this story as they change their lives. Tangled is an ideal book for young adults trying to find themselves. (KW, AO)

The truly terribly horrible sweater…that grandma knit. Macomber, Debbie and Mary Lou Carney. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 50pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-165093-2. Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen.

Cameron is so excited when he gets a present from his grandmother, who never disappoints him on his birthday. When his gift is far from what he expected, he does everything he can to get rid of the horrid garment. Luckily, his efforts are unsuccessful, because when his grandmother comes to visit, Cameron must wear the sweater for her. The gift ends up being anything but a truly terribly horrible sweater once his grandmother tells him what he has overlooked. The soft and warm illustrations in this story make you feel just like Cameron’s grandmother makes him feel, as he learns to look beyond the appearance of his gift and appreciate all the love that went into it. (ESS)

The English roses: Ready, set, vote! Madonna and Rebecca Gomez. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 124pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241127-8. Illustrated by Jeffrey Fulvimari.

Five wealthy sixth grade girls want to make their school a better place. One of the girls, Nicole, decides to run for president of the sixth grade class. Everything is going well until one of the other five girls, Grace, becomes Nicole’s campaign manager. Grace’s competitiveness causes her to forget Nicole’s motivation for running. The race turns into a game of trying to beat Nicole’s competitor, a mean girl named Fanny. Grace’s passion for winning nearly costs Nicole the victory. This fun chapter book for young readers includes an online all-access secret pass code to the English Roses Club. (KAR)

A new nation: The United States 1783-1815. Maestro, Betsy. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 64pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-688-16015-9. Illustrated by Giulio Maestro.

This book is packed full of information. Although there are pictures on every page, I would not recommend this book for very young children due to the length, the amount of information presented on every page, and the advanced vocabulary. A new nation: The United States would come in handy for an upper elementary student doing a school project. (KLM)

The magician of hoad. Mahy, Margaret. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 432pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-1416978077.

Heriot, the main character in this novel, is very relatable. He struggles with loneliness, young love, discovering who can and cannot be trusted, and his own gifts and place in life. His world of magic and illusion is one that will intrigue many children as a place they may enjoy visiting or living in. It is complex at times, but a middle school reader should enjoy this work of fantasy. Vivid descriptions bring the world that Heriot is struggling with to life. (LME)

The blues go birding across America. Malnor, Carol L. and Sandy F. Fuller. Dawn Publications, 2010. [email protected], (800-545-7962). 36pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-1259. Illustrated by Louis Schroeder.

Carol Malnor and Sandy Fuller’s The Blues go Birding across America is a delightful, yet informative story about dozens of types of birds. The Blues, a musical group comprised of five bluebirds has an upcoming outdoor concert on the White House lawn and need a new song to sing. They fly around the country to listen to different bird singing groups to get inspiration for a new song. On the Blue group’s journey, they meet all different types of birds ranging from ducks to vultures. They learn every bird family has a unique sound and eventually decide to sing an old favorite at their concert. The story contains small journal pages on each full size page giving few facts about each bird type the Blue group visits. Bright illustrations use reds, oranges, blues and yellows. Readers will find this feel good book to be funny and charming as they wait to hear what song the Blue group will choose to sing in front of the White House. (CKB)

Champions of the wilderness. Malnor, Brue and Carol L. Malnor. Dawn Publications, 2009. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 143pp. $11.95. ISBN 978-58469-116-7. Illustrated by Anisa Claire Hovemann.

Champions of the wilderness includes stories about historical leaders who cared for the environment. These stories will inspire readers to preserve nature, while interesting them with biographical information about each person. Some of the “Earth Heroes”, as the book refers to them, are John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Margaret Murie. The detailed and beautiful illustrations make each story come alive. (KAR)

Escaping the tiger. Manivong, Laura. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000) 216pp. $15.99. ISBN9780061661778.

A 12-year-old boy named Lao Vonlai, his older sister Dalah, and his parents are sent to an overcrowded refugee camp in Thailand prior to being resettled in a different country. They have very little food and the living conditions in the camp are horrible. Their confinement in the camp turns from months to years and the family has nothing to live off of but those around them and each other. Lao befriends an aging colonel who teaches him to carve wood and lessons about life. As time goes on Lao learns about determination and courage, which he uses when he protects his sister from an attempted sexual assault. After years in confinement the family is able to resettle out of the refugee camp, but hardships still lie ahead. Middle school and early high school readers will be intrigued by details about the different troubles the family faces and how they overcome them, and inspired by the courage that Lao develops. (AD)

Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491. Mann, Charles C. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum Books for Young Readers), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 117pp. $24.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4900-8.

This informational book confronts many of the common myths about the history of the Americas and presents startling new discoveries about Native American history. Three questions are addressed: How old was the “New World?”, Why did Europe succeed?, and Were the Americas really a wilderness? Author and journalist Charles C. Mann presents facts, photographs, and artifacts to demonstrate that the Indians in North and South America were as advanced as their worldwide counterparts, with their own thriving societies, governments, trade systems, arts, and inventions. Readers will find their misconceptions challenged and their interest in the true ancient history of the Americas piqued. (NO)

Eyes like stars. Mantchev, Lisa. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2006. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 368pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0312380960.

Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has lived in a theater populated by stage characters and short-tempered staff members for seventeen years, but if she does not find a way to contribute, she will be thrown out. The four fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the spirit Ariel from The Tempest, Ophelia from Hamlet, and others join Beatrice as she tries to find her place in the theater and discover where she came from. This story’s ending leaves much open for a sequel, which will be eagerly awaited by teenage girls who enjoy fantasy. (MC)

Cheech and the spooky ghost bus. Marin, Cheech. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113211-7. Illustrated by Orlando L. Ramirez.

Cheech is a bus driver and his passion is driving kids to school and to places for field trips. One day he picks up some kids at the bus stop that just do not look right. They are ghosts and refuse to leave the bus no matter how much Cheech wants them to! Finally, he convinces them to leave but they decide to float the bus to their “Ghost” town. Cheech then makes a new friend, the ghost bus driver. This book has a nice exciting story line for children to enjoy. The message is a little unclear but could possibly be that good things come from some pretty strange places. (BCHM)

Animals Marco Polo saw. Markle, Sandra. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 45pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5051-3. Illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Animals Marco Polo saw follows the adventures of Marco Polo in exotic new lands, filled with new things to discover. Although the illustrations of the places that he explores are large and elaborate, the illustrations of the animals he encounters are small in comparison. There is a glossary provided for readers as well as sources for further reading. (FCW)

Grizzly bears: Animals predators. Markle, Sandra. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 36pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-1-58013-537-5.

The book has many beautiful pictures of grizzly bears and of their habitat while also providing readers with interesting information on the animal. Although the pictures are captivating, they may draw the reader’s attention away from the text and cause them to overlook the facts. (FCW)

How many baby pandas? Markle, Sandra. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-607-5151). 23pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9783-4.

Baby pandas are charming and are a great tool for teaching children how to count. This book uses pandas to help pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students improve their counting skills. The great thing about this book is that it also introduces readers to the issue of extinction. The photographs and illustrations within this book add to its quality and interest level for the reader. (BCHM)

Insects: Biggest! Littlest! Markle, Sandra. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-512-6. Pictures by Dr. Simon Pollard.

Readers will learn about a variety of insects of all sizes. Children will be interested to learn about the variety of ways that insects can survive. Young readers who like learning about insects will particularly enjoy this book. (LM, NH)

Rattlesnakes: Animal predators. Markle, Sandra. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 36pp. $26. ISBN 978-1-58013-539-9.

Children who read this book will learn about rattlesnakes and how they survive from birth onward. Additionally, this book warns about the dangers of rattlesnakes. This subject would most likely appeal to young boys, so it could be used as a tool to engage young boys in reading. (NH)

Sneaky, spinning baby spiders. Markle, Sandra. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9697-4.

Sneaky, spinning baby spiders is an informational book which informs students all about spiders. Readers will learn about the entire life cycle of the spider. Students who are interested in bugs will find this book fascinating. (LM, NH)

Kitty cat, kitty cat, are you waking up? Martin, Bill and Michael Sampson. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 22pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5438-0. Illustrated by Laura J. Bryant.

In Kitty cat, kitty cat are you waking up? a young kitten tries to get ready for a big day at school but keeps getting distracted. She rolls around in her bed, practices purring, searches for her clothes, plays with her food, and chases a mouse. This is an adorable story enhanced by lovable pictures of the kitten. The illustrations use pastel watercolors and lifelike textures to bring the kitten’s morning endeavors to life. (KRR)

The mysteries of Beethoven’s hair. Martin, Russell and Lydia Nibley. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 120pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-714-1.

This biography provides information about Beethoven’s life while also following a lock of his hair around the world. When Beethoven is on his death bed, one of his young fans cuts off a lock of his hair. The lock of hair is followed through the book as it is passed down through generations and even through a war. Music and history lovers will enjoy this true story. (KAR)

Once upon a time: Traditional Latin American tales. Martinez, Rueben. HarperCollins Publishers (Rayo), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 95pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-146895-7. Illustrated by Raúl Colón.

Reuben Martinez’s Once upon a time: Traditional Latin American Tales is a great read-aloud book filled with seven of Spain and Latin America’s most memorable tales. Adults and children will feel a variety of emotions as they read about characters such as the Wedding Rooster, and Madremonte the Mother of the Jungle. Each tale is written in both Spanish and English with neutral beautiful borders surrounding most of the pages. At the start of each tale, there are full-page exquisite illustrations. The warm, earthy browns, reds, yellows, and oranges make the pictures look realistic and inviting. The tales are told in uncomplicated prose and are a delight to listen to. Martinez combines his personal love for Latin American tales with gorgeous pictures and simple, yet meaningful text to carry on these tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. (CB)

Dot in Larryland. Marx, Patricia. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 36pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-181-7. Illustrated by Roz Chast.

Dot and Larry are both in a world of loneliness. Dot is too small to be noticed by most people while Larry is too big. Whenever either of them wants to do fun activities, those around them never seem to have time for them. By the end of the book, Dot and Larry meet and realize that they are perfect for each other. This book shows children that friends are not always easy to find but worth the searching. This book also shows that people can come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. (BCHM)

For baby (for Bobbie). Mason, Janeen. Dawn Publications, 2009. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 31pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-121-1.

For baby is a picture book based on John Denver’s song with the same title. In this book, the poetic song is interpreted as a love song from a parent to a newborn baby. The pictures show human and animal parents with their babies in different places around the world, from elephants in the jungle to penguins in the arctic. The illustrations bring a new meaning to the song by showing the universal theme of love between parent and child, both around the world and across different species. (KRR)

Kai-lan’s great trip to China. Matheis, Mickie. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 22pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9044-4. Illustrated by Toby Williams.

Based on the TV series Ni Hao, Kai-lan, Kai-lan’s books inspire readers to learn all about her culture. In Kai-lan’s great trip to China, she introduces readers to her family and favorite things about China, as she travels to meet a panda. This book would be for the more advanced reader or should be read to children, as there are some tricky words in Chinese that Kai-lan teaches. There are many themes included such as problem solving, teamwork, and trying new things. The thoughtful and lively Kai-lan always promotes individuality. The multicolored cartoon illustrations mimic the television show’s animation, with black outlines and brilliant colors. There are many more books about Kai-lan and her family and friends, varying in the level of reading difficulty. Readers will enjoy joining Kai-lan on her up beat travels. (ESS)

The chronicles of Arthur: Sword of fire and ice. Matthews, John. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 123pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5908-3. Illustrated by Mike Collins.

Many know the story of King Arthur, but The Chronicles of Arthur introduces the less familiar tale of Arthur as a teenager. Arthur has a fair share of struggles that he must face until he pulls the sword from the stone. Many similar themes and occurrences are included from the original tale of King Arthur. Comic book style illustrations use shades of color and graphics, allowing the reader to understand the plot and become engaged in it. (BCHM)

My brother Abe: Sally Lincoln’s story. Mazer, Harry. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected],com, (800-223-2336). 202pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3894-1.

Although her brother’s story is famous, very few people know about the life of Sarah, also called Sally, Lincoln. Readers will enjoy following the every day experiences of young Abe and Sally as they try their best to settle into their new home in an unknown Indian Territory. Harry Mazer has created a charming story to help readers imagine what it would be like to grow up as the older sister to President Abraham Lincoln. (SB)

The mistmantle chronicles book four. McAllister, M.I. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 284pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-142310184-0. Illustrated by Omar Rayyan.

The brave animals of Mistmantle have returned for another exciting tale as they fight to protect their home in book four of The mistmantle chronicles. Readers will follow Urchin of the Riding Stars on yet another adventure as he and his friends battle the vicious ravens. Truly a story of courage and cunning, The mistmantle chronicles are sure to delight young readers with a passion for adventure and bravery. (SEB)

Henry in love. McCarty, Peter. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 39pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-114288-8.

In his book, Henry in love, Peter McCarty captures a wishful romance in an elementary school classroom, while showing a world of cooperation and acceptance. His blissful and muted colors echo the calm and friendly feelings that the story evokes. Children will relate well to the good-natured competition, classroom style, and time on the playground. Each child is portrayed as a unique animal, and they are all shown playing together. This book is a window into a world of acceptance. Though a child trading his home-made blueberry muffin for a single carrot at snack time may not be a good thing for all children to mimic, this is an undeniably cute story that children, especially those who have had a classroom crush, can relate to. (KLM, LME)

The death-defying Pepper Roux. McCaughrean, Geraldine. HarperCollins publishers (harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 328pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-183665-7.

Pepper Roux is an adventurous 14-year-old boy; however he is only adventurous because he is trying to escape his death. He hides by taking other peoples identities in order to keep his own a secret as long as possible to trick fate. Pepper becomes the captain of a ship named L’Ombrange, of which his father used to be the captain. Although Pepper tries to appear as if he knows what he is doing, in reality he is only trying to protect himself. In the process, Pepper has many entertaining and scary adventures on the sea with the great crew of characters on board. Readers will be intrigued to discover if Pepper can escape his own death in this great book for adventure seeking children over the age of ten. (MM)

Baron von Baddie and the ice ray incident. McClements, George. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185. $16, ISBN 978-0-15-206138-8.

This is a really good book. It is about an evil genius named Baron von Baddie who really enjoys being evil. He does bad deeds all the time but his plans are often spoiled by his arch nemesis, Captain Kapow. It is a super hero story with child-like humor that children will be laughing along with. The illustrations are amazing because they project the comedy of the story. (SE, NH)

Hey, girlfriend. McCormick, Kimberly A. Meriwether Publishing Ltd., 2009. [email protected], (800-937-5297). 160pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-56608-162-7.

Hey, girlfriend is a collection of 75 monologues that every teenage girl can relate to. It addresses issues ranging from cliques at school, to tanning, and text messaging. Since the monologues are relatively short, they are easy to read for busy young women. This book would be an interesting read for those who have not read a series of monologues. (KAR)

Purple heart. McCormick, Patricia. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 199pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-172090-0.

Matt Duffy is an eighteen-year-old soldier stationed in Iraq. He suffers from a head trauma and experiences memory loss. He is trying to remember what happened to a young Iraqi boy named Ali, who was caught in the crossfire and killed. The book depicts the doubt Matt experiences as he desperately tries to make sense of the major tragedy that has occurred. Readers will be given insight into the life of a soldier and realize it is not glamorous; it is a struggle. But through all the pain and suffering, strength is procured and heroes are born. (FCW)

The hinky pink. McDonald, Megan. Simon & Schuster (Atheneum), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 44pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780689875885. Illustrated by Brian Floca.

Based on a tale from the 1940’s, this fairy tale is set in Firenze, Italy, and tells the story of a talented young seamstress who gets the chance of a lifetime, but must find a way to appease the bothersome, tiny Hinky-Pink to succeed. The detailed watercolors depict many famous buildings in Florence, and Italian exclamations pepper the story, so children get a taste of Italy with this storybook. (MC)

The lion’s share. McElligott, Matthew. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9768-1.

The lion’s share provides readers with a fun way of learning the basics of fractions. One day, the king of the jungle invites many animals to come share dinner with him. The little ant that has never been invited before, wants to make a good first impression on the king. Once he arrives at the dinner party he discovers that not all the guests are as polite as he is. The other guests rudely devour large helpings of food in a matter of minutes. When the lion brings out dessert, each greedy animal takes half of the dessert passed to him. Many fractions later, it finally reaches the ant with no more than a crumb left for he and the lion to share. Feeling bad, the ant offers to make another dessert for the lion. The other animals think the ant is trying to out do them, so each offers to make twice as many desserts as the person before them. This book is a cute, abstract way to learn an aspect of math that is a struggle for many kids. The lion’s share would be beneficial for math teachers, as well as children who are beginning to learn fractions. (KR)

Ted Kennedy. McElro, Lisa Tucker. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-7613-4457-5.

Children will learn about the democratic senator Ted Kennedy, the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy. They learn of his childhood, his education, marriage and children, and his time spent as a U.S. Senator. Children who are interested in Ted Kennedy or politics will enjoy this biography. (NH)

Let’s get cleany-clean! McElroy, J. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 22pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9099-4.

Let’s get cleany-clean is directed toward a very young audience. The author creatively discusses basic concepts of good hygiene and prevention of germ spreading. Costumed characters assist in describing a healthy lifestyle. This book would serve as a great tool in a kindergarten classroom when children first begin to spend a large amount of time together in a close environment. (MAM)

Only a witch can fly. McGhee, Alison. Macmillan Publishers (Feiwel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-37503-4. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo.

McGee uses sestina, an old form of poetry, to create a whimsical rhyming style to share the story of a young witch who wishes to fly for the first time. Young readers will enjoy the charming pictures that evoke emotions transcending the text. Yoo uses deep neutral colors emphasizing black and green to enhance the magical feel of the story. McGee’s writing style is unique and should be understood to fully appreciate why the language captivates the reader. (LG)

So many days. McGhee, Alison. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5857-4. Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo.

Inspiring and empowering, So many days is an excellent choice for readers of any age. With its simplistic and peaceful illustrations, readers will feel the serenity of simply being alive as he or she turns each page. So many days is a book to set one’s spirit free and remind readers of a most important message, “You are loved more than you know.” (SEB)

B is for baseball. McGuiness, Lisa. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6096-3. Illustrated by Sara Gillingham.

Baseball has been a national sport for Americans for many years and will continue to be so for many years to come. This book provides information about baseball now and in the past. Readers are introduced to the fundamentals of the game and the players who truly made the game what it is today. From Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson, the book introduces the best of the best when it comes to baseball. This is a great book for early elementary students because of the illustrations, photography, and understandable text. (BCHM)

Fire: Tales of elemental spirits. McKinley, Robin and Peter Dickinson. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 297pp. $19.99. ISBN 9780399252891.

Fans of these two popular fantasy writers, McKinley and Dickinson, or anyone fascinated by fire will greatly enjoy these stories. The setting ranges from prehistoric to modern times, always featuring creatures who “live and die by fire,” including a Phoenix, a fireworm, a dragon, and more. Each story is succinct yet lyrical. Even though the stories are separate from one another, the entire book is engaging, making it difficult to put down. Fire: Tales of elemental spirits is appropriate for students in the sixth grade or above. (MC)

Water: Tales of elemental spirits. McKinley, Robin and Peter Dickinson. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Firebird), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 286pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-14-240244-3.

Water: Tales of elemental spirits contains a compilation of six fantasy stories involving water. Each author contributed three stories to the book. Dickinson’s stories are: Mermaid Song, Sea Serpent, and Kraken. McKinley’s stories are: The Sea-King’s Son, Water Horse, and A Pool in the Desert. While Dickinson’s stories tend to be dark and violent, McKinley’s stories are light and emphasize love. This book would be suitable for older children in their upper elementary to middle school years. (LM, NH)

Gone fishing. McLimans, David. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9770-4.

Gone fishing provides readers with small pieces of information on different fish and sea animals, as well as threats to sea life. The illustrations are stylistic, but they do not provide the reader with an accurate depiction of the sea animals. Although some readers may find the facts to be dull, children who enjoy learning about animals may enjoy this book. (FCW)

Cashay. McMullan, Margaret. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 176pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0547076560.

Cashay and her sister Sashay live in the housing projects of Chicago. After an ordinary day at school, Sashay is shot and killed in the street. Cashay feels a deep sense of grief as she must deal with her sister’s death, endure her parent’s drug abuse relapse, and handle the responsibility of caring for her younger brother. The author creates a vivid character through the descriptions of Cashay’s internal and external experiences. Cashay eventually meets someone who becomes a mentor for her and the two of them learn from each other in unexpected ways. (KAR)

Dot and bob. McPhail, David. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185) 24pp. $3.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206541-6.

In David McPhail’s Green Light Readers book, Dot and bob, Dot and her mother are working on planting a new tree in their yard. Dot’s dog Bob helps out by digging a hole and filling it in again. This book is perfect for students who are starting to read because it is full of easy sight words and words that are easy to sound out. It also has a basic concept that is easy for young readers to grasp. The simplicity of this book and the ease of understanding what is going on in the story is furthered by detailed yet simplistic illustrations that use friendly colors, smooth shapes and non-jagged lines. This book would be a great addition to any young child’s home library. (NB)

Weezer changes the world. McPhail, David. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9000-0.

In Weezer changes the world, something amazing happens, making Weezer the smartest dog in the world. Suddenly, he can do math problems and cure illnesses! Weezer is busy changing the world for the better, but what will happen if he cannot keep helping? In this story readers will learn the importance of taking responsibility for helping others. McPhail’s breathtaking watercolors add depth to the characters and the scenery. This is a great book for teaching about community importance and helping the world. (EEE)

I and I. Medina, Tony. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 40pp. $19.95. ISBN 9781600602573. Illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.

This collection of poems serves primarily as a biography of Bob Marley, but it is also a look at Jamaica that pays homage to the power of music. Older children and those exposed to Marley’s music will enjoy this poetry picture book the most. Also, if children are learning about different styles of music, this would be a great incorporation to use when teaching about reggae. (MC).

Hannah’s winter. Meehan, Kierin. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 216pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-98-2.

Hannah’s experiences in Japan with her new friend Miki greatly exceed her expectations. In Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan, Hannah and her mom travel from Australia to Japan. While Hannah’s mom goes on a business trip around the country, Hannah lives with a Japanese family who owns a stationary shop. One day, Hannah and Miki discover a paper with a mysterious riddle written on it. Soon, they find out Hannah is the one meant to solve it in order to help a young boy ghost fulfill his destiny. This fictional book educates readers on the language, food, customs, traditions, and beliefs of the Japanese people. The setting and details about Japanese lifestyle create a realistic backdrop for this fictional story of ghosts and fate, giving the story authenticity. (KRR)

Family matters: Adoption and foster care in children’s literature. Meese, Ruth Lyn. ABC-CLIO (Libraries Unlimited), 2010. www.abc-clio.com, (800-368-6868). 147pp. $35.00. ISBN 978-1-59158-782-8.

This book is a helpful resource for educators of students who are adopted or in foster care. It includes reviews and bibliographic listings for over 100 works of children’s literature with themes that resonate particularly strongly with adopted or foster children. Meese also offers an overview on the issue of adoption and guides teachers in how to address adoption and foster care in the classroom, both as a literary subject and as a personal issue with students. (NO)

Heart of Texas. Melmed, Laura Krauss. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 43 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-114283-3. Illustrated by Frane Lessac.

Heart of Texas goes beyond the requirements of an average alphabet book by including a large amount of information about the state of Texas. Although the information provided is accurate, some readers may be overwhelmed by the amount of information and its complicated organization on the page. Advanced readers would enjoy learning facts about the state of Texas from this book; however intermediate readers may struggle with the disorganized text. (EMR)

Tough Chicks. Meng, Cece. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-82415-1. Illustrated by Melissa Suber.
Meng’s book Tough Chicks is a great story about a mother hen and her three busy body chicks. They love everything: from mud and drawing, to mechanics. Although everyone but Mama Hen has little faith in the wild chicks, the three little ones prove themselves outstanding by the end of this unique, feel good children’s book. Through the use of onomatopoeias, new verbs, and great animal sounds, Cece Meng tells young girls everywhere that it is okay to be tough, and it is okay to be different. (EMR)

Jukebox. Merveille, David. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 40pp. $14.95. ISBN 9781933605722.

With Jukebox children can learn about the different genres of music as various people come into a small café and put their quarters into the jukebox. From opera to hip-hop, the jukebox listeners are transformed into more exotic settings to evoke the mood of the music. While the words are few, the print is often incorporated into the illustrations in clever ways to demonstrate what the illustrated genre of music is like. (MC)

Just Grace goes green. Mericle, Charise. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
children‘[email protected], (617-351-1185). 192pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-95957-0.

The reader follows Just Grace while she and the rest of her class learn about how they can help the environment and make a difference in the world. This book is funny and educational without being “preachy”, and is filled with funny illustrations and small cartoons, giving the book a scrapbook feeling. (FCW)

Waiting for winter. Meschenmoser, Sebastian. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 56pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-04-4.

A curious squirrel has never seen snow before because every winter he goes into a deep sleep. However, this year is different. He and his animal friends decide to wait for the first snow. They wait, and wait, and search, and search, through all the trash left behind in the forest by humans. After a long wait they finally get to see their first snowflake in the middle of a heavy snowfall. After all the waiting, they head off to a den to hibernate for winter. The illustrator does an intricate job of using pencil to show a barren land that has yet to be covered by snow. (PM)

The brilliant fall of Gianna Z. Messner, Kate. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 198pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9842-8.

Gianna is struggling to finish her leaf project for her science class. Along with having to finish her project, she also has to deal with the trials of middle school and her grandmother’s progressing Alzheimer’s disease. Children will be able to relate to the middle school problems Gianna faces such as dealing with ‘popular’ girls and procrastinating on homework. Readers will enjoy this novel’s relatable issues and the story’s focus on individuality. (CF)

The true adventures of Charley Darwin. Meyer, Carolyn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 321pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206194-4.

This is a great tale of one of the most inspiring men in the evolution theorized world. Charley Darwin grew up in the nineteenth century with the expectation of becoming a doctor like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. For Charley, life was not meant to be spent stuck in a classroom learning out of a book; but rather to be outdoors exploring hands on. This book tells the tale of exploration, love, friendship, and happiness within the life of Charley Darwin. Readers will find inspiration to do what truly makes them happy and to never give up their dreams. (BCHM)

Rapture of the deep. Meyer, L.A.. Houghon Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 454pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206501-0.

Jacky Faber cannot escape a life of adventure. When it seems that her life may settle down, she is captured once again by the British Naval Intelligence and must embark on another risky mission. Though she is initially outraged by being kidnapped moments before her wedding ceremony, Jacky continues to revel in the daring adventures set before her. Rapture of the deep will fill readers with anticipation as they wait to find out if Jacky can succeed in yet another dangerous mission and finally marry her dear fiancé, Jaimy. (SEB)

City boy. Michael, Jan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 188pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547223-10-0.

Sam is put into a situation that no one should ever have to face. After his father leaves and his mother dies, Sam is forced to move to his Aunt’s house in Malawi. All he has to his name is a suitcase full of clothes and the bright blue running shoes his mother gave him. Sam feels sad and alone in an unfamiliar place. This book truly gives the reader inspiration to keep going through their struggles. (BCHM)

Artichoke boy. Mickelson, Scott. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 28pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-605-5.

This book is about a boy and his family, who are obsessed with artichokes. Everything in their world is made of artichokes. Their clothes, their cars, even their eyes are made of artichokes. There is no story. All the book is about is a kid who likes artichokes. I do not think kids will find this book engaging. (SE, NH)

The life and times of corn. Micucci, Charles. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-50751-1.

The life and times of corn by Micucci is an illustrated informational text about the history, uses, and development of corn. The book begins with “The Overlooked Discovery” of corn. This presents the readers with information about the way Europeans became familiar with corn through Christopher Columbus’s telling of the land and Native people. Readers are taken on a journey through history that explains facts about corn and its origin. Many diagrams explaining parts of the corn plant and their functions are included. Information about many varieties of corn, their uses, and their growing processes is included in the text. Through the use of pictures and captions, The life and times of corn illustrates for readers the stages corn goes through before it reaches the consumers whether they are animals, humans or automobiles. (LM, MAM)

Best baby ever. Milgrim, David. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P.Putnam`s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25204-4.

This book takes a look at a baby’s firsts, and also the reactions of the baby’s parents when the baby takes his first steps or says his first word. The story is easy to follow and would be a nice book for parents and young children to read together. Although this book is directed towards children, parents can also enjoy the book as a way to reminisce. (FCW)

Survival at 40 below. Miller, Debbie S.. Macmillan Publishing, 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 28pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9815-2. Illustrated by Jon Van Zyle.

It is amazing to learn about animals that can survive in extremely cold temperatures. In Survival at 40 below, Debbie Miller discusses the actions that some animals must take in order to survive in subzero temperatures. The pictures clearly depict the animals in their natural habitat, helping to make this an intriguing and unique book. (MM)

Subway ride. Miller, Heather Lynn. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 9781580891110. Illustrated by Sue Ramá.

Through Ramá’s jubilant watercolors and Miller’s verses, five children explore ten different subways around the world as they sightsee and learn about other cultures. Particularly interesting are the facts about the different subways that the book highlights, such as Moscow’s beautiful Metro stations, Chicago’s “L” trains, and Tokyo’s extremely crowded subway cars. (MC)

If you were a penguin. Minor, Wendell and Florence Minor. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 30 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-113097-7.

If you were a penguin is an adorable book that lists all the things that penguins can do. Throughout the story, the baby penguin learns many things, such as singing a duet or learning how to toboggan. Readers find out that they can do all the things penguins can do too! This book is great for young children who know how to read. The beautiful pictures and bright colors that the author uses make this book great for the classroom. Children will be able to draw similarities between what animals (other than penguins) can do and what they as humans can do. (CF)

A party in Ramadan. Mobin-Uddin, Asma. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-604-8. Illustrated by Lara Jacobsen.

This story is about Leena, a muslim girl who is faced with the holiday of Ramadan. Ramadan takes place during the ninth month on the Islamic calendar where Muslims fast from before dawn until after sunset every day. This tradition puts Leena into a position where she feels left out and uncomfortable. While she is at a friend’s birthday party and everyone is eating cake and drinking lemonade, Leena is alone questioning why God made fasting so difficult. Leena must fight through the difficult times and understand the importance of what she is doing. This book is great for kids because it allows them to see that different does not mean bad. The end shows how powerful a true friendship can really mean to someone who feels left out. (BCHM)

Monkey with a tool belt and the noisy problem. Monroe, Chris. Lerner (Carol Rhoda Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 30 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-9247-1.

