Spring 2002 Shoppe Talk San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe



Award Winning Children’s Books for 2002


Caldecott Medal

Everyone knows THE THREE PIGS of nursery tale fame, but in this version by David Wiesner, they are blown right off the page, fly into other stories, and pick up new friends along the way — a cat with his fiddle and a dragon. When all return to the house made of bricks, the wolf is definitely on the outside looking in. With an inventive use of white space and glimpses of other pages, the reader might envision countless adventures for the porcine trio. We are so glad that the flying pigs seen at the end of Tuesday, David Wiesner’s Caldecott Medal winner ten years ago, now have a book and adventures of their own.
(LW) (Ages 3-8, $16.00)


  Caldecott Honors 
There was a time when no one knew what dinosaurs looked like. It was a Victorian artist who brought these fascinating animals to the public. THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS were life-sized models Hawkins built with the help of scientist Richard Owen.  News of his success reached America and Waterhouse was invited to come to New York. Sadly, Political corruption and vandalism destroyed his work in America. The remains of his American dinosaurs have never been found, but people can still visit his dinosaurs in England. This amazing story, written by Barbara Kerley, is presented in a book designed by illustrator Brian Selznick to resemble Hawkins own journal. 
(Ages 6 & up, $16.95) 

More Caldecott Honors

In a book destined to become a classic introduction for younger readers to his life, MARTIN’S BIG WORDS: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., illustrator Bryan Collier has crafted a powerful and accessible visual chronicle with author Doreen Rappoport. On the cover the humanity simply shines from his face and the text is illuminated throughout with breathtaking images, including stained glass windows, created in a combination of paint and cut-paper collage. This stunning tribute has also been awarded the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor this year. (LW)  (Ages 5-9, $15.99) 

A visit to the park brings THE STRAY DOG into one family’s hearts. Certain that such a gregarious animal must already have a family of his own, they go home, but dream about him all week. Marc Simont’s engagingly subtle illustrations provide a playful romp, an element of risk and a satisfying conclusion, thanks to two resourceful youngsters.
(LW)  (Ages 4-8, $15.95)


Newbery Medal

The Newbery Medal for this year is awarded to A SINGLE SHARD, Linda Sue Park’s book set in 12th century Korea. Tree-ear is a homeless boy who discovers his passionate desire to become a potter. He leaves the dubious shelter under a bridge and approaches the master potter of his village, who grudgingly allows him to gather wood for the kilns. With steadfast determination and a measure of encouragement from the master’s wife, Tree-ear observes much of what makes pottery an art, but because of his peasant heritage, a true apprenticeship is at first denied him. When the emperor sends his emmisary to search out the finest potter in the realm, Tree-ear’s master receives an invitation to present his best work and the boy is to attempt to deliver the precious pot to the capital. At a time in history when the best pottery in the world is being produced in Korea, can a single shard stand as proof of the master’s skill? (LW) (Ages 9-13, $15.00)


Newbery Honors 
When 11-year-old Primrose Squarp’s parents disappear at sea, she believes beyond doubt that they will return. She moves in with an uncle and, lonely and friendless, finds refuge at a local cafe that serves EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE. Polly Horvath deftly mixes quirky adults with a measure of hope from an intrepid, if troubled, Primrose, to serve up a satisfying conclusion. (LW) (Ages 10 & up, $16.00)
Hailed this year by both the Newbery committee and as a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award book, CARVER: A Life in Poems, is a challenging biography of George Washington Carver told by Marilyn Nelson not only in poetry but in multiple perspectives as well. Photos and facts serve to merely whet a young scholar’s yen to learn more about this great scientist, who was so much more than “the peanut man” as he is sometimes designated in history. (LW)  (Ages 12 & up, $16.95) 


Coretta Scott King Awards
  Author Award
 
Mildred Taylor has written a seven-book series following the Logan family set in the not-so-distant past. The Logans are the only black family to own farmland while most of their neighbors are sharecroppers on white-owned land. Where did this precious legacy come from? THE LAND takes us back to the beginning, with Paul-Edward Logan, son of a white plantation owner and a former slave. His father loves all of his children so Paul and his sister enjoy many privileges that cause problems when Paul comes of age. Beaten for striking a white man, Paul runs away accompanied by Mitchell, a former enemy who becomes his best friend. Together they pursue their dream of owning land, almost impossible for a black person in the post-Civil War South. Their adventures will leave you breathless.  (Ages 12 & up, $17.99) 

