Summer 1999 Shoppe Talk San Marino Toy&Book Shoppe

    Books are journeys into knowledge, entertainment and imagination. Come explore our shelves brimming with books to offer you up the summer travels of your dreams.
(And yes, the second Harry Potter has officially arrived!)

"There is no Frigate like a Book..." Emily Dickinson

Going Camping, Anyone?

Just in time for summer, comes Ashley Wolff’s new picture book, STELLA AND ROY GO CAMPING. Big sister and younger brother join their mother on an overnight camping trip. As they hike to their campsite, Stella, consulting her new animal tracks book, assures Roy that none of the tracks he discovers were made by a bear. After a long day Mother and Stella fall sound asleep in their snug tent, but night noises keep Roy awake. And the sound of the bear barrel clunking around outside sends him looking out the tent flap where he finally gets to see his first bear. Wolff’s text and art weave valuable information for young campers into this satisfying family story. 

(Ages 4-8, $15.99)


Venture into Art
If you are going camping this summer, or to sleep away camp, or to the beach, or staying right at home, or visiting Grandparents, former neighbors, cousins by the dozens or flying to the moon, you need Klutz’s latest hands-on activity book, DRAWING FOR THE ARTISTICALLY UNDISCOVERED by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy. It offers an irreverent but effective approach to drawing. In fact the two watercolor pencils and the black ink sketch pen supplied with this nifty spiral bound book come with NO ERASERS. The authors’ philosophy is that there are no mistakes, just some bigger successes than others. In spite of their professed informality, there are some basic lessons couched in the playful pointers on shading, perspective, and sketching the human body. Every page has some drawing tip with illustrated examples and an invitation for the student to do his own drawing. Any child old enough to read, and any grown-up young enough to be a kid at heart will truly enjoy the humor and encouragement in this unique how-to-draw book.                 (Ages 7+++, $19.95)

More Summertime Travel Adventures
Travel back in time
Great Bargains! Two new tours. See Paris in all its glory. Marvel at the wonders of Ancient Egypt. All for the price of $8.95 each we can send you on a “Sightseers Essential Guide to the Past.” PARIS, 1789 “is both an exciting and dangerous place to visit” according to our guidebook author, Rachel Wright. However the sights are incomparable. Visit the Louvre with its recently installed overhead glass windows. A trip to the lovely Palace at Versailles is a mere two hour trip by coach and horse. For livelier entertainment, plan to spend some time strolling the boulevards observing the entertainment. 
(Ages 8-12, $8.95)
If antiquities are more your cup of mead, time slip back beyond the common era to 332 BC to ANCIENT EGYPT; A Guide to Egypt in the Time of the Pharaohs. A trip along the Nile River will reveal small cargo boats packed with all manner of goods. A sightseers tip advises renting a donkey if you are planning a longer excursion into the desert, but day trips with a reliable guide are also suggested by expert Sally Tagholm. Both guides offer notes on accommodations and advice on dining and shopping and each supplies its own foldout map. These two companion titles offer a clever approach to teaching a piece of world history. 
(Ages 8-12, $8.95)

 Travel to all the corners of our world

The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC WORLD ATLAS FOR YOUNG EXPLORERS; A Complete World Reference for Adventurous Minds will help set the course for this generation that promises to become as adventurous a group of travelers as any before them. Its generously sized pages are filled with colorful illustrations, clearly labeled maps, and pertinent and interesting bits of information. One two-paged spread, for example, shows population density. Three illustrations are used. One is a world map, the second a chart and the third is a photograph of city lights across the earth. Continents are pictured in both physical and political maps. Regions within each continent are shown in greater detail. In addition to clearly marked place names, flags are depicted. This is such an inviting volume that it will lure the entire family to browse the world together. Its application for classroom use is manifold.
(Ages 5-Adult, $24.95)

