Spring 2004      ShoppeTALK
San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe 

Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2004. Within our bookstore we try hard to offer a wide array of choices for every reading interest, always trying to select the best of the new books and keeping available the tried and true. What appears here is the first look at some of the books worthy of note for this coming year, as well as a look at some of the award winners for 2004.

2004 Award Winners for Your Enjoyment
In the children’s literature world filled with the riches of outstanding fiction, we are in awe of the librarians who face the task of selecting the winner of their coveted John Newbery Medal. This year’s recipient was Kate DiCamillo for THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX; Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread. If that title is already familiar to you, perhaps it’s because we reviewed it in our Fall, 2003 newsletter and if you happened into the bookstore, we most likely read aloud to you from its opening paragraphs. Like the Newbery committee we were charmed by DiCamillo’s petite hero, the only survivor of his litter, named Despereaux by his French mother “for all the sadness, for the many despairs” within their castle home. This charming fairy tale is a departure in genre for DiCamillo whose two previous award-winning novels are Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tiger Rising.  (Ages 8–12, $17.99)
The Newbery Committee also named two Honor books. The first is Jim Murphy’s historical non-fiction AN AMERICAN PLAGUE: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793. Philadelphia, the Capital city in the early years of a tenuous republic, was experiencing a hot and unpleasant summer of 1793, when it came to the attention of the medical community and the authorities that its residents were in the grips of an unusual and fatal illness. Those lucky individuals able to flee to the fresher air of the surrounding countryside left the city short of resources to cope with the increasingly frightening plague. The remaining doctors were at odds as to how to treat the illness and many of them fell victim to it. Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the most distinguished of the new country’s physicians, gave it the correct diagnosis but it would be well after his lifetime before the scientific community discovered the true culprit of the disease. Even now, there is no real cure for the still deadly Yellow Fever. Murphy tells a dramatic story of a community ill prepared to manage the emergency and who among its leaders and ordinary citizenry emerged as heroes. His use of source material, illustrations and lively and balanced presentation also garnered him the Robert F. Sibert Award for the most distinguished informational book for children for 2004. (Ages 10–14+, $17.00)
The second Honor went to a novel by Kevin Henkes, perhaps best known as an illustrator of picture books. His OLIVE’S OCEAN, written with an exquisite lightness and sensitivity, is the story of one summer in a young girl’s life as she is poised at the critical moment of growing up.  (Ages 10–13, $15.99)
The Caldecott committee must have been intrigued by the various media used by artists to create this year’s award winning picture books. Caldecott MedalistMordecai Gerstein’s oil and ink paintings celebrate the daring feat of French tightrope walker Philippe Petit, THE MAN WHO WALKED BETWEEN THE TOWERS. Those of us who avoid climbing anything higher than a stepladder are amazed at how effectively Gerstein presents dizzying, stomach clenching views of this audacious 1974 event when Petit contrived to fasten a cable between the roofs of the World Trade Center’s towers and walk across.
(Ages 5–9, $17.95) 
For one of our favorite read-alouds of 2003, DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS, Mo Willems used “a very dark, very crumbly permanent pencil” to draw his basic art and text. He then scanned, colored and assembled the book in his computer using Photoshop. If you haven’t read this out loud to a child, give yourself a treat, and then reverse roles and let a beginning reader take the part of that saucy, almost persuasive pigeon. (See our review of “Pigeon’s” latest exploits click here.)  (Ages 2–6, $12.99)
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A TAIL LIKE THIS? was illustrated with Steve Jenkins’s cut-paper collage. He produced an elegant beginning science picture book that explores the ways in which animals have adapted various body parts.
(Ages 3–6, $15.00) 
Margaret Chodos-Irvine utilized a variety of printmaking techniques to illustrate her charming picture book, ELLA SARAH GETS DRESSED about an independent preschooler who know just exactly what she wants to wear. 
(Ages 3–6, $16.00)
Angela Johnson won both the Michael Printz and the Coretta Scott King Awards for her novel THE FIRST PART LAST. Bobby, the teenage father in Johnson’s novel, says “… if the world were really right, humans would live life backwards and do the first part last.” But he knows that isn’t going to happen and he is going to have to learn how to be a father when he still isn’t finished being a kid. He’s made the decision to keep his daughter and even though he has some family support, his parents aren’t going to step in and take over for him. Adult readers will identify with Bobby’s parents, while teenagers will empathize with Bobby’s dilemma. Johnson’s portrayal has us all wishing him well.
(Ages 12+, $15.95)