 
  King Illustrator Award

Every child should have the memory of their first solo journey. When young Tricia Ann is GOIN’ SOMEPLACE SPECIAL, she is walking alone into town in the segregated South of the 1950’s. In this semi-autobiographical account, author Patricia McKissack expresses the joy of this independence as well as the frustration felt in encounters with people and places closed to her — park benches, buses, restaurants, hotels and theaters — all deftly illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. He depicts in faded colors those people trying to hang on to Jim Crow restricions. Then in brilliant colors the air shimmers around Tricia Ann as she sets off with words of guidance from her grandmother.  Kind words of strength from an older white woman in a public garden renews her determination to reach her destination. Readers are delighted when the someplace special is revealed — for the public library is open to all. (LW) (Ages 7-10, $16.00) 


 
  King/Steptoe New Talent Award
 
Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award, FREEDOM SUMMER depicts a young white boy, Joe, and his best friend, John Henry Waddell, the son of Joe’s family’s housekeeper. Set in 1964, as the Civil Rights Act changes the laws restricting access to public facilities, these good friends enjoy the local swimming hole, while planning a first trip for John Henry to swim in the town’s public pool. As they race to be the first swimmers, they are shocked to watch the city work crew filling the pool with tar. The story by Deborah Wiles is based on remembrances of the author’s summers in Mississippi, and has been well received in fourth grade classrooms in the past year, but the strength of the story is in Jerome Lagarrigue’s art. Alive with the heat of the summer, young John Henry’s face is a masterpiece of colors depicting his resolve in that moment not to be shut out of opportunities, and foretells of the coming resistance to such overt discrimination and affronts. A strong book for older picture book readers. 
(LW) (Ages 8-10 $16.00)


Pura Belpré Awards

The Pura Belpré Awards honor Latino authors and illustrators whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in a children’s book.
 

The coolest cat in the barrio continues his adventures in CHATO AND THE PARTY ANIMALS by Gary Soto, illustrated by Susan Guevara. Chato’s best friend Novio Boy has never had a birthday party because he’s from the pound and doesn’t know when he was born. A great friend and an excellent party giver, Chato plans una pachanga for his friend including a cake with mouse-colored frosting, tortillas with pawprints and “extra kitty litter just in case.” The only thing he forgot to do was invite Novio Boy! Cunning words combine with stunning artwork to create another excellent adventure for Chato. 
(DP) (Age 5+, $15.99)
In Spanish, Esperanza means hope and that is what the title character of ESPERANZA RISING by Pam Munoz Ryan needs in abundance to deal with her sudden, tragic flight from a life of privilege on a hacienda in Mexico to one of deprivation in a California farm labor camp. Thirteen-year-old pampered Esperanza must contend with hard work, lack of acceptance by her fellow immigrants and economic struggles brought on by the Great Depression, all the while caring for her ailing mother. This eloquently written story traces the wonderful rise, against all odds, of its feisty, intelligent and intrepid heroine. 
(DP)  (Age 10++, $15.95)

Belpré Illustration Honor

Marisa Montes’ retelling of the traditional Puerto Rican folktale, JUAN BOBO GOES TO WORK, is brought to vivid life in wild Caribbean color by award-winning illustrator Joe Cepeda. Young Juan tries hard to do everything right to please his mother yet the outcome is always upside down. Eventually his antics find a truly appreciative audience. (JB)  (Age 4-8, $15.95)


  Two Belpré Author Honors
 
IGUANAS IN THE SNOW, written by Francisco X. Alarcón and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, is a collection of 17 bilingual poems portraying winter in San Francisco and the nearby mountains. Alarcón’s rich poetic imagery spices each page with the experiences of Latino children in San Francisco’s multicultural setting. (JB)  (Age 6 & up, $15.95)
The second Belpré author honor was given to Francisco Jimenez for his compelling sequel to The Circuit. Jimenez has written the autobiographical account of his teenage years in BREAKING THROUGH. Without bitterness, the author deftly portrays the difficulties and challenges involved in “breaking  through” the obstacles of poverty and adolescence, with the aid of hope, education and tenacity. (LW)  (Ages 11 & up, $15.00) 


Printz Awards

The Michael L. Printz Award is given for excellence in young adult literature.