 Setting the course for travel in space
Author Ian Graham’s THE BEST BOOK OF THE MOON chronicles mankind’s timeless fascination with the moon from earliest folklore and legends to this waning century’s Apollo space projects. He concludes with predictions for moon bases as stopovers enroute to exploration of distant planets and man’s potential use of the moon’s mineral resources. His straightforward text is logically organized and the abundant illustrations are as useful as they are attractive. One series of eight pictures demonstrates the phases of the moon, showing not only how the moon appears from earth but also where, in its orbit of the earth, the moon is positioned for each phase. Another page has a graphic depiction of current scientific theory on the moon’s formation. Graham presents an uncluttered look at our best explored neighbor in space.
(Ages 5-11, $10.95)
The Apollo space project, Voyager’s missions, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the US Pathfinder’s landing a camera on the surface of Mars in 1997 had their beginnings long before the twentieth century. Young readers will discover when reading THE HISTORY NEWS IN SPACE that man’s first steps into space began with the earliest astronomers, particularly one brave Polish priest, Nicolaus Copernicus in the middle of the sixteenth century. His idea that the earth was a moving planet disputed the long-accepted theory that the earth was the center of the universe. All milestone events are presented in journalistic style, written as contemporary to the times covered. Galileo’s trial for heresy for example, is written by an observing “courtroom reporter.” The illustrated format is upbeat and slightly informal, accessible and appealing to kids. Coverage of the “space news” begins in 145 C.E. with the publication of Ptolemy’s view of the universe and brings the reader up to the present space probes and plans for the future.                             (Ages 8-12, $16.99)

Travel into Once Upon a Time
THE ONCE UPON A TIME MAP BOOK offers a tour to The Enchanted Forest, The Giant’s Kingdom, The Land of Oz and three other magical places. B. J. Hennessy’s imaginative premise is that Prince Charming and Cinderella’s honeymoon takes them to six “once-upon-a-time lands.” Each location has its own map with its own itinerary that the reader must follow. At each stop there is a wedding present to be discovered along with other hidden challenges. The clever payoff for this book is that it teaches a myriad of map skills in a most creative way. Kids will learn to use a key, and a compass to follow directions. It’s a way also to extend a literature experience, finding Peter’s hideout in “Never-Never Land,” and the March Hare’s house in “Wonderland.” Peter Joyce supplies the art for this well-conceived “honeymoon” tour.
(Ages 6-11, $14.99)


Picture Books
It's Never Too Early to Begin the Reading Adventure
Babies! Babies! Babies!

By the look of things we think there is a bit of a baby boomlet. Witness the bumper crop of new baby related books, two with almost the same title so note the punctuation. It’s important here. First off, there’s BABY! TALK!, Penny Gentieu’s inviting photo montage designed to share with baby (or anyone else who gets all mushy looking at appealing baby pictures). This colorful first words book reinforces those classic call and response interactions like “How Big is Baby? Soooo Big!” The endpapers give toddlers an opportunity to show off a rapidly increasing basic vocabulary.

(Ages newborn to two years, $13.00)

The second BABY TALK is by Fred Hiatt with rich oil paintings by Mark Graham. The new baby is a puzzle for his brother, Joey. His crying sometimes means he is hungry, needs a dry diaper, or a nap. Joey can’t seem to figure it out until he starts responding to baby’s funny sounding noises and provides his own translations. The virtue of this book is its showing an older sibling a way of interacting positively with a new arrival. It’s a good addition to the many fine books written to sidestep the slippery slope of sibling rivalry.
(Ages 2½-6, $14.00)

THE BABY DANCES absolutely danced its way into our hearts. Kathy Henderson’s lyrical text and Tony Kerins’s endearing pastels record the changes a year brings. Baby is born, sleeps and sleeps, smiles, rolls and rolls herself over, sits, crawls and stands. And finally “she takes her first lurching steps.” “Safe in her brother’s arms, THE BABY DANCES.” What makes this book so important is its unspoken reminder of the how each milestone in a baby’s first year is its own special miracle. This is just an exquisite treasure of a book.                                 (All ages, $15.99)

Put MY FIRST WORD BATH BOOK into your diaper bag (we aren’t so keen on books in bathtubs, actually—rubber duckies yes, books well… ). This one is plastic, designed for that major drooly teething time (and yes, for bathtime) with clear and bright photo reproductions. This and other early toddler books certainly make the waiting time in the pediatrician’s office go more easily.
(Ages Newborn-18 mos., $4.95)