Chris Monroe uses many odd words and a somewhat odder illustration style to tell the tale of the Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem. In the story, Chico Bon Bon the monkey is rudely awoken by a loud noise in his tree house, the problem is he does not know where the noise is coming from. He uses bizarre tools such as the “hear a lot tool” and the “snozzle” to try to find and fix whatever is keeping him up. The author does a good job of using onomatopoeia and other sound words to describe what the monkey is doing in each room. Monkey with a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem would be a great book for helping kids work with their problem solving skills as they can work with Chico Bon Bon as he searches for the source of the noise and solving the problem. (PM)

Freckleface Strawberry and the dodgeball bully. Moore, Julianne. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-316-3. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

Freckleface Strawberry loves to go to school early to play with her friends on the playground. When it rains, however, she has to play the game she dreads most: dodgeball. She particularly fears Windy Pants Patrick, the big dodgeball champion. The illustrations in this story consist of thick dark lines to create the shapes and contain small pictures depicting different scenes on the same page. Lines are also used to create the motions of the students and the balls in the intense game of dodgeball. Illustrated text next to the characters show the sounds heard during the game. The combination of line and page design reflects the action of the story and helps the reader to feel like a part of the crazy game. (KRR)

The squire’s quest. Morris, Gerald. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin), 2009. Children’s books @hmco.com, (617-351-1185). 275pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-14424-5.

Gerald Morris’s The Squire’s Quest is the ninth adventure in the Squire’s Tales series. It is full of humor and fun, but also has an underlying tone of seriousness and sadness. Terence is still enjoying being a squire in the service of Sir Gawain. However, things become rocky once Mordred, King Arthur’s misbegotten son, shows up to the Round Table. Readers will feel as if they are experiencing Terence’s journey through different places as he strives to save the Round Table. Boys and girls anywhere from sixth to ninth grade will enjoy this book as it allows them to suspend their disbelief. Morris includes details and descriptive adjectives in every chapter, which helps pull in any reader to this interesting story. (CKB)

Bye-bye baby! Morris, Richard. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 34pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9772-8. Illustrated by Larry Day.

Felix is a stubborn young red head who begrudges the arrival of his new baby sister. All Felix wants is for her to leave. When the family takes a trip to the zoo, Felix imagines the elephant is big enough to sit on his sister. At the end of the day, Felix does not want to leave and begins to cry. None of his parents’ attempts can calm him. His baby sister manages to make him feel better by offering him his stuffed donkey friend, Poncho. Day’s use of muted watercolors produces a colorful and realistic setting. Shape and line transcend text to illustrate the relationship between Felix and his baby sister. (LG)

Peeny butter fudge. Morrison, Toni and Slade. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8332-3. Illustrated by Joe Cepeda.

Mom is leaving for the day and Grandmother has come to take care of her three grandchildren. Readers will relate to all the fun and excitement a day with grandmother brings. With vibrantly colorful illustrations and smooth rhymes, Peeny butter fudge is a heart-warming story about family and fun. (SEB)

Listen to the wind. Mortenson, Greg, Susan L. Roth. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3058-8. Illustrated by Susan L. Roth.

Listen to the wind describes the author’s experiences in the village of Korphe, Pakistan. By conveying the details of his experiences in Pakistan, Mortenson provides children with a new perspective and information on a culture different from their own. Additionally, the author shares how he helped the children of Korphe. Consequently, this book could be used to inspire students to help other people. (LM, NH)

In the trees, honey bees. Mortensen, Lori. Dawn Publications, 2009. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 30pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-115-0. Illustrated by Cris Arbo.

In the trees, honey bees is a picture book about the activities of honey bees. The book relays how bees search for pollen, and how they keep predators away. This book is colorfully illustrated with detailed pictures that readers of all ages will enjoy. The book is written in rhyme and offers an explanation of the bees’ activities. This allows younger children to read the rhyme, and older children to read the more advanced description found on the next page. The fact that it rhymes allows children to learn word sounds. It is a great concept book to be used when learning about honey, bugs or bees. (CF)

Winnie’s war. Moss, Jenny. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 175pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9819-0.

Winnie is comfortable in her small town in Texas spending time with her friends and helping her family. When WWI troops bring the Spanish Influenza to her town, the virus spreads quickly. With help from her friend Nolan, Winnie must help her family avoid this deadly flu. While readers may find it unrealistic that a young girl would take such heroic measures against a disease, they will enjoy this endearing story. (KT)

Fablehaven: Grip of the shadow plague. Mull, Brandon. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 479pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8603-4.

This story takes place in Fablehaven, a dangerous world with mythical creatures around every corner. Readers encounter centaurs, fairies, demons, dwarves, and a variety of other legendary characters. The story focuses on the main character, Seth. Although the original concept is interesting, the book is lengthy and would be ideal for middle school aged children. (EMR)

Inside-outside dinosaurs. Munro, Roxie. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. ISBN 978-0-7614-5624-7.

Inside-outside dinosaurs is a fun introductory book for young readers interested in dinosaurs that includes details about dinosaurs’ appearances as well as their scientific names. Each page shows a picture of the dinosaur’s skeleton as well as a picture of what scientists believed the dinosaur looked like. The lifelike illustrations allow readers to imagine the reality of dinosaurs and how at one time they roamed the earth. Munro does a wonderful job of helping students to make a connection between what they would see at a museum and what the skeletons use to be in a simple yet interesting way. (NB)

Truce. Murphy, Jim. Scholastic Inc., 2009. www.scholastic.com, (212-343-6100). 116pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-545-13049-3.

In this informational book, Murphy depicts the Christmas miracle truce between opposing forces during World War I. Large antique photographs of the men who fought add a depth of reality to an already intriguing text that transcends the traditional approach to historical narratives. Murphy sets up the contextual factors for the war in a concise manner that allows the reader to fully appreciate the connection between the high commanding officers attempts to develop a truce and the men on the frontlines longing for peace. Useful resources are cited as well as letters written by soldiers on both sides which cultivates an objective narrative that evokes the reader’s connection to history. Truce is useful as a supplemental text for upper grade students. (LG)

Baby polar. Murphy, Yannick. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-99850-0. Illustrated by Kristen Balouch.

Baby polar is a sweet story about a polar bear that is loved by his mother. A baby polar bear wanders exploring his new world but gets caught in a snow storm and hides in a cave. The cave turns out to be his loving mother covered in fresh snow. Baby polar is a great story with fun illustrations for young children. (MM)

A savage thunder. Murphy, Jim. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderry Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 103pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780689876332.

Murphy takes a closer look at the Civil War by focusing on the battle of Antietam. The book would be a useful companion to lessons on the Civil War for junior high and high school students, particularly because of its firsthand accounts, quality photographs, maps, and detailed drawings. While hardly light reading, the book offers substantial insight into this country-shifting war, and also features pictures of men with awesome moustaches, beards, and other facial phenomena. (MC)

Muhammad Ali. Myers, Walter Dean. HarperCollins Publishing, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-029131-0. Illustrated by Alix Delinois.

This biography of Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcelus Clay, Jr., combines a historical narrative with quotes from friends, family and the great boxer himself to tell the story of his rise to boxing success. Readers will also learn of Ali’s conversion to Islam, refusal to serve in the armed forces during the Vietnam War, advocacy for African American civil rights, and fight against Parkinson’s disease. Ali’s personality and character are accurately portrayed through his own words, and the bold, vibrant illustrations reflect the beauty and power of the People’s Champion. (NO)

Looking like me. Myers, Walter Dean. Egmont USA, 2009. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 29pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-001-6. Illustrated by Christopher Myers.

Walter Dean Myers’s book Looking like me focuses on a young boy named Jeremy who looks in the mirror to discover who he is. In the end, the people around Jeremy teach him that he is not just his reflection in the mirror. Jeremy learns he is not only just “Jeremy”; but he is several different things, including a dancer, dreamer, and writer. All of these make him different than everyone else. The illustrations are breathtaking and catch the reader’s attention from the start. Every page is decorated with photographs of numerous places in a collage with cutouts of people expressing themselves through movement. Myers makes a point of showing that everyone is more than one thing. We all are made up of many different parts but they are all equal and make us who we are. This book focuses on showing everyone that you can be good at many different things while still remaining yourself. The characters in the story reinforce healthy relationships. All of Jeremy’s friends give him praise for who he is, and Jeremy gives his supporters a high five of thanks in the end. This book could be used to discuss the many characteristics of the reader. Myers promotes healthy relationships and uniqueness while showing the differences and true qualities of people. (EEE, AED)

Looking for Luna. Myers, Tim. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5564-6. Illustrated by Mike Reed.

Looking for Luna is a catchy children’s book full of adjectives, rhymes, and colors. A little girl’s beautiful, fog-gray cat named Luna has run away. The girl and her father search the entire neighborhood for Luna. Each page describes the girl finding a cat that is not her own. Illustrations filled with popping colors of pinks, greens, and yellows draw children in as they wait to see if the little girl will be able to find her cat. Its soft and full texture make the grass, trees, and the outdoors come to life. The little girl and her father encounter an array of beautifully illustrated happy cats, each described with unique adjectives. Readers will be able relate to the little girl’s personal sorrows and joys while she searches for her precious cat. This book can be used as a great tool for teaching simple rhyming words, as they are incorporated in several lines of the story. The book has a happy ending and is perfect for both boys and girls who adore cats. (CB)

Riot. Myers, Walter Dean. Egmont USA, 2009. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 164pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-000-9.

In this historical fictional novel Myers presents the story of race riots that sprung from the draft that president Lincoln implemented in the summer of 1863. Written in the style of a screen play, the intent is to add as much detail in as compact a manner as possible. An unfortunate side-effect is that Claire, who is half black, half Irish, and best friend Pricilla along with the other cast members remain two dimensional as insights into their thoughts are limited. Riot directly addresses race relations and sheds light on a lesser known occurrence during the Civil War. Readers are provided with details on the historical events leading up to the incident. (LG)

Spy! Myers, Anna. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 211pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780802797421.

Switching between the perspectives of the patriot spy Nathan Hale and one of his young students, Jonah Hawkins, this novel demonstrates how friends are pitted against one other during the tumultuous times of the Revolutionary War. While some might find this book slow-paced, it would make an interesting supplement for students learning about the Revolutionary war. (MC)

Time of the witches. Myers, Anna. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 197pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9820-6.

Time of the witches is a great novel for young adults, set during the Salem Witch Trials. Drucilla is an orphan in Salem Village who feels hopeful that her life will get better when the Putnam family gives her a place to live. However, after a new reverend, his family, and his servant Tituba, move to town things get a little strange. Mistress Putnam begins to behave oddly and some of the girls fall ill, sparking rumors of witchcraft in Salem. Soon, Ann Putnam and her friends start accusing townspeople of being witches. At first, Drucilla feels obligated to make accusations of her own to gain favor with the Putnam family, but when she faces the possibility of losing her best friend Gabe, she feels she must take a stand. This book is enjoyable and engaging. Its historical plot and accuracy is exciting and educational at the same time. This book would be great to use in the classroom as a tool for teaching a unit on the Salem Witch Trials. (KR)

Dope sick. Myers, Walter Dean. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 186pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780061214776.

Integrating a fantastic element into a harsh, real world, Myers tells the story of a troubled teen named Lil J who is hiding from the police in an abandoned crack house. Lil J is a suspect in the shooting of an officer. While in hiding, Lil J meets a mysterious vagrant who gives him the chance to see what would happen if he could take back one thing he did. The novel is thought provoking, and Myers creates a believable voice for Lil J. Dope sick would be best suited for children fourteen years of age and older. (MC)

Storyteller. Myers, Edward. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 283pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-69541-6.

As a teenager, Jack the storyteller leaves his small town and travels to the Royal City. He is chosen to be the royal family’s storyteller and uses his creative and mystical stories to keep the king happy. After the king’s son takes the throne, trouble awaits Jack. The author creates stories that evoke the imagination and capture the reader. (KMT)

Peace, love, and baby ducks. Myracle, Lauren. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. insidesales @us.penguingroup.com, (212-366-2000). 292pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-525-47743-3.

Peace, love, and baby ducks is a fast, flirty, and entertaining read. In this fictional chapter book Myracle portrays the experiences of two teen sisters, Carly and Anna, struggling to find their identities amidst an affluent community pressuring them to fit the status quo. Carly, a rebel with a passion for 60’s music, returns from a summer away to discover that her younger sister is the school babe. Anna and Carly seem more different than ever before. Conflict continues to build as Carly slowly assimilates to the norms and values of her social class per the new class hottie, Cole. Myracle develops a humorous, yet predictable plot using the view point of Carly, the eldest sister. (LG)

Ron’s big mission. Naden, Corinne. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780525478492.

This is the inspirational story of a boy named Ron and his fight for equality. As a black child living in a time when whites are considered superior, Ron faces many difficult encounters. However, his love and curiosity for airplanes keeps Ron from settling with the norm. With its meaningful language and engaging illustrations, this true story is sure to please. (KM)

Burn my heart. Naidoo, Beverly. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 209pp. $15.99. ISBN 9780061432972.

Naidoo uses alternating perspectives of Mathew, the son of a white farmer, and Mugo, one of Mathew’s black servants in 1950’s Kenya to tell the story in Burn my heart. The two friends find their loyalties to each other tested when conflict between the British and the Kenyans arises. Readers are pulled into a conflict they may not know much about, and the novel raises important questions about trust and racial prejudices. (MC)

Mama Miti. Napoli, Donna Jo. Simon and Schuster (Paula Wiseman Books), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3505-6. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Mama Miti is a true story about how one woman changed the landscape of Kenya by giving people great advice; plant a tree. The trees that were planted not only changed the landscape of Kenya, they brought a source of food, building material, and hope to a nation in need. This amazing story is brought to life through the native language Napoli incorporates. Readers will be captivated by the brilliant pictures showing the bright clothing and people of Kenya. Mama Miti is an inspiring book that should be read by all. (MM)

The smile. Napoli, Donna Jo. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Speak), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 260pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241492-7.

The author creates a story about the background of one of the most famous paintings in the world, the Mona Lisa, and what lies behind her famous smile. Elisabetta is a thirteen-year-old girl growing up in Florence, Italy in the late 1400s. She has to deal with many social responsibilities placed on girls in this time period, such as the pressure to get married at a young age. The social and political aspects are well described, and do not take away from the main storyline about Elisabetta. (FCW)

Ready to dream. Napoli, Donna Jo and Elena Furrow. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-049-0. Illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft.

A young artist named Ally and her mother travel to the land down under. They plan to stay in Alice Strings, Australia for a whole month. Ally is very excited about all the new sights she will see and the adventures she will have. Upon arriving in Australia, Ally makes a friend with an older town lady named Pauline. Throughout Ally’s stay she sees the most exciting things and learns quite a bit about the beauty of art from Pauline. This tale of friendship and learning is unlike any other, and the illustrations are very unique as well. This is a great story for the imagination. (KAR)

One last time: Goodbye to Yankee Stadium. Negron, Ray. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 38pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-06-147162-9. Illustrated by Laura Seeley.

This is a historical book about the closing of Yankee Stadium in New York. All the greatest Yankee players who played there in the past are playing a final baseball game. The author’s message in this book is to appreciate what you have because things don’t always last forever. On that same note, even after things are gone we can still remember them fondly. (BCHM)

Beautiful Ballerina. Nelson, Marilyn. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-08920-3. Photographs by Susan Kuklin.

Four young girls are studying ballet in Harlem. These girls will serve as great role models for any young girl, especially those of African-American descent. Each dancer is featured in various dance positions, leaps, and stretches while artful language surrounds the dancers creating a dance of words along the pages. The language used is very soft and delicate, imitating the dancers. In the final pages of the book, the author includes a short biography of each featured ballerina and an information page about the Dance Theatre of Harlem. (MAM)

Sweethearts of rhythm. Nelson, Mary. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 78pp. $21.99. ISBN 9780803731875. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkey.

Through a collection of poems, all titled with jazz songs, readers get a glimpse of the all-female jazz band that thrived during the 1940’s despite opposition due to the girls’ race. While the poems are illuminating, the beautiful watercolors, rich in color and detail, steal the show. The book would make a great companion to history lessons about life for blacks before the Civil Rights movement, World War II, or even poetry classes. Students will be able to make a variety of connections with the book, whether through music, art, poetry, or race issues. (MC)

Chickens. Nelson, Robin. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 23pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4060-7.

Chickens discusses what a chicken is, where they live, what they eat, what they hatch and includes a diagram of a chicken’s body. The fairly simple words and large font make this book appropriate for beginning readers. Its large illustrations would be enjoyable for children. (KAR)

Juneteenth. Nelson, Robin. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 23pp. $21.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-4934-1.

Juneteenth is an easy reader book about the holiday of Juneteenth celebrated in Texas. The book gives the history of Juneteenth as well as examples of how it is celebrated. There are photographs and illustrations used to show examples of the history and celebration of the holiday. Young readers will enjoy this easy to read book. (CF)

Life cycles: Salamanders. Nelson, Robin. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 22pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4065-2.

This simple picture book is a great tool for introducing the lives of salamanders. Robin Nelson explains the life cycle of a salamander in simple, interesting terms for young children. The book contains pictures of live salamanders in their different stages, giving the book a realistic feeling. Life Cycles: Salamanders is a great book for parents to buy to read to their young children. (EMR)

Life cycles: Sunflowers. Nelson, Robin. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 23pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4072-0.

Life cycles: Sunflowers is an early reader about how the sunflower grows from a seed to a flower. Real photographs allow children to identify sunflowers outside in nature after reading the book. (CF)

Bad news for outlaws. Nelson, Vaunda Michaeux. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 39pp. $17.95. ISBN 9780822567646. Illustrated by Gregory Christie.

Many children are not aware that powerful blacks such as Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves existed in the Old West. Nelson’s story of this tireless sheriff opens in the middle of the action, and the narrative will keep students engaged while providing interesting information about an impressive black role model. (MC)

Bow-wow: 12 months running. Newgarden, Mark and Megan Cash. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 18pp. $4.99. ISBN978-0152065584.

Bow-Wow is a darling conceptual board book meant for toddlers that shows Bow-Wow the dog running through the year, one month per page. It has no words except for the names of the months, and it is cleverly illustrated, resembling the classic view of how each month should appear. Some months are very busy, while others are quite simple. In May, Bow-Wow is shown “watering the flowers”, but it is a kid-friendly story none the less. The shapes are generally simple and geometric, and the colors are vivid and varied, yet have a distinct primary look to them. (LME)

Sir Cumference and all the king’s tens. Neushwander, Cindy. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-728-8. Illustrated by Wayne Geehan.

Sir Cumference and his wife Lady Di are having a party – but there are more people than they can count! Lady Di comes up with a way of quickly counting all the partygoers. They all need to organize themselves in groups of 9, 90, 900, and 9000. This book is a wonderful introduction to place value and shows the importance of understanding how numbers are organized. (KMT)

Nugget on the flight deck. Newman, Patricia. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected]npress.com, (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9735-3. Illustrated by Aaron Zenz.

Readers follow Nugget as he tours an aircraft carrier and practices aerial combat with Lieutenant Jake Guttman. Real military jargon is used, with definitions for each unfamiliar term included on each page. At the end of the book, the author includes more interesting facts about aircraft carriers, the roles of the carrier deck crew, and the aviator’s alphabet. Boys especially will enjoy this informative look into the duties and life of a military pilot. (NO)

Stars above us. Norman, G. and E.B. Lewis. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected] (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24724-8.

Stars above us is a heartwarming story that many children with parents in the armed forces will be able to relate to. A young girl becomes afraid of the dark before her father is deployed.
To calm her fears, her loving father brings her outdoors to explore the unique creatures and natural beauty darkness offers. Also in the darkness, the pair discovers the beautiful stars above which soon become a quiet comfort. When her father has to leave, she remembers that no matter the distance between them, the stars above will always connect their love. The illustrations compliment the dialogue between the young girl and her parents, and are unique by seeming surreal yet possessing real life characteristics through the texture of faces, movement in household objects, and the light used in each scene depicting stars. (MAM)

Gentlemen. Northrop, Michael. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). $16.99. ISBN978-0-545-09749-9.

The gang of gentlemen is a tight group of friends who seem to detract all the other students in the school. Michael, Tommy, Mixer, and Bones all are a part of the gentlemen group. In school, only one person seems to take the time to relate to and care about these four boys, their English teacher Mr. Haberman. One of the gang members, Tommy, suddenly goes missing and Mr. Haberman seems to be the likely culprit. Tommy went missing the same day Mr. Haberman talked intensely about the topics of crime and punishment. The three remaining boys have to do some investigating of their own to find out what happened to Tommy, which deepens their friendship. Gentleman challenges the reader to truly define friendship and discusses how to maintain friendships even when times get rough. (BCHM)

A wish for you. Novak, Matt. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-155202-1.

Two parents tell their child the story of how they met and things that happened before the child was born. After meeting and getting married, the two went on to travel the world together. Soon, they decided to have a baby. The parents become very busy preparing for the baby’s arrival, and are very excited when it comes. They tell the child the different things they had to do with him, like change his diaper and take walks to the zoo. Their happiness at having a family is also conveyed to their child. A Wish for You includes very short sentences with simple words, making this book ideal for children just beginning to read. Due to the minimal text usage, the illustrations come alive to really tell the story. Use of vibrant color and long, curved strokes give the reader a calming feeling, demonstrating the happy and joyous feelings the characters experience. (AD)

Encyclopedia of the end. Noyes, Deborah. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 143pp. $25.00. ISBN 978-0-618-82362-8.

Encyclopedia of the end is a very unique read for children. The book simply defines terms such as amulet, angel of death, and eternal life. I would hesitate to recommend this book for teachers or students since it deals with such dense topics. (NH)

Prudence & Moxie: A tale of mismatched friends. Noyes, Deborah. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30pp.

$16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-41607-3. Illustrated by AnnaLaura Cantone.
Prudence and Moxie are two completely different people, who happen to be best friends. Moxie will accept any dare, and despite her crazy antics, the well-mannered Prudence dutifully stays by her side. However, Moxie’s bravery only goes so far, and the two become better friends as they overcome their fears together. This delightful story, filled with vibrant colors and playful illustrations, teaches lessons about true friendship and bravery. Children of all ages will learn valuable life lessons through Deborah Noyes’s tale of appreciating friends despite all odds. (ESS, SEB)

Do not build a Frankenstein! Numberman, Neil. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). $16.99. ISBN 978-0-060156816-9.

When one of the neighborhood boys tells everybody why they should not build a Frankenstein, everyone is intrigued and horrified. The boy is very persuasive in convincing the neighborhood that they should not build a Frankenstein. Frankenstein comes back to visit the boy, and the neighborhood forgets the boys’ advice, and decide they want Frankenstein to stay. (KMT)

Amy’s light. Nutt, Robert. Dawn Publications, 2010. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 42pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-1297.

This rhyming story centers on a realistic and relatable main character whose fear turns into wonder as she is introduced to a curious light. Amy’s discovery creates a warm feeling on a dark summer night. She may be able to carry this light wherever she goes, but will it last forever? Amy values the light more and more as it remains with her even when the darkness returns. This story emphasizes the discovery of simple, natural, ordinary wonders. As Amy follows the unidentified light, readers will have a feeling of discovery and peace while joining in her illuminating the night. (ESS)

Time you let me in: 25 poets under 25. Nye, Naomi Shihab. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 236pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-189637-8.

This collection of free-verse poetry deals with topics relevant to the young poets who contributed their work. The modern poems included in this volume discuss the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, immigration, the war in Afghanistan, being in love, living as a misunderstood young adult, and a number of other themes. The poems also portray a range of emotions, from depression and fear to joy and humor. Its target audience is young adults and older adults who wish to remind themselves what it was like to be twenty-something again. Readers should approach this book with an open mind, as many of the poems are eccentric, raw, and unconventional. (NO)

After Gandhi: One hundred years of nonviolent resistance. O’Brien, Anne Sibley, and Perry Edmond O’Brien. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 181pp. $24.95. ISBN 9781580891295.

Beginning with Gandhi, this book showcases nonviolent protests and their leaders from countries across the globe. It includes profiles and black and white pastels of leaders ranging from Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, to other prolific leaders such as Vaclav Havel, Desmond Tutu, and Charles Perkins. An attractive layout and well-chosen quotations make this comprehensive testament to the power of nonviolent solutions inspiring. Middle school or high school readers would particularly enjoy this book. (MC)

Fancy Nancy poet extraordinaire! O’Connor, Jane. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-189643-9. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.

Fancy Nancy: Poet extraordinaire introduces a character full of energy, Nancy. Nancy’s task is to create a poem but she soon becomes stumped by writer’s block. She is introduced to a world of knowledge about poetry, as she learns that poems are much more than simply words that rhyme. Through Nancy’s experience, readers will learn about many aspects of poetry. Readers will relate to the story through its use of simplistic language and factual information, while remaining engaged by the busy, detailed illustrations. (KM)

A crazy day at the critter café. Odanka, Barbara. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. McElderberry Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4196-6. Illustrated by Lee White.

The Critter Café is accustomed sleepy, quiet days, in which business is slow. However, all of that changes when five raccoons walk through the doors. The animal’s bus has broken down and they are very hungry. The book has a crazy cast of characters, which includes an elephant band and a skateboarding cow. The cook and waiter try their best to feed all the very impatient animals, but the skateboarding cow causes many problems throughout the story, along with many messes. The bus driver is finally able to get the bus working again and the animals leave…or so the cook thinks. The skateboarding cow unfortunately ends up missing the bus.

This adorable book is written in rhyme, and could be used to teach children about word endings and sounds that rhyme. This book would be great if used with young children, as they could pick out all the animals they recognize on the colorful pages. Children will love the crazy antics and trouble that the animals cause for the quiet, sleepy restaurant. (CF)

Shadow of the dragon: Elspeth. O’Hearn, Kate. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 312pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-18-1.

Two sisters are separated by eras in book two of Kate O’Hearn’s series. This medieval fantasy, filled with castles, dragons, and wizards, follows two resilient sisters. Elspeth is forced to fend for herself, as she was previously very dependent on her sister, Kira. They face constant challenges involving issues such as jealousy, independence, and especially bravery. Kira and Elspeth attempt to restore their family’s harmony in this magical adventure. (ESS)

More bones: Scary stories from around the world. Olson, Arielle North and Howard Schwartz. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 162pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241425-5.

More bones: Scary stories from around the world is a compilation of many frightening tales from all over the world. One story tells about a man who marries a corpse while another describes a magical school that students cannot leave. This entertaining book will keep readers engaged and will appeal to children at a third grade level or above. (NH)

The king’s taster. Oppel, Kenneth. HarperCollins Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-075372-6. Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher.

The king’s taster has the greatest job in the world. The king’s taster is a friendly, food-loving dog that gets to taste all of the food that the cook makes for the king. When a new king comes and doesn’t like any of the food, the king’s taster gets to eat it all. The cook and the dog go on a search around the world to find food that the new king will like, all the while sampling this new, foreign food like French fries from France and Tacos from Mexico. The illustrations in the story are extremely unique. The background of the cook and the kitchen is composed of collages of recipe cards scattered around and then painted over with opaque paint so the recipes show through. The pictures are all painted with rich, warm colors, and the watercolor provides depth and texture to each picture. This combination of collage and watercolor creates very original illustrations that enhance the action of the story. (KRR)

The declaration of independence from a to z. Osornio, Catherine L. Pelican Publishing Company, 2010. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-589806-764. Illustrated by Layne Johnson.

This alphabet book about the Declaration of Independence is one for all ages. It is wonderfully written and the illustrations are incredible due to their deep rich colors and realistic accents. The reader is able to stay focused on one topic due to the “A-B-C” style of the book. Overall, this book is very informative and children will love it. (KLM)

T-minus: The race to the moon. Ottavani, Jim. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009.
[email protected]ndschuster.com, (800-233-2336). 124pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4960-2.

T-minus: The race to the moon is a graphic novel written for older, more advanced readers. The graphic novel focuses on what is known as the “moon race” between the Soviet Union and the United States. The novel goes back and forth between the Americans’ story and that of the Soviet Union. The black and white illustrations really enhance the text, especially in places where the content of the novel is hard to follow. This novel would be great to use in a high school science or social studies class because it provides a different, more interesting way of looking at the same information that is found in textbooks. (CF)

The Indigo King. Owen, James A. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 372 pp. $9.99. ISBN9781416951087

The Indigo King follows two caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, Jack and John, who discover a cry for help on an ancient piece of parchment. They discover it was written by their friend Hugo and rush to his aid to find he has been mistakenly kidnapped by creatures called Un-Men. Jack and John’s world begins to change as the line that separates the normal world from the Archipelago of Dreams has fallen, and horrible beasts roam all over England. In order to restore things to normal they must travel to a forgotten island to find a time travelling device. Jack and John must travel through different time periods in history in order to save their friend, and it must be done in one night. In order to find Hugo they must answer the question: Who is the Cartographer? This book, a great read for middle school and high school students, brings the reader into an imaginative world unlike our own. James Owen’s description of the characters and settings engage the reader in the plot, while suspense and wonder keep readers on the edge of their seats and they expand their imagination. (AD)

The shadow dragon. Owen, James A. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 417pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5879-6.

World War II has been raging for three years when this novel begins, but an even more horrific evil is on the horizon. The shadow dragon sees the world as vulnerable and decides to take over earth. Using the spear of destiny, the dragon creates an unstoppable army of dragon shadows. A group of legendary caretakers assembles to stop the dragon. This book is recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy and mythical creatures, though it may be difficult to fully comprehend and become engaged in the complex plot. (KR)

Bad boys get henpecked! Palatini, Margie. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-074433-5. Illustrated by Henry Cole.

This is an amusing book about a couple of wolves that like being bad. They want some chicken for dinner, and they will get it any way they can. The wolves find out it will not be as easy as they thought. Young children will enjoy this short book and it will teach them that all of their actions have consequences, and that they must learn to think before they act. (TO, NH)

Boo-hoo moo. Palatini, Margie. HarperCollins (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-114375-3. Illustrated by Keith Graves.

Hilda the heifer’s moos have turned to boo hoos. The other barnyard animals have become concerned about her. They are so annoyed with her off key singing, that they begin using earplugs. Together, the animals decide that the only way to cure Hilda’s blues is to find her a singing partner so she does not have to sing alone. Auditions are held to find someone with real talent. The cat, the duck, the rooster, the pig, the dog, the horse, and the frog all audition to help lighten Hilda’s mood. This fun story is complimented by Grave’s outstanding illustrations. Children will love the fun illustrations and the many animal noises that are described in this book. (SE, KAR)

Amelia Bedelia’s first valentine. Parish, Herman. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154458-3. Illustrated by Lynne Avril.