April is Poetry Month
Some writers of novels 
   want
   spare prose
   want
   different rules.
Some readers of novels 
   like
   spare prose
   more space
   less words on a page.
And if the story works, why not?
HEARTBEAT is one of those books. Or should we say, Sharon Creech is one of those writers whose story shapes the form. In HEARTBEAT, because of the way the words flow on the page and the way Creech sets the rhythm of her text, the reader is carried along to the beat of the narrator, Annie. Annie is a runner. She loves the rhythm of running; feeling her bare feet “touch the earth.” Sometimes she runs with her friend Max but lately it isn’t as easy between them as it once was. Max has become moody and intense since his father left and his grandfather died. Running could be his ticket out of town. Annie is different and wants to run only for the pleasure, not for winning. In Annie’s family the patterns are changing too. Grandpa is starting to lose his memory, and there is a new baby coming. But it’s Annie’s take on her world that gives this story its shape. Truly this is a novel that is a privilege to read. So, in the spirit of less is more, just experience it.  (Ages 8–adult, $15.99)
Do not be deceived by the spare prose poetry of Janet Wong’s MINN AND JAKE. For within her light touch is concealed a story of friendship that holds a depth of feeling. Tall, tomboyish Minn is feeling stickouty and bereft of friendship. Into her class comes the shortest fifth grader she has ever seen. Through a series of coincidences, the two are thrown together. Jake resists Minn’s efforts to teach him the art of lizard catching. In fact, he resists Minn’s friendship altogether, until he figures out a way to engage Minn in something he likes to do. Wong has a way with dialogue that makes this a natural read-aloud.  (Ages 8–12, $16.00)
KEESHA’S HOUSE is a safe haven for teens running away from untenable situations at home. Keesha was lucky to meet Joe who allowed her to move in, no questions asked. Her own widowed father, drinking his grief into oblivion, sent her searching for a safe harbor and now she can offer the same to others. There’s Stephie who, at fourteen, discovers she is pregnant. How can she break the news to her family? Harris can’t live at home anymore after admitting to his parents that he is gay. Katie’s stepfather is abusive, and Carmen needs to find friends who can have a good time without getting drunk to do it. All these kids are the victims of their own parents’ inadequacies and are forced into early adulthood. The problem is they don’t always make the best decisions for themselves and sometimes they can even recognize that. Helen Frost’s novel in poems, which was awarded an honorable mention for The Michael L. Printz Award for Young Adult Literature, is told in the diverse voices of its characters. Even the parents’ and teachers’ points of view are heard, giving this thought provoking novel an extra dimension.
(Ages 13+, $16.00)
In a way, the unpredictable, inevitable tornado is a metaphor for Allie Benton’s life. Uprooted from her home in Nebraska by the death of her father, her mother brings them back to her grandparents’ home in Northern Minnesota. Julie Williams’s story in poems, ESCAPING TORNADO SEASON: A Story in Poems, is a memorable portrait of a young girl coming of age in the early 1960’s in a rural community. The divisions between the white and Native American population confuse Allie who wishes for a friendship with Lidia White Cloud. She has to cope with her own mother’s unpredictable moods and cold, cold isolation of wintertime in the north. Gradually she learns how to manage her mother, and spring does come, finally. As she says, “you can only hunker down so long.” This is an elegant first novel for Williams, a Midwest transplant to Southern California. We look forward to more.
(Ages 13++, $15.99) 
With the spotlight on Athens and the Summer Olympics it is well-timed that poet Kate Hovey brings forth the ANCIENT VOICES of the gods and immortals of Ancient Greece and Rome. Young Ganymede, stolen from Troy to serve the gods in exchange for the debatable gift of immortality, reappears throughout the journey. Hovey’s poetic excursion illustrated with handsome paintings by Murray Kimber, travels from Mt. Olympus, into Poseidon’s Sea and down to The Underworld and back up into the enchanted forest of Diana. To guide readers not yet familiar with the who’s who of mythology, several appendices complete the handsome presentation.  (Ages 10+, $18.95)


Picture Books
The Ultimate Toddler Potty Book

 

Okay. We know this is a tricky subject but someone had to do it. So Julie Markes wrote and Susan Kathleen Hartung illustrated the lift-the-flap toddler-friendly WHERE’S THE POOP?. The book begins, “Each little animal has made a poop.” And then it invites the reader to help all the mommy and daddy animals find the poop hiding behind the flaps. Not only does each two paged spread have multiple flap choices, the artwork offers an early and subtle introduction to animals pictured in their native habitats. The last two-paged spread models a child’s successful accomplishment. 
(Ages 1–3, $7.99)