MRS. WISHY-WASHY is a new hard paged book you don’t want to miss. Its previous incarnation was as an early reader sold exclusively to schools. Joy Cowley’s simple text about the animals rolling in the mud and Mrs. Wishy-Washy scrubbing them clean again is just the sort of romp that will appeal to a toddler whose sense of humor is growing as quickly as his vocabulary.
(Ages 6 mos.-3, $5.99)

It’s clean-up time in Matt’s room, filled with TRUCKS, TRUCKS, TRUCKS. Trucks for digging, pushing and plowing; scooping, loading and hauling. As Matt handles each truck, his imagination grows and soon he is the equipment driver, rolling the road, sweeping the street and lifting the load (his sock—after all he is cleaning his room.) Peter Sis is the artful foreman on this altogether satisfying project that moves the young reader from reality to fantasy and back again.
(Ages 1-4, $14.95)

Getting Ready for Kindergarten
LOOK OUT KINDERGARTEN, HERE I COME! One mouse child’s eager anticipation of the first day of kindergarten carries him through the early morning routine and all the way to the front steps of the school where suddenly he feels very small. “What if I get lost?” he asks his wise mother. She reminds him of their kindergarten orientation visit and assures him that he can always ask a teacher for help. At the door of the classroom, he panics. Nancy Carlson’s artwork shows him in tears as he rushes into his mother’s arms. The understanding teacher invites him inside to look around. There in the classroom he finds all the things his mother told him would be there. Carlson’s deceptively simple text gives youngsters (and their grownups!) a giant step of readiness for their big milestone day.
(Ages 3-6, $15.99)

You will find yourself cheering for a most unlikely hero in Helen Lester’s delicious read-aloud, HOOWAY FOR WODNEY WAT. Rodney is the butt of his rodent classmates teasing because he can’t pronounce his “r’s.” Because of all the teasing, he is the shyest rodent in his elementary school. One day a very large rodent named Camilla Capybara joins the class. She announces to the class that she is the biggest, meanest and smartest, of them all. We also discover she is the rudest. All the other classmates feel very uncomfortable. Then one recess Rodney, in his most unassuming way, saves the day. Chosen to be leader for their favorite game, “Simon Says,” Rodney inadvertently discovers Camilla’s weakness. She is literal to a fault. When he tells his fellow rodents to “wead the sign”, Camilla “weeds the sign.” When he tells them to “wake the leaves,” they rake. She picks a leaf and yells, “wake up!” We won’t spoil the punch line, but the kids will love it. Lester teams up once again with illustrator Lynn Munsinger whose previous pairings have brought us the likes of that colorful individualist, Tacky the Penguin.
(Ages 4-8, $15.00)

Growing Readers and In Celebration of the Book
—With a nod to the Fine Arts
Learning the alphabet is one of the first major accomplishments for children on their quest for literacy. We were delighted to discover the reissue of one of our favorites designed for that noble pursuit, Robert Crowther’s MOST AMAZING HIDE-AND-SEEK ALPHABET BOOK. Its clean white pages sport bold black lower case letters. Each letter hides a surprise which is uncovered by pulling tabs up or down. An easy pull up on letter “a” reveals an ape appearing alongside the word “ape.” One of our favorites is the mouse that flits through the letter “m”, making only the briefest appearance as the tab is pulled. Snake uncoils itself behind its letter, and owl opens and then closes his eyes inside letter “o”, too sleepy to join in. The most active youngsters are bound to sit still for this kinetic wonder. Use it as a reward at bedtime or in a storytime circle. Launch your beginners on their reading journeys with this well-crafted pop-up book, still as fresh as it ever was when we first found it over twenty years ago.                                                                        (Ages 3-6, $14.99)

READING GROWS from the earliest moments of a child’s life when “baby reads with mommy,” looks at pictures, learns colors and shapes, listens to stories, decodes the alphabet, develops word recognition, reads sentences, and finally successfully tackles entire books. All of these steps are beautifully chronicled in Ellen Senisi’s photo essay that we hope will encourage a youngster who is impatient, give confidence to one who is reluctant, or perhaps even stimulate one who might be indifferent.                                    (Ages 3-6, $15.95)