Young Amelia Bedelia is so excited for Valentine’s Day that she sees love and hearts everywhere she goes. When she accidentally leaves her valentines to share with her class on the bus, Amelia Bedelia’s quick thinking and creativity help her improvise some new Valentine’s Day cards. Lynne Avril’s illustrations of pinks and reds complement the story’s holiday account, making this book the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for young girls. English language learners would also benefit from reading this book because educators and parents can discuss with them colloquialisms that Amelia Bedelia humorously interprets literally throughout the story. (NO)

An Amelia Bedelia celebration four stories tall. Parish, Peggy and Herman Parish. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 1963. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 214pp. $19.99. ISBN978-0-06-171030-8. Illustrated by Lynn Sweat and Fritz Siebel.

For over fifty years, Amelia Bedilia’s crazy antics have been a source of delight to young readers. Peggy Parish and her son, Herman Parish, tell the tale of this confused housemaid who takes everything literally. The compilation of four short stories follows Amelia as she gets into more and more trouble. She both frustrates and entertains her family, whether it be “drawing the drapes” or making a “sponge cake.” Amelia redefines many phrases of the English language that can be confusing and easily misunderstood. Readers will test their knowledge and creativity in the fun activities included. (ESS)

Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school. Parish, Herman. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154455-2. Illustrated by Lynne Avril.

Amelia Bedelia’s first day of school is a great book for Amelia Bedelia lovers. It follows Amelia as a younger child starting school. She is still the loud crazy Amelia we all know and love, however she is just a little younger and more innocent in this book. This story follows the fun-loving child as she attends her first day of school with Miss Edwards. This is a great book to add to an Amelia Bedelia collection. (KAR)

Organs! Parker, Nancy Winslow. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 48pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-688-15105-8.

Organs! is an informational book about the way different systems in the body function. Cartoon illustrations portray the organs as superheroes. The illustrations also give examples of how the organs compare to other items in terms of weight, size and shape. Organs! takes a accurately explains a complicated subject in terms children can easily understand and relate to. (CF)

The boxer and the spy. Parker, Robert B. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc (Speak), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 240pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241439-2.

The boxer and the spy is an entertaining mystery novel. When Jason Green is found dead, the community is shocked. Not only is the news of his death a surprise, but the fact that he committed suicide is an even bigger shock. However, Terry and his friends are not convinced that Jason would commit suicide. It is up to them to figure out the truth. Children will enjoy the suspense, the action, and the mystery involved in this story. This book would be appropriate for 4th graders and older. (TO, NH)

Jon Scieszka’s trucktown: Scoop that snow! Parker, Sydney. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon). 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 10pp. $7.99. ISBN978-1-4169-4182-8. Illustrated by David Shannon, L. Long D. Gordon.

Scoop that Snow! is a short book full of fun characters and pictures. Payloader Pete and Dump Truck Dan love scooping snow. They work together and have so much fun they never want to stop. The illustrations in this book along with a cut-out of sparkling snow that grows as the pages go on really bring the characters to life. This is a great story for preschoolers who love trucks, snow, and are exploring friendships. (MM)

I am a rainbow. Parton, Dolly. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected]group.com, (212-366-2000). 23pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24733-0. Illustrated by Heather Sheffield.

In this brightly colored picture book, children are seen acting out emotions that have been paired with one of the colors of the rainbow. The book shows children that everyone is made up of different colors and essentially different emotions. The children show anger through the color red, and jealousy through the color green. I am a rainbow would be wonderful in teaching younger children about the different emotions they feel. The added aspect of color offers younger children another way to express their emotions, through using their own colors. (CF)

Marching for freedom. Partridge, Elizabeth. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 72pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01189-6.

This story teaches readers about the hardships African-Americans faced during the Civil Rights movement and the steps they took to gain equal rights. In particular, Marching for freedom focuses on the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (LM, NH)

Would you invite a skunk to your wedding? Pate, Ginger. Greene Bark Press, Inc., 2009. [email protected], (610-434-2802). 25pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-880851-739.

In the story Would you invite a skunk to your wedding? skunk, Lewie Phewie, is asked to be the ring bearer for his friend’s wedding. However, Lewie has a problem. He cannot control his spray and when he gets nervous, things can get a bit smelly. As he walks down the aisle, he sprays everyone at the wedding, including the bride and groom. This is a very amusing story that contains crazy, animated pictures of a wild, animal-filled wedding. Children will enjoy the comedic story and pictures in this beginning reader picture book. (KRR)

The day of the pelican. Paterson, Katherine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 144pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-547-18188-2.

An Albanian family is living in Kosovo during the Serbian uprising. They are forced to leave their home and stay with relatives who can only keep them safe for a short period of time. This historically accurate story with vividly detailed character descriptions reflects the hardships of this time period as well as the struggles that any family faces. Readers will learn about the necessity of freedom and how difficult it is for things to return to how they used to be. (MM)

Sunday love. Paul, Alison. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-99184-6.

Bruno burglar is desperate for his love on Valentine’s Day. Utilizing a cartoon book format of picture frames and word bubbles, the tale of Bruno’s escape from jail in pursuit of ice cream is told through mostly black and white scenes accented by brick red that capture the commotion of the story. Sunday love is a read recommended for readers who enjoy kicks and giggles as it carries some stereotyped images and nonsense occurrences. (LG)

Long shot. Paul, Chris. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-5079-0. Illustrated by Frank Morrison.

Chris has always wanted to play basketball, but he receives little support for his efforts because he is short. Long shot, a true story about basketball legend Chris Paul, teaches readers to pursue their dreams despite others’ doubt. Although everyone tells Chris he has no chance of making the basketball team, he works tirelessly to reach his goal. Paul’s story focuses on reaching goals through hard work and reliance on a support system. Illustrator Frank Morrison uses breathtaking brushstrokes to depict the personality of each character. This book is a great tool to teach readers about setting and attaining realistic goals. (LM, EEE)

A season of gifts. Peck, Richard. Penguin Group(Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 164pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-382-3.

Bob and his family move to a new town where Bob’s father plans on starting a Methodist church. Everything is going well until the family meets their new neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel. Bob is convinced that Mrs. Dowdel is a witch and that she boils potions in her front yard. Eventually, Bob and his sister begin to see Mrs. Dowdel as the wonderful person she really is. Even though Mrs. Dowdel is not ‘neighborly’ and believes that Christmas is just another day, she gives Bob and his family a great gift. This book shows readers the importance of treating everyone with respect and kindness no matter their appearance, or whether or not they do things like everyone else. (CF).

Boing boing. Peltola, Anne. Enchanted Lion Books, 2009. www.enchantedlionbooks.com, (646-785-9272). 32pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-59270-085-1.

This is the story about the red ball, Boing Boing, who bounces off on an adventure before returning home. The story is not particularly interesting or engaging and the text is confusing, making it difficult to follow the storyline. In addition, the illustrations are distracting and take the focus away from the story. (FCW)

A child’s day: An alphabet of play. Pearle, Ida. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 30 pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-15-206552-2.

Ida Pearle’s creative alphabet book, A child’s day: An alphabet of play, is a great way to introduce the alphabet and verbs all at one time to a child. Pearle seems to have an endless supply of fun and interesting verbs for her characters to play out in the picture book. From A to Z, act to zoom, the child reading this book can play along and really enjoy reading. (EMR)

Sprout. Peck, Dale. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 277 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-160-2.

Sprout Bradford has just moved from Long Island to Kansas. Even though Sprout has bright green hair, an alcoholic father, and is gay, the story focuses on Sprout’s excellent writing skills. One of his teachers nominates Sprout for a national essay contest. Told from Sprout’s perspective, the text is given a contemporary feel. Towards the end of the book, mature topics are discussed, such as Sprout losing his virginity and the use of profanity, making the content inappropriate for some younger readers. (KT)

Houdini the amazing caterpillar. Pedersen, Janet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-89332-4.

Houdini the amazing caterpillar is about a caterpillar that lives in a classroom. At first, the students find him amazing because he can eat leaves, shed his skin, and do other tricks they have never seen before; however, the class soon gets bored and Houdini needs to find a new way to get the students’ attention. So, Houdini forms a cocoon and hangs from a branch for two weeks, and then turns into a beautiful butterfly, gaining back all of the attention he craved. The pictures in this book show the different stages that caterpillars go through during metamorphosis. The back of the book also provides detailed information about caterpillars, making this an excellent picture book that introduces students to the process of metamorphosis and motivates them to learn about bugs and insects. (KRR)

Dead is the new black. Perez, Marlene. Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt (Graphia), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 190pp. $7.95, ISBN 978-0-15-206408-2.

Daisy’s mom and two older sisters are physic. Her mom helps in criminal investigations and can usually figure out every last detail, except for one case. Daisy is determined to help her mom unravel the mystery behind the death of a teenage girl. Along the way, she discovers her own psychic powers. With the help of her friend Ryan, Daisy discovers the popular cheerleader that gained a new look over the summer could possibly be involved. Teenage readers will relate to Daisy’s quest of self discovery. (MM)

Rampant. Peterfreund, Diana. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 402pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-149000-2.

Astrid is looking forward to her boyfriend asking her to the prom. One fateful night a venomous, man-eating unicorn attacks her boyfriend. With her hopes of going to the prom dashed, she begins to learn how to fight unicorns. Against Astrid’s wishes, her mother sends her to a specialized school in Europe where she will learn how to fight this vicious species. As Astrid learns how to fight unicorns, she becomes increasingly attracted to an art student, which could end her schooling as a unicorn fighter. (KMT)

Brown bear, white bear. Petrovic, Svetlana. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2009. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 28pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0802853530. Illustrated by Vincent Hardy.

Svetlana Petrovic’s Brown bear, white bear is a heartwarming story of two teddy bears’ journey toward friendship. Vincent Hardy brilliantly captures the message Petrovic conveys in her story through in-depth angles and artistic illustrations, which promote significant cognitive growth and development among young readers. The conflict and rivalry the two bears experience together is highly relatable, and the ending friendship gives the reader a sense of hope for healthy and amiable relationships. Excellently written and brilliantly illustrated, Brown bear, white bear is a touching story and a must-read among early elementary readers. (ER, ET, NB)

Yellowstone national park. Piehl, Janet. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-4455-1.

Yellowstone National Park contains countless facts about things that can be seen at the park. A glossary, fun facts and a suggested list of further readings are included for the reader’s benefit. Although readers are provided with an abundance of factual information, it is often not presented scientifically but rather in an entertaining format. Despite the overly enthusiastic descriptions, this book will spark an interest in Yellowstone national park. (NB)

Wings. Pike, Aprilynne. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 294pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-166803-6.

Laurel, a fifteen year old sophomore in high school, has never been the type of girl who believes in magic, fairy tales or myths until the day she discovers that she is a fairy. Fitting in during high school is difficult enough without having flowers on your back in the shape of wings. Laurel and her new best friend, David, try to figure out what is happening to her. They travel back to her old home where a handsome young man named Tamini tells her that she is a fairy. The plot thickens and a larger conflict arises when evil trolls attack her adoptive parents. She must decide if she should live her life as a fairy with Tamini or stay with her adoptive parents and David. This book is a unique modern fantasy novel that will fascinate readers. (KAR)

Stonewall Jackson’s black Sunday school. Pittman, Rickeky E. Pelican Publishing Company, 2010. [email protected], (800-843-1724). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-589807-136. Illustrated by Lynn Hosegood.

Pittman explores the life of Stonewall Jackson as well as the times he lived in. When I first read this book I believed it was more historical fiction than biographical due to the romanticized setting and relationships. Overall, I would recommend this book to children, as I believe it is a good starting point to learning about the civil war. (KLM)

London: From Roman capital to Olympic city. Platt, Richard. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 45pp. $16.95. ISBN 9780753462553. Illustrated by Manuela Cappon.

Incredibly detailed and carefully-researched illustrations let students vicariously walk the streets of London from the time it was a Viking village to present day. The book also lets readers take a look at important events in the great city’s history, such as the Great Fire of 1666 and the Great Exhibition of 1851. Both young and old students will be able to get something out of the text and the labeled illustrations. (MC)

Granpappy snippy snappies. Plourde, Lynn. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-028050-5. Illustrated by Christopher Santoro.

In this adorable picture storybook Grandpappy is able to solve every problem with a snip snap of his suspenders. He saves the cows that are stuck in the mud, as well as a policeman stuck in a bale of hay. Grandpappy eventually loses his snippy snappy suspenders and must come up with another solution when he is faced with saving Gramdmammy. This book would be great for children because it tells the story in rhyme, which helps children learn and create different word sounds. It also involves problem solving and helping others, values that need to be instilled in children. (CF)

In our mothers’ house. Polacco, Patricia. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 46pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25076-7.

Can you imagine a family without a dad, but with two mothers? Obviously, Patricia Polacco could when she wrote In our mothers’ house. This unconventional, heart-warming book tells a story about three adopted children and their adoptive mothers, who are partners. This book tells so much about our society today, by incorporating issues such as same sex marriages and unions. Polacco forms a beautiful family that has two, unconventional, loving mothers. There is nothing wrong in giving a child a new view on family, even if it is very different from their own. This book is suggested for anyone who wants to open the eyes of a child to new family possibilities. (EMR)

January’s sparrow. Polacco, Patricia. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 95pp. $22.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25077-4. Illustrated by Patricia Polacco.

Patricia Polacco’s January’s sparrow takes readers back to the 1840s during the journey of the Crosswhite family from slavery to freedom. The family escaped from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Michigan. Although they are “free”, they do not feel welcome in their new town. Eventually things start to look up for the family until the “paddy rollers” are sent to bring back black fugitives to Kentucky. The story is told from the perspective of the youngest daughter in the Crosswhite family, Sadie. Family bonds fill the story; these ties are especially prevalent when they are forced to flee to Canada to remain safe. Bonds are formed between people outside of the family too as the white townspeople decide to help the Crosswhite family travel safely. The illustrations in this book are certainly not appropriate for small children, but they are a realistic representation of what this family and other families had to go through. An educational, well written story, January’s sparrow could be used to teach children about the value of freedom. Polacco’s use of idiomatic language and realistic illustrations give this book a unique quality students will want to read. (LM, CKB)

Mysteries in the classroom. Polette, Nancy J., ABC-CLIO, LLC. 2009. [email protected] (805-968-1911). 207pp. #40 ISBN 978-1-59158-931-0.

.Mysteries in the classroom provides a variety of different reading strategies for students in elementary and even middle school to practice by doing hands-on activities that introduce and discuss a variety of authors and books. Students will have fun with the activities as well as learn to work on different skills, as they interpret clues to separate truth from fiction. Teachers will appreciate the great classroom suggestions, such as how to turn book discussions into theater presentations, strategies for reading a mystery, and a guide for how to use mystery in the classroom. Both teachers and students will benefit from and enjoy this book as it allows them to get more out of the reading. (AD)

The omnivore’s dilemma: The secrets behind what you eat. Pollan, M. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 298pp. $17.99. ISBN 9780803734159.

Pollan dissects four meals, ranging from the industrial meal to the hunter-gatherer meal, providing a fascinating and sometimes shocking look at where our food comes from. Supplemented with eating tips and a question and answer section with the author at the end of the book, this will likely raise some questions about students’ eating habits, and may inspire a deeper conscientiousness when students pick up their forks. (MC)

Silver phoenix. Pon, Cindy. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 337pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-173021-4.

After Ai Ling dishonors her family by failing to become betrothed at age 16, her father disappears from their home. Ai Ling dedicates herself to finding her father and along the way discovers something about herself; she has a power that allows her to hear others’ thoughts and influence their actions. As Ai Ling travels from location to location, she encounters mystical creatures and people. Ai Ling uses her newfound power to successfully maneuver around obstacles to find her father. (KMT)

Table manners for kids. Post, Peggy and Cindy Post Senning. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 96pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-111709-1.

Table manners for kids is an easy to read and comprehendible book for children about proper table manners. Written as if from a child’s perspective, all the rules regarding eating out and at home, how to handle tricky foods, and what to do when you do not like something are laid out for the reader. The comical cartoon drawings reinforce the main points of each chapter. Children will enjoy reading about funny mistakes made at the table. (CF)

Slob. Potter, Ellen. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 199pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0399-24705-7.

Almost every child will look at an overweight child and wonder why that child is overweight. Now, Ellen Porter has written SLOB, the book to answer all questions, well, at least through the eyes of Owen Birnbaum. This first person account is about Owen, the “fat” kid in class. Throughout most of the book, Owen hints to there being a reason for him being fat. He only says it out loud in the exciting, sad climax of the story. Potter writes through the eyes of a child, and while reading it, the reader will certainly feel like he or she is listening to a child speaking. The readers will feel personally involved with the protagonist. This book is wonderful for readers from third to sixth grade. (EMR)

Mighty Casey. Preller, James. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 9780312367640. Illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

The summer baseball team the Delmar Dogs are on a losing streak, and Casey is the worst player of them all. Despite their failures, the team is full of pride, and one game that starts out as a disaster for the Dogs turns around, until it’s all up to Casey to win the game! In this underdog story, having a good attitude and determination leads to winning the game. Elementary students would benefit from discussing the importance of teamwork, even if one teammate seems weaker than the others. (MC)

Louise the big cheese. Primavera, Elise. Simon and Schuster. 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7180-1. Illustrated by Diane Goode.

Louise wants to be famous and to see her name in lights; however, she runs into difficulty when she is pitted against her best friend in competition for a role in the school play. Elise Primavera’s book focuses on the importance of doing one’s best. Diane Goode’s beautiful watercolors add depth and character to the story. Readers will learn about the meaning of friendship and the reality of disappointment. (LM, EEE)

Alligators and crocodiles. Pringle, Laurence. Boyds Mills Press, 2009.
[email protected], (570-235-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-256-9. Illustrated by Meryl Henderson.

This book demonstrates to readers that not all alligators and crocodiles are evil monsters. Readers will gain insight to the threat of extinction these animals face and learn more about conservation. The text describes the difference between an alligator and a crocodile while also including illustrations of these animals from around the world. Readers will be intrigued to learn about creatures that are often misunderstood and misrepresented and the importance of their survival. (FCW)

The vinyl princess. Prinz, Yvonne. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061715839.

Working at Bob and Bob’s Records all summer has never been more fun for Allie. Sixteen-year old Allie is now fulltime at the record store where she can be around music all day. It is the perfect arrangement for the new zine she created, “The Vinyl Princess.” With Allie’s music zine, she plans to reach other music geeks like her, but no one is reading it! As if that weren’t enough, there is a new mystery guy who keeps coming into the store. The summer is definitely not going as she planned. Teens will love this easy read. They will also fall in love with Allie’s personality. (AO)

Rhino, rhino, sweet potato. Prose, Francine. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-008078-5. Illustrated by Matthew S. Armstrong.

Rhinos are on the loose at the sweet potato pie farm. Roy needs to figure out what to do with them otherwise they will ruin the town and the sweet potatoes! The story is written with rhymes on each page and a repeated chant throughout the book. (KMT)

Stampede. Purdie, Laura Salas. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-91488-3. Illustrated by Steven Salerno.

Laura Salas’s Stampede is filled with eighteen imaginative poems that compare children’s’ crazy behavior at school to animal habits. For example, a group of students playing outside for recess is compared to a group of swarming bees, while a student in a time out is compared to a prickly porcupine. Bright cartoon-like pictures that may distract from the text surround the short, yet sometimes complex poems. Several of the poems will get a laugh or two out of children, but many will leave them puzzled. The concise poems do incorporate metaphors, similes, and descriptive words that will serve as great examples for a poetry unit. Although the poems are funny and unique, students may not be able to focus on both the text and the wild pictures, as they do not thoroughly complement each other. (CB)

Yours truly, Louisa. Puttock, Simon. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-136634-5. Illustrated by Jo Kiddie.

It is a stereotype that pigs are messy, but Louisa the pig is anything but. In Simon Puttock’s picture book Yours Truly, Louisa Farmer Joe receives mysterious letters telling him what to do in order to keep the farm nice and tidy. The problem is, it’s a farm! Kids will love the silly story about a pig who is too clean, and a farmer who won’t put up with it. This book is wonderful for reading to children, and also for beginning readers just starting to put sentences together. (EMR)

Speaking of art: Colorful quotes by famous painters. Racza, Bob. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $25.26 ISBN 978-0-7613-5054-5.

Speaking of art: Colorful quotes by famous painters, is a compilation of quotes from eighteen famous artists. Each quote is accompanied by an iconic work done by the artist. Additional pages include portraits of each artist with a brief biography. Each page has a color theme and is a tribute to artists which can be shared with children of any age, most appropriately upper grade level, and is useful for conversations about aesthetics. (LG)

Action figures. Raczka, Bob. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 31pp. $15.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4140-6.

Although the cover appears to be that of a comic book, the pages of Action figures are filled with many classic paintings of adventurous activity. The paintings range as far back as the 1400’s to include paintings of Dragon Slayers, Rugby players, Big Top Swingers and Bicycle Racers. The artwork is interesting and mature, making this book great for a children’s art class. (KAR)

I know a lot of things. Rand, Ann and Paul Rand. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6615-6.

This book celebrates the new and intriguing knowledge that children possess. Written from the simplicity of a child’s perspective, the simple yet powerful text voices important childhood knowledge such as “I know when I look in the mirror what I see is me.” Children can see how they are appreciated by others through this book and also see how much they really know. This is a great book for upcoming readers or children who feel they don’t possess any talents. (BCHM)

Pony Island. Ransom, Candice F. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-8088-1. Illustrated by Wade Zahares.

Pony Island is masterfully told in a perfect four-three-four syllable sentence structure. Rhyming every second and fourth line, the lyrical flow reflects the majesty and movement of the ocean surrounding the island, first stormy and then tranquil, and the wild horses as they play in the breezes. Zahares uses long horizontal lines and bold colors to set a rather mystical mood that carries the reader gently from page to page, reflecting movement as a series of events unfolds in the history of Pony Island. Historical information provided in the last pages is a great teaching resource; read aloud this story is sure to captivate any audience. (LG)

What REALLY happened to Humpty? Ransom, Jeanie Franz. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 32pp. $15.95. ISBN 9781580891097. Illustrated by Stephen Axelsen.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. It’s true, but Humpty’s brother Joe is positive someone else was to blame. Children will love the many Mother Goose references as Joe questions various Mothergooseland citizens during his detective case, including Goldilocks, Chicken Little, and the Three Little Pigs. The action-filled watercolor illustrations and humorous writing style make this an engaging read. (MC)

The old blue pickup truck. Ransom, Candice F. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9591-5. Illustrated by Jenny Mattheson.

A young farm girl with pig tails spends a day with her daddy riding in the old blue pickup truck. Simple sentences construct the simple plot, which allows readers to follow the pair as they go to town to buy farm supplies and enjoy a picnic together. As Daddy and his daughter drive homeward it begins to rain and daddy’s girl offers her table cloth to protect their purchases. Mattheson’s simple illustrations done in green, orange, and yellow pastels support the text, though overt stereotyping contributes to the drawbacks in what is otherwise a cute story. (LG)

Jack andJack and Jill. Rappaport, Jill. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-173136-5. Photographs by Linda Solomon.

In this heartwarming true story, a very caring woman named Jill rescues an abandoned puppy. Jill takes in this puppy, which she names Jack, and together Jack and Jill create a genuine, loving relationship. Jack’s life is any dog’s dream: full of open fields, delicious treats, and friendly dogs to play with. When he is diagnosed with bone cancer, Jack’s life is turned upside down. With the care and comfort of Jill, Jack is able to overcome his illness and learns to walk with only three legs. Children and adults alike will be moved by Jack’s tale of bravery and courage. This is an excellent story to teach the value of caring for others, not giving up, and overcoming hardships. The pictures of Jack and his family are captivating and remind the reader that this is a true story of a real dog with an inspiring message to share with the world. (KRR)

500 cats. Rappaport, Jill and Lynea Lattanzio. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 34pp. $9.99. ISBN978-0-06-179909-9. Photographs by Bob Carney.

Jill Rappaport, an animal activist, describes a place where 500 cats roam free, using warm and natural photographs of this outdoor feline paradise. Readers will meet the cats and dogs that live and play together peacefully, while practicing counting and describing the animals as well. The simplistic positive outlook promotes animal adoption and protection with each and every cuddly cat. (ESS)

Hip hop dog. Raschka, Chris. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), (2010). [email protected], (212-207-7000). 28pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-123963-2. Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky.

With a unique, urban and modern twist, Chris Rashcka introduces the readers to an orphaned and unwanted dog in Hip hop dog. This hip hop dog’s heartwarming story about finding oneself and happiness is told through a hip hop song with a catchy beat. Although the rhythm and rhyme is sometimes difficult to follow with the big words used, with a teachers help, this book would be a wonderful way to bring diversity into the classroom and help students connect with literature in a modern way. Unique illustrations utilize varying brush strokes to create dynamic textures to make the dog appear furry. The emotions of the hip hop dog are conveyed through dark browns and grays when he is sad and lonely, and yellows and blue greens when he has discovered who he is and what he enjoys. Although this would be a good addition to help build a diverse classroom, the book should be used with caution, so as not to deter students from rhyming and the hip hop genre. (NB)

Fletcher and the springtime blossoms. Rawlinson, Julia. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 26pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-168855-3. Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke.

This book is about a fox that thinks it is about to snow. This worries him because it is late spring, and all of the animals are returning from their winter vacations. The birds have returned from the South, the porcupine has awakened from his slumber, and the squirrel has eaten all of his winter supplies. Then fox discovers that what he saw was not snow. Instead, the fox had seen blossoms blowing in the wind. This is a fun book that young children will find enjoyable. The illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke are excellent and really put the reader into a springtime atmosphere. The bright yellows and greens suggest a happy, peaceful time. It is a wonderful book for kids to read. (SE, NH)

Always my brother. Reagan, Jean. Tilbury House Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (800-582-1899). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-313-7. Illustrated by Phyllis Poleema-Cahill.

John and Becky are siblings. They do many things together, like playing soccer. Things become difficult when John dies. Becky has to learn to cope with his death and move on with her life. The illustrations bring out the mood of the story, making the characters seem almost real. Since death is not an easy topic for children to process, this picture storybook is recommended for upper elementary students. (SE, NH)

Blind Tom: The horse who helped build the Great Railroad. Redmond, Shirley Raye. Mountain Press Publishing Co., 2009. [email protected], (800-234-5308). 42pp. $10.00. ISBN 978-0-87842-558-7. Illustrated by Lois Bradley.

This picture book is based on a true story about a blind horse that helped pull carts along the railroad to assist the thousands of workers who were building the transcontinental railroad. This book is very informative because it includes the history of the railroad, the reasons it was built, the area it covered, and the various tasks that were involved in creating this amazing transportation system. This is an excellent story to use in introducing children to the Westward Expansion at an early age, as this book is written for young readers. It provides useful information and intriguing pictures to tell this incredible story. (KRR)

Ernest Hemmingway: A writer’s life. Reef, Catherine. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 183pp. $20. ISBN 978-0-618-98705-4.

Ernest Hemmingway: A writer’s life, is a well written and enthralling book about Ernest Hemmingway’s life. Readers will learn about his wonderful achievements as well as some of his downfalls. A bibliography and a list of Hemmingway’s famous works give the information credibility. The author’s expert research is reflected in this example of a well done biography. (NB)

Too purpley! Reidy, Jean. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 26pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-307-1. Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup.

Jean Reidy’s Too purpley is an easy-to read book filled with twenty-one different adjectives kids might use to describe what is wrong or right with their outfits. The story is about a little girl who has the most difficult time deciding what to wear because all of her clothes are “too purpley, scratchy, baggy, etc”. All of the adjectives are accompanied with a fun, colorful illustration of the clothing the little girl is describing. Besides having simple text and colorful illustrations, each page has a fun background that will catch any reader’s eye. This story could be used as a tool for building new vocabulary, and a great book for young readers to read aloud to an adult. Too purpley might even provide a glimpse into the future for parents of young children to see what they have to look forward to when it comes to children getting the independence to decide what they should or should not wear. (CKB)

Monster baby. Regan, Dian Curtis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-06006-4. Illustrated by Doug Cushman.

Mr. and Mrs. Oliver had always wanted a baby to care for, and they are delighted to find one on their doorstep, regardless of its pointy teeth and purple horns. Monster baby is a tale of a unique and incredible addition to the Oliver family. As you watch Olly grow up, you can see the trials he faces, but also the joys he experiences. Although Olly grows at an astounding rate, he learns how to help his family with chores, get along with his friends, and excel in school. Olly’s foster parents are very proud of him and love him more with every inch he grows. He may be too big to sit at a desk, but characters and readers alike learn that friends come in all sizes. (ESS)

Emily the strange: The lost days. Reger, Rob and Jessica Gruner. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 266pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-145229-1.

Emily has a severe case of amnesia; she is unable to remember who she is or where she is. She gives herself the name Earwig and decides to investigate the strange, nearby town of Blackrock. On her way there, she stumbles upon four black cats and follows them. In doing so, she begins to uncover many hidden secrets about the town. She soon discovers how she came to get amnesia and learns she must complete a mission. Graphic comics enhance this short novel. (KAR)

A pop-up book of nursery rhymes. Reinhart, Matthew. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon). 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 10pp. $26.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1825-7.

In A pop-up book of nursery rhymes, Matthew Reinhart does a wonderful job of bringing to life some of our favorite children’s nursery rhymes. The actions created by the pop-up effect helps the readers engage more thoroughly in the commonly heard nursery rhymes. Although these nursery rhymes alone would be appreciated by young readers, the addition of the pop-up element makes this book better suited for older readers who can understand how pop-ups work. However, this book could be used effectively as a read-aloud for older students to get practice reading out-loud to younger students. (NB)

The runaway mummy: A petrifying parody. Rex, Michael. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 30pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25203-7.

This book inspires creativity in children. A mummy boy is running away from his mummy mother throughout the book. They have the ability to transform into any object that they want, mostly mystical creatures, which makes it difficult for the mother to find her son. The illustrations allow the child to use their imagination. This book will stimulate children to continue reading. (BCHM)

Cycle of rice: Cycle of life. Reynolds, Jan. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 46pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-254-2.

Rice is one of the most widely eaten foods in the world and is shared by almost every single culture. Despite its importance to everyone, very few people know the process that puts rice on a plate in our homes. This book gives a detailed description, step by step, of what is involved in growing rice. The rice is planted, grown, and picked. Fields are flooded to ensure proper growth of the rice. After the rice is picked, ducks are used to get rid of insects and to fertilize the ground. In the end of the book, there is a realization that farmers need to continue this aged process to keep their soil fertile. This is a great book for anyone who is interested in where food comes from. The vocabulary and illustrations are intended for early elementary readers. (BCHM)

Back of the bus. Reynolds, A. and F. Cooper. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25091-0.

