Fall 1999 Shoppe Talk San Marino Toy&Book Shoppe

    It seems like every time we look up from reading, another holiday season is hovering in the horizon, just waiting to land on our bookshelves. The boxes arrive. And we unpack and unpack, taking delight in new discoveries – knowing that before long these wonderfully imaginative and well written books will be enjoyed by you and the special people in your lives. So, along with our very best wishes for happy holidays and a healthy leap into 2000, we offer you some previews of coming attractions. Come visit us in person and see for yourself the pleasures that await between the covers of the books — our indispensable and reliable companions in the next century.


Great New Books for the Holidays

Sing for Thanksgiving

An old familiar counting song takes on a Thanksgiving theme with a bit of rewording by B. G. Hennessy.  So sing out and celebrate ONE LITTLE, TWO LITTLE, THREE LITTLE PILGRIMS.  And then count ten little Wampanoag. All of the children have chores to do that lead up to celebrating another year of planting and harvesting. Lynne Cravath illustrates the simple text with colorful, cheery pictures of children at their tasks.  Hennessy provides additional information in an afterward that expands what is shown in her pictured text.                                                     (Ages 3-8, $15.99)


A Taste of Latkes 
and More for Chanukah

Sadie’s family was so poor that one coin in her “purse never had another coin to keep it company.” One evening she went into the woods to gather firewood. There she met an old woman. Seeing how frail and cold she looked, Sadie offered her all the wood she had gathered. In exchange the woman gave her a magic pan that would make enough latkes to satisfy even Sadie’s four hungry brothers on the first night of Chanukah and the seven nights that followed. When Sadie went out on the last night of Chanukah to invite the old woman to share the bounty of that magic pan she warned her brothers not to touch it. But the boys had overheard Sadie’s special words to start the pan cooking and decided not to wait for their sisters return. We all know what happens next as author/illustrator Naomi Howland turns a traditional nursery tale into a Chanukah treat of LATKES, LATKES GOOD TO EAT
(Ages 3-9, $15.99) 

More Books for the Holidays

When you start checking off your Chanukah gift list and you come to that hard to please incipient adolescent, we have a marvelous suggestion. Consider WITH ALL MY HEART, WITH ALL MY MIND; Thirteen Stories About Growing Up Jewish edited by Sandy Asher.  Well known contemporary authors have contributed a full range of stories, from a Biblical outtake by Susan Beth Pfeffer, “Cain and Abel Double Date,” to contem- porary issues like “fitting in” to mainstream culture while maintaining a Jewish identity. Following the short stories are brief interviews with the authors who relate their own feelings about growing up Jewish and how it influenced their writing.           (Ages 11-16, $18.00)

Christmas is for Reading Aloud with Friends and Family
These two titles will add to your repertoire of good read-alouds for any Christmas gathering.
Hoshmakaka is an old camel, complaining of gout and sciatica, so how could he possibly be the designated beast of burden to carry the wise men's frankincense and myrrh? The admiring younger camels encourage him and spur him on. And he's not one to admit out loud that he can't do the task, so each person who comes with another offering for the new king adds more burden to his back. And just when he has almost reached his destination, a child's gift is literally THE LAST STRAW. He can no longer stand under the weight and falls to his knees at the side of the manger where a tiny hand reaches up to him and he no longer feels his burdens. Fredrick H. Thury’s story has a gentle humor that is also reflected in Vlasta van Kampen’s rich water colors. Hers is an endearing portrait of an aging camel not quite willing to admit his limitations. This will be an easy one to read aloud at any gathering of family and friends during the holiday season.                                     (Ages 4++, $15.95)