 

The Michael Printz Award is given to A STEP FROM HEAVEN, a contemporary novel by An Na, from the viewpoint of Young Ju, as she and her family come to America, which she believes must be heaven, but finds to be just a step from heaven. In a family of dreamers and hard workers, she watches her parents grow apart, as her father cycles downward into alcoholism and despair while her mother’s dreams are achieved through tenacity and her children’s education. 
(LW)  (Ages 12 & up, $15.95)
  Printz Honors

In addition, four books were awarded Printz Honors. They are THE ROPEMAKER by Peter Dickinson(Ages 12+, $15.95)HEART TO HEART: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth-Century American Art by Jan Greenberg(Ages 10+, $19.95)FREEWILL by Chris Lynch (Ages 12+, $15.95);  and TRUE BELIEVER by Virginia Euwer Wolff (Ages 12+, $17.00).
 



New Picture Books
  Books for the Very Young

WAKE UP, ME! by Marni McGee follows a toddler through his busy morning. Even before the story starts, the reader sees the sun just coming up and birds outside the window where the toddler is still in bed. With a yawn he begins to stir and, teddy in tow, goes looking for his family. The illustrations by Sam Williams really complement the words. “Wake up, nose. Wake up, chin. Here comes giggle. Here comes grin!” shows the child being tickled by his daddy. Soon he’s in his high chair because “tummy says it’s time to eat.” Then he’s dressed and ready to play. What a nice way to start anyone’s day!  (Ages 2-5, $17.00)

Maggie the puppy’s favorite treat is not a biscuit or a bone … it’s a pillow! Maggie joins her little girl for a rollicking romp as this PILLOW PUP wakes Maggie by taking her pillow and off they go “on a tail-wagging, floor-dragging, zig-zagging ride”. Dianne Ochiltree’s words and Mireille D’Alliance’s artwork keep this one zooming along. The little girl and Maggie are soon in a puppy-person tug-of-war. Can you guess who wins? Lots of fun for anyone who has a puppy or wishes they did. 
(Ages 2-5, $14.95)
Russell’s day is off to a very different start. What if one day you woke up and didn’t want to go to school? Maybe you’d rather stay home like your new baby sister. Then, what if your Mom let you! Russell thinks he is going to really enjoy this special treat, but Mom has a surprise for him. She decides that since he wants to be treated like the baby, that’s exactly what he will get. She serves him baby cereal for breakfast, turns off the TV for the day, and takes away his Legos (babies might put little pieces in their mouth). Ending up in the playpen is the last straw! Johanna Hurwitz creates a funny story and Heather Maione’s illustrations show all the challenges Russell faces on this unusual morning. When he gladly returns to school later that day, his classmates ask why he is so late but that is RUSSELL’S SECRET(Ages 4-8, $14.95)
As the day winds down, how about a good bedtime story? Polo, the polar bear is worried because his parents seem to be too busy to play with him anymore. He thinks that they no longer love him and he asks his friends what he should do. They suggest he ask them and when he does, he finds out that he is to become a big brother. WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME? he asks and they assure him “a mommy’s heart is a big as the sea and a daddy’s heart is as big as the sky.” Jean-Baptiste Baronian has taken a common childhood concern and written a comforting story perfect to share when a new baby is joining the family. Illustrated by Noris Kern in soft colors and soothing shapes, this delightful story offers parents a chance to set their child’s mind at rest.  (Ages 2-5, $15.95)

  Stories to Enhance Black History Month

Do you remember wishing your hair were longer when you were little? Bintou longs for beautiful braids like the other women in her West African family but her hair is still too short. She has to settle for cornrows. She dreams of the day she can weave sea shells and gold coins into her hair. When she confides in her wise Grandma Soukeye, Grandma assures her she will get braids when it is time. Walking alone on the beach during the baptism celebration of her baby brother, Bintou sees some boys in trouble and alerts the others. The boys are saved and somehow Bintou gets her dearest wish. BINTOU’S BRAIDS by Sylviane Diouf is rich with tradition and humor and enriched by Shane Evans’ oil paint illustrations. 
(Ages 5-8, $14.95)