Luscious word images send the reader into his own imagination in George Ella Lyon’s BOOK. Certainly Peter Catalanotto, the illustrator of her lovely poem, created the most intriguing watercolors to match her lyric praise to the BOOK. They are joyful and filled with playful images, mirrored writing, books flying and a child soaring into the universe through the pages of the book. Readers will re-enter the pages of this treasure time after time for the comfort of kindred connections and to study its intriguing images.
(Ages 4+++, $16.95)

A hungry WOLF blows into town but can’t seem to stir the local farm animals. They are too busy reading to get worked up over his arrival. The wolf does not like being ignored by “educated animals” so he goes to school to learn to read as well. His slow-paced reading aloud doesn’t impress the animals. They tell him to get more practice. He works hard, gets faster, but reads with no expression. Finally he goes to a bookstore (a good independent one of course) where he invests the last of his money in a “splendid new storybook.” After much practice he reappears once again at the farm (this time politely ringing the bell at the farm gate). So improved is he that the pig, duck and cow keep him reading aloud until it’s time for their picnic to which he is invited. Becky Bloom’s amusing tale is illustrated with a light touch by Pascal Biet’s watercolors. We love the “before and after” in the end papers. One can see in Biet’s panoramas how reading aloud has transformed the townspeople from frowning grumps to eager listeners.
(Ages 3-7, $15.95)

And if a literate wolf isn’t enough this summer, we offer you up one who dances. Another hungry wolf, finding himself in a strange part of town, stumbles upon an appearance of the “Boarshoi Ballet” performing “SWINE LAKE.” Plumper and juicier looking than he could have ever imagined, the performers are an “entrancing spectacle.” In spite of his ravenous appetite, a strange thing seems to overcome the wolf. He becomes engrossed by the ballet itself. Afterwards he staggers home, takes a long nap, and once again returns to the theater for the evening performance. At just the appropriate moment he leaps unto the stage … we just won’t tell you the rest. Perhaps the beauty of the music and dance can soothe a savage heart. But what we will reveal is that Maurice Sendak paid a great honor to his late friend James Marshall’s entertaining text. His artwork is as lively as the story itself, with Sendakian visual asides and puns incorporated into the paintings to give us an extra chuckle.                                     (Ages 5++, $15.95)

One for Good Luck and One For Goodbye
Mrs. Kempczinsi (“Say it Kemp-chin-ski!”) is everyone’s dream teacher. Her third graders know how special she is and how lucky they are to have a teacher who celebrates worm day and dances when everyone turns in their homework and teaches them sign language. But then Mrs. K isn’t there one day, and then not for weeks. The principal tells the class that Mrs. K has cancer and when one of the children asks how many operations it takes to cure cancer, he says “there are some answers even principals don’t know.” The children write to Mrs. K and she writes back, telling them she is feeling better. The day after school lets out for summer the class is invited back to school for a special surprise. Mrs. K visits to tell the children how proud she is of all their third grade work and that she hopes “to be back next fall.” Louise Borden’s GOOD LUCK, MRS. K.! is a gem of a book. Written with a warm humor that is reflected in Adam Gustavson’s watercolors, children are presented with a real life situation that gives them hope and some models for coping.
(Ages 6-10, $15.00)

GOODBYE, HOUSE is another book that helps children cope with transition. This one offers a big assist in overcoming the trauma of moving. Designed in a journal format, there are pages of advice and places for a child to fill in the blanks to express thoughts and feelings. The authors, Ann Banks and Nancy Evans, suggest things like saying good riddance to the things a child might be glad to be leaving behind, and another page has places to write down the things she can hardly wait to do in the new house. The authors talk about things people worry about when they are moving and suggests ways a child can help the family in the moving process. True Kelley’s black and white drawings can be colored in to cheer up the pages so if you are thinking of making this a gift to a child who is moving, add a box of colored pencils to the package. There are colored stickers at the back to be put on the appropriate packed cartons.
(Ages 6-11, with a guide for parents, $9.95 paperback)

Out in the Garden and into the Pond
When Jody’s Granda came to visit he brought her a packet of runner beans. Together they planted them in a circle and when he went back home, she tended them carefully. JODY’S BEANS grew so well that when Granda came again, he built a teepee of poles to support them. Jody watched as they snaked up the teepee and finally it was time to pick the first beans for eating. All summer they grew and in the fall, when the growing season ended, the biggest seeds were saved for planting next year. Judith Allibone’s charming illustrations in ink and watercolor are a wonderful accompaniment to Malachy Doyle’s informational storybook.                                           (Ages 4-8, $15.99)