An Alphabet Mystery

 
 
 
 
Agent A has an assignment. He must search the alphabet of spies to discover the one who is out of line. That agent has not used a word with his corresponding initial. Andy Rash challenges his readers to check out the text from AGENT A TO AGENT Z, and enjoy the edgy humor of this sophisticated picture book. Even a reluctant reader will respond to the hunt if the text is read aloud, encouraging concentrated listening skills. A beginning reader will have fun learning new words as he decodes the rhyming couplets to uncover the rogue agent. (Ages 4–7, $16.95) 
A Lesson on Camouflage

 
 

If you had trouble locating HALIBUT JACKSON that is just what he intended. He was shy. Whenever he went out, he made sure that whatever he wore provided ample camouflage. He had a suit for the library, another for the park. Even his indoor outfit afforded anonymity. When he got invited to a party at the palace, he had to devise an outfit to match the bejeweled splendor of the palace. Alas he did not know it was to be a garden party so “Everybody noticed Halibut Jackson.” However this turned out to be not such a bad thing after all, even for the shy fellow he was. David Lucas’s attractive pen and watercolor art reveals his talents as a picture book illustrator. (Ages 3–7, $16.95)

A Welcome Reissue
Anita Lobel’s fable POTATOES, POTATOES made its first appearance more than thirty years ago. Now, once again, we make a welcome revisit to the story of a mother whose wisdom “turns fighting into peace.” Two sons, lured by the visions of military glory, take up opposing sides to become enemies in war. They meet again at the walled enclave that was their childhood home, each demanding food for the armies they lead. And when the fighting is over, the two brothers believe their mother has fallen victim in the battle. Fortunately she has survived to restore reason, and proves to be the best commander of all by making all the soldiers promise to stop fighting and return to their own mothers. Well, why not? It would be great lesson that could begin by reading this book aloud. (Ages 5–9, $15.99) 
And a Welcome Classic Re-illustrated

 
 
 
 

WYNKEN, BLYNKEN, AND NOD sailed off in a wooden shoe and into the imaginations of generations of children. Eugene W. Field wrote his classic poem in 1889, inspiring many artists to recreate their own vision of the adventure. David McPhail creates a gentle bedtime ride with cuddly bunnies in the starring roles of the fisherman three, soft enough to tuck the youngest listeners into sweet dreams. (Ages 1–6, $15.95)

Hooray for a Pigeon Reprise

 
 
THE PIGEON FINDS A HOT DOG! and he meets his match in a duckling even more artful than he. Poor Pigeon, hotdog in hand, ready to bite into that tasty morsel, is confronted by a smart, hungry and persistent bird who knows how to lay a guilt trip better than anyone’s momma ever did. Mo Willems, a Caldecott Honor awardee for the best illustrated book, once again transfers his talents as a cartoonist and writer to bring us this second book starring a very likeable Pigeon. (Ages 2–6, $12.99) 
Another Sally Forth

We’ve already been on enjoyable excursions with Sally to beach, mountain and farm in three previous picture books by talented printmaker Stephen Huneck. This outing when SALLY GOES TO THE VET is an emergency trip. When Sally, in her wild rumpus with Bingo the Cat, doesn’t see a tree stump and suffers a crash landing, she is carried off to the doctor’s clinic to be checked. An X-ray shows no broken bones, and no serious damage. After a shot in her rump while Sally is instructed by the vet to think happy thoughts, she is back home with her pal Bingo. Huneck’s story is informative as well as entertaining and should reassure any child who is worried about a beloved pet’s visit to the vet or even his own visit to a doctor’s office. (Ages 3–7, $17.95)


Some Entertaining Nonfiction
Imagine ONE SMALL PLACE BY THE SEA. Barbara Brenner invites young beginning readers to explore the wonders of a tide pool as she names and explains how each creature manages to survive in what at first appears to be merely a puddle. Tom Leonard’s intricate paintings capture both the detail and the drama of life at the edge of the sea. 
(Ages 5–8, $15.99)
Although FOREST EXPLORER; A Life-Size Field Guide presupposes a deciduous environment, author Nic Bishop assures readers that many of the creatures he highlights are found in most wooded areas. Beginning with the spring forest, he takes young readers on a nature hike. The visit includes views from the treetops, life after dark, and the forest in fall and winter. Life-sized photographic representations of the animals and insects most frequently encountered help place them in size relationships to each other. When an insect is too small to see finer details, a magnified image is drawn. Each colorful spread is followed by two additional pages of information on the creatures pictured. Spot art helps make the connection to the text. For kids who can spend hours studying books about bugs, this is a treat.  (Ages 4–10, $17.95) 
Airborne At Last