In this somber book a slave girl waits for darkness and then begins to run UNDER THE QUILT OF THE NIGHT. She is leading her loved ones to freedom from their master. Following each night of running there is waiting, hidden in the woods during the daylight hours. She must also watch and endure. “We run and hide, run and hide. My cuts sting, my bites itch. I’m hungry all the time.” A powerful story beautifully told by Deborah Hopkinson with strong illustrations by James Ransome. Open this book and see the quilt of night painted on the end papers. This is the quilt she looks for, with a center square made from deep blue fabric, a signal that they are welcome on that stop in the Underground Railroad. Their desperate rush will leave you breathless. (All ages, $16.00)
As welcome as the spring flowers is a new book by Jan Brett. This one will be sure to delight all her fans. It begins as all the best stories do with “Once upon a time.” It seems little Mei Mei’s smallest hen, Daisy, is being picked on by the others. Trying to escape them, Daisy spends the night in a market basket unaware that the river has caught it and is floating her far from home. She has many encounters before being captured by a fisherman who plans to sell her in town. Meanwhile, Mei Mei has discovered her hen is gone and goes searching, unwilling to wait until DAISY COMES HOME. Will she find Daisy and rescue her before she is sold? The reader will get caught up in the excitement, although each page is so filled with beautifully detailed illustrations that it is tempting to linger and look. Stop by and take a peek!  (Ages 5-8, $16.99)

  Olympian Feet: Picture Books for Future Athletes
 
Every winning athlete knows that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be the best. That charming  elephant, Elefantina, returns. She is back in her skates and determined to show those judges just what she can do. It is ELEFANTINA’S DREAM to make the Elympic team! Encouraged by her Gran who had suggested that she earn money for her skates by selling coconut slices from their trees, this plucky pachyderm practiced skating at the local ice house. It wasn’t easy but she passed each test, undaunted by the tricks of a rival skater or the injury that keeps her off the ice for a while. You’ll cheer along with the crowd as she manages her triple jumps. Author X. J. Kennedy does include an author’s note explaining that no elephant has ever been known to do a triple salchow in competition. Graham Percy’s illustrations capture all the fun as this hefty heroine goes for the gold.  (Ages 4-8, $16.99)

More New Picture Books

Ballet is not a part of the Olympics but it is a dream of many athletes. Patricia Lee Gauch’s Tanya, who has danced her way through six other books, is growing up —  but not as quickly as she would like. She sees the famous ballet, The Red Shoes, and longs to leave her soft pink shoes behind and to be allowed to dance on her toes. Finally her teacher tells the class to get their toe shoes! Tanya eagerly rises but quickly learns that blisters and soaking her feet are part of the new routine. It is graceful older sister Elise who sees Tanya’s frustration and dances with her. Her counsel, “it just takes time”, paves the way for Tanya to persevere and succeed. The exuberant illustrations by Satomi Ichikawa are breathtaking. While TANYA AND THE RED SHOES is about ballet, it translates into working hard to achieve your personal dream, no matter what it is. Soar on, little Tanya!  (Ages 4-8, $16.99)