 
Sophie wonders why AUNTIE CLAUS disappears from her New York penthouse between Halloween and Valentine's Day. Determined to discover her dear aunt's destination, she stows away in one of the larger boxes packed for an extended business trip. The reader is not too surprised to discover that Auntie's destination is the North Pole where “Elf” Sophie is immediately assigned to the mailroom. Next she volunteers for the unpopular task of serving in the coal mines gathering up the rewards for naughty boys and girls. When she discovers her own brother's name on the list of recipients she erases it and replaces it with her own. And then mysteriously she finds herself at a pre-sleigh launch gathering where her own AUNTIE CLAUS is being honored by Santa as his indispensable helper. She hops a sleigh ride back home in time for her own Christmas morning.  Elise Primavera paints and tells this cheerful tale with its positive reminder that is always better to give than receive.  (Our hint: Reading a good story to a group of friends is a unique gift.)             (Ages 5++, $16.00)


Picture Books
If this is your little one's very first holiday time, we can't think of a nicer way to begin a lifetime library than Rosemary WellsHERE COMES MOTHER GOOSE. Like her previous collab- oration with anthologist Iona Opie, this too is a richly illustrated collection of more Mother Goose favorites. Wells paints for young children. Her characters are inviting and cuddly looking and her color palette cheerful. As an extra bonus, the large type print gives a child a place to begin as he makes his inevitable transition from listener to independent reader. It's a generous companion (over 100 pages) to My Very First Mother Goose
(Ages 1-6, $21.99) 
(My Very First Mother Goose also available, $21.99) 

Ken Wilson-Max’s two interactive titles, MAX’S MONEY and MAX’S LETTER are sure to engage any pre-schooler as they follow a coin or a letter through the book. In the first, Max puts the coin into a gum ball machine slot and on the next page the coin appears in Mimi’s purse and she puts it in the telephone slot and so on until at the end there is the coin appearing again in Max’s wallet. In the second title, Buzz's letter to Max follows its course from mailbox to mailbox, offering a good first introduction to the postal system.
(Ages 2-5, $6.99 each title) 

Eric Carle has been pleasing young readers for over three decades with his books that offer them not just lovely collage art that accompanies a satisfying story, but also a bit extra. In one, a cricket chirps, in another the lightening bug twinkles, and in his latest, THE VERY CLUMSY CLICK BEETLE clicks (thanks to a replaceable battery which powers an electronic chip). Beetle practices and practices, like a young gymnast, trying to click and land right side up. And finally, in the moment he most needs to succeed, he does. Carle’s intriguing books help young children stretch their attention spans, laying the necessary groundwork for the fuller reading experiences to come.                                                              (Ages 1½–6, $22.99)

HUSH, LITTLE BABY don't say a word,” Papa's going to read you Marla Frazee’s newest picture book. Certainly her lovely paintings of one family's efforts to pacify a sleepless, crying infant will intrigue the fussiest toddler — especially if the words are sung. Frazee sets her story in an earlier time in Appalachia. The source for all the items to coax baby is a traveling peddler whose cart is filled with wooden toys and other necessaries like a mockingbird and a dog named Rover he really doesn't want to sell. Frazee’s artwork is visual storytelling at its best.                       (Ages 2-6, $15.00)

And if your SLEEPY BEARS need just one more, then cuddle up with Mem Fox’s yawning cubs who nod off one by one as their very tired Mama Bear lulls them to sleep with her poems, a special one for each to have his own sweet dream. Kerry Argent’s bears are all snugly tucked into a giant bed covered with a cozy quilt. It must have taken her almost as long to paint the details of its many patches as it might for a quilter to stitch one. SLEEPY BEARS is bound to be a bedtime favorite for years to come and I bet you will never get through it without at least one big yawn.                                     (Ages 2-5, $16.00)

Joan Steiner’s artfully intriguing Look-Alikes has spawned a LOOK ALIKES, Jr. that promises to be as popular as the first. Gather the family around and play the “look-alikes game” where you take turns identifying a familiar object used to represent something entirely different. As you study the photographs of Steiner’s complicated three-dimensional constructions you will discover textile pot holders and corduroy shorts strewn in a farmer's field and crackers and cookies showing up in the most unexpected places. This junior version will engage an even younger audience than her first but will also remain as much fun for the rest of the company.                          (Ages 3+, $12.95) 