This depiction of the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott is appropriate for its audience. The greatly detailed illustrations show real life objects which all readers should be exposed to. Cooper’s illustrations will captivate readers with the use of line and texture – especially on the bus, the reader will notice the rounded seats and the movement of the floor which allow the imagination to expand. Back of the bus is an excellent book to use when studying Black History Month as it tells the story of the heroic actions of Rosa Parks, while also encouraging readers to generate their own questions. (MAM)

Vanishing cultures: Amazon Basin. Reynolds, Jan. Lee and Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 32pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-125-5.

The Yanomama from Venezuela is a group of people who in danger of disappearing. In this book, readers will learn about the differences between this unique South American culture and their own. (NH)

Vanishing cultures: Down under. Reynolds, Jan. Lee and Low Books, 1992. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 30pp. $7.95. 978-1-60060-126-2.

Vanishing cultures: Down under teaches readers about a tribe called the Tiwi. These individuals live on an island off the coast of Australia, and their population is slowly dwindling. By reading this book, children will get to see what another culture is like. (LM, NH)

Vanishing cultures: Far north. Reynolds, Jan. Lee and Low Books, 1992. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 30pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-127-9.

This collection of books explores small cultures that are slowly vanishing as the world becomes more advanced. The collection is a wonderful resource for obtaining physical and political knowledge about cultures that differ from the ones familiar to children today. Beautiful photographs give readers realistic images of the culture being described. This book about the Far North follows the culture of a group of people called the Samis. Their cultural traditions and ways of life are described in the pages of this book. (KAR)

Vanishing cultures: Mongolia. Reynolds, Jan. Lee and Low Books, 1994. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 30pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-130-9.

Vanishing cultures: Mongolia, is a book of photography about the country in Asia known as Mongolia. It follows a day in the life of two young cousins who are nomad farmers in rural Mongolia. The photography is beautiful and plays a key role in telling the story. The book also shows the culture of the native people, including the food and dress. Readers will enjoy seeing the photos of a different culture and reading a story about a child like them. (CF)

Vanishing cultures: Sahara. Reynolds, Jan. Lee and Low Books, 1991. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 30pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-131-6.

Vanishing Cultures: Sahara is a photography book of the desert region known as the Sahara. It follows the adventure of a boy living in the Sahara as he rides in a camel race for the first time. The photography is beautiful and is a key element in the telling of this story. The story also depicts the culture of the native people, including the food and dress. Readers will enjoy seeing photos of a different culture and reading a story about a child like them. (CF)

Alis. Rich, Naomi. Penguin Group (Usa) Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 274 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01125-4.

In a community where religion stifles every move a person makes, one is bound to become restless. Alis, a young girl of fifteen, is offered a marriage proposal from the religious man of the town, who is forty years old. To avoid the marriage, Alis runs away to a nearby town where she falls in love with the grandson of the religious man. This creatively written book incorporates both adventure and romance and is sure to capture the eyes and hearts of middle school aged girls. (EMR)

Half-minute horrors. Rich, Susan. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 141pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-183379-3.

Half-minute horrors is a collection of very short, scary stories taking about half a minute to read. Although the content may be too scary for some young readers, many children will find the tales more humorous than frightening. Children of all ages will enjoy these scary short stories. (LM, NH)

Save the three little pigs! Richards, Melinda. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1416971986. Illustrated by Alexandria Fogarty.

The three “wonder pets” of a television show featured on Nickelodeon tell the story of the three little pigs. Children who are just learning to read will find this story enjoyable because there is a minimal amount of text. (AO)

Critter sitter. Richards, Chuck. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780802795953.

Henry, an overconfident pet-sitter finds his job to be more than he bargained for in this madcap tale. Children learn about responsibility as Henry struggles to maintain control over all the crazy animals he has to watch. Students are also drawn in by the detailed, action-filled illustrations. Older readers will appreciate the clever word play as Henry encounters a cat named Little Miss Purrfect, a dog called Slobberchops, and a woman who loves rabbits named Mrs. Angora. There are also some puns to be appreciated, like in the end of the book when Henry is “PET-RIFIED.” (MC)

Ottoline goes to school. Riddell, Chris. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 170pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-06-144900-0.

Ottoline and her friend, Mr. Monroe, explore their neighborhood in Norway and make a new friend named Cecily. Cecily attends the Alice B. School for the Differently Gifted. Ottoline is soon enrolled and begins searching for her own special talents. She explores everything: from curtain origami, to aerial flower arranging, to plate spinning. After Cecily hears of the ghost horse haunting the school, she sets out to investigate the mysterious happenings around the school. Students in upper elementary will love this advanced picture book as they are sure to become engaged in the mystery, captured by the comic-book like illustrations, and enthralled by the charming, quirky Ottoline and her gang of friends. (KRR)

Wendel’s workshop. Riddell, Chris. HarperCollins Pubblishers (Katherine Tegen Books), First published in 2007, 2010. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-144930-7.

British author and illustrator Chris Riddell tells an imaginative story of Wendel, a young and dedicated inventor mouse. One day Wendel invents Clunk, a quirky robot, constructed from various materials, to help him tidy his messy workshop. Wendel is unsatisfied with Clunk’s organization and tosses him out in order to invent the Wendelbot, who systematically annihilates Wendel’s junk. Wendel and Clunk work together to construct a brigade of robots to take back the workshop and overthrow Wendelbot. The illustrations are incredibly detailed and the shadows help set the mood of impending trouble. Recommended for a fun read, although the plot leaves the impression that destruction is the appropriate solution for reclaiming the workshop. (LG)

Leigh Ann’s Civil War. Rinaldi, Ann. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. Children’[email protected], (617-351-5000). 308pp. $17.00 ISBN 978-0-15-206513-3.

Leigh Ann Conners, is an 11-year-old girl living in Georgia, in the midst of the civil war. Leigh Ann’s home life is unstable. Her mother left the family years ago, her father is not in his right mind at all times, and her brothers are very strict with her. When Leigh Ann’s brothers are sent to fight for the Confederacy in the war, her mother returns and kidnaps her daughter. Eventually Leigh Ann is safely returned to her father. After the incident, Leigh Ann begins to mature greatly, and decides to help out with the war by sending letters to soldiers and helping elderly people whose sons had gone to war. Soon Leigh Ann’s brothers return from war, and begin to help out with the family mill. The mill provides cloth for the Confederacy in secrecy, to avoid being caught and charged with treason. One day, Leigh Ann and her family are caught and captured and marched away from Georgia. This is an eye opening time for Leigh Ann as the realities of war start to set in for her. This book is a great read for middle school or high school students, especially those studying the Civil War. All readers will learn from and enjoy the many accurate historical references, which give an idea about family life in the south during was like. (AD)

The letter writer. Rinaldi, Ann. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 216pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206402-0.

Harriet has always been the black sheep in her family. As the child of her father’s mistress, her half-brother and sister have always treated her with contempt. However, when their mother begins to go blind, Harriet becomes her personal letter writer. Throught this experience Harriet learns all about the business of running a plantation in Virginia. After an uprising led by Nat Turner storms through the area’s plantations, Harriet must run the plantation by herself. Readers have experienced times in which they, like Harriet, have felt like the outcast in a family or group of friends. Readers can also relate to Harriet’s need accommodate to a life she does not seem fit for. Although the characters were not sufficiently developed, most readers will enjoy this relatable historical fiction novel. (CF)

My Vicksburg. Rinaldi, Ann. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books), 2009. children’[email protected] (617-351-1185). $16. ISBN978-0-15-206624-6.

Claire Louise Corbet is a thirteen-year-old girl growing up in Vicksburg, Mississippi in the midst of the raging battles of the Civil War. Vicksburg was a crucial location during the war, as the town surrendered to General Grant the same day the South was defeated at Gettysburg. This story provides readers with insight into the difficult adaptations families had to make as they watched their homes become part of a battlefield. Claire has to move to a cave, ration her food, only leave during scheduled meal times when the fighting ceases, and deal with the reality of her brother and father fighting on opposing sides of the war. Furthermore, Claire is put in a difficult position when her brother brings home a confederate soldier in hiding. This authentic historical fiction novel is filled with specific, accurate details depicting the hardships facing civilians during this dangerous time. Readers can relate to Claire as she faces moral dilemmas deciding between right and wrong and choosing her family’s needs over her own. (KRR)

Two of a kind. Robbins, Jacqui. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2437-1. Illustrated by Matt Phelan.

Two of a kind is great for children who are learning to build friendships. The story helps children identify the kind of people they should build relationships with, and also the kind of people they should stay away from. Anna, the main character, has to decide between the kids who are popular in her class, and her best friend. This is a struggle many students face in school today. The illustrations help improve the language skills of students. When they are reading the story, they can look at the illustrations to understand the words that they are reading. This is a story that young children will enjoy as it promotes social development. (SE, NH)

Testing the ice. Robinson, Sharon. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com (212-343-6100). 37pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-05251-1. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

This truly touching memoir of Jackie Robinson is told through his daughter, Sharon. Testing the ice talks about the courage Jackie showed both as a baseball player and a father. Jackie had been afraid of water all of his life. He and his family lived by a lake, but Jackie remained immune to his family’s pleas to join them for a swim in the water. One winter when the lake froze, all the neighborhood kids wanted to go skating, but they needed someone to test the ice. Hesitantly, Jackie stepped on the ice and sure enough it was perfect for skating. This book emphasizes the bravery Jackie Robinson had both on and off the baseball diamond. Its text is accompanied by descriptive illustrations. (LM, MM)

Kingfisher knowledge: Inventions. Robinson, James. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2006. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 64pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6293-5.

New inventions are always being created. Kingfisher knowledge does a fine job of presenting the most influential inventions of the last century. The book talks about computers, phones, satellites, and many more influential advances. This is a great book for anyone who wants to know where the things they use every single day come from. Since it covers some fairly difficult topics, the book would be best for advanced late elementary students and up. The photography used in this book is outstanding and extremely interesting. (BCHM)

Fu finds the way. Rocco, John. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 36pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1423109655.

Fu finds the way tells the story of a young boy working for is father planting rice. When Fu is asked to do a more careful job, he gets upset, sending a plant soaring into the mighty warrior Cheng. Furious, Cheng challenges Fu to a battle. As Fu is preparing for the dual against Cheng, readers see Fu’s character develop. For instance, Fu interrupts and questions the facts that the old Master wisely speaks to him when he is first learning. Fu says things in frustration, but as the story continues so does the character development of Fu. Readers will see Fu’s attitude changes as he listens to those who are older, wiser and more experienced than he. Patience eventually brings peace between Fu and Cheng. The dark mustard yellows, deep reds, olive greens and muted blues and creams of the illustrations will captivate readers. The use of line and texture portrays the movement of objects and realistic looking people wearing traditional oriental clothing. (LM, MAM)

Moonpowder. Rocco, John. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 37pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-142310011-9.

Moonpowder is a beautifully illustrated book about a boy that is asked by the moon to help make more moonpowder. The boy is very good at fixing all sorts of household objects, so one night when the boy cant sleep because of a nightmare, the moon asks him to come help fix the moonpowder machine and says if the boy comes to fix it, he will not have nightmares anymore! The illustrations are detailed and imaginative which enhance the story. (KMT)

Open the door to liberty! Rockwell, Anne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1184). 64pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-618-60570-5. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.

Open the door to liberty! is the biography of Toussaint L’Ouverture, a forgotten hero of the eighteenth century. This book uncovers Toussaint L’Ouverture’s remarkable leadership in guiding a revolution to free the enslaved people of his home, the Caribbean islands. The unique illustrations will catch the reader’s eye. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the life of L’ Ouverture will enjoy this heroic tale. (KAR)

St. Patrick’s Day. Rockwell, Anne. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-050197-6. Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell.

In this informative picture book, the students in Mrs. Madoff’s class share their reports about St. Patrick’s Day. Readers can learn from the students about the history of St. Patrick, the reason there are no snakes in Ireland, the music and dances of Ireland, and shamrocks. Although the author and illustrator perpetuate some cultural stereotypes, the book carries a positive message of unity amid diversity. On St. Patrick’s Day, according to an Irish character in the book, “we are all a little bit Irish.” (NO)

Whoo! Whoo! Goes the train. Rockwell, Anne. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 34pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-056227-4. Illustrated by Vanessa van der Baan.

This is a colorful tale about Alan, a boy who loves trains, and his first train ride. The illustrations are detailed and help to convey the story and its emphasis on different colors. (FCW)

Pippa and the parade. Roosa, Karen. Boyds Mill Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-567-6. Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry.

Pippa gets to see an incredible parade in Karen Roosa’s children’s book, Pippa at the parade. Pippa sees so many fun things, like a marching band and a man on stilts. From the beginning of the book to the end, the illustrations and story line are great for preschool aged children who are just learning to read. Even if your child cannot read, the story is easy to follow and quite enjoyable. (EMR)

Bear flies high. Rosen, Michael. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-386-6. Illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.

Small children will adore Bear flies high. The tale uses a sing-song tone, repetition and alliteration to capture the minds of listeners and readers. Similar to Rosen’s other stories; children are helping a friendly bear make his dream of flying come true. They take him to a place where he can fly and he loves them for doing so. Vibrant yellows, reds, greens, and blues on every page bring out happy emotions for children as they listen to this story. Repetition of word patterns allows children to participate in reading/singing along with the text. Bear Flies High is a happy, easy-spirited, joyful story. (CKB)

The wonder book. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 79pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-142974-3. Illustrated by Paul Schmid.

The wonder book by Amy Krause Rosenthal is a book of poems, short stories, palindromes and random observations. Some examples of these humorous stories are Pancake college, The less famous friends of Mary Mack and Fifi Hockenthal thinks she knows it all. These hilarious stories will captivate the interest of readers. Although the simple text is suitable for early elementary students, readers of all ages will enjoy this book. Many sections contain rhyming segments great for students learning about or practicing rhymes. Basic black and white drawings elaborate on the different ‘wonders’ and add to the humor of the book. (AD)

Yes day! Rosenthal, Amy Krouse and Tom Lichtenheld. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-06-115259-7.

Welcome to ‘Yes Day’, the one day of the year when the answer to every question is always yes! Follow the main character throughout the day as he indulges all of his desires. From eating pizza for breakfast, to a having a food fight at lunch and staying up late with his dad, the little boy asks questions that ensure that he will have an exciting and fun time. When he finally asks, “Does this day have to end?” the boy realizes that it must, but looks forward to ‘Yes Day’ next year! Colorful, cartoon-like illustrations chronicle the events of the day. Children will enjoy reading this entertaining account of a boy’s ideal day. (NO)

Little Oink. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse and Jen Corace. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 24pp. $14.99. ISBN 9780811866442.

Little Oink is the charming tale of a pig who wants to go against his pig nature and be tidy. His parents insist that he make his room a complete pigsty. Younger children will enjoy the humorous, simple tale and the charming depictions of Little Oink and his family and friends. (MC)

Sugar cookies: Sweet little lessons on love. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-201-7000). 30pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-06-174072-5. Illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer.

Sugar cookies can relate to all different aspects of life. The characters learn about how love can be translated into many different words, but they all have the same meaning. Amy Krouse Rosenthal uses large words that describe love such as “endearment”, “tenderness”, and “supportive” to show how all of these relate to life. Rosenthal shows us that we can find love in the smallest things in life even just sugar cookies, but it still is true love. Both Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer contribute to the beautiful illustrations that show the love that is felt between children and parents, which greatly enhance the meaning of the story. Rosenthal provides a very good book that shows love in many different ways and how one can find love in everyday things. (EEE).

Archie and the pirates. Rosenthal, Marc. HarperCollins Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-144164-6.

In Marc Rosenthal’s Archie and the Pirates, a monkey named Archie becomes shipwrecked on an island and decides to build a home there. While Archie is there he befriends an ibis named Clarice and a tiger named Beatrice. One day Beatrice is captured by a group of pirates, and Archie and Clarice must devise a plan to save their friend. The friends wait for the pirates to go to sleep to put their plan to action. The carefully developed plan works and Archie is able to free his friend from the pirates! Throughout the story the characters develop a unique friendship and decide to build homes next to each other, so they can be together all of the time. The illustrations throughout the book give the reader a sense of what the author is trying to tell his readers. There are many pages that give a detailed description of the different tasks Archie takes on throughout the book, and this makes it much more understandable and enjoyable for the child. Rosenthal shows young readers that through teamwork, anything can be accomplished. Also, the book gives a good example of how different types of people, from many different backgrounds can become great friends. (AED)

Candy in action. Roth, Matthue. Soft Skull Press, 2008. [email protected], (718-643-1599). 224pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1593762285.

Candy has the life most girls dream of—she’s beautiful, popular, and rich. She and her best friend Velma are living a life of glamour—partying in clubs around the world, sporting designer clothes and accessories, and hanging out with celebrities—until one day Candy refuses to date a wealthy and powerful model. When the dejected model breaks into Candy’s apartment and threatens, “Date me, or die,” the two teens find themselves on the run from the fanatical stalker and his scores of armed henchmen. After the man kills Candy’s father, she realizes being gorgeous and popular cannot fix everything. Teenagers will long to enter into the glamorous action of this fast-paced novel, but parents should be warned: excessive underage drinking, strong language, and sexual innuendos abound. (NO)

Sammy spider’s first day of school. Rouss, Slyvia A. Lerner Publishing Group (Kar-Ben Publishers), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 30pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-8584-8. Illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn

This book by Sylvia A. Rouss is a cute way for numerous children to overcome their fear of spiders. In the story, the spider is personified so young readers can easily relate and identify with him. The subtle Jewish references may be confusing to early non-Jewish readers, which may also be a touchy subject when explaining. However, this is an adorable book that could be shared with children of all ages. (KLM)

Demon princess: Reign or shine. Rowen, Michelle. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 284pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9534-2.

Sixteen-year-old girls experience a lot of drama in their lives, especially Nikki. Nikki is a typical high school girl with a huge crush on the cute, popular boy Chris. Besides boy problems, Nikki has best friend drama, homework, and a step-dad she dislikes. However, these difficulties turn out to be the least of Nikki’s worries after she discovers that her long lost father is the king of the shadowlands, the place between earth and hell. Nikki is actually a demon princess expected to take over the shadowlands when her father dies. This is a very unique story of friendship, love, and fantastical characters living in another dimension. Young girls will particularly love this story and be able to relate to Nikki’s teenage troubles. (KRR)

Max Quigley: Technically not a bully. Roy, James. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 208pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-547-15263-9.

Max Quigley has explanations for everything. He really isn’t a bully. Or is he? Well, that is up to interpretation for anyone who reads James Roy’s book, Max Quigley: Technically Not a Bully. Roy creates a character that is loving and true at heart; but most of the time, his actions are lost in translation. Things change for Max when he intertwines himself (accidentally, of course) with another character, and gets into all kinds of new adventures. Boys especially will enjoy reading this book. Since Max seams to get into a lot of trouble, if the child reading this book is still quite impressionable, I would think twice before suggesting it to the child. (EMR)

Jacob Lawrence in the city. Rubuin, Susan Goldman. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 26pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-6582-1. Illustrated by Amy E. Achaibou.

Susan Goldman’s book, Jacob Lawrence in the City, is a great for young readers. In the city, people do different things. There are many action words that give great descriptions of the different things people do. The illustrations in the book are paintings done by famous artists of African-Americans. Each painting illustrates a person doing various actions such as counting, building, and typing. This book introduces young readers to the idea of different cultures which they may not be accustomed to seeing on a regular basis. (KW, AED)

Tofu quilt. Russell, Ching Yeung. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 136 pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-423-2.

Tofu quilt is the story of a young girl, Yeung Ying, living in Hong Kong with the dream of becoming a writer. Russell chooses to tell her own story in a reflective manner. The entire book is written in poem form, giving the impression that Yeung’s experience is very personal. Tofu quilt is a realistic and inspiring book for young readers aspiring to become writers. (EMR)

Alienated. Russell, David O. and Andrew Auseon. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 344pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8298-2.

The fantasy novel Alienated by David Russell and Andrew Auseon entertains its readers with quirky aliens and intergalactic fights. Gene and Vince are two fourteen-year-old boys who have created their own newsletter about the local aliens living in Santa Rosa, California. These boys know the truth: aliens are everywhere, but no one seems to believe them. The boys set out to prove to everyone that they are not crazy and these aliens really exist. Gene and Vince know the aliens have powers like beat-boxing apart human molecules, sending a planet off its axis, blowing other aliens to other planets, and sending laser beams flying through the air destroying everything in their path. Alienated is excellent for middle school readers as every page is filled with the crazy, exciting, and often dangerous predicaments Gene and Vince find themselves in. (KRR)

The Babylonians: Life in ancient Babylon. Rustad, Martha E.H.. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 43pp. $29.27. ISBN 978-0-8225-8682-1. Illustrated by Samuel Hiti.

Ziggurats, cuneiform, Gilgamesh, and the code of Hammurabi are just a few topics included in this book about Ancient Babylon, as readers see the city from its formation to the present day. Photographs and illustrations allow students to see what Babylonian life was like. Included within the chapter discussing daily life is a description of their government, class system, schools, clothes, jewelry, meals, and homes. Readers will learn the common religious practices, such as gods, temples, and holidays as well as seeing the hardworking people who carefully constructed buildings such as the Tower of Babel. Babylonian ideas are still present today, in calendar formatting, number and writing systems, and constellations. (ESS)

In Mike we trust. Ryan, P.E.. HarperCollins Publishing, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 321pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-06-085813-1.

Many young boys have trouble finding their place in society as well as their sexuality. Garth faces a difficult lifestyle after his father passes away. He struggles with his mother’s over protectiveness, his shortness, and his sexuality. Soon Garth’s Uncle Mike comes into town and has Garth beginning to question life and his personal views. Before long, Garth discovers that Mike has been spinning the truth: not all of the things he has said are accurate. After a while, Garth starts to feel comfortable with Mike, and also begins to feel more confident in himself. Readers of In Mike we trust confront real-life issues facing young males, resulting in a new understanding of the male mind. (BCHM)

Panda kindergarten. Ryder, Joanne. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-057850-3. Illustrated by Dr. Katherine Feng.

Wolong Nature Reserve in China has its own Panda Kindergarten class. In Panda Kindergarten, young readers can learn about what the Wolong Nature Reserve does and more about pandas in general. The pictures of real live pandas are cute and fun to look at. Young readers who love animals will particularly enjoy this book. (KAR)

The beautiful stories of life: Six Greek myths. Rylant, Cynthia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 71 pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206184-5. Illustrated by Carson Ellis.

The Greek gods are the subjects of hundreds of stories. Readers will find the five stories included in this book relevant to the present day. For example, some of the stories discuss the beginning of the existence of winter and hope in the world. Although these stories are considered fiction today, in ancient Greece they were thought to be true and the characters were honored and worshipped. Readers will enjoy this novel and may also be able to use it in research projects. (EMR)

Mr. Putter & Tabby spill the beans. Rylant, Cynthia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Childrens Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 44pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0547414331. Illustrated by Arthur Howard.

As a beginning chapter book, Mr. Putter & Tabby spill the beans will teach young readers the flow of a segmented chapter book without losing the fun and interaction of short paragraphs and vivid pictures. Sketchy yet surprisingly realistic, the illustrations conjure emotions, and help to show the emotions of a close friendship. The cat and dog are also close friends in this book, yet they act as a normal feline and canine would, providing a refreshing take on animals’ roles in books for children. With short sentences and easy vocabulary, this book will help readers to become comfortable reading on their own and enjoying a book they read and understand themselves. (LME)

Snow. Rylant, Cynthia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 31pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205303-1. Illustrated by Lauren Stringer.

This is a book simply about the fun pleasures of snow seen from a child’s perspective. The story and the illustrations work together creating the magical feel of a beautiful snowy day. After reading the book, young and old will want to curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and cup of hot chocolate. (FCW)

Last night I sang to the monster. Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Cinco Puntos Press, 2009. [email protected], (800-566-9072). 304pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-933693-58-3.

In Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s book Last night I sang to the monster, Sáenz shows the reader the story of a young boy named Zach who is trying to get his life back on track. Sáenz does a wonderful job of painting Zach’s struggle while in a rehab center where the Zach fights his inner monster. This inspirational story can help middle to high school students learn about the beauty of life, hope, healing and family. The most impressive part is Sáenz’s way of showing us not only the apparent changes Zach goes through but also his change in thoughts as he over comes his addiction to alcohol. (NB)

Septimus Heap: The magykal papers. Sage, Angie. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 167pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-170416-1.

The creative format of this book makes the reader feel as if he or she were looking at a Frommers guide to a mythical world. The book also contains the journal entries of a princess who was mistaken for a member of the Heap family. The illustrations enhance the character descriptions and the plot, allowing readers to gain a better understanding of this humorous fantasy book. (PM)

Septimus Heap: Siren. Sage, Angie. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 628pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-088210-5.

In the fifth book of the series, Septimus is stranded on an island with his injured dragon and two of his friends. They end up on a ship together and travel to new islands, which are a part of The Isles of Syren. Throughout their travels they meet mystical creatures and magical people and discover the importance of sticking together. (KMT)

Amadi’s snowman. Saint-Lot, Katia Novet. Tilbury House Publisers, 2008. [email protected], (800-582-1899). 32 pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-298-7. Illustrated by Dimitrea Tokunbo.

Amadi is a young boy from Africa. He cannot read, and has no true desire to read. That is until one day he sees another young boy reading a book with pictures of things he has never seen before. In Katia Novet Saint-Lot’s picture book, Amadi’s snowman, the protagonist yearns for something and receives it by chance. This book is great for students studying about the culture of Africa. It is also easy enough for beginning readers. (EMR)

The snow day. Sakai, Komako. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books), 2005. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-01321-5.

In The snow day, a bunny rabbit tells the story of a day when it snowed all day. He got to stay home from kindergarten on the first day because of all the snow. The bunny tells the reader all about his day home with his mom. Even though his mother tells him he can’t play outside because of the snow, he finds a way to play outside anyway.
Children will enjoy this book about the bunny’s snow day. They will be able to relate to the feeling of anticipation about having the day off of school and not being able to play outside. This book does a nice job of teaching readers about patience and the importance of family. (CF)

Harry hungry! Salerno, Steven. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 33pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-15-206257-6.

This book is all right, but it is not great. It is about a toddler who is constantly hungry and nothing seems to satisfy him. He eats crackers, cookies, cars, and even the sky! He does not stop eating until he becomes sleepy. Children might find this book amusing because of the child’s hunger. The illustrations are decent. (SE, NH)

Epossumondas plays possum. Salley, Coleen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-15-206420-4. Illustrated by Janet Stevens.

Coleen Salley’s picture book, Epossumondas plays possum is a playful and heartfelt story of a small possum who does not listen to his mother, a kind elderly woman. For younger audiences, the possum or dark woods illustrations could be seen as scary or ugly. Epossumondas is shown as an uncaringly forgetful and lucky possum, who doesn’t have to listen to his mother to make it in this big, scary world, because he has instincts. The grammar used by the characters is not correct, but is in fact quite colloquial, and exactly the type that many teachers try to break their students of using. The lack of lesson may make adults hesitate before picking this book to read to youngsters, but it is a warm story that shows love of a mother and her possum regardless. (LME)

My big nose: And other natural disasters. Salter, Sydney. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Graphia), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 345 pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-15-206643-7.

Jory, a junior in high school, is determined to find her passion this summer. As she is continually outshined by her all-star athlete of a brother, and badgered by her diet-obsessed mother, Jory tries everything from yoga to foreign cinema. She is convinced that she can’t possess any skill whatsoever, as she endures a summer of awkward parties, car accidents, and casino fiascos mixed with the straining drama of her “perfect” friends. Her biggest concern continues to be that she will die a virgin, as no boy so much as glances at her. The only way to save herself from her lonely loser fate is to get a nose job and rid herself of “complete Super Schnozz-induced insecurity.” She saves up all her money to fix her inadequate features, but also meets someone who just might change how she perceives herself and lead her to the passion she’s been searching for. Ultimately, Jory learns that following your heart has nothing to do with your nose. (ESS)

Gray baby. Sanders, Scott Loring. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 321pp. $17.00. ISBN 9780547076614.

Clifton, a black high school student, is haunted by memories of his father being beaten to death by white policemen when Clifton was six. Inspired by a balloon activity at school, Clifton begins writing notes and sending them across the river in wine bottles to help him cope. Gray baby explores the issue of racial prejudice and emphasizes the importance of connecting with others. (MC)

A map of the known world. Sandell, Lisa Ann. Scholastic, Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com (212-343-6100). $16.99. ISBN978-0-545-06970-0.

As Cora Bradley is about to start high school, her brother Nate dies in a car accident and his friend Damian is blamed for it. Because of the accident, Cora and her best friend begin to drift apart, and her parents struggle with their own relationship. This story explores the way one family deals with a tragedy, and shows parents do not always know everything about their children. Readers will find this story easy to relate to, especially if they have experienced a similar situation. (FCW)

Predators. Santoro, Lucio and Meera Santoro. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 10pp. $27.99. ISBN 9781416954392.

In this highly detailed pop-up book, students will learn all about predators, including how dangerous they are, whether or not they are endangered, and where they live. Lift-up flaps and sliding panels offer another dimension to the interaction, making this book worth some extra time for perusal. (MC).

The little secret. Saunders, Kate. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2006. [email protected] (646-607-5151). 231pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780312369613. Illustrated by William Carman.

When Jane meets the friendly but odd Staffa, she has no idea about the adventure that awaits her. She soon discovers Staffa is a princess of a kingdom in another dimension. Staffa invites Jane there, but things turn sinister when Jane learns about the terrifying ploys of Staffa’s mother. Filled with oddities and wonderment, this book is sure to entertain; although there is little to take away from the story. (MC)

LaDainian Tomlinson. Savage, Jeff. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32 pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-9989-0.

LaDainian Tomlinson by Jeff Savage is a fun sports book for the 3nd to 5rd grade reader. The story of an undersized athlete with a big heart who made it in the world of professional football will provide inspiration to readers. Words pertaining to football are highlighted in purple within the text so students can check the glossary in the back to find definitions. The story also follows a clear chronology starting with young Ladanian’s start in football. In documenting Tomlinson’s rise to the top, Savage highlights his humility, work ethic, and perseverance. Reinforcing positive messages, LadDainian Tomlinson is a good read for young sports fans. (PM)

Tiger Woods. Savage, Jeff. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $6.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4921-1.

Tiger Woods is a golf legend, but who is he really? This book gives the reader an insight on Woods’s life and the ways family, hard work, and determination can help a person fulfill his or her dreams. Tiger Woods tells of Woods’s early days on the golf course playing with his father all the way up to his professional days playing with the toughest competitors. Anyone who is interested in golf or sports in general would be greatly interested in this book and also feel inspired by its story. The illustrations help to enhance the story. It is a fairly easy read, making it a great choice for early elementary readers. (BCHM)

Erika-San. Say, Allen. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 36 pp. $17, ISBN 978-0-618-88933-4.