IT’S A FROG’S LIFE is a new wrinkle on the popular journal style. Frog, with a big assist from Steve Parker keeps a very personal and detailed accounting of his life at the pond. He is a proud papa to a clutch of “frog spawn” that hatch into little tadpole wrigglers and finally, fifteen weeks after hatching, into full-on froglets. Avoiding enemies like herons takes serious attention as does finding food. He says he is on a “see-food” diet. Frog is a funny fellow but this handsomely illustrated and informative book offers much more than light entertainment. (But you could even read it aloud.)                               (Ages 5-9, $9.99)

Marking the Millennium
Author Betsy Maestro and illustrator Giulio Maestro tell THE STORY OF CLOCKS AND CALENDARS: Marking a Millennium. This timely and fact-filled book certainly helps set the stage for all the hoopla to come, putting these next years into their proper historical perspective and significance. Children may be surprised to learn that other cultures have been recording historical events for longer than the Gregorian Calendar has been in common use. According to the Hebrew calendar, the year 2000 is actually 5760. The Chinese calendar will be celebrating 4698. For those ancient civilizations, this millenium milestone may be very old news. The Maestros offer a survey of how time has been measured, from ancient sundials to modern atomic clocks. A useful illustration of the world indicates time zones and another depicts the Chinese calendar. Guess when we celebrate another “Year of the Dragon?” Yup, it’s 2000.                                  (Ages 6-12, $16.00)

Vignettes of American History
Two stories about coming to America
In 1894, Mary Antin arrived in America. Although the streets were not lined with gold, what was even better for a girl like Mary was the free education offered to all children. In Russia, only boys with short noses were permitted to attend school. In America her parents could work and Mary could become a noted poet and writer. Rosemary Wells has based her STREETS OF GOLD on Mary Antin’s memoir, This Promised Land. For a child who didn’t even begin to speak English until she was twelve, Antin’s prose is poetic. Wells includes snippets of her writing in each episode of this lovely picture book. Dan Andreasen’s oil paintings on gessoed board capture the feeling of what life must have been like at the beginning of the twentieth century.            (Ages 5-9, $15.99)

Orphaned Grisha had come to live with his cousin Rachel’s family in their little shtetl in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. The two cousins were great friends and Rachel helped Grisha who was still mourning the loss of his mother. Times were hard for Jewish families suffering under the harsh anti-Jewish decrees of the tsar and the life-threatening pogroms that terrorized their little villages. When their family fled to the safety of America, Grisha insisted on taking his tattered coat because his mother had sewn it for him, using the wool of her own coat for the lining of her son’s. After an arduous journey, the family finally arrived on Ellis Island for the last hurdle before being allowed to enter America. Grisha accidentally bruised his eye and the health inspector chalked an “E” on his back. The family was panicked, afraid that the failed medical exam would prevent his coming with them. Rachel saved the day by turning his coat inside-out. A more sympathetic health inspector recognized Grisha’s eye injury as temporary and this time he passed. Elvira Woodruff’s THE MEMORY COAT was inspired by her own visit to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Although hers is a work of fiction, it could be one of the millions of possible stories of the people who came to America with hope for a better life. Michael Dooling’s paintings also reflect their historical origins as he says he pored over hundreds of turn-of-the-century photographs to get a sense of the setting and people in Woodruff’s story.                                                                         (Ages 5-9, $15.95)