Travel INTO THE AIR; An Illustrated Timeline of Flight with author Ryan Ann Hunter and illustrator Yan Nascimbene. Flight is chronicled from the first airborne creatures in the evolutionary chain 150 million years ago to spacecraft of the future including the “Helios”, a solar-powered flying wing first shown in 2001. Flying has come a long way in the past hundred years when the aviation pioneers, Orville and Wilbur Wright perfected their first glider and turned it into a controllable machine. Other airborne inventions before theirs provided technological information and within two decades after them men were flying airplanes across the continents. (Ages 5–9, $16.95)

Picture Book Biography

March 2, 2004, marks the one hundredth anniversary of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Nothing in his early life would have given his immigrant parents a clue that someday their fun loving and lively son Theodor Seuss Geisel would write books that would be read in every school in the country. In celebration of this “Seussentennial” Kathleen Krull tells the story of his early years as THE BOY ON FAIRFIELD STREET; How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Become Dr. Seuss. It is probably not surprising to learn that no one in his family or circle of friends loved to draw as much as he did. But his unconventional drawings were not admired by his high school art teacher. He attended Dartmouth College where he was voted “Least Likely to Succeed.” At twenty-two, after a very brief stint at Oxford University, he moved from his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, to set himself up as a writer and illustrator in New York City. That’s where Krull ends the picture book text and segues into a detailed account of his successful career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. His first, And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street was published in 1937, and his last, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, appeared in 1990, a year before he died at age eighty-seven. And what is even more remarkable is that his books continue to remain in print. Paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher follow the storyline and Seuss’s own artwork appears below each page of text.  (Ages 6–10. $16.95) 


 
Two Unique Cookbooks
Sample THE MAGICAL MELTING POT; The All-Family Cookbook That Celebrates America’s Diversity. Author Michelle Greenwald subtitled her book “America’s Leading Chefs Share Childhood Memories and Favorite Foods.” This over 250-paged potpourri of tasty recipes and chatty recollections of chefs from all over the world, contains a treasure of multicultural information. Beginning with North America, Greenwald interviewed chefs from almost every continent. They discuss their own family and local food customs and offer some of their favorite recipes. Many are unique and range from Virginian Patrick O’Connell’s “Rhubarb Pizza” to Egyptian Colette Rossant’s “Prunes Stuffed with Walnuts in a Light Cinnamon Sauce.” The author includes her own family’s “Sweet and Sour Beef and Cabbage Borscht”. This is the sort of book to sit and read together slowly, over weeks and months. The recipes are adapted to accommodate available ingredients and the author intends the cooking to be done as a family. She says, “Learning about the foods of other countries is a fun way to develop an adventurous spirit.” And you don’t even have to leave your own kitchen to do it. What we want to add to her introduction is to consider the glory of spending time together cooking. It’s a great way to improve math skills, communication and self-esteem. We think an hour or two together in the kitchen with an interested child beats equivalent time playing on a computer or plunked in front of a television set.  (Ages 8+ with adults, $29.95)
With a sushi restaurant opening in practically every medium sized town on the West Coast, our kids are developing an early appreciation for Japan’s favorite food. So we thought we’d better let you know about SUSHI FOR KIDS by Kaoru Ono (translated by Peter Howlett and Richard McNamara). Written with a chatty story-based format and appealing illustrations, the author provides an accessible introduction to sushi, including its history, the types of fish used, and how to prepare it at home. (Ages 6–11, $10.95) 

