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Book of the Week Archive for 2003
2005 Archive
Winter Lights
Ages 5-9
Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts
by Anna Grossnickle Hines

Rich, luminous fabrics.
Eleven miles of thread.
An uncountable number of stitches.
Clear, sparkling words.

With these ingredients Anna Grossnickle Hines celebrates the lights that brighten the darkest season of our year. In poems and quilts she captures each heartening glow and flicker, from the moon and aurora borealis to the holiday lights of Santa Lucia, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year to one lone candle and a hidden flashlight in the deep, dark night.
--Greenwillow 2005

Dickens: His Work and His World
Ages 10-13
Join award-winning author, critic, and anthologist Michael Rosen for a spirited tour of the life and work of one of our greatest novelists. With stunning illustrations by Robert Ingpen, this accessible, child-friendly book vividly re-creates the world of Charles Dickens, from the author’s childhood in London to his early career, his performances, and, of course, the great social and political upheavals of the time, which inspired so much of his work. Michael Rosen’s vibrant discussion covers some of the best-known novels by Dickens, describing OLIVER TWIST, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, and DAVID COPPERFIELD, and providing a fascinating detailed analysis of GREAT EXPECTATIONS.
--Candlewick Press 2005

Poetry Speaks to Children
Ages 7-12

Parents, educators, librarians, and poetry enthusiasts have wondered for years how to get children really interested in poetry. Until now, there hasn't been a collection of poems and poets that spoke directly to that elusive audience. Poetry Speaks to Children cracks through that barrier by packaging the best poems by the best authors along with a CD-making the engrossing and often mischievous verses come alive in the voices of many of the creators.

Poetry Speaks to Children reaches into the world of poetry and pulls out the elements children love: rhyme, rhythm, fun and, every once in a while, a little mischief.

More than 90 poems, for children ages six and up, celebrate the written word and feature a star-studded lineup of beloved poets, including: Roald Dahl; J. R. R. Tolkien; Robert Frost; Gwendolyn Brooks; Ogden Nash; John Ciardi; Langston Hughes; Sonia Sanchez; Seamus Heaney; Canada's best-loved children's poet, Dennis Lee; Rita Dove; Billy Collins; Nikki Giovanni and X. J. Kennedy.
--Sourcebooks MediaFusion 2005

Fantasy Encyclopedia
Ages 10-14
by Judy Allen; Richard Hook
Foreword by Jonathon Stroud
Illustrated by: John Howe, Patricia Ludlow, Nicki Palin

With lavish illustrations by some of the world's great fantasy illustrators and comprehensive information on favorite characters in literature and film, Kingfisher's Fantasy Encyclopedia is the companion no fantasy lover should be without. Want to brush up on the subject of nymphs before heading to the theater to see The Chronicles of Narnia? Turn to pages 32 and 33 for a thorough explanation of nymphs-their ancient origins, powerful talents, and wide-ranging varieties. A fan of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? Check out the section on amulets on pages 104 and 105 to decipher the dark and dangerous powers of the Horcrux. Convinced you have an angry hobgoblin in your house playing tricks while you sleep? Consulting page 20 will put your mind at eas. A fun-filled, fascinating, east-to-read reference for young and old, the Fantasy Encyclopedia runs the gamut - from griffins to goblins, dragons to Dracula, giants to genies-and every fantastical creature and element in between. Simply put: It's ALL in here.
--Kingfisher, October 2005

A Family of Poems by Caroline Kennedy
All Ages
John J. Muth, Illustrator

Caroline Kennedy has chosen a rich variety of Kennedy family favorite poems to include in this priceless collection. With thoughtful personal introductions written by Caroline herself, and beautiful new original artwork by award-winning artist, Jon J Muth, this collection is sure to become a family favorite for years to come.

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Ages 5-8
by Denys Cazet
When he was alive, Mr. Wilkerson was an ill-tempered, disagreeable, sour, and impatient old man. Once he died, he got better.
But not much.
Now he is back and very, very hungry.