The California Gold Rush

When the astounding news of gold discoveries in California reached out into the world, GOLD FEVER became epidemic. After touring the remnants of that turbulent decade, illustrator Rosalyn Schanzer collected word nuggets and set them to painted acrylics as she tells “Tales from the California Gold Rush.” She depicts the various journeys taken by sea and land. From the diggings she quotes miners like E.G. Buffram describing the effects of scurvy, and Charles Bush who complains “there’s not a woman within nineteen miles of us.” (He was bemoaning the fact that they had to do their own laundry!) Miners’ pleasures and pastimes in the city offer exotic foods and entertainment. Young Lotta Crabtree reports that at the finish of her first stage performance she was thrown nuggets of gold. Basics foods like fresh milk and vegetables are “rarely heard of.” And ultimately we learn that the best value in California is not the gold to be dug from the ground, but the rich ground itself. Miner Buffram says of California, “her fertile valleys and rich plains are capable of producing untold agricultural wealth.” Schanzer’s GOLD FEVER! is a lively resource to accompany classroom curriculum with its personal glimpses of those colorful times in early California history.                                                     (Ages 8-12, $17.95)


Chapter Books for Good Summer Reading
ABIGAIL TAKES THE WHEEL in Avi’s latest addition to the I Can Read Chapter Book series for newly independent readers. Avi has written about spunky heroines aboard ships before, in fact he was awarded a Newbery Honor in 1991 for True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. This story is set in the 1880’s aboard a side paddling freight boat Neptune, that not only delivers produce from the farmers in New Jersey to the people of New York City but is also home to Abigail and Tom Bates whose father is captain of the Neptune. When two larger sailing ships collide enroute to the City, Captain Bates is asked to tow one of the disabled ships back to port and must board it in order to steer it behind the towline. The first mate takes over but becomes too ill to continue and so the job falls to Abigail to bring the Neptune safely into port. Short action-packed chapters coupled with colored illustrations by Don Bolognese make this a good reading choice.          (Ages 5-8, $14.95)
Note: There are enough title choices and reading levels available mostly in paperback in the I Can Read Series to keep you reading all summer.

Going to the Dogs! (And one for Cats too!)
Well not really going to the dogs, but certainly you’ll give two paws up to these treasures. Start with this utterly appealing delight, BUSTER, THE VERY SHY DOG written and illustrated by an award-winning independent filmmaker and former animator, Lisze Bechtold. We can only hope she begins to devote her considerable talent to more children’s books because Buster is about the most appealing dog you will meet in a lifetime of dog years. He watches the world from every convenient hiding place, admiring brave and amazing Phoebe from safe distances. Happily he manages to find his own place in the household when his master Roger discovers and praises Buster’s special talent. Bechtold’s vocabulary is simple enough for a beginning reader to decode and it’s elegant and humorous text makes this a pleasure to read aloud. Her artwork is appropriately spare and eloquent and is much in the tradition of the late Arnold Lobel’s classic Frog and Toad series.                         (Ages 4-8, $15.00)

Ellie Martin has wanted a puppy for almost as long as she was old. And always her parents have promised she could have one when she turned nine. Then unexpectedly an elderly relative asks the family to take her own beloved dog Preston since she is moving into an apartment that won’t permit dogs. Ellie is terribly disappointed. This is not the puppy she has been dreaming of for years and years. Preston is a “square, boring brown dog”, not the cute little fluffy puppy she was going to train to sit and stay. When her friends see him she insists he’s NOT MY DOG. Gradually Ellie begins to recognize Preston’s virtues, his quiet companionship and good nature. And she really appreciates him after he helps her find her way home. Colby Rodowsky’s young chapter book, illustrated with pictures by Thomas F. Yezerski, gets to the heart of one child’s disappointment and her gradual acceptance and making the best of an unavoidable life situation.                                                       (Ages 7-11, $15.00)

Lest cat lovers think we have abandoned you, worry not. We want to let you know that THREE STORIES YOU CAN READ TO YOUR CAT by Sara Swan Miller with fetching illustrations by True Kelley is now available in paperback. In its introduction the reader is reminded that in order to get a cat to listen to these stories it must be invited nicely and be petted frequently while being read to. And we add that even if your cat is less than enamored with these tales, you will certainly enjoy them, especially if this is the first summer you are ready to read first chapter books that still have lots of neat colored pictures on every page.
(Ages 5-9, $5.95 paperback)
And don’t forget that if you have a dog too, who might feel left out, the same team as above has written Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog.