Wonderful New Novels For Younger Readers


Sam Peppard settles in Oskaloosa, Kansas, in the summer of 1859. The growing town needs a blacksmith and Sam is soon doing well. Oskaloosa was a jumping-off place for those heading out west in their oxcarts, called Prairie schooners. Sam studies the wind, which blows so strongly across the plains, and he decides to build a vehicle that can travel without oxen. THE WIND WAGON makes many laugh, but there are those who believe in Sam and with several companions, he sets off one day to see if he can get to Denver. There is lots of excitement along the way, including an encounter with Indians. Celia Barker Lottridge works in many interesting details and Daniel Clifford’s illustrations flesh out this story based on a real event. 
(Ages 6-8, $3.95) 
Robin is worried when her class gets a new third grade teacher until the teacher wears red high top sneakers …  just like Robin’s. So many things to deal with. Robin’s best friend has moved away, a boy named Hippo loves to tease her, and a new student, Zoey, chooses someone else for a lunch partner. Things start to look up when Miss Wing decides the class will raise butterflies as a science project and she pairs Robin and Zoey as BUTTERFLY BUDDIES. Robin gets herself into a real fix when she pretends to wear rhinestone glasses, but what will happen when her new friend finds out she is faking? Judy Cox has created a terrific book filled with great characters, lots of humorous situations, and interesting facts about butterflies. This will be a year when more than caterpillars will bloom into butterflies!   (Ages 6-9, $15.95)
Ida Bidson is 14 years old in the spring of 1925 and determined to do well on her final exams so she can go on to high school and become a teacher. Unfortunately, Miss Fletcher, her teacher, must leave to care for an ailing parent and the one-room schoolhouse is supposed to shut down. Ida’s classmate, Tom, is just as interested in finishing this year so he can graduate. They come up with a plan but ask the other students to vote on it. When everyone agrees, Ida becomes the new teacher, but it must be a SECRET SCHOOL, as the school board would never agree to Ida being in charge. Her parents say she may do it as long as she keeps up all her chores around their farm. Several challenges arise but spunky Ida meets them all until checking up on an absent student leads to a confrontation with his father and then the school board. Avi has set the novel in the Colorado mountains where life was hard but neighbors helped one another. Ida is resourceful and funny as she puts her hair up and assumes this new role with courage and faith. It is a testament to the value of education and would make a good read-aloud.   (Ages 8-12, $16.00)


Fiction for Older Readers
Readers in this age group love series. Spirit of the West is a new series brought to life through the eyes of horses living in the American West. The first book, BONITA, is about a pampered riding horse living in San Antonio, Texas, when the Mexican War for Independence breaks out. No more carrying her mistress to elegant fiestas. Bonita flees from the burning Alamo and follows Paco, a donkey, into the open country. She is free, but can she adjust to life in the wild? Kathleen Duey will be continuing her series with other horses in SIERRA and STRIDER(Ages 8-12, $15.99)


Kara Dalkey opens her new series, called Ascension, with Book One, WATER. It is set in the underwater world of Atlantis that is filled with merpeople. Each clan is to choose a representative who will compete in a series of trials. The winner will learn the secrets of the past from those called the Farworlders. Young Nia is sure she will be chosen but another, Garun, wins the honor. Dalkey describes Atlantis with such imagination and detail that you can just picture the people resting in rope lattices and living their daily lives. It is a joyous place but there are also dark secrets that Nia stumbles upon. She learns from her new friend Cephan that there is a jail and he is the keeper! The prisoner under the strongest security is a former Avitar, one who bonded with a Farworlder! What does it mean and will Atlantis survive the disaster predicted? This is going to be a great trilogy. 
(Ages 10 & up, $4.99)


 
Mickey Vernon is another determined individual. His goal is to win the nine-ball championship played in his family’s pool hall. He has a pretty good shot in the ten- to thirteen-year old category, if he can beat arch rival Buck Pender. Firmly behind him is best friend Arlen Pepper, a math whiz who knows all the angles. Things get really interesting when an old friend of Mickey’s father, Joseph Alvarez, offers to coach him. But, can they get past Mickey’s mom’s mistrust of Joseph and a past history Mickey knows little about? Joan Bauer always picks interesting topics and creates three-dimensional characters. STICKS will be appealing to young readers who understand deep commitment to a hobby …  and they’ll learn a thing or two about this sport. (Ages 10 & up, $16.99)
Everyone knows someone like Robert, who seems to be afraid of everything, who becomes the prey of the class bully, in this case a boy named Jonathan Niker. Their class takes part in a project that teams each child with a resident of the Mayfield Rest Home. Robert is assigned to Edith Sorrel who sees something in Robert no one else senses. She tells him to go to the top floor flat of Chance House at 26 St. Albans where he will discover the most important thing in his life. Local legend says a boy jumped to his death there and Robert comes to believe it was Edith’s son. As he grows to care deeply for Edith, deeply enough to overcome his fear and visit Chance House, he realizes that she is dying. All this time, a storyteller has been entertaining them each week with installments of The Firebird story and Robert is sure if he can create a feathered coat for Edith, it will save her life. In FEATHER BOY, Nicky Singer has written an unusually sensitive novel. While it has flashes of humor, there is much suspense, especially when Robert forces himself to spend the night at Chance House with Niker. (Ages 10 & up, $15.95) 
In the tradition of Stuart Little and the mouse warriors of the Redwall adventure series, here is a new thriller by Michael Hoeye. TIME STOPS FOR NO MOUSE is about Hermux Tantamoq, an average watchmaker who spends his days in his shop and his evening in the company of his pet ladybug. His ordinary life is changed forever when lovely Linka Perflinger, a daredevil pilot, drops off her watch for repairs. Hermux is smitten immediately. When a shady looking rat claims the watch instead of Linka, Hermux fears foul play and he is soon entangled in a web of deceit and danger. There are enough oddball characters to keep every reader entertained. As the plot unfolds, Hermux realizes he must find Linka quickly … before time runs out! This would make a perfect gift for your favorite fantasy reader.  (Ages 10 & up, $14.99)