One small thing can change anyone’s life. This can obviously be seen in Allen Say’s picture book, Erika-San. The protagonist, Erika, sees a picture of a Japanese house on her grandparent’s wall. This initiates her to dedicate her studies to the Japanese language and culture. Once she graduates from college, she goes straight to Japan to teach and find the home she always dreamed of having, as well as a surprise friend to share her life with. This story is inventive and unique, giving readers something new and exciting to read. (EMR)

All the world. Scanlon, Liz Garton. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8580-8. Illustrated by Marla Frazee.

Using simple words and short phases, Scanlon creates a beautiful rhyme that will bring smiles to the faces of all who read her poetic message. These well chosen words provoke the senses and stir up fond memories of childhood, while also making one ponder the lives of those in other parts of the world. Upon reaching the final page, readers will feel the pleasure and unity of being a part of this beautiful world. (SEB)

The teashop girls. Schaefer, Laura. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 250pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6794-1.

The Tea Shop Girls is a delightful book about how with a little help from her friends, a dedicated tea lover saves her grandmother’s quaint tea shop in Madison, Wisconsin from foreclosure. There are many ways in which Annie tries to save the tea shop and through her trials she discovers that she is growing up and things change, whether they are her friends or her feelings. In this coming of age story the characters learn how important it is to fight for something they believe in, even if it means not being the most popular people around. This book is full of recipes for tasty tea and fun finger food that tie into the setting of the story. (MM)

Come back soon. Schallau, D. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 44pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-69494-5.

Author-Illustrator Daniel Schallau creates a story of friendships in his book Come back soon. The text follows the pen pals, elephant and mayor penguin, as they discover the bonds of friendship and their dedication to one another. Readers will learn the importance of friendship and helping peers in need. The detailed illustrations of the comic strip-like format will captivate readers while not distracting them from the message of the story. (MAM)

Little blue truck leads the way. Schertle, Alice. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 40pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206389-4. Illustrated by Jill McElmurry.

Alice Schertle’s Little blue truck leads the way will help children learn the important life lessons of working together and taking turns. A little blue country truck goes to the big city, where the streets are filled with police cars, vans, city sweepers, and even the mayor’s limousine. Little Blue is overwhelmed by the loud sirens, the ear-splitting shouts of angry drivers, and the horrendous traffic jams of the city. He is seen as a burden because he does not move fast enough for the city drivers, but his unique, reliable little vehicle comes to the rescue when a problem emerges in the bustling traffic. Bright blues, oranges, and yellows on each car along with the two eyes painted on each car’s headlights create a realistic interpretation of what a car might feel like while driving through big city traffic. The use of onomatopoeias and AB rhyming format makes this book fun and interesting for children while also providing valuable lessons. Little Blue may be considered the small fish in a big pond but he turns out to be a true hero. (CB)

Gullible Gus. Schur, Maxine Rose. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 48pp. $15. ISBN 978-0-618-92710-4. Illustrated by Andrew Glass.

This illustrated short-chapter book by Maxine Rose Schur describes a man named Gus and his adventures. Being an extremely gullible person, Gus is unable to distinguish between reality and fiction. (KLM)

Button up! Schertle, Alice. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 33pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205050-4. Illustrated by Petra Mathers.

The book Button up is composed of poems about many types of animals and their favorite pieces of clothing. Each creature has something special that they wear, from Rick’s wool sweater to Wanda’s swimsuit and Bill’s blue jacket. The rhymes are silly and creative. These poems have the perfect amount of rhythm that children will both enjoy and be able to understand. Catchy, clever poems are enhanced by the wacky illustrations, and can either be read one at a time or all at once. Many young readers and their families will enjoy this book. (SE, KAR)

Look out Jeremy Bean! Schertle, Alice. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 58pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-5609-6. Illustrated by David Slonim.

Look out Jeremy Bean! is an early chapter book comprised of three separate stories about a young boy named Jeremy Bean and his interesting daily adventures. The first story follows Jeremy as he searches for something to collect for show and tell. The second story is a hilarious tale of Jeremy’s attempt to catch a dust bunny that he thinks is hiding under his bed. Finally, readers follow Jeremy on his St. Patrick’s Day adventures when he forgets to wear green. Jeremy always finds interesting ways to solve his dilemmas and these stories are sure to entertain any reader. Children will be able to relate to Jeremy’s conflicts and will enjoy the entertaining pictures accompanying the story. (KRR)

Truckery rhymes. Scieszka, Jon. Simon & Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 57pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-4135-4. Illustrated by David Shannon, L. Long, D. Gordon.

Scieszka’s spin on traditional Nursery rhymes is humorous, action-packed, and sure to appease a young audience’s infatuation with trucks. Brightly colored illustrations enhance a fantastical and flamboyant mood. The characterization of each truck is developed through the detailed illustrations which convey emotions, most often aggression. Reading the story aloud is inhibited by infrequent awkward rhyming and unsatisfactory resolutions to simple plots found in the reworked nursery rhymes. (LG)

Encyclopedia Brown: Super sleuth. School, Donald J.. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 87pp. $15.99. ISBN978-0-525-42100-9.

The detective business has always been interesting to Encyclopedia Brown. In Encyclopedia Brown: Super sleuth, she protects Idaville from swindlers, con men, and thieves. She also investigates a series of mysteries in which the reader has the opportunity to help solve the crime. Each chapter is a different mystery allowing several chances to improve the reader’s comprehension skills. In the end of the book, the solution for each chapter is reveled and described. Encyclopedia Brown is an exiting read and insures that the reader will continue to comprehend the material presented in the book. (BCHM)

Philippines. Schraff, Anne. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-58013-596-2.

The Philippines are an island located in Asia. Many students most likely do not know where, what, or who the Philippines are. This book does a fine job of introducing a wide range of topics in regards to the Philippines; how they dress, what they eat, what they look like. This book is a great start for students to get out of their own culture and backgrounds and to see what other countries in this world are like. This is a great book for early elementary students because it opens their eyes to new things that they would not get elsewhere and also it has illustrations to keep them interested and intrigued. (BCHM)

Royal blood: A vampire kisses novel. Schreiber, Ellen. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 194pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-128887-6.

The summer is over and it is time to go back to school, but this does not appeal to Raven, a seventeen-year-old gothic girl. Her boyfriend, Alexander, is a vampire and his parents are coming to visit soon. Alexander’s parents want him to come back to their native country, Romania, but he and Raven desperately search for a way to stay together. Unfortunately, the reader never feels the impression of real frustration, anger, or sadness that one would expect to find in characters that are about to be forced apart, which makes it hard to sympathize. Additionally, the predictability of the ending diminishes the suspense that was developed in earlier chapters. (LM, FCW)

Give a goat. Schrock, Jan West. Tilbury House Publishers, 2008. [email protected], (800-582-1899). 30pp. $16.65. ISBN978-0-88448-301-4. Illustrated Aileen Darragh.

How can children make a difference in the world? This book gives one answer to this question. The book tells the story of a class that raises money to buy a goat for a family in Africa. Give a goat shows how even the smallest contribution can make a difference, and it may also inspire children to help others who are in need. (FCW)

In her hands: The story of sculpture Augusta Savage. Schroeder, Alan. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 48pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-332-7. Illustrated by JaeMe Bereal.

Augusta Savage was born with hands that sculpted wonderful works of art. Savage grew up as a preacher’s child, which harmed her ability to use her wonderful sculpting talent. Her father considered Augusta’s small sculptures to be sinful and broke each one he encountered. One day the Savage family moved to a new town where Augusta’s father got a new job. In this town was a free community pottery shop that allowed Augusta to make many improved sculptures. Soon Augusta decided to leave for New York to become a professional sculptor. The story continues with how Augusta became a professional sculptor. This is a great book for early elementary students and it also includes great illustrations. (BCHM)

There’s a babirusa in my bathtub! Schur, Maxine Rose. Dawn Publication, 2009. [email protected], (800-545-7475). 32pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1-58469-118-1. Illustrated by Michael S. Maydak.

There are many animals on earth that may be completely unfamiliar to young students. This book uses both poetry and information to create an interesting read for early elementary students. Anyone who is interested in animals or odd creatures would be intrigued by this book. There’s a babirusa in my bathtub! includes animals from all over the world. The photographs are extremely well done and will keep the reader interested in the entire book. (BCHM)

What men call treasure: The search for gold at Victorio Peak. Schweidel, David and Robert Boswell. Cinco Puntos Press, 2008. [email protected],com, (800-566-9072). 341pp. $25.95. ISBN 978-1-933693-21-7.

What men call treasure: The search for gold at Victorio Peak informs readers about the search for gold that occurred in New Mexico’s Victorio Peak. This book is written for older readers, and is written much like a text book. Although some parts of the book were dull, it would be a very useful research tool. (CF)

Robot zot! Scieszka, Jon. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 37pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6394-3. Illustrated by David Shannon.

The intergalactic hero Robot Zot victoriously defeats all who cross his path. Readers will discover if Robot Zot can defeat his greatest challenger of all, the fearsome Commander General, a mischievous black lab. With brilliantly colorful illustrations on every page, Robot zot! is sure to excite the imaginations of young readers with intergalactic fantasies of their own. (SEB)

Far far away! Segal, John. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected] (212-366-2000). $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25007-1.

John Segal’s book Far Far Away looks at the normal childhood threat of running away from home in its completion. The book starts with the piglet telling his mother in the super market that he is running away because he is mad. It then follows along with the piglet as he tries to gather what he will need to live off of when he is running away. He gathers his bike, his light, his helmet, his sleeping supplies, and his coat along with many other things including his dog. When his mother offers him a piece of cake to bring along, this creates a problem because he would need to wait around for the cake. A piece of cake can change even the most dedicated runaway piglet’s mind. This book uses lighter colors in its illustrations that show the mother pig never really losing her temper or believing that the piglet will actually leave. She seems calm and collected despite her little piglet’s repeated comments about leaving and going far far away. (PM)

Where the mild things are: A meek parody. Send-up, Maurice. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 33pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9551-7. Illustrated by Bonnie Leick.

Where the mild things are by Maurice Send-Up is a parody of the popular children’s book, Where the wild things are. The story follows Mog, a monster that lives in a place where all monsters are horrible; but there is one problem: Mog is not horrible. He is a very gentle, kind, and happy monster, and this worried his parents. His parents decide to send him to Dullsville, the most boring place in the world. While in Dullsville he meets four people, who turn out to be well-known celebrities. Over time things begin to get boring for Mog in Dullsville. He gets so bored he loses his kind and gentle demeanor and becomes horrible. He returns to his parents and they are so proud of the appalling monster he has become. This is a great book for students in the middle and upper elementary grades because of the author’s use of complex sentences, and the references to the popular individuals in today’s culture. Bonnie Leick, the illustrator, uses a wide variety of color and shades for the pictures. Mog is portrayed as being a friendly and gentle character at first, with the use of curved lines, and giving him certain emotions that make him lovable to the reader. As the book progresses Leick begins to use straight and jagged lines to show that he has become horrible, while giving him an evil expression on his face. Although Mog becomes a horrible monster in the end, the author is still able to make Mog likable to the reader throughout the entire book. (AED)

Emily’s out and about book. Senning, Cindy Post, and Peggy Post. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-1117000-8. Illustrated by Leo Landry

A young girl named Emily and her mother are running errands for the day. Emily and her mother make trips to the library, the doctor, the marketplace, and they go out to lunch. While out with her mother, Emily remembers to behave herself the best she can, and because she was such a good girl, her mother buys her a brand new sweater. This book is great for beginning readers because the author uses simple sentences and words. Readers will learn to listen to their parents and how to behave in certain settings. The illustrator, Leo Landry, uses simplistic drawings with a wide variety of colors. (AED)

The timekeeper’s moon. Sensel, Joni. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010.
[email protected], (646-307-5151). 339pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-457-3.

A plot with a suspenseful combination of past and present unfolds as 13-year-old Ariel Farwalker listens to the voices she hears around her. Doubtful of her gifts, Ariel decides to embark on an adventure that could mean life or death. Following a map and meeting friends on the way she uses her unique talents, such as talking to the moon, to search for a waterfall. Ariel has admirable passion and drive that keeps her going as she learns more about herself than anything else. This fantasy may be an external journey, but involves many internal discoveries. (ESS)

The farwalker’s quest. Sensel, Joni. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 372pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-272-2.

Middle school aged children will relate to the characters in A farwalker’s quest as they are faced with the dilemma of finding themselves and their purpose in the world. This Lord of the Rings-esque adventure book chronicles the travels of two young people who are trying to earn their last names, essentially a journey to discover their identities and purposes for their lives. Zeke and Ariel earn their titles by traveling the countryside in search of the origin of and reasoning behind a message they find while climbing a tree before school. This book would be very beneficial in raising the self esteem of its readers because it allows teens to relate to characters in a different world facing the same struggles of identity crisis as they are. (PM).

Coretta Scott. Shange, Ntozake. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-125364-5. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

Although the title suggests the book focuses mainly on Coretta Scott, the storyline actually gives readers some insight into the events of the Civil Rights Movement. The text does not provide substantial factual information, leaving readers with lingering questions about the time period, but the beautiful illustrations make it worth reading. The book is enjoyable but would not be useful for readers who are in search of reliable facts about Coretta Scott or the Civil Rights Movement. (FCW)

We troubled the waters. Shange, Ntozake. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780061337352. Illustrated by Rod Brown.

From Brown’s first illustration of a black man facedown in a swamp, it is clear that this picture book contains bleak material and does not shirk away from the harsh history of blacks in America. What follows is a collection of poems from the perspectives of several black people, combined with paintings by Rod Brown. While the book does a fine job of not candy-coating facts like Jim Crow laws, the KKK, and civil rights marches, the content is probably most appropriate for those in junior high or older. (MC)

Race you to bed. Shea, Bob. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 40pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0061704178.

Race you to bed is an interactive rhyming book about a rabbit racing the reader to bed. The rabbit goes through many obstacles in order to get to bed. Young children unable to read by themselves will enjoy the pictures. The vocabulary is suitable for children learning to read because they can sound out the rhyming words. Children will relate to this adorable bunny’s tale of going to bed. (KW, AO)

When the world is ready for bed. Sheilds, Gillian. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 26pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-339-2. Illustrated by Anna Currey.

The sweet rhyming words used is this story as three little baby bunnies get ready for bed are classic and cozy. The bunnies have dinner, brush their teeth, comb their hair, give kisses, and say their prayers. This book will make readers feel warm and fuzzy. It’s a perfect nighttime read! (KAR)

Into the deep: The life of naturalist and explorer. Sheldon, David. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 48pp. $7.95. ISBN 978-1-58089-342-8.

William Beebe was a naturalist and explorer. Throughout his entire life, Beebe was passionate about exploring nature and classifying animals. Beebe was the first person to go deeper than 525 feet under water in the ocean. He also developed something that later became the submarine. This book shows how great nature and the environment can be for the reader. Children who enjoy being outdoors and learning new things about their surroundings will be most interested in this book. The illustrations in this book are inspiring and well done, making it a great book for children in the stage between picture books and chapter books. (BCHM)

Heartless. Shepard, Sara. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 274pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-156614-1.

Sara Shepard’s Heartless is girly and flirty, but also mysterious and sad. The novel introduces a group of four well-off high school friends who lost their fifth best friend, Allison when she was murdered at the end of seventh grade. Although Ali (as they liked to call her) has been gone for several years, the rest of her friends cannot seem to grasp the reality that she is truly dead. After an intentional destructive fire was set in one of the girls’ backyards, the girls each set out to discover what truly happened to their best friend the night she was murdered. Along their search for peace and answers about Ali’s death the four friends also surprisingly learn more about themselves and their individual families than they ever expected to. Heartless is a novel young girls can relate to as it is loaded with friendship issues, family drama, self-image problems, and the quest for internal peace about realities that are not so easy to face. Shepard does an excellent job of developing each of the four girls into people whom girls at home can relate to. The four friends are not only solving a mystery in the novel, but they are also sharing real emotions the heart can feel after experiencing the loss of a close friend. Young girls around the globe will be drawn into this story of a quest for internal peace. (CKB)

Olivia acts out. Shepherd, Jodie. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 24pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-1-4169-8571-6. Illustrated by Patrick Spaziante.

A young pig named Olivia is taking part in a play with her class at school. Olivia is sure she will receive the main role in the play, but it is given to another student. Olivia gets to play the role of Cow Number Two, and she only has one line, “Moo”! Olivia complains to her family about her role in the play, and her father tries to give her advice by saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Olivia listens to her father’s advice and practices her line over and over again. When the day of the play comes, everyone is nervous. Francine, the lead role in the play, forgets her lines, but Olivia is right there to help her. At the end of the play, it is time for Olivia to shine. Olivia decided to add something extra to her part, and so when it was time for her to say her line, she leaps up and jumps over the moon in the background shouting, “MOO!” This book is a great read for early elementary students. Jodie Shepherd tries to send the message to children that no matter how small the role you receive, if one carries it out to its fullest, it can make a significant difference. Illustrator Patrick Spaiziante uses an array of colors throughout the book in order to make the pictures as realistic as possible. The use of texture and the red color used on her dress makes Olivia seem like a very warm and friendly character. (AED)

Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation. Sherman, Pat. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers), 2010. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8028-5319-6. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper.

This is a bittersweet story about a child slave, Ben, who works at a general store in the south. At a young age, Ben was separated from his mother and now only gets to see her once a year. Ben has a special talent however, that he must keep secret. Ben is able to read, but that is forbidden as a slave. After the Civil War starts, Ben is left to fend for himself and ends up in a slave prison, a place were slaves wait to be sold. Ben waits in prison for many months and is startled when a group of fellow slaves ask him to read a newspaper. When Ben proves that he is able to read it, all the men cheer! The newspaper Ben was reading was actually an article about the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the slaves free! This book would serve as a great tool for introducing children to the harsh realities of the civil war period. It accurately depicts the civil war and the daily struggles of a slave, while bringing a smile to the readers face. (MM)

Puppy love: The story of Esme and Sam. Shields, Gillian. Simon and Schuster, 2008. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8010-0. Illustrated by Elizabeth Harbour.

Esme lives a very extravagant life; she is pampered every minute of the day. Sam lives a life on his own, finding what he can to eat and sleep at night. The two dogs meet one day after Esme gets loose and runs away, and they immediately fall in love. Sam helps Esme find her way back home, but Esme’s owner will have nothing to do with Sam. When the two are unable to be together Esme runs away from her home to find Sam, and her owner finally agrees to keep Sam so the two can be together. This book is great for children in early elementary grades because it uses simple words and sentences in correlation with rhyming. The illustrations have a large array of colors, and the texture and shape of Sam and Esme make them seem very gentle and friendly characters. (AED)

Gateway. Shinn, Sharon. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 280pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-670-01178-0.

In the fantasy novel Gateway, the main character, Daiyu, is a teenager living in St. Louis. As a child Daiyu was adopted from China, and has always felt out of place in St. Louis. However, after buying a black jade ring from a street vender Daiyu’s life changes drastically. She enters a different world where almost everyone is Chinese. Soon she becomes recruited as a spy to spend her time learning the norms, manners and ways of the world. In order to prevent a new developing government from taking power, Daiyu becomes a member of an elite group that eventually maintains order in her new world. Once her mission is complete she returns to St. Louis, leaving her handsome love interest behind. Gateway’s time-travel fantasy plot is unsettling but nevertheless, a good read. (KR)

The adventures of Benny. Shreve, Steve. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 159pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5575-2.

Steve Shreve has created a fearless and slightly clueless character named Benny. As Benny’s five adventures are broken into chapters, this book provides a transition into chapter books. The fun and humorous situations that Benny finds himself in are sure to leave the reader satisfied. The large print and many pictures included will appeal to young readers. (KM)

Turkey trouble. Silvano, Wendi. Marshall Cavendish, 2009.
[email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5529-5. Illustrated by Lee Harper.

Turkey trouble is a charming story about a turkey, named Turkey, who is trying to not be eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. Going around the barnyard to all his other animal friends, Turkey tries to disguise himself as the other animals, in hope that Farmer Jack will not find him. With colorful illustrations that make the characters come alive, children can enjoy the playful pictures of life on the farm. Find out if Turkey can outsmart Farmer Jack and thus survive another Thanksgiving! Wendi Silvano’s story is a perfect selection to read to young children, reinforcing the identification of farm animals and Thanksgiving traditions. (SEB)

Olivia blasts off. Silverhardt, Lauryn. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 11pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9538-8. Illustrated by Guy Wolek.

Olivia learns about the solar system before taking an educational trip to space, where she experiences the lessons firsthand. This book is educational and fun for children. Young listeners and beginning readers will remain engaged by the opportunity to place stickers on pages throughout the book. (LM, KLM)

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: horse in the house. Silverman, Erica. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 44pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-1-15-205390-1. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin.

One morning, Cowgirl Kate wakes up to an alarming surprise: her horse, Cocoa, is in her house! Readers will follow Kate and Cocoa as they tour each room of the house. With easy-to-read text and friendly illustrations, Erica Silverman presents an excellent story for young independent readers, just beginning to embark into the world of chapter books. (SEB)

Do you know about birds. Silverman, Buffy. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-7541-2.

This book offers simple, comprehendible information about birds in an easy-to-read format using few words, large text and pictures. Young readers who have not read an informational book before would enjoy this book; however, older readers may find the text to be too simple. The book offers a glossary and tips on further reading. (FCW)

Global warming. Simon, Seymour. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-114250-5.

Stunning pictures of natural phenomena compliment Simon’s rendering of global warming’s massive impact. Factual information is presented with advanced vocabulary suitable for fifth grade and beyond. The greenhouse effect is defined, and its effect on climates, water supplies and species worldwide are explained. A glossary at the back of the book is an excellent resource for learners of all ages. (LM, LG)

Dolphins. Simon, Seymour. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-028393-3.

Seymour Simon’s informational text, Dolphins, is sure to interest children of all ages, though this book is aimed for readers ages 5-9. Dolphins goes beyond the facts regarding a dolphin’s life and how they function underwater to cover this animal’s critical role in our world. There is even a list of ways children can help to keep dolphins safe. This book serves as an excellent read for children who are learning to read, as well as reading to learn. (MAM)

Unwind. Shusterman, Neal. Simon and Schuster, 2007. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 335pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-1205-7.

Unwind depicts a futuristic world as an organ harvesting society. Connor, Risa, and Lev are unhappy about the policy their society enforces: life should be untouched during the first 13 years, but from ages 16-18 anything is fair game. This book could be seen as controversial because although it is science fiction, it is quite possible for a problem similar to the one in this book to develop from cloning. The book follows the students along their escape to freedom and also addresses the controversy of the idea of harvesting organs. (PM)

Gorilla garage. Shulman, Mark. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5461-8. Illustrated by Vincent Nguyen.

A father and son are riding in their car when all of a sudden the car stalls and starts smoking. Since they are driving in the country, only one car comes driving by to help them, lucky for them that it was a tow truck. In the tow truck there is a gorilla. The gorilla takes them and their car back to the “Gorilla Garage” to fix the car. The garage is filled with many apes, gorillas, and chimps working on cars. By the end of the story, the head gorilla sees that the boy wants nothing more than to drive his father’s car. He proposed to the father that the fix up is free of charge if the son can drive. This book doesn’t seem to have much of a lesson. The story and illustrations are enjoyable, but the overall message of the book is a little unclear. (BCHM)

Red sings from treetops: A year in colors. Sidman, Joyce. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-01494-4. Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski.

Although this book does not seem to follow a storyline in terms of text, it does follow the character, Red, through a series of colorful illustrations. The book focuses on how different colors can represent different things, and also how the colors change with every season. This book could be useful for discussing colors and what they can portray. (FCW)

Do you know about amphibians? Silverman, Buffy. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected] (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-7543-6.
Readers will learn about different kinds of amphibians. Do you know about amphibians? teaches children how frogs and toads grow and survive. (NH)

I’ll pass for your comrade. Silvey, Anita. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 115pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-618-57491-9.

This book reveals the well-kept secret that during the Civil War many women disguised themselves as men to serve in the front lines. I’ll pass for your comrade is a detailed historical book discussing the ways in which hundreds of woman joined the ranks to help in any way they could. These women served as nurses, spies, or on the front lines. The true identities of the disguised soldiers were never revealed, as many of them died in battle. This well written book was well researched and includes many interesting photos. (KAR)

Dogs. Simon, Seymour. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2004. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $6.99. ISBN 978-0-06-446255-6.

Dogs teaches readers about many different types of dogs. This book would be a good choice for students who love animals. Readers of all ages will enjoy this book. (NH)

An awfully beastly business: Band goes a troll. Sinden, David. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 202pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8651-5.

The business of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts exists to help and protect troubled beasts in the wild. Ulf is a student at the RSPCB and takes his duty to protect any beasts in need of help very seriously. Ulf finds himself in deadly situations, and must find ways to escape alive. Readers will learn the importance of helping those in need. The advanced vocabulary and mild graphic violence makes this book appropriate for readers between the ages of eight and twelve. (BCHM)

Cars on mars: Roving the red planet. Siy, Alexandra. Charlesbridge, 2009. [email protected], (800-225-3214). 57pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1-57091-462-1.

Cars on mars: Roving the red planet follows the car-like machine that was sent to Mars to gather information. Readers are provided with detailed information about the car, the planet Mars, and space in general. It includes many pictures of Mars and of the car as well. At times the amount of information can be overwhelming, but overall this is a great book for children who love space and learning. The book also offers a glossary and tips for further reading. (FCW)

Tutus aren’t my style. Skeers, Linda. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 26pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3212-4. Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf.

When Emma, an outdoorsy, frog-chasing, mud-loving, clumsy, and lively-spirited girl receives a ballerina costume in the mail from her uncle, she doesn’t know what to do. She realizes she has no idea how to be a ballerina. Emma gets a lot of advice from family and friends, but can not seem to twirl, float, or flutter correctly. In the end, Emma sheds the tutu and tights and finds a way to be herself and be a ballerina too. Children will be encouraged by this story’s theme of the importance of individuality. (NO)

Leven Thumps and the wrath of Ezra. Skye, Obert. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2008. [email protected] (800-223-2336). 422pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9092-5.

The fantastical ideas of merging dimensions and realms, evil beings, and remarkable powers come together to create an incredible story of adventure in the fantasy novel Leven Thumps and the wrath of Ezra by Obert Skye. As the fourth book in its series, readers follow Leven Thumps on an adventure where he must defeat the evil Dearth. Dearth live in the realm of Foo, the place between the possible and the impossible, and are attempting to enter reality so they can take over and destroy people’s ability to imagine the impossible. In order to save everyone’s ability to hope and dream, Lev must team up with Winter, Clover, and Geth who all have powers of their own, to save reality. This well-written novel is full of unique, mind-boggling ideas to grab the attention of young middle school readers and allow them to explore the possibilities of other worlds. (KRR)

When the whistle blows. Slayton, Fran Cannon. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000) 160pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25189-4.

When the whistle blows takes place in the 1940’s. Although this may be a turn-off for some people, it does not read as if it were outdated. Books set in the past can at times be irrelevant for children in today’s world. This book, however, does a great job of keeping the problems modern. It is Halloween in the story, and kids like pulling pranks. The kids go too far when they accidentally prank somebody that they should not have. Kids will definitely enjoy this book. (TO, NH)

Andy and Sam: Hide-and-seek. Slegers, Liesbet. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 28pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-35-8.

Andy has lost his cat! As he searches for Sam, he asks readers to help him. They look in the house, on the farm, at the beach, by the pond, in the woods, and at the zoo. The illustrations are the focal point in this ‘Where’s Waldo’-style book. Two-page spreads of jam-packed pictures with solid, bright colors are supported by questions at the bottom of each page that challenge readers’ observational skills. Children will enjoy both reading this book and playing hide-and-seek with Sam in each illustration. (NO)

Partly cloudy. Soto, Gary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 100pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206301-6.

Gary Soto appeals to readers going through a variety of adolescent feelings and struggles. The concept of love and longing is apparent, with themes including obsession, exaggeration, frustration, confusion, rumors and jealousy. Written from the perspective of a love struck boy and girl, these poems reveal the reality of young love. Soto utilizes various poetic structures and attitudes to convey love in various situations. (ESS)

A whole nother story. Soup, Dr. Cuthbert. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2010.
[email protected], (646-307-5151). 264pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-435-1. Illustrated by Jeffrey Steward Timmins.

Everyone is determined to catch Mr. Cheeseman and his family, in pursuit of one thing the family holds so dear. The family changes their names and moves all over the country attempting to escape the ill intentions of the people who are searching for them. This hilarious novel is filled with advice for readers which they will gain from the events of this inventor and his family. With unpredictable characters, non-stop action, humor, and an inviting style, Dr. Cuthbert Soup creates a captivating adventure of an indestructible family. (ESS)

Animals. Smith, Miranda. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $12.99 ISBN 978-0-7534-6306-2.

With accurate illustrations and photos, Animals will impress young readers as they discover the wonders of creatures everywhere. Readers will learn fascinating details of our planet’s most amazing animals, including their classifications, how they migrate, give birth, hunt for food, camouflage, and build shelter. Smith has created a wonderful collection of interesting facts about animals all over the globe. (SEB)

The inside tree. Smith, Linda. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper). 2010. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 30pp $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-028241-7. Illustrated by David Parkins.

The inside tree is the comical story of solitary Mr. Potter who one day decides to bring a bit of the outside, inside. Mr. Potter plants a tree in the middle of his cozy country living room, not anticipating the consequences of nature taking her course. Conflict ensues as the trees limbs, illustrated realistically in light purple and gray hues accented with warm green leaves, break through the ceiling and rain floods the house. Mr. Potter and his small black and white dog are forced to relocate to the old barn. Deep rich mauves and purple-blue set a brooding mood for this man versus nature conflict. (LG)

Flygirl. Smith, Sherri L. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 275pp. $16.99. ISBN 9780399247095.

Ida Mae Jones wants to fly, but as a black woman in the 1940’s, this is almost impossible to do. When she hears about the WASP program, however, Ida Mae applies and is able to pass as a white woman due to her light skin. However, she faces questions about who she is and where she fits in. With well-developed characters, an engaging plot, and a thoroughly researched setting, Smith has created a highly enjoyable novel for middle school and high school readers. (MC)

Two at the zoo. Smith, Danna. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 32pp. $16.00. ISBN 9780547049823. Illustrated by Valeria Petrone.