Fiction
Picture this zany hybrid! One part truck, one part dog. Well fasten your seatbelts, because Graeme Base’s first novel TRUCKDOGS; A Novel in Four Bites stars that imaginative evolutionary creature, in fact a whole fleet of them. The reader has to understand of course this is the Australian Outback where anything is possible. There is a town out there in the desert by the name of Hubcap. Lately Mayor Plugg (Irish Setter/Land Rover Discovery) has had trouble controlling her son, Sparky (Jack Russell/Ute). He’s smitten with the town’s teenage renegade “Mongrel Pack” who spends way too much time getting into mischief. Fed up with their shenanigans, the townsfolk banish the group. No sooner do they leave then a gang of outlaw Rott Wheelers arrive to plunder the diesel supply. It’s up to Sparky and an old car mechanic named Rex (Red Setter/Tractor) to find and bring back the Pack to help the town rout the brigands. Base, best known for his marvelously detailed picture books (most recently The Water Hole) says that this story was relayed to him by his dog, Molly. His own contribution was painting the great TRUCK/DOG portraits that appear throughout the novel. (Ages 8–12, $16.95)
The only problem with Zizou Corder’s fast paced thriller, LION BOY is that we are going to have to wait for the next installments in what the authors’ have designed as a trilogy. Corder is in fact a pseudonym for a mother and daughter team and the pair’s story is about a remarkable youngster named Charlie whose parents are kidnapped by a ring eager to tap into his scientist mother’s brilliant discoveries. The plan to also kidnap Charlie backfires when he escapes and joins a circus in the hopes of reuniting with his parents. This is a fast paced adventure story with a nice dollop of fantasy and sprinkles of humor. Tasty!  (Ages 9–13, $15.99) 
From the title on, everything about Gennifer Choldenko’s AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS, is intriguing. Moose says he wants to be living on Alcatraz Island about as much “as I want poison oak on my private parts.” The year is 1935, and with the country still mired in The Great Depression, his father is happy to have a job at the prison. His mother has encouraged the move from Southern California in order for his sister Natalie to attend a special school in the Bay area. Natalie is autistic, but because the word “autistic” was not used to describe Natalie’s condition in the 1930’s, we only know what Moose tells us about living with a sister whose behavior is unpredictable and difficult. (Choldenko, in an afterword, says “autism wasn’t identified until 1943.”) When Natalie is refused admission to the school, his mother works to earn extra money to hire a tutor for Natalie. Moose is needed to look after his sister, forfeiting an opportunity to play baseball with his new classmates. One of the other subplots of the story involves the warden’s daughter with a propensity for getting Moose and the other kids involved in one mischief or another. She, like most people, is fascinated by the mysterious Al Capone, who is imprisoned on the island. Choldenko’s story, told with humor, is both an entertaining and insightful read.  (Ages 9–13, $15.99)
Choldenko’s first novel, NOTES FROM A LIAR AND HER DOG, has just been published in paperback. Twelve-year-old Antonia, certain she is adopted because she is so unlike anyone else in her family, has a serious reluctance to tell the truth. She is particularly at odds with her mother whom she constantly puts on the defensive. Ant is so skillful at covering up, her family doesn’t even know what good grades she gets at school. One teacher takes a genuine interest in her, and invites her and her best friend to become volunteers at the local zoo. But even that positive part of her life is jeopardized when, against the zoo rules, she brings her beloved dog along. The teacher finally challenges Ant to begin honest communication with her family and begin the task of establishing a positive family dynamic.  (Ages 9–13, $5.99 paperback) 
Edith Pattou’s EAST draws on the classic East of the Sun, West of the Moon and expands it into a fully formed novel. Ebba Rose, named by her mother whose superstitions overruled reason, is an adventurous and restless child. When the opportunity comes for her to be taken away from her family by a mysterious white bear in exchange for her family’s guaranteed health and prosperity, she goes willingly although she does not know the full truth of the bear’s origins nor his cruel enchantment. Pattou’s writing, rich in detail and description, uses the “voices” of her main characters to carry the reader into the realm of ice and snow, where Ebba Rose risks her own life in an attempt to rescue the bear. The result is an altogether satisfying and skillful blend of fantasy, romance and adventure. (Ages 12+, $18.00)
E.L Konigsburg’s latest novel, THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE defies tidy categorization. Yes, it is designated “middle grade” but as in much of Konigsburg’s writing, the audience reaches into that universe of readers who just like an interesting novel, no matter what the grade level printed on the cover. “The Outcasts” are a pair of eccentric uncles who belong to Margaret Rose Kane. The summer of her twelfth year has begun with serious disappointment. Sent to camp while her academic parents are doing research in Peru, she is finding it very much not to her liking. The other girls in her cabin have a tight clique formed over years of attending the same camp. Independent, precocious Margaret simply doesn’t fit in, nor does she care to try. She is thrilled when her Uncle Alex rescues her to spend the rest of the summer on Schuyler Place. It is a place that reflects her granduncles’ unconventional lifestyle, not the least of which are the three giant towers they have been constructing in their backyard for the last forty-five years. The towers are unique works of art, much beloved by the previous dwellers of the neighborhood. However the new and powerful homeowners in the “restored historic district” have declared them a blight that must be destroyed. Margaret doesn’t have much time to rescue the towers, but by using her amazing brain and finding a few good friends in surprising places, she ends up putting her summer to great use. Konigsburg did a bit of rescuing herself by writing a novel starring Margaret Rose who previously played a peripheral role as Conner Kane’s older half-sister in Silent to the Bone. The gifted, much acclaimed author confesses that after finishing that novel, she continued to think about her. She has built a memorable story drawing on references Margaret made about her unforgettable summer. (Ages 10++, $16.95) 