Getting Ready for That Garden!
Never underestimate the potential of ONE SMALL GARDEN. Author Barbara Nichol brings together 12 short stories that harmonize and blend like carefully chosen plants. This little garden has existed for one hundred years and has been visited by many different people and animals. Each has a unique story to share. Mixed in are bits of history and botanical information. This particular garden is in Toronto, but it could be in your yard! These stories come to an end, but a real garden keeps growing. Award-winning illustrator Barry Moser has done dozens of lovely pieces of art that are sprinkled generously throughout the pages. (Ages 8-11, $17.95)
Now that you are inspired to have a garden of your own, how does one get started? Three friends start on a plot but trouble erupts when they cannot agree on what to plant in CECIL’S GARDEN. Discouraged, Cecil decides to go for a walk. He is interested to see how the mice solve their bath time problems and the moles decide with whom and when to sleep. Cecil believes he has found a way to get his garden planted and to keep everyone happy. Can you guess how he does it? Holly Keller both wrote and illustrated this clever tale. 
(Ages 4 & up, $15.95)
Mr. McGreely dreams of having his own garden. He works very hard to plant it, and tend it, looking forward to enjoying fresh vegetables. But one night, after the sun goes down, MUNCHA, MUNCHA, MUNCHA! Three hungry bunnies have appeared and gnawed on his sprouts. Mr. McGreely builds a small wire fence around the garden. The sun goes down, the moon comes up and once again he finds nibbled leaves. So, he builds a higher wall and finally a huge cement guardhouse. Has he outwitted them at last? Little listeners will giggle at the antics of the frisky bunnies and the surprise ending of Candace Fleming’s story. G. Brian Karas adds lots of funny touches to the pictures. A really tasty read-aloud.
(Ages 3-7, $16.00) 
Now not everyone has the time and opportunity to grow a garden. Elisa Kleven offers up a wonderful alternative. Let’s bake some SUN BREAD! On days that are chilly and rainy, people can get into a grumpy mood. What to do until the sun comes out again? A baker mixes up a batch of dough and shapes it into a small sun. As it bakes, the fragrance floats out and the whole neighborhood comes by for a tasty treat. Not only their mood lightens, but they literally rise into the air. The sun comes out and a fabulous day is had by all. As the sun sets, the baker invites it back for breakfast … of more sun bread. You will dance along with Kleven’s words and marvel at her intricate artwork. This book was honored as one of the ten best books of the year on the New York Times list of best-illustrated titles. Pick up a copy and give it as a gift, along with a bag of bread mix! (Ages 5-8, $16.99)
This book arrives at exactly the right time in our country’s history. Our great-grandparents knew all about THE VICTORY GARDEN. Individuals created these during World War II, providing almost half of all the vegetables grown during that time. Teresa’s brother is off fighting in Europe and the one thing that seems to help their dad cope is working in his victory garden. He keeps up a friendly rivalry with their neighbor, Burt. When Burt is injured in an accident, Teresa and her friends form “the Young Sprouts” to tend his massive garden all summer. They will then market the produce and use the money to invest in bonds. Now Teresa and her dad will see who can grow the best tomatoes. The Young Sprouts are tormented by Billy Riggs, an angry boy who shows a surprisingly gentle side when Burt’s dog is hurt. This summer will lead to all kinds of growing as the Sprouts work side by side and get to know one another. Lee Kochenderfer’s book will make you laugh, and make you cry, but you’ll think about this one a long time. (Ages 10 & up, $14.95)