More Picture Books
Primary teachers are going to have a great time using all of David Shannon's text for their “word walls” after the class listens to DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL. With its good-natured humor and kid friendly artwork, it's a surefire natural for every primary classroom. How teachers managed without this book all these years we'll never know.  As in Shannon's 1999 Caldecott Honor, No David, David's gap-toothed visage mugs its way through a catalog of antics.  Kept after school, he performs so well that he finally earns a star from his teacher. And David Shannon gets a gold star from us too. “Good job, David.” 
(Ages 3-6, $14.95) 

Warning! Your laughometer is going to blow a fuse when you read former New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson’s DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH. For someone with a case of grumps, this book is tailor made.  A stern crocogator (sort of a generic whichever) announces he is in charge of this book and rule number one says: “Do Not Laugh!”  Rule number two says: “Do Not Even Smile.” And if you laugh or smile you have to go back to the front of the book.  Wow, what a concept. So the only problem we see with this book is that you must never read it at bedtime since you'd never get to shut the lights and say, “nighty night.” But a long car trip, interminable doctor's office waiting, a rainy no-recess day — that's another story altogether. This picture book is just plain slapstick fun.     (Ages 3+, $16.00)

An Adaptation of an Old Classic

Mark Twain’s THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER has been adapted by Marianna Mayer with handsome paintings by Gary A. Lippincott. As Mayer suggests in her introduction, this retelling is not intended to replace the original but should serve as a step into the delights of reading.  When a child's reading has matured he can meet Mark Twain as an old friend.  This particular story has much appeal as a hero tale where two boys who bear a startling resemblance, one to the other, meet and accidentally change places.  The pauper, Tom Canty, becomes the King while the real heir apparent, Prince Edward, is thrust into the streets and discovered by Tom's cruel father.  The Prince is saved from cruel mistreatment more than once by a soldier returning home after seven years at war.  Tom is crowned King and proves himself just and compassionate and ultimately honorable. The retelling is well done and the artwork dramatic. No one is too old for a satisfying tale.                      (Ages 7-12, $17.99)

Two Titles for Potential Travelers
“Come fly with us” through THE CITY OF ANGELS; In and Around Los Angeles. This visual treat makes us fall in love with a city we forget to appreciate; from the little ethnic neighborhoods of China Town, Little Tokyo, and Olvera Street, to the impressive Museum of Tolerance, The Getty, and the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Glimpse the best of Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills with stops at Exposition Park, Angel's Flight, Watts Tower and Griffith Park. A gifted team of journalists Julie Jaskol & Brian Lewis and collage artist Elisa Kleven join ranks to bring us this lovely book—forty eight pages that capture the essence of Los Angeles. The late artist Leo Politi, whose books so often reflected the rich cultural heritage of THE CITY OF ANGELS would have loved this one. 
(Ages 5-Adult, $16.99) 

If you know anyone between seven and thirteen years old who is planning a trip to WASHINGTON, DC any time soon, pick up this gem of a scrapbook for them. Author Laura Lee Benson and illustrator Iris Van Rynbach have put together a kid-friendly travel guide that looks like a very well organized memory book, complete with an itinerary, interesting facts and a Washington, D.C. history timeline. Listed at the end are approximately two dozen museums and cultural sites of special interest to kids and their families. This tidy introduction will better prepare kids for the marvelous experiences that await them in one of the world's most beautiful capitals. 
(Ages 7-13, $6.95 paperback) 

Famous People
Speaking of Washington, DC, did you ever hear about the time that Amelia Earhart took Eleanor Roosevelt on a plane ride over the nation's capital? Pam Munoz Ryan's story and Brian Selznick’s illustrations reconstruct and embellish that memorable evening in AMELIA AND ELEANOR GO FOR A RIDE.  During a dinner party one evening in the spring of 1933, Amelia and Eleanor were talking about flying. Eleanor had just applied for her student pilot's license and by that time Amelia had flown solo across the Atlantic. On a lark, the two women decided to take a plane ride so Eleanor could see just how beautiful the city looked at night.  Selznick’s graphite pencil illustrations tinged with subtle color pencil evoke the night and the adventure.  (Ages 5-9, $16.95) 