Harbingers of Springtime

Springtime conjures up images of gardening and baseball and we have some special books to join the celebration.

One child’s family memories are made in all the seasons through a year IN OUR BACKYARD GARDEN and Eileen Spinelli turns them into memorable poems. There are funny ones like how Aunt Sissy met the postman and then the follow up poem about their springtime wedding. Other lifecycle moments include planting a tree “On the day my baby brother is born,” and another tree is planted in honor of Grandpa’s birthday. The warmth of one extended family flows through the poems.(Ages 4–8, $15.95)
Mary Ann Hoberman’s imaginative rhyming picture book asks WHOSE GARDEN IS IT? All the elements within a garden, including the gardener and all the critters that live there; rabbit, beetle, squash bug, snake and flea announce their ownership. Plant rustles it’s role, weed whistles its. Sun overrules soil, tree and leaf but then rain arrives to lay claim. Seed whispers to grandmotherly Mrs. McGee and her young charge with ears to the ground, “I am the beginning, the start of it all.” Illustrated with Jane Dyer’s bright watercolors, WHOSE GARDEN IS IT? will provide some thought provoking entertainment for young listeners.  (Ages 3–7, $16.00) 
What would our gardens be without WIGGLING WORMS AT WORK? While we optimistic gardeners wait above ground for seeds to sprout, those amazing earthworms below ground digest their way through leaf and plant bits. They leave behind castings that help new plants to grow, keep the soil aerated and provide channels for water to penetrate. Wendy Pfeffer, with the help of Steve Jenkins’ full-color collage art, describes how “nature’s plow” eats, moves, protects and reproduces itself. 
(Ages 5–9, $4.99)
They called her MIGHTY JACKIE. She was a determined youngster who wanted to play baseball, who dreamed of pitching in a World Series. But baseball commissioners ruled against allowing women into the ranks of the major and minor leagues. Before the rule was in effect, Jackie Mitchell, a pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts, was the starting pitcher in an exhibition game with the New York Yankees. On April 2, 1931, Jackie faced the first two batters and struck them out. The lead off batter was Babe Ruth, and the man behind him, Lou Gehrig. Marissa Moss retells the story of one determined young lady who tried to break the gender barrier. C. F. Payne’s excellent paintings capture Jackie’s indomitable spirit.
(Ages 5-9, $16.95) 
From the chatter to the batter, the catcher to the pitcher, Charles R. Smith, Jr.’s DIAMOND LIFE; Baseball Sights, Sound, and Swings captures the culture of game. We once said if you closed your eyes at a Little League Game or a Major League Ball Park, you could be anywhere in America. Smith’s photographs and word pictures conjure up the universal moments of America’s favorite game. This is one to read-aloud or read together as the next generations become a part of DIAMOND LIFE.  (Ages 6+, $15.95)


A Passover Companion
Celebration of the Passover Seder relies on a printed Haggadah or telling to guide the participants through the service. There are certain symbols present at the seder table, and a specific order by which the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told. There are many versions of printed Haggodot and usually a family will have several copies so all can take part in the reading. Along with the timeworn books, there have been many companion books published to enhance and expand on the celebration, particularly ones with child appeal. This year, behold WONDERS AND MIRACLES written and compiled by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated with art spanning three thousand years. This lovely over 100-paged volume is not only a handsome addition to the literature, it is a useful guide enriched with stories, songs, poems, prayers and commentary. And so we must add another wonderful Passover companion to our holiday collection. 
(Ages 7++, $18.95)



Newsletter text Copyright 2004 © by Jody Shapiro.  All Rights Reserved.