This counting book takes place at a zoo, where a young boy and his grandpa count the animals they see. The fun, simple illustrations and the rhyming pattern of the text make this a good choice for early counters. (MC)

Little Mouse gets ready. Smith, Jeff. Raw Junior, 2009. [email protected], (212-431-9106). 32pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-1-935179-01-6.

Mama Mouse tells Little Mouse that it is time to get ready to go to the barn. Little Mouse thinks he knows just what he must do to get ready for the trip, and he wants to get dressed by himself. This book takes the reader through the process of getting dressed as Little Mouse puts on his underpants, shirt, socks and shoes. When mama comes to check on him, she tells the silly little mouse that mice don’t wear clothes! This entertaining book would be great for young children who are learning to dress themselves. (KAR)

Dark Visions. Smith, L.J.. Simon and Schuster (Simon Pulse), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 732pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8956-1.

Kaitlyn Fairchild has always been an outcast, mainly because she has strange eyes and psychic powers. One day, she gets the opportunity to attend the Zetes Institute where she can study with other psychics and get a fresh start, but Kaitlyn is suspicious; something is not quite right with the Institute. Although all the characters are interesting, Kaitlyn and the dark, mysterious Gabriel stand out in particular as relateable. Readers will be interested in the interactions between these two characters, as well as the mystery they find themselves involved in. (FCW)

Ghosts of war: The true story of a 19-year-old GI. Smithson, Ryan. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 321pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-166468-7.

This unique autobiography of a 19-year-old soldier in the Iraq war focuses primarily on GI interactions with noncombatants. The author, Ryan Smithson, was a teenager growing up near Albany, New York when the World Trade Centers fell. This inspired him to join the army reserves and eventually he was sent to Iraq. While in Iraq, he learns many valuable lessons, some of which were difficult and gruesome to learn. Smithson describes both being shot at and cleaning up the aftermath of the attacks on the cities in Iraq. He does not hold back his feelings and leaves the reader with some graphic and brutally honest descriptions of events from his life in Iraq. Throughout the book, Smithson describes his pains and feelings about what he saw during the war; therefore the novel serves a therapeutic purpose for the author. Although the severity of some of the descriptions may cause this book to be inappropriate for young readers, this autobiography is effective in allowing readers to relate to the struggles soldiers face in the War in Iraq. (PM)

The composer is dead. Snicket, Lemony and Nathaniel Stookey. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-123627-3. Illustrated by Carson Ellis.

The composer is dead is a hilarious story about a detective who is trying to unravel the mysterious murder of a composer. He interviews each section of the composer’s orchestra, from the trombones and cellos to the flutes and clarinets, trying to accuse one section of this terrible crime. Each section responds by explaining what they were doing the night of the murder and giving the reasons why they would never do such a thing. The story ends by listing all of the famous composers who have died, justifying the recent murder by saying all great composers must die. This is a picture book intended for older readers, in middle school or high school, as the humor is directed at an older audience. This book will be especially enjoyable to readers who have a background with musical instruments or who are in a school band. (KRR)

Snap. Snow, Carol. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 221pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0.06-145211-6.

Madison goes to a low-end beachside town with her family. Their stay turns out to be permanent when her family’s financial struggles cause them to lose their home. With the current state of the economy, many readers will easily be able to relate to Madison’s difficulties when dealing with financial troubles and being the new girl in town. (FCW)

Remember me. Soctomah, Donald and Jean Flahive. Tilbury House Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (207-582-1899). 30pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-88448-300-7.

Remember me is a story about an unlikely friendship between a middle-aged Indian man and a young white boy. Their friendship stems from a mutual love of canoeing and exploring nature in the area where they live. The book is beautifully illustrated and brightly colored; younger children will enjoy looking at the pictures. Remember me could be very helpful in teaching children about accepting cultures that are different from their own. It could also be useful when teaching children about the environment. Using traditional Indian beliefs about nature, the book promotes an appreciation for animals and nature, as well as telling readers that it is their duty to protect nature. (CF)

Violet and Winston. Sones, Sonya and Bennett Tramer. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (2121-366-2000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3234-6. Illustrated by Chris Raschka.

The friendship of two little birds, Violet and Winston creates a collection of heart-warming stories. In the first story Violet and Winston tackle the issue of eating with manners. The second story involves Winston losing his glasses and in the third they have a garage sale. This swan and duck pair discovers each other’s strengths and weaknesses as the three stories play out. They also learn to accept each other for who they are and in the end really cherish each other’s friendship. Violet and Winston is a charming book. Children will love the eye-catching illustrations, and older readers will find the author’s stories silly and full of humor. (KAR)

Zig and Wikki: Something ate my homework. Spiegelman, Nadja. Raw Junior (Toon Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-431-9106). 40pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-1935179023. Illustrated by Trade Loeffler.

Two aliens travel to earth in order to complete a class assignment. While on earth, they encounter many different animals. Each time the pair discovers a new animal, readers are provided with facts about the animal. Although the illustrations will help new readers understand the story, comprehending the text is crucial in order to learn about each animal. (LM, AO)

Silly Tilly. Spinelli, Eileen. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5525-7. Illustrated by David Slonim.

This book is a story about a very silly goose named Tilly and all the silly things she does on the farm. One day the other farm animals become tired of Tilly’s behavior and get her to stop being such a silly goose. The story shows that it is possible to appreciate people for being different, and a bit silly. The illustrations are colorful and funny, fitting the story and the silly antics of Tilly perfectly. (FCW)

Baseball from A to Z. Spradlin, Michael P. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-124081-2. Illustrated by Macky Pamintuam.

Baseball from A to Z is an alphabet book in which every letter is defined by a baseball term. The pictures are action shots of players and unique views of the field which gives readers a new perspective on the game. This would be a great book for baseball lovers and young baseball fans. (MM)

Off like the wind! Spradlin, Michael P. Macmillan Publishing, 2010. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 29pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9652-3. Paintings by Layne Johnson.

The Pony Express, beginning in Missouri and ending in California, was a journey riders braved to deliver mail to settlers in the west. Both a map and a timeline are included in the book, laying out the historical context of the journey by defining places and describing important events. As the mailman fills his bag with mail and saddles up his horse, he heads out on a journey to endure both the elements and dangerous Indian tribes. The rising tensions between the riders and the unwelcoming tribes show a nation on the brink of a civil war, as the riders are constantly watching for an attack. Readers will learn the daily challenges of the 1,840 mile trip as they follow a rider through herds of bison, storms, and wolves. (ESS)

The youngest templar: Trail of fate Spradlin, Michael P. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 230pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24764-4.

The youngest templar: Trail of fate is filled with adventure and excitement. Being the second book in its series, readers who are starting in the middle of the plot may have trouble following the storyline. It is an engaging adventure book that children will enjoy. Tristan and his comrades, Robard and Maryam, accepted the task of getting the Holy Grail to safety, but Sir Hugh wants to keep the Holy Grail for himself, and chases the trio throughout the story. I would recommend this book along with the first one to children who enjoy action and adventure. (NH)

Mozart: The wonder child. Stanley, Diane. HarperCollins Publishers (Collins), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 44pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-072674-4.

Mozart is one of the most well-known musicians of all time. Diane Stanley wrote this children’s picture book to introduce Mozart to children at an early age. While looking at the illustrations, the reader may feel like they are watching a marionette show. This allows the story to be much more child friendly and likable. The book would be a great one to add to a classroom collection to read aloud to students or to allow students to read on their own. (EMR)

Night fires. Stanley, George Edward. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 183pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7559-5.

A historical fiction book about the presence of the Ku Klux Klan during the 1920’s, Night fires confronts an issue many teens struggle with: a lack of sense of identity. Woodrow Harper is a 13-year-old boy who moves with his mother to the hometown of his late father. He is worried he may not find someone to befriend, until he meets his neighbor, Senator Crawford. Senator Crawford acts as a father figure towards Woodrow, teaching and offering him things that his father never did. After their friendship is established, Woodrow learns of Senator Crawford’s involvement with the Ku Klux Klan. He feels torn between maintaining his friendship with the Senator and doing what is right. Kids today often face the decision to either lose possible friends or go against what they think is right. (PM)

Strange angels. St. Crow, Lili. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Razorbill), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 293pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-251-1.

The main character of this book, Dru Anderson, is a sixteen-year-old girl who has to deal with both her personal problems and supernatural problems. Her father has taught her to be a warrior, but when he dies she must face zombies, a poltergeist and many more frightening obstacles by herself. Strange Angels is an engaging book and it will appeal to middle school aged readers. (SE, NH)

Pouch! Stein, David Ezra. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25051-4.

Young Joey the kangaroo faces many dangers when he leaves his mother’s pouch. The natural and warm illustrations portray the animals that Joey sees and the environment in which he lives. Although the animals are unfamiliar, many of them are not dangerous. Readers will relate to Joey as he courageously keeps investigating his new environment even when he is unsure of what to expect. (ESS)

The duel: The parallel lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. St. George, Judith. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Viking), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). $16.99. ISBN 9780670011247.

With fresh prose and a relatively short length, students interested in history will enjoy this interesting comparison between the lives on Hamilton and Burr. It explains how the two came to fight a duel, leaving Hamilton dead and Burr guilty of murder. The concept is unique and the book is a quick read, making it ideal for junior high and high school students interested in early American history. (MC)

The happiest hippo in the world. Steel, Danielle. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-157899-1. Illustrated by Margaret Spengler.

A young, green hippo, named Greene, is trying to find a place where he can fit in without being considered a monster. Greene tries to fit in the circus but is too big and scares the children so he must find another place to belong. After a lot of traveling, Greene finally finds a home with a young boy that doesn’t think Greene is scary. He thinks that Greene is special like everyone else in the world. Greene and the boy soon form a friendship as they play in the sandbox and tell stories. Danielle Steel reinforces the ideas that we are all different, but we all fit in the same world together. Although Greene and the boy were completely different they could still play together and be happy. Margaret Spengler’s intensely colored illustrations are amazing and reflect the emotions of the characters, playing a key role in the story. Steel promotes healthy and caring relationships that are both two-sided and full of love. (EEE).

The middle east. Steele, Phillip. Macmillian Publishing (Kingfisher). 2006. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 63pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6313-0.

This book is an excellent resource for students working on projects or interested in gaining knowledge about the Middle East. The titles on every page keep the reader focused and on task, while the photos keep them engaged. I would recommend this book to all upper elementary students. (KLM)

Navigators: Ancient Rome. Steele, Philip. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6288-1.

Navigators: Ancient Rome addresses different aspects of life in ancient Rome through explanations using pictures and illustrations. Readers will easily gain general knowledge about ancient Rome. A glossary is included to help readers understand new or confusing terms, and the author has also provided tips for further reading on Rome. (LM, FCW)

Ten-gallon Bart and the wild west show. Stevens Crummel, Susan. Marshall Cavendish, 2008. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 40pp. $17.95. ISBN 978-0-7614-5391-8. Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue.

Ten-gallon Bart and the wild west show is a book that helps readers learn problem solving skills through following along with the main character. The main character is Ten-Gallon Bart, a retired sheriff, who is very bored with retirement. To liven up his life, he decides to try to wake and ride the wildest bull in the west that is part of Buffalo Chip’s Wild West Show. Ten-Gallon Bart and all his friends brainstorm ideas on how to wake up the sleeping monster so that Ten-Gallon Bart can ride him long enough to earn a permanent spot in the show. During the show, many animals try to wake the beast by cock-a-doodle-dooing, pushing, pulling, offering him food and even pulling his tail, but the bull does not spring up until his blanket is pulled from underneath him. After finally solving the problem and riding the bull for the required time, the retired sheriff posts up in his rocking chair with his new cozy blanket. If it was not for the problem solving skills of Bart and his friends, he could have never done what he did at the show. This book gives the reader a good lesson of hard work and problem solving. (PM)

Amelia Earhart: This broad ocean. Stewart Taylor, Sarah and James Sturm. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 96pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1423113379. Illustrated by Ben Towle.

Excellent research about specific events in Amelia Earhart’s life are combined with down-to-earth Grace, a fictional character, to portray the interesting and relatable story of Earhart’s historic first flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Grace is a young aspiring reporter always searching for a good story. When Amelia comes to town she follows her journey as she struggles for sixteen days to take off from Trepassey, Newfoundland. Images done in black and white with aquamarine accents enhance the setting. There are a few impertinent details such as mention of Amelia’s pilots’ alcoholism that do not strictly benefit the story line; however the text and images produce a coherent and educational read that is appropriate for upper elementary and middle school ages. (LG)

No babysitters allowed. Stewart, Amber. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 28pp. $16.99. ISBM 978-1-59990-154-1. Illustrated by Laura Rankin.

The brave little bunny, Hopscotch, and his toy rabbit aren’t afraid of spiders or getting hurt. The only thing that makes this little bunny and his rabbit feel ill is having mommy and daddy bunny replaced by Mrs. Honeybunch, the babysitter, for the evening. As the night goes on the little bunny realizes that Mrs. Honeybunch is actually quite fun. This book, No Babysitters Allowed, is great for young children who can relate to Hopscotch’s fear. This book teaches young children that babysitters aren’t so bad and that they may even end up with a new friend. (KAR)

Goal!: The fire and fury of soccer’s greatest moment. Stewart, Mark and Mike Kennedy. Lerner Publishing Group (Millbrook Press), 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 64pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-8225-8754-5.

There are many soccer books that cover the history of the sport, the achievements of current players, and famous moments, but Goal!: The fire and fury of soccer’s greatest moment by Mark Stewart and Mike Kennedy is a different kind of soccer book. Focusing on aspects of soccer through the lens of strikers and goalies, Stewart and Kennedy provide the reader with a fresh perspective. They cover the history of the goal by including short blurbs about famous goal scorers. This book is meant for older elementary to young middle school readers; consequently, younger readers hooked on action may become disinterested in the plot. (PM)

Who was Walt Disney? Stewart, Whitney. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 106pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-45052-0. Illustrated by Nancy Harrison.

This is an easy to read biography of Walt Disney; following his life from childhood to his death in 1966. The text is accompanied by small illustrations. Children who have just learned to read and are in search of a more challenging book will find this book to be a good fit. (FCW)

Shiver. Stiefvater, Maggie. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhlelp.com, (212-343-6100). 392pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-12326-6.

One night, Grace is almost killed by a pack of wolves, but a wolf with yellow eyes manages to save her. The wolf that saved her, Sam, transforms between a human and a wolf. Sam and Grace love each other, but only from a distance. The two of them struggle to keep Sam in his human form so that they can stay together. (KT)

Ghosts of fear street. Stine, R. L. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 206pp. $6.99
ISBN 978-1-4169-9137-33.

The residents of Fear Street are accustomed to occasional scares. However, brave young Dylan and Kelsey are seeking out spooky adventures of their own in R. L. Stine’s Ghosts of fear street. Young readers will enjoy the exciting stories of a haunted tree house and a wicked and powerful fortuneteller. Ghosts of fear street will spook readers with its eerie storyline and suspenseful plot. (SEB)

Brave Charlotte and the wolves. Stohner, Anu. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-424-5. Illustrated by Henrike Wilson.

Charlotte has always been a little different than the other sheep in her flock. She loves heights and is known for her bravery. In her flock, there is a group of sheep that call themselves the Wolves. They pick on the other sheep and the Shepard’s dog, and don’t like when Charlotte gets all the praise. Charlotte wants to put an end to the bullying and cliquey behavior. When a scary adventure comes up she knows just what to do to stop the Wolves from acting so mean. This book is great for any classroom as it shows the true colors of a mean group. (KAR)

Deadly little lies. Stolarz, Laurie Faria. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2009. [email protected] (212-207-7000). 282pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-142311145-0

Laurie Stolarz’s novel, “Deadly Little Lies”, is a story of teenage angst exacerbated by the unique gift of psychic abilities. Any youth who has had his or her world turned upside down by a middle school crush who did not reciprocate his or her feelings can relate to the central theme. From a young girl’s perspective, boys may not want to read about a girl swooning and deciding between boys, but many young girls will be entertained. Simultaneously simple and outrageous, this story mirrors the drama of middle school, and the harsh social realities that accompany it for most students. (LME)

Where wild things live: Wildlife watching techniques and adventures. Story, Dan. Naturegraph Publishers, Inc., 2009. [email protected], (800-390-5353). 123pp. $13.95. ISBN 978-087961-276-4.

Wildlife is all around, but many do not know where to look. Where wild things live: Wildlife watching techniques and adventures provides a thorough, yet easy to read guide for all who wish to explore nature and its wild inhabitants. From hot desserts, to cool forests, and even to their own backyards, readers will learn the best tips for safe and successful observations of animals. (SEB)

Where wild things live: Wildlife watching techniques and adventures. Story, Dan. Naturegraph Publishers Inc., 2009. [email protected] (800-390-5353). 128pp. $13.95. ISBN 978-087961-276-4.

This book provides readers with useful information about the outdoors that would be especially useful for a camping trip or in the wild. Readers will learn how to best spot animals in the wild. The book offers information about different animals, environments, and equipment that could be useful to readers trying to spot animals in the wild. (FCW)

The starry rift: Tales of new tomorrows. Strahan, Jonathan. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Firebird), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 525pp. $11.99. ISBN978-0-14-241438-5.

The starry rift: Tales of new tomorrows contains a compilation of sixteen short science fiction stories. Ass-Hat Magic Spider is a particularly enjoyable story within the book. Although the book is lengthy and may intimidate young readers, there is the option of reading a few of the individual stories rather than the entire book. This book would be best suited for middle school and high school readers. (SE, NH)

Borderline. Stratton, Allan. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 298pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-145111-9.

“The day my name changed is the first time I realized that The Truth and The Whole Truth aren’t necessarily the same,” says Sami. With the help of his friends, Sami does everything in his power to protect his family, as he goes out on a search for truth. Since Sami and his family are Muslims, they encounter and expose how unfair treatment can be based on background and sheer ignorance. A story of lies, action, and scandal begins when Sami Sabiris’ father is accused of being a member of Al Qaeda. This proves to be a problem for a Muslim student living in America and emphasizes the importance of acceptance. We learn it is often difficult to escape the past, even when attempting to create a better future. (ESS)

Artichoke’s heart. Supplee, Suzanne. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). $7.99. ISBN978-0-14-241427-9.

Rosemary Goode is smart, funny, and a nice woman, not to mention the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But no one really cares about all those things, because she is overweight. Her only friends are the chocolate bars she has stashed under her bed. Everyone constantly reminds her of the weight she needs to lose. Her mother buys her a treadmill for Christmas, which she will probably never going to use, and her aunt buys her tickets to a weight loss convention. However, with the help of two unexpected allies from her school, she realizes that not all people judge her by her weight and some see her inner beauty, which she has trouble seeing on her own. Artichoke’s heart is a very inspiring book for any reader because it shows the importance of respecting one’s self. (BCHM)

My first Yiddish word book. Sussman, Joni Kibort. Lerner (Kar-Ben Publishing), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-8755-2. Illustrated by Pepi Marzel.

This lovely picture book displays new cultural words for children who are not of Jewish descent. The Yiddish words are wonderful tools to integrate a child into a new culture. Pepi Marzel’s illustrations make it simple for children to form picture-word associations. This book is great for any parent, teacher, or librarian looking for a book about another culture that is different from most of children in American school districts. (EMR)

Barack Obama. Sutcliffe, Jane. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-5205-1.

It is important for children to know about the life of our current president, Barack Obama. Many books about presidents are published for adults, but Jane Sutcliffe wrote Barack Obama to offer older elementary children a resource for information about the current President of the United States. She covers his childhood, his time before being President and his current status. The book is text-heavy and meant for upper elementary students, but it also includes a timeline and further readings to help clarify and reinforce anything Sutcliffe wanted to get across to her readers. (PM)

Sacagawea. Sutcliffe, Jane. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 43pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-4222-9.

Sacagawea is an easy to read biography of Sacagawea that readers will easily be able to understand. Although it does not go into the details of her experiences with Lewis and Clark, this book would serve as a quality introduction to biographies for young readers. It also provides tips on further reading. (LM, FCW)

Me, my elf, and I. Swain, Heather. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Speak), 2009.
[email protected], (212-366-2000). 279pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241255-8.

Fifteen-year-old elf Zephyr Addler’s magical upbringing in a secluded woodland community leaves her feeling like a fish out of water when she moves to New York with her family and starts attending the Brooklyn Academy of Performing Arts High School. As she strives to fit in with the “normal” teenagers, Zephyr inadvertently loses her kind innocence and finds herself caught up in a tangled web of secrets, betrayal, and revenge. When her grandmother suddenly falls ill and she is forced to return home, Zephyr is able to step back and see clearly the person she has become. In the end, Zephyr realizes that being true to herself is far more important than fitting in. Teenagers will relate to both the likeable and cruel characters in this charming novel, and can learn from Zephyr’s struggle with losing and rediscovering her true identity. (NO)

Chasing Lincoln’s killer. Swanson, James. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 194pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-90354-7.

Chasing Lincoln’s killer is an informational book about the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth that ensued after he shot President Lincoln. The book is meant for older readers due to its slightly graphic descriptions of the assassination and attempted assassinations of the president and cabinet members. It is informational and also incorporates an interesting plot line by including the characters’ appearances and emotions during the manhunt. This story is well written and would be a credible source when researching this topic. (CF)

Armadillo trail. Swinburne, Stephen R. Boyds Mills Press, 2009. [email protected], (570-253-1161). 32pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-1-59078-463-1. Illustrated by Bruce Hiscock.

The life of an armadillo mother and her four armadillo babies is depicted through the beautiful illustrations in this story. Although the storyline focuses on the armadillo family, information and facts are also incorporated about armadillos and how they live. In this manner, the reader can learn interesting facts while enjoying the story without being overwhelmed with information. (FCW)

The big storm: A very soggy counting book. Tafuri, Nancy. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 29pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6795-8.

In Nancy Tafuri’s The big storm: A very soggy counting book, Tafuri portrays a nature scene in which a storm is approaching and one by one, ten different animals come crawling into a mountain cave. Readers will not only work on counting but will also learn the importance of looking past outward differences to overcome obstacles. The illustrations further this message by using dark grays mixed with blues to portray the storm ragging outside the cave, while the scene inside the cave is bright with neutral, warm colors conveying a sense of safety. This brilliant book can be used not only for teaching about counting up and down but also as a way to show the importance of working together despite outward differences. (KW, NB)

Blue goose. Tafuri, Nancy. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), First published in 2008, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 31pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-2835-5.

Farmer Grey has left for the day and Blue Goose and her friends have decided to add some color to the dull barnyard by painting everything in sight. In Nancy Tafuri’s lovable book, young children will discover how primary colors can be mixed to create new colors. Blue goose is an excellent choice for young artists who love to play with color. (SEB)

Tales from outer suburbia. Tan, Shaun. Scholastic, Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books), 2008. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 92pp. $19.99. ISBN 9780545055871.

As with his acclaimed earlier book The Arrival, Shaun Tan creates a surreal world full of details both children and adults will appreciate. The collection of stories, all taking place in an Australian suburb, range from whimsical to fearsome, with a wide range of illustrations to match. While the stories are all thought provoking and entertaining in their own right, Tan’s illustrations make this book shine. Dark-lined drawings, etchings, collages, dynamic oil paintings, and chalk drawings fill the pages; the different mediums pair with the numerous tones throughout the stories. Although this is a picture book, it is intended for an older audience, and late elementary students would be the most likely to enjoy it. (MC)

Boo hoo bird. Tankard, Jeremy. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 28pp. $14.99. ISBN978-0-545-06570-2.

When Bird gets bonked in the head while playing catch with Raccoon, he beings to cry. Bird continues to cry while all the animals in the forest try to help him feel better. When they realize nothing will make him fell better, the animals begin to cry too. Soon, Bird realizes how much he is loved and feels much better. With beautifully colorful illustrations, readers will feel like they know the characters and want to help Bird feel better as well. This book is perfect for ages 3-6. (MM)

Maggie Bean in love. Tayburn, Tricia. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin M!x), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 282pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8700-0.

Tricia Rayburn’s Maggie Bean in love follows an eighth grader, Maggie Bean, as she experiences a fast-paced, adult-like life. Although Maggie is only in eighth grade, she has recently lost 40 pounds, was assigned to be a leader of the swim team while they were in danger of being eliminated, is co-leading a preteen weight loss group, trying to manage a new boyfriend and keep up academically. In Maggie’s fast-paced life she learns the importance of appropriate time management skills and the result of having too many activities without enough time to devote to each one. The feelings Maggie endures include frustration, self-consciousness and being totally overwhelmed, all of which may be familiar to the young girls of today. Maggie learns important lessons through the course of her journey. One lesson she learns is that racing through your commitments are not always beneficial; this is something that is important to recognize in today’s busy world. (MAM)

Sacred Mountain Everest. Taylor-Butler, Christine. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 47pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-1-60060-255-9.

Everest is not only the tallest mountain in the world; it is also a place where people live and work. This book informs readers about the people who live near Everest and how they manage to survive. It also gives some information about the way the mountains around Everest were formed, and the people who have tried to reach the top of the world’s tallest peak. The text is accompanied by beautiful photographs of the people living in the area. It also provides a glossary, a pronunciation guide and tips on further reading. (FCW)

Navigators: Planet earth. Taylor, Barbara. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 48pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6289-8.

Navigators: Planet earth provides readers with a variety of facts about the planet Earth. Interesting illustrations and pictures accompany the text. It also offers a glossary and tips for further reading. (LM, FCW)

Dreamdark: Silksinger. Taylor, Laini. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 445pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24631-9.

This book is a part of the Dreamdark series set in the land created by Djinn. The storyline follows the journeys of three main characters: Whisper Silksinger, Azazel, and Magpie Windwitch as they seek Djinn Azazel in order to complete their quest. Both the characters and the setting are well developed and readers will be intrigued enough to continue following the series and discover what happens to the travelers on their quest. The author does a fabulous job of interweaving the motives and stories of the three adventurers while simultaneously setting up an inconclusive ending that will make middle school aged readers want to continue reading the series. (PM)

Killer pizza. Taylor, Greg. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 341pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-3737-9-5.

This novel is meant for middle school aged students and does a good job of creating a storyline that a child of that age can follow while still including the aspects of an adult novel. Killer Pizza’s protagonist, Toby McGill, begins his summer jobless. After many bad interviews, Toby gets a call from a pizza place he applied to and is offered the job; however, Toby doesn’t know that he won’t only be making pizzas. After a few weeks of making dough and spreading sauce with his coworkers Annabel and Strobe, their bosses Harvey and Steve let them in on a little secret: Killer Pizza is only a cover-up for a monster killing organization that is trying to keep a pack of monsters called Guttatas in check. This novel is written in an omniscient point of view that follows Toby and the team as they track down the pack of Guttatas and look to find and eliminate the Alpha before more people are infected. Killer Pizza is an easy read except for the excessive use of nicknames and word shortenings that can leave the reader confused at times. More importantly, this novel delves into the evils of the underworld of peer pressure and fear of not being accepted. (KW, PM)

G.I. Joe the rise of the cobra: Duke’s mission. Teitelbaum, Michael. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7851-0. Illustrated by Shane L. Johnson.

G.I. Joe the rise of the cobra: Destro’s plan. Teitelbaum, Michael. Simon and Schuster (Simon Spotlight), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $3.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7852-7. Illustrated by Shane L. Johnson and Dan Panosian.

These action-packed, parallel stories follow Captain Duke Hauser and the G.I. JOE international military unit as they seek to protect a new set of superweapons from falling into the hands of the enemy. In Duke’s mission, the enemy attacks a convoy delivering the weapons to an air base; Duke saves his friend’s life and ensures that the weapons are not stolen. Things do not go as smoothly for Duke in Destro’s plan, when the evil mastermind Destro McCullen’s team attacks the G.I. JOE headquarters and succeeds in stealing the weapons. Although these books do not fall into the category of high quality children’s literature, many children will be very interested in their exciting plots. Parents and teachers should use these books as a stepping stone to get reluctant readers interested in reading and then could guide them to dive into higher quality literature. (NO)

Nothing. Teller, Janne. Simon and Schuster (Atheneum), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 227pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8579-2.

Set in a small Danish village Nothing is a compelling fictional novel about several teenagers’ journey to find meaning in life. Pierre decides one day there is no meaning in life and his classmates are determined to prove him wrong – they set out amassing a heap of meaning. From a pair of green sandals to a crucifix, no meaningful item is acquired without increasingly dire consequences. Together, room 7A is bound up in discovering the cost of finding meaning in life. Teller weaves a macabre tale which parallels the children’s fears that all their sacrifices will mean nothing in the end. Nothing contains mature, abstract themes and a plot appropriate for young adults. (LG)

Passing by. Tepper, Yona. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 40pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-36-5. Illustrated by Gil-Ly Alon Curiel.

Yael peeks out from her balcony and sees everything that is happening in the street below. She sees a dog running and a man pedaling his bike down the road, wondering where each thing comes from and where they are going. Finally, when it seems that nothing more will pass by, Yael sees the most exciting thing—her dad, on his way home! Cartoon-like illustrations with bold lines and bright colors give readers clues as to what might pass by Yael’s balcony next. This story is full of questions about where everyone is coming from and where they are going that young children will enjoy finding the answers to. (NO)

The lost key: A mystery with whole numbers. Thielbar, Melinda. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 46pp. $29.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-3853-6. Illustrated by Tintin Pantoja.

The lost key: A mystery with whole numbers has the reader follow along and solve math problems with a mystery solving gang of kids. Thielbar’s graphic novel provides elementary students with a new tool for mastering mathematical concepts. The gang uses whole number math to solve the mystery of the lost key. To see if the numbers add up in the end, grab the book and follow along! (LM, PM)

Rhyming dust bunnies. Thomas, Jan. Simon and Schuster (Beach Lane Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 36pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7976-0.

The dust bunnies in this book are experts at rhyming, except for one. Whenever the others start rhyming, the last dust bunny always says something humorous that does not rhyme with what the others are saying. However, it turns out he was not rhyming because he was trying to warn the others about the vacuum that was coming to suck them up! This is a cute book with funny illustrations that all readers are sure to enjoy. (MM)

Keena Ford and the second-grade mix-up. Thomson, Melissa. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Puffin), 2008. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 102pp. $5.99. ISBN 978-0-14-241396-8. Illustrated by Frank Morrison.

Keena Ford cannot help but cause trouble. Second grade has just begun, and she already has a big problem. Her new teacher thinks it is her birthday and brings a chocolate cake for Keena and has the class sing her Happy Birthday. Keena knows she should tell the truth, but she is enjoying the attention too much. Children will be entertained by this short novel and will relate to Keena’s struggle to tell the truth. (NH)

Keena Ford: And the field trip mix-up. Thomson, Melissa. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 101pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3264-3. Illustrated by Frank Morrison.