     Yes we know this is a bit early to think about Lincoln's birthday but Louise Borden’s A. LINCOLN AND ME with Ted Lewin’s combination of handsome watercolors and pencil studies is such an appealing story that it should be enjoyed the year ‘round. One youngster tells us that he and Abraham Lincoln share the same birthday. And like Lincoln he has big hands and big feet and gets teased for being clumsy. But his teacher tells him that Lincoln's big hands were also strong hands, strong enough to pull thirty six states back together. Borden’s storytelling folds the past into the present by comparing Lincoln's qualities to a contemporary child's as he moves toward self acceptance. 
(Ages 5-10, $15.95) 

New Picture Books Spun from Old Classics
Jan Brett borrows from a delicious nursery tale to concoct her own GINGERBREAD BABY. One cold wintry day, perfect for baking gingerbread, Matti discovers an old cookbook recipe for that classic cookie. Impatient Matti opens the oven too soon, and out pops THE GINGERBREAD BABY with his familiar taunting challenge that sets villagers and their various domestic animals on the chase. Meanwhile Matti stays home devising the perfect way to catch a crispy recalcitrant cookie. Brett’s last page offers a special treat as readers 
can lift the flap and discover a “lucky” GINGER- BREAD BABY inside a house made just for him. Brett sets the tale in the Swiss Alps, where her lovely paintings of a Swiss village are framed in borders showing Matti cooking the secret trap for the mischievous morsel.                                    (Ages 3-8, $16.99)

More Picture Books
Remember“The Twelve Dancing Princesses”? Now listen up, because we have BROTHERS OF THE KNIGHT, Debbie Allen's lively remake of that long time ago fairy tale. As she tells it, the dancers are all brothers, the motherless sons of Harlem's respected Reverend Knight who “preached a powerful sermon every Sunday.” Problem is, this crew of one dozen wears out their shoes every night. And no housekeeper hired by that good reverend seems able to solve the mystery. Not a one, that is, until a lively candidate appears named Sunday who bakes and cooks and gets those boys to cleaning. And if that isn't enough, she's got enough magic in her bag of tricks to uncover the secret nighttime goings on at the Big Band Ballroom and why those shoes get so worn out. Kadir Nelson's oil paintings sweep along the pages keeping time to the bouncy story. 
(Ages 5-10, $15.99) 

Hans Christian Anderson's classic, THE UGLY DUCKLING has been adapted and illustrated by that superb watercolorist, Jerry Pinkney.  It's a story with which we are all familiar so its lovely incarnation by Pinkney gives us a good reason to share it anew to another generation of children.  The timeless message gives hope to kids who are feeling rushed or impatient, and solace to anyone going through a rough time. It tells them things will ultimately work out, even better than one can often imagine. Pinkney’s colorful artwork with its richness of texture and pattern invites hours 
of rereadings.                            (Ages 3+, $16.00)

Since she has run out of bread, THE LITTLE RED HEN (MAKES A PIZZA). Cat, dog, and duck are idling away the day as the industrious hen goes about assembling all the necessary ingredients for a mouth-watering pizza.  (Do hens’ mouths water?) Anyway the pizza, topped with just about anything you'd ever want on a pizza (except for pickled eggplant), is lovely but enormous. Generous hen asks if the lazy trio would like to help her eat the pizza. This time her invitation is greeted in the affirmative, and after they polish off the pizza they even do the dishes which is a better ending than we could have expected. Philemon Sturges and his willing helper, illustrator Amy Walrod have concocted a tasty dish to set before a young audience eager for an amusing story with its own appealing topping of cheerful cut-paper art.                  (Ages 3-8, $15.99)