April is Poetry Month!
Are you a horse lover? You are going to love MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE, an anthology of poems edited by Betty Ann Schwartz. No matter what kind of horse you love best, you’ll find it here. There is a terrific range of poets from Shakespeare to the irreverent Jack Prelutsky. Poems that thrill, a traditional Native American song filled with the beauty and majesty of these magnificent animals, and even humorous poems. And yes, there is even a unicorn! The misty moody illustrations are by Alix Berenzy. Really special.  (Ages 6-12, $17.95)
GIVE YOURSELF TO THE RAIN, Poems for the Very Young, by Margaret Wise Brown has the sweetest cover by Teri L. Weidner. In the foreword, Leonard S. Marcus gives a mini biography of the author, who is beloved for Good Night, Moon. The 24 poems gathered for this volume are among the many left unpublished at the time of her sudden death. “To write well for children,” Margaret Wise Brown once observed, “one must love … the things that children love.” These poems do just that with such subjects as apples, dandelions, a little lost kitten, a pig jig, and colors. Be sure to read the title poem aloud.  (Ages 4-8, $17.00)
Just who is the Old Man who is snoring? IT’S RAINING, IT’S POURING, by Andrea Spalding tells his story. When her mother tells Little Girl the famous rhyme on a rainy day, Little Girl puts on her yellow raincoat and heads out to find him. Climbing high in her imagination, she finds the largest bed she has ever seen and there, groaning and moaning, is the Old Man himself. Every time he sneezes, the thunder rumbles. Little Girl knows just what he needs and she gathers honey, lemon and gingerbread cookies. Can Little Girl get this grumpy weatherman back on his feet so the sun can shine again? You’ll love the watercolor illustrations by Leslie Elizabeth Watts. This story is fun in any weather but especially good on a rainy day.  (Ages 4-8, $15.95)


Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring
Before we let winter go, have you ever wondered how it arrives? Cynthia Cotton’s beautiful story opens with Old Man Winter leading his SNOW PONIES outside on a cold gray day. He laughs with delight as they fly across the countryside for whatever they touch turns to white, coated in snow. The woodland animals see them capering and settle themselves in for the winter weather. Jason Cockcroft’s gorgeous illustrations sparkle with scenes like the colorful songbirds hiding in the holly bush. As the ponies spin faster and faster, flakes fly in all directions. Tired at last, they return to their stalls with long sleepy sighs where Old Man Winter is waiting with blankets. A satisfying story to hear, a lovely book to look at.  (Ages 4-8, $15.95)
Do you ever wake up from your nap a bit crabby? Sisters April, May, and June have been asleep all winter. When Mother Nature rouses her daughters they immediately start to quarrel, each trying to be ‘first’ or ‘fastest’. SPRING’S SPRUNG but they continue to argue over who is the best singer and which one their mother loves best. She assures them “A mother’s heart is big enough to grow and grow, and stretch and stretch. The truth — I love you ALL the best.” Happy now, they wake the world and spring begins at last. Artist Greg Couch worked on museum board, a thick smooth watercolor paper with many washes of acrylic paint to create a dreamy mood. Lynn Plourde’s story will be a welcome addition to books about the seasons. (Ages 4-8, $16.00)

  Celebrating Chinese New Year!
 
We want our children to be in tune with the colors of their world. Roseanne Thong has written a book about colors, RED IS A DRAGON. In it, a little girl discovers a veritable rainbow of colors among her family and friends. There is the red of the Chinese New Year dragon and the red of cool sweet watermelon. She finds orange at the beach in the summer and yellow in the spring with raincoats and bright rubber boots. Food offers the green of gourds and crunchy kale. Animals come in colors too, like the shimmering blue of dragonflies. Grace Lin’s illustrations bring out the beauty of the simple things around us all. 
(Ages 4-8, $13.95) 
THE STORY OF CHOPSTICKS, by Ying Chang Compestine, is a delight from beginning to end. Little Kuai, the youngest in his family, never seems to get enough to eat. Long ago, everyone ate with their fingers. Kaui was afraid to pick up his dinner until it cooled and by then his brothers got most of it. Clever Kaui comes up with a plan. Using two long twigs from the kindling by the stove, Kaui can spear his food. The rest of the family loves his invention and uses these new sticks when they attend a wedding in the village. The village elder writes up a report for the Emperor. What will he think? An author’s note elaborates on the origin of chopsticks. Directions are included on how to use them, along with a recipe for Sweet Eight Treasures Rice Pudding. The illustrations by Yong Sheng Xuan were done with cut paper in traditional Chinese style. (Ages 4-8, $16.95)