New Books from Two of our Favorite Authors
It took a long time and a lot of patience before Tomie de Paola and his family could move into their new house on 26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE. In fact it is the saga of building this house that occupies much of his delightful new autobiography. This is Tomie’s first chapter book in what promises to be a series we trust will be as charming as this first. One of the funniest moments in the book occurs when his mother takes him to see Walt Disney’s “Snow White.” He is incensed at the liberties Disney takes with the Grimm’s fairy tale as he knows it. Readers familiar with Tomie’s stories have encountered many of his immediate family in such books as Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, Tom (about his grandfather), and The Art Lesson. They are like antipasto for this fuller course.
(Ages 5-9, $13.99)
Welcome to RAMONA’S WORLD. Beverly Cleary’s irrepressible Ramona is now in fourth grade. There’s a new baby sister in the house and big sister Beezus is in high school. Ramona is still struggling with spelling and isn’t sure she is going to like her new teacher who gives “reward words” to good spellers. Ramona can’t imagine how getting more words to spell can possibly be considered a “reward.” Her success with friendships far outweighs any temporary academic disappointments as she negotiates an optimistic course through life. It delights us to know that this fresh look into RAMONA’S WORLD will open a world of reading for a new generation, eager to meet Beverly Cleary’s wonderful cast of characters appearing in her award winning novels. Cleary has the magic touch still.
(Ages 8-12, $15.00)
Arriving in the store on August 25. Reserve your copy.


Tales of Mystery and Imagination
      If mystery is your secret wish for a summer read, then dig into a trio by the talented Wendelin Van Draanen winner of this year’s Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for the best mystery written for children. Van Draanen’s fictional detective is a feisty and likeable seventh grader named Samantha Keyes. In her first story, SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF, Sammy peering through her binoculars, observes a man digging through a purse wearing black gloves, and then she realizes that he has seen her. But that’s not even the beginning of all scrapes she manages to get into and out of. An innocent evening of trick or treating on Halloween night is the opening gambit of her second appearance, SAMMY KEYES AND THE SKELETON MAN. This time Sammy and her friends find themselves inside the spookiest house in their neighborhood and they have walked into the scene of a crime. The newest in the trio, SAMMY KEYES AND THE SISTERS OF MERCY, finds Sammy working off a school detention helping the sisters and Father Mayhew in the church’s soup kitchen. When valuable church artifacts begin to disappear, Sammy suspects a homeless runaway is responsible. Van Draanen fills her books with a central cast of characters and villains appropriate for children’s fiction—mostly of the not too violent thieving kind.
(Ages 9-13, $4.99  paperbacks; newest is $15.00 hardcover only)
There isn’t a more talented and versatile writer of children books than Paul Fleischman. He has explored a variety of topics from insects expressed in poetry for two voices to the civil war told by a cast of fictional participants in the battle of Bull Run. And now comes his amazing picture book, WESLANDIA, a startling celebration of independent and creative thinking. Wesley was a loner. “He had no friends, but plenty of tormentors.” Now that school was over for the summer, he had to find a good summer project. Marking out a spot in his yard he decided to grow his own staple food crop and found his own civilization. The key to his success, along with his own industrious imagination, was a remarkable plant that found a welcome in his garden. Its fruit and root provided nourishment. Oil from the crushed seeds repelled insects. Its bark was converted to fiber and then cloth. With a staple food crop assured, the natural evolution was to devise his own civilization, WESLANDIA, complete with its own eighty-letter alphabet and a new set of sports and “games rich with strategy and complex scoring systems” which attracted the other kids to WESLANDIA. And by the time Wesley returned to school in the fall, “he had no shortage of friends.” Kevin Hawkes’s illustrations are as rich as the story he paints. Fleischman offers us a book as juicy and as versatile as the riches of Wesley’s garden.                                                                                      (Ages 4+++, $15.99)


Yes, Yes! A new Harry Potter!!
What could be even better than Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? What about HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS? Yep, the secret is out. Harry is back. Year II is beginning soon at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry but Harry has been locked in his bedroom by his “muggle” relatives, forbidding him to return for his second year. They haven’t counted on Ron Weasley coming to his rescue. Harry has been warned that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwarts. A terrible evil is afoot at the school and ultimately Harry must be the one to confront it. Between the auspicious warning and the final breathtaking denouement there sits a delicious story. J. K. Rowling’s second Harry Potter is as imaginative and compelling a read as was the first.
(Ages 8+, $17.95)

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