The Little Red Hen would be proud of her ingenious great-grandson, Rooster, in this clever variation on a theme entitled COOK-A- DOODLE-DOO. He's tired of plain old chicken feed so he gets out his famous ancestor's cookbook, “The Joy of Cooking Alone” and decides to try his hand at Strawberry Shortcake. The traditional non-helpers opt out as usual. However in this age of pet diversity he gets an unexpected assist from the pot-bellied pig, iguana and turtle. In nursery tale tradition he pretty much does the whole thing himself since the help is as inexperienced as it is incompetent. But they are willing learners and a second attempt turns out beautifully. Readers can tell that author/illustrator Jan Stevens and her sister, Susan Stevens Crummel had a great time concocting this delectably humorous morsel.    (Ages 4-9, $17.00 – 
       Recipe included but you have to supply the ingredients!

Fiction for Young Readers
These books will make Y2 very OK.
A Beginning Chapter Book 

PA LIA’S FIRST DAY is the beginning of a new mini-series written and illustrated by Michelle Edwards. It's second grader Pa Lia’s first day at Jackson Magnet School and she feels like her stomach is “filled with a thousand fluttering butterflies,” and that she's a “teeny-tiny minnow in a huge giant ocean.” Then along comes Calliope who rescues her when Stinky Stern causes her to trip on the stairs. In class she gets two girls in trouble for passing notes but admits it is her fault. Her honest bravery ensures a budding friendship and all is well. One of the virtues of an attractive book like this is its appeal to new readers who want to tackle real chapter books. We're happy to see topnotch writers addressing their talents to this eager audience.                       (Ages 6-9, $14.00)


Following the same successful format as her Rachel’s Journal; The Story of a Pioneer, is Marissa Moss' second historical novel, EMMA’S JOURNAL; The Story of a Colonial Girl. Emma describes her own daily life in Boston as a serving girl to her aunt over a two-year time span beginning mid-July, 1774, until the reading of the Declaration of Independence, in July, 1776. Moss has attempted to show not only the progression of events leading up to the Revolutionary War, but the way in which the Colonials began to view themselves as Americans, shedding their loyalty to a British King and country so remote and disconnected. The journal format with illustrations and hand printed text provides an excellent vehicle for chronicling the transition. 
(Ages 7-11, $15.00) 

Anastasia Krupnik’s younger brother stars in another entertaining engagement, ZOOMAN SAM. It's Future Job Day at Sam's nursery school which sets Sam thinking about what exactly he wants to do with the rest of his life. While almost every boy in his preschool is planning to be firemen, Sam opts for zooman and the opportunity to be a different animal every day for a month so that he can wear the many hats in his collection. He is also on a personal quest to learn all his letter sounds so that by the book's end, Sam has a wonderful surprise for his family. One of the hallmarks of Lois Lowry’s fine series is how very nice the Krupnik family is, how readable the “Sam” chapter books are for younger listeners, and how much fun they remain for independent middle grade readers.                    (Ages 7-12, $15.00)

Has it been only a year since we read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? The hoopla that followed its appearance has been nothing short of phenomenal. Not only did J.K. Rowling’s delicious tale capture our hearts and imagination, so did her own personal success story. Her third book, HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, is even better than the second. Four hundred and forty eight suspense-filled pages chronicle Harry's third year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Tension builds because Harry is considered the potential victim of escaped killer Sirius Black, reported cohort of the evil murderous Lord Voldemort, “the most feared dark wizard of the last 100 years.” That's not to say there isn't a marvelous bit of comic relief that is veined throughout Rowling’s writing. She's Shakespearean in her talent for capturing quirky moments like Harry's encounter with “Aunt Marge,” and his runaway ride on The Knight Bus. And so cleverly does she waft an amazing teaser of a plot line before us that we find ourselves counting down the months until the fourth Harry Potter. While we're waiting we might as well reread the first three. (Ages 10+++, $19.95; Also, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is now available in paperback for the first time, $5.99)