Familiar Faces, New Expressions
There may be hundreds of different versions of Cinderella but wait until you read CINDY ELLEN by Susan Lowell. This is one wild western tale! It has the familiar elements but with a new twist such as Cindy Ellen’s stepmother, the orneriest woman west of the Mississippi, who puts her to work mending fences and shoveling out the corral. When the biggest cattle king for miles around invites all his neighbors to a rodeo, poor Cindy is left behind. But, don’t be sad, along comes her fairy godmother and Cindy is soon all duded up in a creamy Stetson hat and gold buckskins. She has a rip-snorting time but skedaddles just before midnight, leaving behind one diamond-studded spur. How can you resist this one with its spirited illustrations by Jane Manning?
(Ages 4-8, $15.95; $6.95 paperback)
Like your fairy tales a bit more traditional? Dennis Nolan writes about a handsome, but spoiled, prince who does not appreciate all his privileges. Bored, he decides to hunt a legendary beast called the chimera. Along the way, his rude behavior to Old Nana causes her to cast a spell on him and he becomes THE DOG PRINCE, trapped in the body of a hound dog. Life is very different for him now and the only one who shows him any kindness is Eliza, the goat girl. Lauren Mills’ beautiful illustrations show the haughty young man and the droopy-eyed hound in all their moods. When Eliza is threatened by the chimera, Prince must become valiant and try to save her. This is a fairy tale told and presented at its very best.  (Ages 4-8, $15.95)


Books for Your Favorite Valentine
On THE DAY IT RAINED HEARTS, Cornelia Augusta caught several and took them home to make valentines. Like snowflakes, each of her hearts was a little different. She studied them carefully and then chose just the right one for each of her friends. Young readers can try to guess just whom each card is for as she strings seven together for one card and glues one big heart on another, adding a cotton ball to the middle. She completes them and mails them off and it never rains hearts again. Felicia Bond takes this book, previously published as Four Valentines in a Rainstorm, and gives it a fresh new look. It’s sure to give your young person ideas for making valentines of their own.  (Ages 4-8, $9.95)
Here’s a book that would make a great Valentine’s Day present for the whole family. It’s all about hugs and follows one such hug through the course of a day as A HUG GOES AROUND. Laura Krauss Melmed’s bouncing text carries you right along as the story begins with “Rosy sun’s risin’/In her pink gown./Ma lifts the baby—/A hug goes around.” And that hug goes from family member to family member, including their pets! As the day comes to a close “The girls prance in turbans,/While rub-a-dub-dub/Tom and the baby/Are having a scrub.” Once the children are snuggly in bed, Mom and Dad have a moment together to share that hug. Get ready for lots of hugs yourself when you read this one! Betsy Lewin did the watercolor illustrations that go from soft and muted to bright and exuberant over the course of the day. 
(Ages 4-8, $15.95)

Just Right for those Easter Baskets!
Visit the enchanting world of Holly Pond Hill and celebrate Easter along with its charming animal citizens in A CHILD’S BOOK OF EASTER. The book is just the right size for little hands and has a soft, padded cover. The board book with thick pages will stand up to the numerous readings you are sure to share with your youngsters. Paul Kortepeter includes ten Easter-themed poems. Each one is lovingly illustrated in soft watercolors by Susan Wheeler. The gold-edged pages make this a perfect treasure to tuck in an Easter basket!
(Preschool, $9.95) 
Linda Hill Griffith illustrates a special collection of twelve poems of praise in BLESSINGS AND PRAYERS FOR LITTLE BEARS. Her darling teddy bears will delight young readers and listeners. These familiar poems, like “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, “I See the Moon”, and “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”, will be passed down to the next generation to cherish as we have. This would make a lovely gift during the Easter season … and all year round.  (Ages 4-8, $15.95)



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