When Jack and his grandma move into the old Wilkerson house, they find out just how hungry, and why.
At least they think they know. It has something to do with pie.
A perfect pie.
--Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books 2006

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs
Ages 6-10

Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Dinosaurs
by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart
From renowned pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart comes an awe-inspiring tribute to the world's most beloved extinct animals and their 180-million-year reign on our planet.

Open this book and a massive T. REX springs out, flashing a startling jawful of jagged teeth. Turn the next spread and a ravishing raptor unfurls and appears to fly off the edge of the page. Inside the amazing ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS are "shield bearers" in full-body armor, creatures with frilly headgear, and weighty, long-necked giants. There are even amusing tidbits on the history of paleontology itself — like a pop-up version of a Victorian New Year's dinner in the belly of a dinosaur model, or a pair of scientists locked in a literal tug-of-war over bones.

Full of fascinating facts and lighthearted good humor, this breathtaking book includes fascinating, up-to-the-minute information about popular dinosaurs as well as many lesser-known varieties. With each of six spreads featuring one spectacular, large pop-up as well as booklets of smaller pop-ups and text, ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS is a magnificent display of paper engineering and creativity — an astonishing book that will be read, admired, and treasured forever.
--Candlewick Press 2005

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
Young Adult
by Chris Lynch
I am a good guy.
Keir Sarafian may not know much, but he knows himself. And the one thing he knows about himself is that he is a good guy. A guy who's a devoted son and brother, a loyal friend, and a reliable teammate. And maybe most important of all, a guy who understands that when a girl says no, she means it. But that is not what Gigi Boudakian, childhood friend and Keir's lifelong love, says he is. What Gigi says he is seems impossible to Keir....It is something inexcusable -- the worst thing he can imagine, the very opposite of everything he wants to be.

As Keir recalls the events leading up to his fateful night with Gigi, he realizes that the way things look are definitely not the way they really are -- and that it may be all too easy for a good guy to do something terribly wrong.

Chris Lynch has written a no-holds-barred story about truth, lies, and responsibility -- a story that every good guy needs to hear.
--Atheneum 2005

My Bodyworks
Ages 4-8
My Bodyworks: Songs About Your Bones, Muscles, Heart And More!
by Jane Schoenberg with music by Steven Schoenberg
Learning about the body just got more exciting! Young children will discover how their bodies work when they read and sing along with fun and fact-filled songs. How many bones are in each of your feet? What are the five senses? Where is the gluteus maximus? Why do we pass gas? Find out in this engaging book and 12-song CD set with its diverse array of musical styles that promises to get the whole family rocking.

"By listening to and by singing along with My Bodyworks, kids will be learning all kinds of facts about their bodies through the use of catchy rhythms and rhymes," says Jane Schoenberg, who has over twenty years of teaching experience and knows the positive results of integrating music and creative arts in the classroom.
Steven Schoenberg has written music for Sesame Street, the Children's Television Workshop, and short films for ZOOM.

Hidden Child
Ages 10 and Up
by Isaac Millman
After more than sixty years, author/illustrator Isaac Millman has decided to publish his deeply personal story of surviving the Holocaust. HIDDEN CHILD was inspired by Mr. Miliman's visit to the Dag Hammarskjold Middle School in East Brunswick, New Jersey, where his young relative was studying the Holocaust. He explains, they "asked me if I would be willing to tell my story to the students. I had never talked in front of a large audience of my personal experience in the war before. And I wasn't sure if I could handle it emotionally. But I agreed. It was a first and very difficult. A week or so later, I received a package at home with a thank-you letter from the teachers and 160 others, all letters from each of the students. The teachers wrote of the importance of telling my experience to others, so another Holocaust will not occur. This was the catalyst for HIDDEN CHILD." Through text, collage spreads, and family photos that survived the war, Isaac Millman recaptures, in vivid detail, moments etched in his mind, reflecting the immediacy and fear of a young boy caught in the Holocaust. An autobiographical exploration of his childhood in Nazi-occupied France, HIDDEN CHILD is a tribute to the parents who were taken from him and to the caregivers who risked their safety to protect him.
--Frances Foster Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / September 2005

Wild Roses
Young Adult
by Deb Caletti
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Morgan has a secret: She's living with a time bomb (a.k.a. her stepfather, Dino Cavalli). To the public, Dino is a world-renowned violinist and composer. To Cassie, he's an erratic, self-centered bully.