More Fiction for Young Readers
Three novels set in three distinctly different locales are told through the eyes of three young orphans.
Christopher Paul Curtis, author of The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963, brings us another beautifully crafted, bitter-sweet tale. BUD, NOT BUDDY reaches back into the heart of the depression. Bud, orphaned at six, remembers his Momma reading to him and telling him she would always be there for him even when he couldn't see her. Besides leaving him with loving memories he has her old flyers advertising a jazz band and one Herman E. Calloway, a bass fiddle player. Bud is certain that this man is his father. By the time he is ten years old he has had enough of Flint, Michigan's orphanages and foster homes so he begins an adventure-filled odyssey to find him. Curtis, as he did in his first novel, creates a likable young hero caught in a confusing time. The Great Depression with Hoovervilles and hunger, forms a rich backdrop for the memorable characters that people the story. Curtis, in an afterward, pays tribute to his own grandfathers on whom some of the story is based.                (Ages 9-13, $15.95;
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 also available in paperback, $4.99)

Gail Carson Levine creates a richly told tale, DAVE AT NIGHT, based on her own father's experiences as an orphan in New York City in the early twenties. Dave's father has died in a construction accident leaving him and his brother to the mercies of relatives who do not want the care of a rascal like Dave. So his stepmother turns him over to the care of the Hebrew Home for Boys, a rough institution in the heart of New York City. Sneaking out at night, Dave discovers the world of the Harlem Renaissance and well known figures like W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes. He finds a surrogate grandfather, a real gonif, who befriends him even if he won't let Dave move in with him. It's through his connections with a prominent black woman who plays hostess to the leading intellectuals of the Renaissance that some of the worst abuses in the Home are addressed.                      (Ages 8-12, $15.95)

Just as the sights, smells and sounds of the Lower East Side and the lively nightlife of Harlem are vividly evoked through Dave's eyes in Dave At Night, we get a strong sense of Elizabethan London in Nat Field's adventure, KING OF SHADOWS by Susan Cooper. Nat Field begins a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to act with company of talented young Americans selected to perform in the newly built Globe theatre in London. For Nat, grieving from the recent and tragic death of his father, it provides a chance to immerse himself in this unique and intense project. Once the troupe arrives in London, Nat begins to experience a curious déjà vu that ultimately pulls him back into sixteenth century London. There he gives an “out of century” performance as “Puck” in “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” But even more important, it is the friendship he forges with fellow actor and playwright William Shakespeare that helps Nat come to grips with his own grief. Susan Cooper'sKING OF SHADOWS is a handsomely crafted “time travel” drama beautifully set with Shakespeare's words and world.              (Ages 10-15, $16.00)


Titles of Special Interest
First, a pair in paperback for stocking stuffers or in lieu of Chanukah “gelt.
Consider Mindy Warshaw Skolsky’s LOVE FROM YOUR FRIEND, HANNAH about an inveterate letter writer who acquires a number of pen pals including President Roosevelt, his secretary Missy Le Hand and Mrs. Roosevelt. It is the late 1930’s and Hannah's parents run a highway diner along the Hudson River, so readers get a sense of history through her letters and the replies from a young Kansas farm boy. Pack this little gem with a sheet of postage stamps and some stationery and your address and give it to someone special. 
 (Ages 8-12, $5.95 paperback) 

 
And if you want to be your nephew's favorite uncle or auntie, snag a copy of the book that boasts the longest title of this or almost any season, the latest Dav Pilkey, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS AND THE INVASION OF THE INCREDIBLY NAUGHTY CAFETERIA LADIES FROM OUTER SPACE (AND THE SUBSEQUENT ASSAULT OF THE EQUALLY EVIL LUNCHROOM ZOMBIE NERDS). All we can tell you is that even though Pilkey looks like a grown-up, we think he is hard wired for third grade. The kids (and we, too) love his irreverent humor and cartoon drawings.
(Ages 7-10, $3.99; or if you are feeling really flush,  $16.95 in long lasting hardcover.) 