This book is written as journal entries of second grader Keena Ford. One day she accidentally cuts of one off her braids! Keena’s class is taking a field trip to the capitol, so she tries hard to fix her hair. At first she tries to camouflage the missing braid by creating a new one out of yarn, but that does not work. She finally ties a scarf around her head to hide the hair all together, but when she arrives at the capital her secret is revealed. Keena has a few more mishaps at the capitol, but in the end everything turns out well. (KT)

What Lincoln said. Thomson Sarah L. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-084819-4. Illustrated by James E. Ransome.

What Lincoln said is a biography of past president Abraham Lincoln. This book is atypical because information is conveyed through Lincoln’s own quotations. Readers will enjoy this comical way of telling a person’s story that differs from many other biographies they might encounter. (FCW)

Wee little bunny. Thompson, Lauren. Simon and Schuster, 2010.
[email protected], (800-223-2336). 28pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7937-1. Illustratd by John Butler.

Wee little bunny is about an adorable baby bunny exploring its surroundings. The pictures are so real in this book, the reader feels as if it is possible to reach out and pet the bunny’s soft fur and feel the cool grass it is playing in. This book would be great for young children to read. (MM)

Norman and Brenda. Thompson, Colin and Amy Lissiat. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 32pp. $9.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-86-9.

Norman and Brenda follows two people, who do not know each other but lead similar lives. They both are having an extremely hard time with finding someone to love. The illustrations are amazing and follow the story perfectly. This book would most likely be for upper elementary students because of the language and images used. (BCHM)

Highway robbery. Thompson, Kate. HarperCollins Publishers (Green Willow Books), 2008. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 118pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-173034-4. Illustrated by Jonny Duddle and Robert Dress.

What happens when a stranger leaves you to care for his stunning horse in return for a reward? Do you sell it to those who will pay a large some for it? W hat are you supposed to do when people want answers you do not have? Fun illustrations enhance younger readers’ enjoyment of this mysterious adventure book. (KAR)

Stone voice rising. Tocci, C. Lee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 407pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-15-206292-7.

Stone voice rising is a unique modern fantasy book about a young girl, Lilibit, who has the ability to speak to stones. Her power is very valuable and many people wish to use it for evil purposes. At the age of seven, Lilibit is taken from her home to Kiva because a man named Keotak-se believes she can learn more about her powers there. On the journey to Kiva, Lilibit is kidnapped by the enemy and is subjected to experimentation and is believed to be dead. Lilibit ends up in a group home with several other children, but when their home is destroyed they decide to find Kiva on their own and begin a journey to discover their destinies. This fantasy book allows readers to think outside of the box. (KAR)

Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and my best summer ever. Tooke, Wes. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 180pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8663-8.

Louis May is a twelve year old boy living in White Plains, NY in 1961 who absolutely loves everything about baseball. Louis is mentally preparing himself for what he thinks will be the worst summer of his life. His father has recently remarried, his mother lives in the East Village, and he now has a new, not-so-nice stepbrother. Louis’s summer takes a wonderfully unexpected turn when he catches a foul ball at a Yankees baseball game and is asked to be the batboy for the team. He gets to meet, talk to, and learn from two legendary Yankee baseball players: Mickey Mantel and Roger Maris. Louis’s summer is filled with new experiences, dreams becoming realities, and self-discovery.
Although Louis is a character that adolescent readers can relate to in regard to his family issues, his fantasy world is something that most will never get a chance to take part in.
Another slight downfall is that some of the factual information about Mickey Mantel and Roger Harris is mixed with fictional information. Nevertheless, baseball lovers of both genders will enjoy this refreshing, slightly comical and descriptively detailed story. (CKB)

Amazing Greek myths of wonder and blunders. Townsend, Michael. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 160pp. $14.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3308-4.

King Midas, Pandora, Pygmalion, Persephone, Arachne, Perseus, Pyramus, Thisbe, Icarus, Hercules, and the Greek gods and goddesses star in this comic book style interpretation of ancient Greek myths. Townsend’s hilarious cartoons and fresh dialogue recount the classic stories of valiant heroes fighting evil monsters with comical additions such as Hercules wearing snake assassin slippers or Pygmalion singing hip hop to woo the statue he has fallen in love with. Readers young and old will be entertained by this creative and amusing modern retelling of familiar tales from Greek mythology. (NO)

The elevator man. Trachtenburg, Stanley. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2009. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 34pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5315-8. Illustrated by Paul Cox.

Nathan looks forward to riding the elevator in his apartment building every day because he gets to see the elevator man. He is a very kind employee who operates the elevator and sometimes lets Nathan run the controls himself. Nathan dreams of becoming the elevator man one day when actually, the elevator man dreams of becoming the doorman! When the building’s elevator is replaced with a modern, automated version, Nathan is excited to discover that both he and the elevator man get their wishes. The watercolor illustrations add to the charming, old-fashioned feel of this delightful story about progress and fulfilled dreams. (NO)

Viola in reel life. Trigiani, Adriana. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 282pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-145102-7.

Viola experiences a big change when she moves from Brooklyn, NY to South Bend, Indiana- a place far away from her best friend and the comforts of home. To top it all off, Viola has to attend an all girls’ boarding school. She does not think she can relate to her three new roommates and tries to hide herself behind her video camera. Once she stops using her camera as a security blanket, she discovers life in Indiana is not so bad after all. This witty and lighthearted story incorporates love, friendship, and a little adventure to appeal to all female readers. (KAR)

The wish stealers. Trivas, Tracy. Simon and Schuster (Aladdin), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8725-3.

Griffin Penshine has many wishes for herself, but wishing only goes so far until she must take matters into her own hands. Thinking she was just picking up a lucky penny on the first day of school, Griff was tricked by an old woman whose coins possess stolen wishes. It is up to her to return all the wishes to their owners and undo the curse so her own wishes can come true. She must travel to the past, where she gets caught up in a mess of magic, all the while keeping her dilemma a secret. This task becomes increasingly complicated while Griff also deals with science projects and her popularity. The wish stealers is a great choice for lower or upper elementary readers, especially when discussing ancient artifacts or collectibles that represent the past. (ESS)

Prowling the seas. Turner, Pamela S. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 39 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9748-3.

Sharks, sea turtles and sea lions can all be found in the sea and in the informative story, Prowling the seas. The pictures are real photos of sea creatures, which will help children accurately visualize the animals they are reading about. Since the book contains a lot of text, some students may find finishing it in one sitting difficult. (EMR)

The frog scientist. Turner, Pamela S. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 51pp. $18. ISBN 978-0-618-71716-3. Photographs by Andy Comins.

The frog scientist offers a unique look at the life of a scientist looking at the effects of pesticides on frogs. Although this book is filled with information, it may be too much for some readers. Turner does not shy away from topics or practices related to the process of discovering the effects of pesticides. It is explained why and how scientists kill many of the frogs they catch, as well as the dissection process and how pesticides are purposefully put into lakes. Somewhat graphic photographs depict piles of dead frogs, dissections and deformities. Although some parents may not be comfortable with its contents, this book could complement a unit on frog dissection. (NB)

Deadly perils and how to avoid them. Turner, Tracy. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 160pp. $11.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-8738-5. Illustrated by Ben Hasler.

Everything from spider bites, to excessive hail, to sleep walking can be found in this book. Topics are divided up into categories, allowing the reader to jump to the topics that most interest him or her and skip anything that might not pertain to his or her life. The clear and concise writing would allow this book to be read by early elementary readers all the way through adulthood. The illustrations enhance the quality of the book. (BCHM)

Moribito II: Guardian of the darkness. Uehashi, Nahoko. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 245pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0545108744.

For her whole life Balsa has been protected by a body guard from the king of Kanbal, who is trying to kill her. After her bodyguard’s death, Balsa becomes a bodyguard in order to help others facing the same situation. One day, she returns to Kanbal and finds herself in great danger. Working with two others, Balsa must fight to survive. This book allows readers to use an open mind. The illustrations enhance the book’s effectiveness by allowing the reader to put faces with the characters. As long as children are willing to let go of reality, they will take a great interest in this book. (BCHM)

Whistle bright magic. Ullman, Barb Bentler. HarperCollins Publishers (Katherine Tegen Books), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 214pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-188286-9.

In Barb Ullman’s novel about the fairies of Nutfolk, the reader is instantly introduced to a young girl, Zelly, who wants to learn more about her life and her family. Zelly comes to the land of the fairies with her mom, and soon finds that the fairies are in big trouble. The fairies’ land is being taken over by the humans and Zelly and her new found friend want to save the day. Not only are they trying to save the land of the fairies, but they also try to find Zelly’s dad who she has never met. Whistle bright magic allows young readers to explore emotions and the hardships of growing up. (EEE).

Duck and cover. Urbanovic, Jackie. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 30pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-121444-8.

When most people think about alligators, they think “scary!” In Jackie Urbanovic’s picture book, Duck and cover, Harold, the alligator is frightening to all of the animals in Irene’s house, but he needs help! It is up to brave Max, the duck, to protect Harold from the angry zookeepers. A surprise twist at the end of the story gives everyone a new, happier perspective of Harold. Young readers would thoroughly enjoy the well-placed humor in Duck and cover. (EMR)

Sitting duck. Urbanovic, Jackie. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 34pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-176583-4.

Sitting duck is a feel good book written by Jackie Urbanovic. The story follows an uncle dog and duck as they discover the difficulties of babysitting their puppy nephew. Throughout the pages, the question of “How much trouble could a puppy get into, anyway?” is described in many ways. The two uncles find out the answer to this question the hard way as their mischievous puppy nephew encounters numerous sticky but adventurous situations. (KLM)

Broken soup. Valentine, Jenny. HarperCollins Publishers (Harper Teen) 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 216 pp. $16.99, ISBN978-0-06-085071-5.

When Rowan’s older brother dies, her life is turned upside down. Rowan Clark is a fifteen-year-old girl who is forced to transform from a typical teenage girl worried about boys and jeans into a responsible young woman raising her little sister. Her mother cannot overcome her grief; she becomes helpless and completely abandons her role as a mother and wife. Rowan matures quickly to fill this void, and her strength and resilience shine throughout the story. The extreme hardships Rowan faces and the caring actions of her friends create a true-to-life book about both tragedy and hope. This book will inspire any reader with its positive outlook on life and resonating themes of perseverance, hope, and honesty. (KRR)

Peep. Van Lieshout, Maria. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel & Friends), 2009. [email protected] (646-307-5151). 36pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-312-36915-6.

Peep uses very few words to tell the story of a baby chicken who tries to follow his mother and sisters. He comes to a ledge where he has to jump just like the rest of his family did, but he is afraid. He does not think he can do it. His mother and sisters encourage him to overcome his fear. Pencils and ink scanned with a computer are used to create the basic illustrations. Parents and teachers with very young children will find this book enjoyable. (SE, NH)

Coppernickel the invention. Van Reek, Wouter. Enchanted Lions, 2009. www.enchantedlionbooks.com, (646-785-9272). 26pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-59270-100-1.

When the young boy, Coppernickel, finds a blank page in the back of a book of inventions, he decides he would like to invent something new. Along with his faithful dog, Tungsten, he sets out to make a machine for picking high-hanging elderberries. Coppernickel’s complicated invention soon gets out of hand and he quickly finds himself in danger. With the level-headed Tungsten by his side to rescue him, Coppernickel realizes that sometimes simple inventions are the most successful. Van Reek’s vibrantly colored, cartoon-like illustrations of Coppernickel and his complex invention are fascinating and children will certainly be entertained by the adventures of this dynamic duo. (NO)

Strange cases. Vassilakos, Jill H. & Vassilakos-Long, Paul. ABC-CLIO (Libraries Unlimited), 2009. www.abc-clio.com, (800-368-6868). 676pp. $60.00. ISBN 9781591584216.

This guide to books that “straddle the genres of mystery and speculative fiction” is ideal for librarians or others who want a wide overview of a selective genre. Organized by author, the guide provides an in-depth look at books’ genres, characters, and explorations in themes and ideas, as well as critical comments and details regarding sequels. This is a useful compendium for those who want to become more familiar with books in this unusual quasi-genre. (MC)

Up the learning tree. Vaughan, Marcia. Lee & Low Books, 2009. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 32pp. $8.95. ISBN 978-1600604454. Illustrated by Derek Blanks.

In Up the learning tree a young slave boy is determined to learn how to read, even though he is not allowed to go to school. With the help of the schoolteacher he is able to learn to read. Readers will understand slavery from the historical context in the story. (AO)

Oathbreaker: A prince among killers. Vaught, S.R. and J.B. Redmond. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 420pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-376-7.

As the second book in the series, Oathbreaker is a great challenge for children looking to read a chapter book. At the assassins’ stronghold known as Triune, Aron and his sworn comrades try to find peace in a world on the brink of war. Two comrades, Dari and Stormbreaker, grow very close as they search for Dari’s missing twin. Dari needs to find her sister to prevent the deaths of many people and protect their secrets. Another comrade, Nic, along with his captors, struggles to conceal the many secrets they are entrusted with. Finally, Aron must decide whether the bond he keeps with his family will prove stronger than the oaths he has sworn to his closest friends. Secrets make this imaginary world go around, but not always in a smooth way. Due to a lack of illustrations, readers must get all their information from the text. Although the plot is somewhat disjointed, Oathbreaker: A prince among killers is a challenging, but thrilling read. (BCHM)

Dragonbreath: Attack of the ninja frogs. Vernon, U. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2010. [email protected], (212-336-2000). 206pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3365-7.

Dragonbreath: Attack of the ninja frogs is appropriate for elementary students. This is a fantasy style book that follows three young animal friends: an iguana, a lizard and a dragon. One of them is captured and led on an excursion involving ninja enemies. The captivating action-packed adventures of the three friends are enhanced by the comic style illustrations. Three styles of storytelling are employed to bring readers into the story. Simple pictures assist in developing the plot as well as break up the text. Colors used in the illustrations correlate with the plot; when the friends are traveling the colors remain green, with white and black portraying a calm and safe feeling. In contrast, the illustrations change from the calm and tranquil greens to fire reds and blacks when the friends approach dangerous situations, demonstrating feelings of unsettled emotions, danger and fright. The three styles of storytelling all work together to capture readers of this fantasy book. (LM, MAM)

Same difference. Vician, Siobhan. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 287 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-00407-7.

Emily is a sixteen-year-old girl trying to find herself. She attends an art school for the summer to escape her life at home. However, she faces new problems at school. Same difference shows readers that in order to overcome struggles, they must learn to live with them. Although the moral of the story will appeal to readers, it may have been more effective had the plot been more unique. (EMR)

Is there life on other planets? And other questions about space. Vogt, Gregory L. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 40 pp. $26.60. ISBN 978-0822590828.

Many children are interested in space, asking many questions about space and space travel. Is there life on other planets? And other questions about space provides answers to these questions. The questions range from serious, “Is there really no gravity in space?”, to the silly “Do astronauts really wear diapers in space?”. Colorful, and picture heavy, Gregory Vogt provides answers in a way children can understand. This informational book does a fine job of providing explanations for space related questions. (LM, PM)

But who will bell the cats? Von Buhler, Cynthia. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 28pp. $15.00 ISBN 978-0-618-99718-3.

Cynthia Von Buhler, author of But who will bell the cats? does a remarkable job of taking a basic concept of upper and lower classes and putting them into terms elementary students will understand. Her story is a constant comparison of what the wealthy cats are living on and experiencing compared to what the less fortunate mouse and bat makes it by on each day. The illustrations are very unique because they depict a realistic looking set. These illustrations also help the reader to understand what exactly is meant by each lifestyle explained. Von Buhler allows young readers to explore the concept that not every family lives the same way: some families have plenty, while other struggle to survive, but when they each work together life is a lot happier for each group. (MAM)

Survival in the Snow. Wadsworth, Ginger. Lerner (Millbrook Press), 2009. [email protected] , (800-328-4929). 48 pp. $12.95. ISBN 978-0-9225-7892-5. Illustrated by Craig Orback.

During the transition time from picture books to more text-heavy chapter books, literature like Survival in the snow by Ginger Wadsworth can be very beneficial in the student’s development of reading skills and confidence. Moses is a seventeen year old who was left to guard his family’s possessions as they traveled west. The reader follows Moses ass he tries to survive the fierce winter of 1844. The text is a little tougher than picture books meant for beginning readers but with the help of the illustrations, this book will help 2nd grade readers transition into chapter books. The sentences are simple and the story is a bit choppy but it does show how he survived the long winter alone. (PM)

The gold rush kid. Waldorf, Mary. Houghton Mifflin Co. (Clarion), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-651-1185). 232pp. $16.00. 978-0-618-97730-7.

Adventure meets historical fiction in The Gold Rush Kid, by Mary Waldorf. Billy, a twelve-year-old boy, and his sister Edna are living during the time of the Klondike Gold Rush. Billy and Edna are left alone in their Alaskan home after their father leaves for Yukon in search of gold and their mother dies suddenly. The two decide to set off in search of their father, even if it means going on a dangerous trek in grueling conditions. With the help of a man named Jack and his dog Persey, the two children are able to find their way to their father. However, after they find him they face more difficult decisions and life-changing events and struggle to keep their family together. This historical fiction book contains many authentic details of the Klondike Gold Rush. Although readers may find it difficult to believe that two children could survive such a difficult and dangerous journey, they will love the grand adventures while learning about an exciting historical time. (KRR)

Who was Claude Monet? Waldron, Ann. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Grosset & Dunlap, 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 105pp. $4.99. ISBN 978-0-448-44985-2. Illustrated by Stephen Marchesi.

In this biography of Claude Monet, the author paints Monet in an accurate light. The biography follows his life from childhood to death. Though the book is a short chapter book, it is meant for older elementary readers. However, even younger children will be interested in learning about Monet’s life as a struggling painter. The black and white illustrations could have been more effective and enjoyable to children if they were done in color. (CF)

Funny face. Walker, Anna. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 23 pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-1-935279-11-2.

Anna Walker creates a cute, fun story for preschool aged children in her board picture book, Funny face. The book is in board form, allowing young children to turn the pages without ripping them. Walker’s story is adorable, with fun illustrations, and useful adjectives that children use in their everyday lives. (EMR)

A match made in high school. Walker, Kristin. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Razorbill), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 278pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-59514-257-3.

A match made in high school is a witty, easy-to-read teen romance. In her first novel, author Kristin Walker introduces us to Fiona, a spunky, brutally honest, and not-so-popular senior in high school. When Fiona is forced to “tie the knot” with the super-popular Todd Harding for a yearlong marriage education course while Todd’s girlfriend gets matched with Fiona’s crush, she is convinced that she is the unluckiest girl on the planet. After a series of hilarious pranks, secrets, arguments, and resolutions, Fiona learns a great deal about friendship, loyalty, selflessness, and what it means to truly love. Walker’s characters come alive through realistic dialogue and raw emotion. Teenagers will enjoy reading this realistic depiction of a high school girl’s coming of age. (NO)

Mama says. Walker, Rob D. Scholastic Inc., (Blue Sky Press), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 27 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-93208-0. Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.

Mama says is a beautifully illustrated book about advice that mothers have given to their sons. Each page has a different mother and son from a different country and culture. The theme that flows from page to page is the phrase “Mama says” fallowed by each individual mother’s advice. The advice is written in the native language of the mother speaking, as well as English.

This book is great for children because it can help teach morals and values. Instead of “always brush your teeth” the mothers are teaching real life lessons like the importance of being kind. It is clear from the illustrations that only one of the boys is growing up American. This book introduces diversity and shows children that even though we may look different or speak different languages, we learn most of the same lessons. (KW,CF)

I wonder why: Farm animals. Wallace, Karen and Nicki Palin. Macmillan Publishers (Kingfisher), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 18pp. $7.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6285-0.

Farms have been around for centuries and will continue to be around for many centuries to come. Some children might not know what kind of animals there are on farms or what use the animals are to the farmers. This book does a great job of capturing the interest of readers and involving them by asking questions within the text. The illustrations are clever and will appeal to the readers’ interest. This book would be best read by early to middle elementary students. (BCHM)

 It’s all too much, so get it together. Walsh, Peter. Simon and Schuster (BFYR), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 278pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9549-4. Illustrated by John Hendrix.

It’s all too much, so get it together provides a fun way to approach all the different types of clutter in life. Readers are persuaded to avoid buying things that will not improve their lives. Anecdotes both entertain and advise readers to organize, prioritize, and not be overwhelmed by all the stuff surrounding them. (ESS)

The busy tree. Ward, Jennifer. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5550-9. Illustrated by Lisa Falkenstern.

With colorful illustrations and friendly rhymes, readers are invited to meet The busy tree, whose time is filled providing food and shelter to all the native animals of the area. The life-like illustrations provide familiar images to help readers learn about the various parts and functions of an oak tree. Nature lovers everywhere will enjoy the accurate depiction of an oak tree and its inhabitants, as well as the poetic simplicity of the words on every page. (SEB)

Uncle Andy’s cats. Warhola, James. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99 ISBN 978-0-399-25180-1.

Uncle Andy’s cats combines the artist Andy Warhol with the story of 101 Dalmatians. The story is about Uncle Andy and his cat Little Hester. Little Hester finds a cat friend and they have lots of kittens. After there gets to be too many, Andy sends all but the parents away so he can focus on his paintings in his tall and skinny house. Although the little girl does not call her uncle by the name of Andy Warhol, the reader could use the illustrations to find out who Uncle Andy really is. If paired up with an art lesson on Andy Warhol, the students could recognize the paintings Uncle Andy is working on and could then decipher which artist he is supposed to be. (PM)

1000 times no. Warburton, Tom. HarperCollins Publishers (Laura Geringer Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154263-3.

Children love using the word no, and this book looks at the word from a humorous angle. It allows both children and adults to learn how to say no in different languages from around the world. Each translation of the word “no” is accompanied by funny and colorful illustrations describing the country that the word comes from. (FCW)

My Japan. Watanabe, Etsuko. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (858-456-0540). 40pp. $14.95. ISBN 978-1-933605-99-9.

Japanese culture can be quite confusing to American children, but Etsuko Watanabe uses a little Japanese girl to demonstrate her lifestyle in a way that American children can easily understand. Each page deals with a different room of the house or an aspect of her life. She travels to the kitchen, the bathroom, school, summer vacations and many more places. The artwork shows Japanese symbols and other common parts of Japanese culture such as clothes and food. Some of the pictures and subjects could be considered slightly inappropriate but are meant to thoroughly show Japanese culture. These include bottoms being shown in the public bath scene and depictions of people using the restroom. Despite some questionable illustrations, this book does a good job of showing Japanese culture and a day in the life of a young girl living in Japan. (PM)

Dr. Seuss. Waxman, Laura Hamilton. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 48pp. $27.93. ISBN 978-0-7613-5206-8.

Laura Hamilton Waxman does a good job of informing the reader of the life of one of children’s favorite authors. The reader will learn everything Theodore Geisel’s life from his childhood to his military involvement, even his cartoons about Adolf Hitler are explained. However, Waxman doesn’t focus solely on his career in relation to the Dr. Seuss series, which might not necessarily make the book very interesting to the reader. (KW,PM)

New year at the pier: a Rosh Hashanah story. Wayland, April Halprin. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dial), 2009. insidesales @us.penguingroup.com. (212-366-2000). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3279-7. Illustrated by Stephanie Jorisch.

New year at the pier is a story about a little boy named Izzy who is Jewish. The story follows Izzy through the customs of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah. The central theme of the story focuses on the custom of writing down all the things a person is sorry for, in order to start the New Year with a clean slate. This book teaches children the value and importance of apologizing when they know they have done something wrong. It also teaches tolerance of other cultures, religions, and ways of life. (CF)

Encore, opera cat! Weaver, Tess. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 28pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-547-14647-8. Illustrated by Andrea Wesson.

Madame SoSo and Alma both love to sing. Madame SoSo is a famous opera singer and Alma is her cat, who secretly wants to be an opera singer as well. Readers will enjoy the detailed illustrations and overall charm of a singing cat who dreams of becoming a star. (SEB)

First pooch: The Obama’s pick a pet. Weatherford, Carole Boston. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5636-0. Illustrated by Amy Bates.

When the Obama family decides to adopt a dog, they begin the careful process of selecting the perfect pet to live with them in the White House. After much anticipation and preparation, the Obamas select a Portuguese water dog and name him Bo. Accompanied by warm subdued water colors that accurately portray the Presidential family, this sweet story is sure to satisfy curious citizens and dog lovers alike. (LG)

The Beatitudes: From slavery to civil rights. Weatherford, Carole Boston. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010. [email protected], (800-253-7521). 32pp. $18. ISBN 978-0-8082-5352-3. Illustrated by Tim Ladwig.

This picture book combines a powerful free verse poem tracing the African American journey from slavery to civil rights with the Beatitudes, the beginning of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount. The illustrations and text showcase a number of prominent figures in African American history, from Harriet Tubman to President Barack Obama. Curious readers are provided with a glossary of the historical figures mentioned at the end of the book for further information. Weatherford’s portrayal of the deep connection between faith and freedom in the African American tradition is both poignant and inspiring. (NO)

Racing against the odds. Weatherford, Carole Boston. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 36pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5465-6. Illustrated by Eric A. Velasquez.

Wendell Scott is on a journey to the top of stock car racing. The language Carole Weatherford uses is informal, mirroring a conversational style of speech, which reminds readers of the story’s factual basis. Through the text and illustrations, Racing against the odds provides a great deal of historical background for young readers. This book would be a great way to start a conversation about civil rights and the way attitudes change with time. Illustrator Eric Velasquez includes segregation signs twice in this book, one saying “Colored Only” while the second read “Whites Only.” These signs alone could pose as a prompt for a history discussion. A class could also discuss the development of automobiles from the first Model T to the advanced Nascars that race today. Racing against the odds is a book rich with discussion topics. (MAM)

Woof: A love story. Weeks, Sarah. HarperCollins Publishers (Laura Geringer Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-025007-2. Illustrated by Holly Berry.

Woof is the humorous story of a love struck pup pursuing a cat he has admired from afar. Holly Berry creates illustrations that convey the story using colorful patterned collage; each page displays unique and charming details that enhance the text. Weeks uses rhyme in a clever style that is pleasant both to read and listen to as she conveys the age old message that love transcends language. (LG)

The trouble with Mark Hopper. Weissman, Elissa. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Dutton), 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 227pp. $16.99. ISBN978-0-525-42067-5.

Two boys with side-parted hair and freckles who wear button down shirts tucked into their pants have one more thing in common – the name Mark Geoffrey Hopper. These two boys have very different personalities, but no one can tell them apart – or even seem to realize there are two of them. What to do with two of practically the exact same person? Mark and Mark at first find their extreme similarities to be a burden and a mishap. But soon, they begin to form a friendship between themselves, and the hatred and dislike begins to disappear. Mark and Mark soon realize all the things they can do since most people think they are the same person. A scheme is devised and put into action since they know people will not be able to tell them apart. The Trouble with Mark Hopper is an intriguing, quick, and interesting book as readers are taught to search for positives in every situation. (BCHM)

Pharaoh’s boat. Weitzman, David. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 38pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-547-05341-7.

Many people know ancient Egyptians believed in a sort of afterlife. But what most people do not understand is the journey Egyptian pharaohs had to take after they died. David Weitzman provides accurate descriptions of the preparation for the boat trips pharaohs, specifically Cheops, went through. Weitzman uses Hag Ahmed as an up to date resource for the boats made for pharaohs. Ahmed was an explorer who uncovered the remains of Pharaoh Cheop’s boats meant for him to travel through the underworld and to the heavens. Weitzman’s writing is simple, but informative, making the book useful for just about any age reader. (EMR)

Mackenzie Blue: The secret crush. Wells, Tina. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 218pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-06-158311-7. Illustrated by Michael Segawa.

In her book, Mackenzie Blue: The secret crush, Tina Wells puts to words the reality that all teenagers experience. Readers are left with a new understanding of teens as they follow Mackenzie (a.k.a “Zee”) through dealing with the drama of her high school musical as well as trying to “get the guy”. Any teenager is destined to enjoy the witty language and real life situations used in this story. (KLM)

Dinosaur park. Weston, Steve. Macmillan Publishing (Kingfisher). 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 42pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-7534-6383-3.

Steve Weston’s Dinosaur park is a fun, interactive pop-up book teaching young readers basic facts about nine types of dinosaurs, complemented by pop up illustrations of the dinosaurs. The simple sentences on each pop-up page make it easy for children to read and play with this book by themselves or with others. Each page has a question about what the children learn from looking at the pop-up picture. All of the pop-up illustrations show the environments dinosaurs lived in. Kids will have fun reading, interacting, and playing with this book while also gaining knowledge about dinosaurs. (CKB)

Dino-baseball. Wheeler, Lisa. Lerner Publishing Group (Carol Rhoda), 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 28pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-4429-2. Illustrated by Barry Gott.

Action-packed rhymes and vibrantly colorful illustrations introduce readers to a wide variety of ancient beasts as they learn the rules of baseball. Readers will enjoy the excitement of baseball as triceratops and raptors take the field. Combining the fascination of dinosaurs with the fierce competition of a ball game, Wheeler has created a charming book for young readers. (SEB)

After the train. Whelan, Gloria. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000) 152pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-029596-7.

After the train is set in West Germany, ten years after the end of World War II. Peter Liebig is a thirteen-year-old boy living in the aftermath of the war. He believes everything is calm and pleasant in Rolfen, until he discovers a letter that changes his mind. Peter goes on an adventure and learns secrets that change the way he thinks about life and about himself. After the Train uses historically accurate aspects to inform young readers about the aftermath of a devastating war through the eyes of a teenager. (NH)

The locked garden. Whelan, Gloria. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 168 pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-079094.

In the year 1900, 12-year-old Verna and her family move to the countryside of northern Michigan. Her father is a psychologist about to begin working at an asylum. Since Verna’s mother passed away two years ago, Verna and her younger sister Carlie try to find a new mother figure in Eleanor, a friendly asylum patient. This adorable story will fill every young motherless child with hope. Whelan does a fantastic job of giving readers a realistic look at life in the 1900s. (EMR)

The well. Whitten, A.J. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Graphia), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 332 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23229-4.

A.J. Whitten tells the tale of a not-so-normal teenage boy, Cooper. Cooper is a freshman in high school who experiences relationship problems, parental defiant issues, as well as trouble with his academics. Despite these multiple problems, they are not his main concern. Cooper believes his mother is trying to kill him and a monster that lives at the bottom of a well that Cooper gets thrown into. This hair standing story will keep the reader at the edge of their seat begging for more. (KLM)

I love my new toy. Willems, Mo. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), [email protected], (212-207-7000). 57pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-14310961-7.