Imagine a future world where diversity is a capital crime. “Conformity begets harmony,” and “tranquillity begets peace,” are two of the catch phrases in the “year of tranquility 2407”.  Gemm’s recurring dream of music is disturbing and considered aberrant.  When he suddenly sings aloud and then angrily throws a rock at his friend, he is whisked away as a dangerous element. Given the choice of death or reprogramming, he chooses the latter as a way of protecting his pre-selected twin for whom life as a “single” would be intolerable. For his CURE he is thrust back into time, a dark terrible year, 1348, at the onset of the Black Plague. There he becomes Johannes, a sixteen year old Jewish boy who loves music and Margarite. It is also a time of raging anti-Semitism where persecution is as regular and persistent as the muddy streets in the rain. The plan is that by the end of his sojourn into the past, Gemm will learn to understand and despise music and emotion and individuality. Sonia Levitin has written a novel of startling intensity and brilliance, introducing young readers to a time and place previously unknown.                                (Ages 12+, $16.00) 

An Extraordinary Tale of Innocence and Courage
Young adult literature is becoming more sophisticated. The openness with which the lives of our public figures and tragic events involving our nation's young people is discussed freely in newspapers, television and in honest talks with peers and adults seems also to spill over into books published for teens. Take for example the excellent and compelling new autobiography by Irene Gut Opdyke, IN MY HANDS; Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer. A story that once might have been reserved for adults only and read in secret by their children has been published especially for their reading.  Opdyke was a seventeen-year-old nursing student when World War II invaded her native Poland and her life. Her memoir begins with an idyllic picture of growing up in an enlightened and close knit Catholic family. But the war shattered all their lives and nothing was ever the same. Ultimately she ended up working for German officers who were supervising a slave labor munitions factory. As a trusted staff member she began to use her position to help the few remaining imprisoned Jews. Her courage and ingenuity allowed her to rescue and hide twelve young adults in the basement of the Nazi commandant's home. This remarkable book might inspire other young adults to understand that the actions of even one courageous person can and do make the difference for good in this world. 
(Ages 13+. $18.00) 


Poetry for All Ages
Our shelves are richer each year with the publication of sparkling new collections by contemporary poets writing for young children (and grownups as well).
And speaking of sparkling, we welcome Joan Bransfield Graham's new collection, FLICKER FLASH.  She has shed new light on that very subject. Poems on sunlight, flashlight, porch light and moon; light of candle, fireworks and stars all shine out. Illustrator Nancy Davis creates a perfect environment for Graham's shaped poetry. This is a fine companion piece to the author's previous collection of water poems, Splish Splash
(Ages 3-10, $15.00) 

Who ever knew there could be so many metaphors for driving? Talented Janet S. Wong invites us BEHIND THE WHEEL where her “Poems about Driving” take us to places familiar on the landscape of our own lives, with a chance to visit them again through her eyes. Two of our favorites are fine-tuned gifts of advice. “Ask a Friend,” begins, “You don't always need to go it alone. Ask a friend to give you a ride, to help you out, to get you home.” And the title's poem tell us that “Everything you need to know you learn right here behind the wheel” with a comforting reminder at the end that if things end up “hopeless” then “just start over.” We have always enjoyed the humor with which she reminisces about her own family and realize how it helps us appreciate our own. If you know anyone beginning driver's ed, hand him this collection along with the signed permission slip.                       (Ages 12+++, $15.00)

Girls who have accomplished heroic deeds are honored in this fine collection of poems, ALL BY HERSELF, by Ann Whitford Paul.  Her poetry speaks of moments in time when each young woman took a stand to make the difference for her family, her community, her country, or like Rachel Carson, for the world.  The fourteen handsome oil paintings by Michael Steirnagle are a perfect match for the dramas captured in Paul's story poems.                                  (Ages 5-11, $17.00)

Nikki Grimes’ poetry paints a portrait of a man, of a friend and mentor. He’s Damon’s MY MAN BLUE, filling a place in his life left vacant by an absent father.  Blue looks scary, “leathery skins like indigo ink,” but underneath his fierce visage “Blue hides a harmless gentle giant side.”  Every kid should have someone who looks out for him like Blue does. This is one boy's friendship but it speaks to every child who needs a positive role model. Lovely acrylics by Jerome Lagarrigue complete the experience.                   (Ages 5-10, $15.99)