Few words are needed in I Love my new toy in order for the reader to follow the storyline. Piggie has a new toy that he wants to show the elephant. The elephant starts to play with it and he throws it really high in the air. When it hits the ground it snaps. Piggie goes into a fit of rage and the two begin to cry. This fit of rage seems a little harsh for young readers. The illustrations made the pig look really mad and could be inappropriate for young readers. In the end the elephant and Piggie discover that the toy is supposed to break and they become friends again. The illustrations in this book do a good job of showing the emotions of the characters. Because of the harshness of some of the emotions and pictures, this book should be used for older elementary or mature young readers. (PM)

One crazy summer. Williams-Garcia, Rita. HarperCollins Publishers (Amistad), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 218pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-06-076088-5.

One crazy summer follows three young sisters on their travels from Brooklyn to California. As they leave the comfort of their father and Big Ma, the sisters travel to the uncertainties of summer, which will be spent with their mother who abandoned them seven years earlier. Once the girls arrive in California, the summer that follows is anything but typical. Readers throughout this book are presented with authentic information regarding the African-American culture during the 1960’s, including the Black Panther Party as well as other predominant groups and individuals of the era. This book is appropriate for readers in grades 4-7 depending on their abilities and maturity level. Williams-Garcia uses expressive poetic language to shape her characters; each girl is well developed, making each a round and unique character. One crazy summer could serve as a great transition into further discussions about the culture of the 1960’s and how the strong influence of political decisions can affect individual lives. (MAM)

Buck fever. Willis, Cynthia Chapman. Macmillan Publishing (Fiewel and Friends), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 228pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-38297-1.

While this book is appealing for young boys interested in hunting, there is a bigger issue that is indirectly discussed in this book. In today’s society many males suffer from trying to fit “the boy code”; expectations to do manly activities and think in a manly way. As Joey encounters his many situations in this book he fights this “boy code”. Any teenaged boy is sure to enjoy and find it relatable. (KM)

Bear hugs. Wilson, Karma and Suzanne Watts. Simon and Schuster (Margaret K. Mc Elderry Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 60pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-9427-5.

Bear Hugs is a collection of ridiculous yet romantic animal rhymes. Each page is bursting with laughter and love. The charming poems are simple and easy to read. This is a perfect book for Valentine’s Day, or for readers who enjoy a good laugh. (MM)

Frankie Pickle and the pine run 3000. Wight, Eric. Simon and Schuster, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 87pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-6485-8.

Frankie Pickle is a boy full of imagination. Sometimes, this can sometimes get him into trouble. In this book Frankie is the only boy in his posy that does not receive a merit badge to the next level of possum scouts. The only chance Frankie has to get the badge is to enter in the Pine Run 3000, a race of handcrafted race cars. He builds a race car all on his own, but after wrecking it at school when he was showing it off to his Possum mates, Frankie admits he needs help from his father. At the Pine Run 3000 the race results are not what are expected but turn out for the best in the end. Frankie’s thoughts are illustrated throughout the graphic novel through comic-book style illustrations. This book would be an excellent choice for a student who needs help enjoying reading. (MM)

Puffling. Wild, Margaret. Macmillan Publishing (Feiwel and Friends), 2008. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-312-56570-1. Illustrated by Julie Vivas.

A baby puffin named Puffling is born to two loving parents, Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather. Big Stripy Beak and Long Black Feather keep their baby Puffling well fed, loved, and safe from the scary gulls outside of their burrow. As Puffling grows up, he fantasizes about the day he will be able to take care of himself and leave his family’s burrow. He continues to ask his parents if he is “strong enough, tall enough, and brave enough” to leave his home. They continue to tell him he is almost ready and when he is they will let him go into the world by himself. Finally the day arrives when Puffling has to say goodbye to his loving parents. After assuring him he will be fine without them, they remind him he will always have a special place in their hearts. This heartwarming story of pure love brings forth the issues of milestones and growing up. The cool, calming colors used on every page along with the loving language, captivate a readers eyes, mind, and heart. (CKB)

Cat the cat who is that. Wilhelms, Mo. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 32pp. $10.99. ISBN978-0061728402.

An inquisitive book full of repetition, this work will encourage readers to repeat “Cat the Cat, who is that?” and follow along with the story. This book is full of motion and energy, as the illustrations have motion-lines, and dancing, playing, active animals. Encouraging friendship and happy greetings, Cat the Cat makes a new friend with a creature that frightened him at first. The upbeat and simple pictures will give readers a chuckle and a warm feeling. (LME)

Let’s say hi to friends who fly! Willem, Mo. HarperCollins Publishers (Balzer + Bray), 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 24pp. $10.99. ISBN 978-0-06-172842-6.

Follow Cat the cat as she greets her flying friends in Mo Willem’s Let’s say hi to friends who fly! Children will enjoy the playful illustrations as they meet Bee the bee, Bird the bird, and all of Cat’s other friends who fly. Let’s say hi to friends who fly! is a wonderful selection for enthusiastic young readers. (SEB)

Big frog can’t fit in. Willems, M. HarperCollins Publishers (Hyperion), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 16pp. $19.99. ISBN 978-142311426-9.

Big frog can’t fit in by Mo Willems is a captivating toy pop-out book for young readers. The text, comprised of reasons the big frog can’t fit in the book and suggestions from her friends, is simple and appropriate for new readers. The pop out pictures are made out of vibrant reds, lively oranges and warm purples, all of which compliment big frog’s body. Readers could never get bored with this book; on each page of the text the reader must look for which tabs to pull, to be amazed at what pops open when the page turns. Big frog can’t fit in lacks a coherent story line, but it does serve to educate children about the wide variety of books a library or classroom has to offer. (LM, MAM)

How the Nobble was finally found. Williams, C.K. and Stephen Gammell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt Children’s Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 38pp. $18.00. ISBN 978-0-15-205460-1.

In this story, the reader is introduced to a creature called the Nobble. The Nobble is very lonely because he has always been by himself. He had never met anyone or been discovered by anyone. One day the Nobble decides that he does not want to be alone anymore, so he ventures out to find someone. While searching he sees many strange things like buildings and cars, which he had never seen before. He sees a little girl and is very frightened when she approaches him and tries to speak to him. The Nobble runs away in fear but the girl finally gets his attention. She leads him to a phone and shows him how to use it, and then leads him to a door and shows him how to open it. Behind the door is a great surprise for the Nobble. He finds another Nobble just like him and is overjoyed. The Nobbles become great friends and thank the girl for her help. Stephen Gammel mixes dark, dull, colors with bright, vibrant colors to create contrast within his illustrations. Descriptive words and complex sentences make this book a great read for upper elementary students. How the Nobble was finally found also conveys the message that no one is alone and every person, no matter how unique, can find a friend who has the same interests as them. (AED)

The can man. Williams, Laura E. Lee & Low Books, 2010. [email protected], (212-779-4400). 40pp. $18.95. ISBN 978-1600602665. Illustrated by Craig Orback.

In The can man, a homeless man inspires a young boy to earn money for a skateboard. Instead of feeling sorry for himself because his family cannot afford to buy a skateboard for his birthday, the boy starts collecting cans to make money. Readers will learn the value of giving and determination. (LM, AO)

Jumped. Williams-Garcia, Rita. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 169pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-076091-5.

Written from the perspectives of three different students, Jumped revolves around the threat of a fight. One girl is struggling to make passing grades, another is enthusiastic about art and her looks, and the last is a tough player on the girls’ basketball team. The use of profanity may make this book inappropriate for younger readers. Although the roles of the girls are stereotypical, their three unique perspectives increase the opportunity for readers to relate to one of the characters. (KT)

A chair for always. William,Vera B. HarperCollins Publishers (Greenwillow Books), 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 38 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-172279-0.

A chair for always is a tale of a little girl who lives with her grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle. Being the only child, Rosa spends a lot of time with her grandmother in their big comfy chair. Her Aunt Ida is due to have a baby soon, so Rosa will have a cousin. During the night, Aunt Ida goes into labor. Rosa wants to be there and help, but everyone tells her to stay downstairs because she is too little. After her cousin Benji is born, Rosa shares the chair with him. Grandma wants to change the fabric on the chair, but Rosa wants to keep the chair just the way it is!
Children will be able to identify with Rosa’s frustration about being too young to help the adults with the birth of her cousin. Those who are big brothers and sisters will be able to understand how things begin to change with a new baby in the house. This book would be perfect to read to children expecting a new baby brother or sister. Children will love the illustrations in this book, especially those of the big comfy chair. It is an adorable book for readers of any age. (CF)

My name is Sangoel. Williams, Karen Lynn and Khadra Mohammed. Eerdmans Publishing Company (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers). [email protected], (800-253-7521). 32pp. $17.00. ISBN 978-0-8028-5307-3. Illustrated by Catherine Stock.

This daring story is about a boy who is forced to move to America with his mother and sister from their home country of Sudan. With negative political situations occurring in Sudan, becoming refugees in America is the only choice for this family. The main character, an only a child, has a great fear of losing his name, Sangoel. From the moment he arrives in the country, people struggle to pronounce his name. Sangoel’s ability to make his negative situation better is inspiring. The illustrations by Catherine Stock allow the reader to feel as if he or she were actually in the book. The story shows children that they can make a poor situation more positive and that it is possible to overcome struggles. (KW, BCHM)

The dragons of ordinary farm. Williams, Tad and Deborah Beale. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154345-6.

Tyler and Lucinda are sent off to spend the summer with their uncle but are not excited about it. When they arrive, the farm is not what they expected. Their uncle is not raising cows, chickens, and pigs, but dragons, unicorns and other mystical creatures! What they expected to be a boring summer with their uncle turns out to be the adventure of a lifetime. (KMT)

Peaceful heroes. Winter, Jonah. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine Books), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 59pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-439-62307-0. Illustrated by Sean Addy.

This book provides concise biographies for fourteen peaceful heroes—those who would have died for their cause but refused to kill for it; who were ordinary people doing their best to protect others from being killed through the use of nonviolence. With narratives easy for children to understand and stylized modern illustrations, young readers will be inspired by the lives of Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Sojourner Truth, Clara Barton, Corrie ten Boom, Ginetta Sagan, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Oscar Romero, Paul Rusesabagina, Aung San Suu Kyi, Meena Keshwar Kamal, Marla Rzicka, and William Feehan. (NO)

Nasreen’s secret school. Winter, Jeanette. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 9781416994374.

When Nasreen’s parents disappear, she stops talking in this affecting story about life in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s reign. Nasreen finds her voice and a new sense of empowerment, however, when her grandma enrolls her in a secret girls’ school. From this picture book based on reality, students will gain a sense of what life in Afghanistan was like during the Taliban’s regime, as well as a greater appreciation for the power of knowledge. (MC)

Wangari’s trees of peace. Winter, Jeanette. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Harcourt), 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 29pp. $17.00. ISBN 9780152065454.

Based on the true tale of Wangari Maathai, who started a movement to plant trees all over Kenya after massive deforestation, this book serves as a tribute to the importance of caring for our world. Wangari is a wonderful role model for children, especially girls, who need to see that it is possible for one person to start a big change for the better. (MC)

The fabulous feud of Gilbert & Sullivan. Winter, Jonah. Scholastic Inc. (Arthur A. Levine), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 30pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-439-93050-5. Illustrated by Richard Egielski.

Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan live in the make-believe kingdom of Topsy-Turvydom. Both men worked together writing operas; Mr. Gilbert wrote the words, and Mr. Sullivan wrote the music. One day Mr. Sullivan got tired of Mr. Gilbert’s writing because it was always the same, so he decided to part ways with his partner. This made Mr. Gilbert very upset. Mr. Sullivan decided to go to France to forget about his argument with his partner. After awhile, Mr. Gilbert began to miss his partner very much, and he knew that in order to get him back he would have to write a new kind of opera. When the new opera is shared with Mr. Sullivan, he loves it! The two begin work on their new opera together and it soon becomes a big hit, and Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sullivan return to being friends and partners. This book is wonderful for students in the middle elementary grades. It has a mix of simple and complex sentences that give detailed descriptions of the setting, plot and characters. The illustrations are very elaborate and detailed with a large array of colors like yellows and browns, and the characters are drawn with great detail. (AED)

Love & lies. Wittlinger, Ellen. Simon and Schuster (BFYR), First published in 2008, 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 245 pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-7914-2.

Marisol is a struggling eighteen year old who is trying to find herself in a busy and always changing city. Marisol took a year off of school in order to make money and start on the novel that she has always wanted to write. However, she struggles to find time to do everything in between fighting with her roommate about who he brings home and falling in love with her professor from her novel writing course. Marisol is deeply in love with her professor, but is her professor in love with her? And if they fall in love will it be forever? Wittlinger’s novel focuses on how to find one’s self in the midst of such a hectic lifestyle. Marisol fights to be able to fall in love and finish a novel, but along the way she learns about herself. Wittlinger’s novel, which focuses on figuring out what one wants in life and how to get it, will keep readers excited for every turn of the page and they will never expect what will happen next. (EEE).

A Galapagos Island food chain: A who-eats-what adventure. Wojahn, Rebecca Hogue and Donald Wojahn. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 59pp. $30.60. ISBN 978-0-8225-7613-6.

This book describes the animal food chain in the Galapagos Islands. It is part of a series of books describing various parts of the world. Curious young readers will gain an incredible amount of factual information through reading A Galapagos Island food chain: A who-eats-what adventure. (KAR)

A savanna food chain. Wojahn, Rebecca Hogue and Donald Wohahn. Lerner Publishing Group, 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 64pp. $16.95. ISBN 978-8225-7498-9.

A savanna food chain is a very colorful book about the food chain of the African Savanna. This interactive book is formatted to resemble a game in which readers are able to play by themselves or with others. Although the game may make the text more challenging for some readers, it provides a fun alternative to simply reading. Readers will enjoy the many realistic photos of different animals in their natural environment displayed throughout the pages. A glossary is included to provide readers with information and tips for further reading. (FCW)

Seven natural wonders of Africa. Woods, Michael and Mary B. Woods. Lerner Publishing Group (Twenty-First Century Books), 2009. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 80pp. $19.95. ISBN 978-0-8225-9071-2.

Readers will learn about the wonders of Africa, from the Nile River to the Sahara Desert. Children of all ages will be interested in this quality informational book. (NH)

From the notebooks of Melanin Sun. Woodson, Jacqueline. Penguin Group, (Usa), Inc. (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), First published in 1995, 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 126pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-25280-83.

Jacqueline Woodson’s From the notebooks of Melanin Sun is purely eye opening. The use of strong lyrical writing accompanied with developed character lines creates an outstanding, thought provoking book. Melanin Sun, a thirteen-year-old African American boy is growing up in Brooklyn, New York with his single mother. After years of hardship, Melanin is excited for his life to get back to normal. However, his mother tells him she is in love with a white woman named Kristin. This news turns Melanin’s world upside down, confusing him as to what he is supposed to think and how he should treat his mother now. Woodson uses Melanin’s own words to express his emotions throughout the story. He becomes a victim of cruel taunts from his neighbors and friends once they learn about his mother. Woodson writes with passion and anger, but also presents a tender relationship between a boy and his mother. Readers of all ages will learn that differences may be hard to work through, but love and commitment can help people get through anything. Parents could read the story along with their adolescent and discuss the issues presented within it. (CKB)

Peace, locomotion. Woodson, Jacqueline. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc., 2009. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 134pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-39924655-5.

Peace, locomotion is a book that includes a series of letters written by a 12-year-old boy named Lonnie Collins Motion, or Locomotion as he signs letters. Locomotion’s family life changes drastically when tragedy strikes. He and his sister Lilli are sent to different foster homes after their parents are killed in a fire. Locomotion and Lilli aren’t able to see each other very often, so Locomotion takes it upon himself to write to her; however, he does not intend to send the letters, but hopes to give them to her when they can be together again. He writes about the struggles he faces in school, how much their lives have changed and about his life at his foster mother’s house.

Though this book is meant for students in fifth or sixth grade, older children can also benefit from Locomotion’s observations on life. Children will love the style of the book, with its short letter format chapters. Due to the subject matter of the book, it offers coping methods for children dealing with loss. Locomotion repeatedly writes about his poetry as a way to help him deal with the deaths of his parents. The author does a wonderful job of making the character of Locomotion very believable. Readers will easily pick up on the changes that happen to him throughout the book. (CF)

Metaphors and analogies. Wormeli, Rick. Stenhouse 2009. [email protected], (800-988-9812). 174pp. $23. ISBN 978-1-57110-758-9.

Metaphors and analogies is a teacher resource book aimed at raising awareness about the power of metaphor in teaching. Concrete examples used in classrooms greatly enhance the usefulness of this text. Wormeli includes many suggestions for aiding ELL students and improving their ability to make connections to their experiences. This book is a valuable resource for teachers in training as well as veteran teachers. (LG)

Thirteenth child. Wrede, Patricia C. Scholastic Inc., 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 320pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-03342-8.

Eff is considered to be unlucky while her twin brother, Lan, is considered to be excessively lucky. Eff’s family considers her to be unlucky because she is the thirteenth child. On the other hand, Lan was born to the seventh son of the seventh son, which his family believes makes him and everyone around him lucky. The book focuses on the two different ways that Eff and Lan learn magic. The magical concepts throughout the book are phenomenally well thought out and will engage children. Despite it lengthiness, children will enjoy reading this book. (LM, BCHM)

Sleep, big bear, sleep. Wright, Maureen. Marschall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888). 32pp. ISBN 978-0-7614-5560-8. Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand.

Sleep, big bear, sleep follows the adventures of a big bear who is hard of hearing as he is told to go to sleep for the winter. Wright’s use of rhyming and repetition along side multiple lined pages make this book wonderful for middle elementary students. The gradual change in background colors helps the reader recognize the changing of the seasons from fall to winter. Yet, Hillenbrand never makes the reader feel a sense of danger despite the dark grays and dull blues he uses to convey winter. This is in large part because of the big bears golden brown hair and square shapes that convey stability. However, the most important and valuable part of this book is the wonderful lesson it teaches about bears’ natural drive to sleep all winter long. (NB)

The geezer in the freezer. Wright, Randall. Macmillan Publishing (Bloomsbury), 2009.
[email protected], (646-307-5151). 31pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-59990-135-0. Illustrated by Thor Wickstrom.

There really is a geezer in the freezer! A boy finds an elderly man in his aunt’s freezer. He discovers that old man was Aunt May’s fiancé who literally got cold feet before the two were meant to be married. Readers will find the poem’s creatively worded verses hilarious, either when reading the book alone or aloud. The illustrations of the characters, their expressions and surroundings greatly enhance the comical rhyme. (MM)

The monstrumologist Yancey, Rick. Simon and Schuster (BYFR)
, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 454pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8448-1.

The monstrumologist is a gruesome horror novel that is intriguing yet disturbing. Twelve-year-old William Henry James is burdened by the task of dealing with grisly creatures. Although it starts slowly, The monstumologist becomes very engaging as the plot progresses. I would recommend this book for young adults, but its gruesome subject matter may make it an inappropriate choice for a classroom collection or school library. (NH)

Mouse and Mole: Fine feathered friends. Yee, Wong Herbert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Houghton Mifflin Book for Children), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 45pp. $15.00. ISBN 978-0-547-15222-6.

Mouse and Mole set out on an exploration to find birds. At first the two friends are unsuccessful because the birds keep flying away, but then they devise a plan. They decide to disguise themselves as birds to blend in and get a closer look at the different birds. The two friends build a nest and wait for a bird to come by, and to their surprise, the idea works! The friends used Mole’s beautiful drawings and Mouse’s interesting poems to make a book together called Fine Feathered Friends. Although this is a longer book, the author uses simple sentences perfect for children who are just beginning to read chapter books. The illustrator uses nature-like colors like different shades of blues and greens. The simplistic drawings of the characters make it easier for the reader to understand the setting of the story with the more detailed backgrounds. This book will help students establish the concept of problem solving and following directions. (AED)

A brand-new day with Mouse and Mole. Yee, Wong Herbert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 46pp. $15.00. ISBN
978-0-618-96676-9.

This book is great for children who are making the transition from picture books to chapter books. The story is about Mole and Mouse who are having a good day spending time together. The friends treat each other with great respect and have fun doing so. The author has a great message for kids because it shows the importance of friendship and how to be a good friend. This book is great for young readers. (BCHM)

Auntie tiger. Yep, Laurence. HarperCollins Publishers, 2009. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 33pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-029551-6. Illustrated by Insu Lee.

This amusing version of the classic Little Red Riding Hood teaches a lesson about obedience and the consequences of disobeying orders. The mother of two girls living in a tiger-inhabited Chinese village leaves to get food and tells her daughters not to open the door for anyone. Little Sister does not listen; she lets in a very hairy and scary Auntie Tiger. Auntie Tiger is very tricky, which leads to Little Sister being gobbled up; however, Big Sister uses her wit to trick the tiger and get her disobedient Little Sister back, just in the nick of time before the mother gets home from town. This book provides a nice opportunity to read another culture’s version of a commonly read American story. (KW, PM)

All star!: Honus Wagner and the most famous baseball card ever. Yolen, Jane. Penguin Group (Usa), Inc. (Philomel), 2010. [email protected], (212-366-2000). 32pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-399-24661-6. Illustrated by Jim Burke.

This biography of the great baseball player Honus Wagner is both entertaining and informative. Wagner’s rags-to-riches story, from working in a mine in Pennsylvania as a young boy to becoming an incredibly successful major league baseball player, will inspire and delight readers whether they are baseball experts or casual fans. Wagner’s integrity is accurately portrayed, particularly when he pulls his baseball card from the market because it was to be sold in cigarette packs and he did not want to encourage his young fans to smoke. Honus Wagner’s story demonstrates the American dream realized—that success can come from hard work, passion, and perseverance. (NO)

How do dinosaurs say I love you? Yolen, Jane. Scholastic Inc. (The Blue Sky Pres), 2009. scholastic.custhelp.com, (212-343-6100). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-14314-1. Illustrated by Mark Teague.

How do dinosaurs say I love you by Jane Yolen will help young readers become engaged with reading. The story is easily relatable to students in pre-school or Kindergarten, since the dinosaurs in the story are all doing things that pre-school and Kindergarteners get in trouble for, such as throwing sand in the sandbox or fussing with their food. Each reader’s heart will melt as he or she learns a valuable life lesson: even if one messes up, he or she will still be loved. Learning is furthered by Mark Teague’s illustrations in which he cleverly slips the name of the dinosaurs somewhere on the page with his detailed sketches. It is apparent that Jane Yolen and Mark Teague know this age group very well and they do a wonderful job of creating a book overflowing with knowledge for readers to gobble up. (KW, NB)

The scarecrow’s dance. Yolen, Jane. Simon and Schuster, 2009. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 29pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-3770-8. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

Night has fallen and the Scarecrow is set free from his post by the autumn wind. Readers will follow the scarecrow as he takes a tour around his farm. Each page captures the eye with the beautiful illustrations and the warm colors of an autumn night. Yolen has created a harvest time masterpiece, giving readers a newfound appreciation for the duties of the Scarecrow. (SEB)

Dragon’s heart. Yolen, Jane. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. children’[email protected] (617-351-1185). 417pp. $17.00 ISBN 978-0-15-205919-4.

Dragon’s heart is filled with mythical dragons and places unheard of in the real world. The story takes place in Austar, a location convicts are sent to when deemed too dangerous for society. This area is now used to raise dragons for meat, leather, and jewelry. Dragon’s heart is well written and is an enjoyable read for older elementary and early middle school aged children. It teaches the importance of working together toward a common cause, as well as emphasizing the importance and value of friendship. (CF)

Wings. Yoon, Salina. Simon and Schuster (Little Simon), 2010. [email protected], (800-223-2336). 12pp. $8.99. ISBN 978-1-4169-8958-5.

The many adjectives included within Wings allows readers to develop the skill of creative description. Not only are children able to hear and see the words, but they are also able to touch them. The audience will gain a deeper understanding of words by using multiple senses at a time. (LM, KLM)

Homework. Yorinks, Arthur. Macmillan Publishing (Walker), 2009. [email protected], (646-307-5151). 32pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8027-9585-4. Illustrated by Richard Egielski.

Young Tony never does his homework, instead he sleeps. One night Tony’s pencil, pen, and eraser decide to write Tony’s homework for him. Bickering endlessly as to what they should write, the animated school supplies barely complete their story before Tony wakes up only to discard their work. Illustrations by Egielski are done in deep, bright colors that accent the emotions of the characters. Language in the book is hostile, and an argumentative theme is never resolved, making this book inappropriate for young children. (LG)

The thirteenth princess. Zahler, D. HarperCollins Publishers, 2010. [email protected], (212-207-7000). 243pp. $15.99 ISBN 978-0-06-182498-2.

The thirteenth princess is appropriate for upper elementary students. Zita is a young girl who works in a castle’s kitchen along with a large staff of servants. One day, one of the older cooks reveals to Zita her true identity; the young servant is actually the thirteenth princess of the family she waits on each day. Zita begins to learn more about her sisters and the mystery of their developing illnesses. When Zita follows her sisters one night, she discovers the fantasy world where the girls dance all night and are slowly killing themselves. If Zita had not followed her sisters, they may have died. The language used to tell the story is quite simple, but the transitions between the real world and fantasy world the young princesses travel to each night is complex and creative. Character development is the main tool that Zahler uses to develop the plot. In the beginning of the story, Zita is a cautious, lifeless young servant in a world of luxury, but as Zita grows and learns who she is she blossoms into a fun-loving, adventurous young princess who longs to be as beautiful as her sisters. (MAM)

Brenda Berman, wedding expert. Zalben, Jane Breskin. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. children’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 48pp. $16. ISBN 978-0-618-31321-1. Illustrated by Victoria Chess.

Brenda’s favorite uncle is getting married and Brenda is very excited to be a flower girl in the wedding. However, all her dreams about being in a wedding are crushed when she realizes there are two flower girls in the wedding, she can’t wear the dress she wants, and she is going to lose her favorite uncle to her new Aunt! Jane Breskin Zalben’s book focuses on important life lessons about not always getting what you want. Victoria Chess contributes the pictures for the book and creates art that blends in with the background. The majority of this book is written in a chapter book format for readers who may be ready for longer books, but not ready for the challenge of more complex chapter books. (EEE)

Women’s nonfiction: A guide to reading interests. Zellers, Jessica. ABC-CLIO (Libraries Unlimited), 2009. www.abc-clio.com, (800-368-6868). 442pp. $70. ISBN 978-1-59158-685-6.

Jessica Zeller’s Women’s Nonfiction: A guide to reading interests is a brilliant, easy to use dictionary of nonfiction books that relate to women’s interests. It has a structured contents page in the beginning of the guide where readers can choose from a wide range of topics to look for great book titles and explanations. Each book is wonderfully described, reminding women that reading is a life long hobby and it is important to make time for reading even when life becomes busy. Women of all ages will enjoy this fantastic reading guide. (CB)

The hiccupotamus. Zenz, Aaron. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. [email protected], (914-332-8888) 27pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-7614-5622-3. Illustrated by Aaron Zenz.

The hiccupotamus is a delightful tale about a hippopotamus that cannot get rid of his hiccups. He seeks help from his friends the elephant, centipede, and rhinoceros, but the hippopotamus’s hiccups keep getting in the way of his friends’ activities. Finally, frustrated with the hippo’s hiccupping problem, the elephant, centipede, and rhinoceros all try different antidotes to cure his hiccups. After many failed attempts to cure the hippopotamus’s problem, the hiccups just happen to disappear. Unfortunately, the hippo’s friends find themselves hiccupping instead. Soothing colors, such as purple, yellow, and green, in the illustrations portray each character as friendly and gentle. The emotions and actions of the characters are both humorous and enhance the text. This book is ideal for early elementary students due to the simple word and sentence choices. Aaron Zenz also adds various “nonsense” words to the text in order to incorporate a rhyming theme. Zenz makes up words such as quite-a-lotamus, accidentipede, and criss-crosserous, adding additional humor. (AD)

Callie’s rules. Zucker, Naomi. Egmont USA, 2009. [email protected], (212-685-0102). 225pp. $15.99. ISBN 978-1-60684-027-6.

Callie simply does not fit in. While at school, Callie tries to figure out rules the popular sixth graders follow, but cannot seem to abide by them. It could be that Callie finishes tests before everyone else and gets good scores, rides her bike to school and does not have a cell phone. But when the pretty and popular Valeri Van Dine’s mother succeeds in convincing the town council that Halloween should be replaced with a wholesome celebration called Autumn Fest, Callie and her close-knit family find a way to bend the rules in order to celebrate their favorite holiday. Middle school girls will identify with Callie as she struggles with wanting to be popular and accepted, but how she realizes in the end that being unique and breaking her peers’ conventional social rules is more fulfilling. (NO)

Creature abc. Zuckerman, A. Chronicle Books, LLC, 2009. [email protected], (800-759-0190). 110pp. $19.99. ISBN 9780811869782.

While an animal alphabet book is not necessarily a unique idea, Zuckerman’s stunningly detailed photographs of animals make this book visually appealing and fresh. Each section begins with the letter and a close-up detail of part of the animal, so that children can guess what the animal on the next page will be. This has the potential to be a fun interactive book for young students. (MC)

The Hoover Dam. Zuehlke, Jeffrey. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 29pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-8225-9408-6.

The Hoover Dam by Jeff Zuehlke is a basic overview of the Hoover Dam that informs the reader where it is, when it was built, and describing its purpose in a way younger readers can understand. It incorporates pictures into a fairly short text. A nice feature of this book and the other books in this series is the glossary in the back to help younger readers. This book provides a good but basic background of the Hoover Dam. (LM, PM)

The Rocky Mountains. Zuehlke, Jeffrey. Lerner Publishing Group, 2010. [email protected], (800-328-4929). 32pp. $25.26. ISBN 978-0-7613-4454-4.

The Rocky Mountains by Jeffery Zuehlke covers basic facts about the Rocky Mountain range. This book is intended for young readers who do not need very detailed information. Information is presented in straightforward text with accompanying pictures. It would be hard to write a long speech or report with the information in this book, but a short book report or science presentation could be compiled from some of the information from this book. (LM, PM)

Steady hands. Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2009. chilren’[email protected], (617-351-1185). 48pp. $16.00. ISBN 978-0-618-90351-1. Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.

What will your working hands be doing when you are older? This book of poems is about hands at work, giving teen readers an insight to the different types of working life. From jobs such as tow truck driving and electrical work, to being a florist or a cook, each occupation is reflected in a different light. Although this book does not function as a guide to finding the “right” job, it provides a modern look at everyday jobs. Some of the poems are short and funny, while others are long and serious. Due to the books unusual illustrations and overall theme, this book would be appropriate for older children. (SE, KAR)