THE 20TH CENTURY CHILDREN'S POETRY TREASURY stands as one of the finest finales to one hundred years of exquisite creativity. As we look over the marvelous collection that Jack Prelutsky has carefully selected for us we are thrilled to see that so many of this last decade's talent has been recognized alongside the poets of our parent's generation, and our own. Here is Kristine O’Connell George and Janet S. Wong standing with A.A. Milne and Edna St. Vincent Millay. The two Nikkis, Grimes and Giovanni, share billing with Vachel Lindsey and Rachel Field. There are 217 poems representing 137 poets. Prelutsky has arranged them by themes and provided three indexes, the traditional author and title ones, and a third that lists the titles by decade of publication. We agree completely with Prelutsky’s view that “Children's literature in general has blossomed in our time, and poetry in particular has entered a ‘golden age.’” If anyone needed any further proof, with this fine collection, illustrated by Meilo So, we rest our case.                   (All Ages, $20.00)



Psst! Here's a great book for budding cooks that grownups already acquainted with Mollie Katzen because of her famous vegetarian “Moosewood Cookbook” will read on the “q.t.” It's HONEST PRETZELS, a companion to her first cookbook for kids, Pretend Soup (written for pre-schoolers and up). Honest Pretzels also has step-by-step pictures, only this second volume picks up where Pretend Soup leaves off and is intended for older children, ages eight and up. As in the first, it is assumed that there will be an adult close at hand for supervision and support, at least for the youngest users of this yummy set of recipes. The pretzel recipe is a perfect example of how math and reading skills are reinforced by practical application.  Even younger children can be involved in some of the stages like rolling pieces of dough into 12 inch snakes and then shaping them. Just as we are great believers in grown-ups and kids reading together, we are advocates of cooperative cooking. HONEST PRETZELS will make both activities a tastier experience. 
(Ages 8+, $19.95; Pretend Soup, ages 3+, $16.95) 
Reference Books for the Family
 
 
 


J. A. Senn has compiled and edited more than two thousand QUOTATIONS FOR KIDS to “educate, entertain, and inspire.” Look up “names” for example, and there are twenty different entries, beginning with the traditional “sticks and stones,” to author Laurence Yep’s “We (Chinese) feel that a man should be able to change his name as he changes…”  Then, if twenty choices isn't sufficient, Senn supplies an index that leads the reader to other appropriate entries. A second index, The People Index, cites the quotes by or about the people referenced. Throughout this rich trove are quotes taken from many children's books writers as well as a wide range of notables. Children will use this collection for many things including adding quotes to reports, finding topics on which to write, discovering quotes by famous people, and being led to the very books from which the quotes were culled. And besides all that, it is just a lot of fun to browse through in order to think about new ideas and ways of looking at the world.                           (Ages 8+, $24.95)

Of all the surveys of the 20th century we have seen written for children, by far the most attractively packaged and information filled is DK’s MILLENNIUM CHILDREN'S HISTORY OF THE 20th CENTURY. Laced with illustrations, this potpourri of facts is sorted by year, offering highlights on specific dates within that year. Short essays of two-page spreads appear on topics that cover a span of years like “The Gangster Era” of the twenties and early thirties, “The Television Age” of the fifties and sixties, and “The Feminist Fight” of the late sixties and seventies. A final section lists one hundred years of great leaders and stars in various disciplines including world government, music, sports, and science and invention. It's a book designed both for browsing and for reference with a detailed index to help locate specific subjects. This will be a book even your children's children will enjoy someday. 
                (For the whole family, ages 7+, $29.95)


Book Reviews courtesy of Jody Fickes Shapiro, Adventures for Kids.  All Rights Reserved
3437 Telegraph Road, Ventura, CA  93003   (805)650-9688