Dino has always been difficult, but as he prepares for his comeback concert, something in him begins to shift. He seems more high-strung than ever, set off by any little thing. He stops sleeping, starts chain-smoking. And he grows increasingly paranoid, saying things that Cassie is desperate to make sense of, but can't. So she does what she thinks she must: She tries to hide his behavior from the outside world. Before, she was angry. Now, she is afraid.

Enter Ian Waters: a brilliant young violinist, and Dino's first-ever student. The minute Cassie lays eyes on Ian she knows she's doomed. She tries everything to keep away from him, but is drawn to him in a way she's never felt before. It should be easy. It should be beautiful. It is not. Cassie thought she understood that love could bring pain. But this union will have consequences she could not have imagined.

As the novel crashes through two irreparable events and speeds toward its powerful end, one thing becomes clear: In the world of insanity, nothing is sacred.
--Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing 2005

Sleeping Bobby
Ages 4-8
by Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne
Giselle Potter, Illustrator
A beautiful baby, a sinister spell, a pricked finger, a hundred-year sleep, a true-love wake-up kiss.

We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, but not the one that Will and Mary Pope Osborne tell -- with a handsome prince named Bob, a feisty princess who wakes him from his enchanted 99 year slumber, and charming artwork from acclaimed illustrator Giselle Potter. Here's a fresh, magical reworking of the classic fairy tale that's sure to have kids begging, "Read it again!"

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Ages 4-8
by Lois Ehlert
Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one's quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows.

With illustrations made from actual fall leaves and die-cut pages on every spread that reveal gorgeous landscape vistas, here is a playful, whimsical, and evocative book that celebrates the natural world and the rich imaginative life of children.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Young Adult
by Gabrielle Zevin
Is it possible to grow up while getting younger?

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

Transformed: How Everyday Things Are Made
Ages 8-12
by Bill Slavin
Did you know that CDs start out as sand? Or that blackboard chalk comes from tiny sea creatures? The objects all around us - every single product in the world - is made from elements found in nature. Discover how nature is transformed into more than sixty things we eat, drink, play with, wear or use every day.

Technology changes constantly, but the stages raw materials go through to become finished objects remain much the same. On every page of this book, these processes are described and illustrated step by step. The text and artwork combine playfulness with encyclopedic attention to detail.

This unique and fascinating book will inform and entertain every step of the way. Includes a glossary, index and further resources to help children, parents and teachers.
--KidsCanPress, October 2005
160 pages of pure fascination!

Autobiography of My Dead Brother
Young Adult
Walter Dean Myers
“Lord knows we are tired today as we gather here in fellowship and sorrow, in brotherhood and despair, for the going-home ceremony of fourteen-year-old Bobby Green.” Pastor Loving rocked forward as he spoke. “Lord knows we are tired of burying our young men, of driving behind hearses and seeing the painted letters of remembrance on the walls of our neighborhoods.”

The Hello, Goodbye Window
All Ages
by Norton Juster
This is a love song devoted to that special relationship between grandparents and grandchild. The kitchen window at Nanna and Poppy's house is, for one little girl, a magic gateway. Everything important happens near it, through it, or beyond it. Told in her voice, her story is both a voyage of discovery and a celebration of the commonplace wonders that define childhood, expressed as a joyful fusion of text with evocative and exuberant illustrations.The world for this little girl will soon grow larger and more complex, but never more enchanting or deeply felt.

Mosquito Bite
Ages 7 and Up
by Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel
As children play hide-and-seek on a hot summer night, a mosquito, Culex, hides and seeks as well. She must find food--blood--to nourish the eggs in her body. black-and-white photos relate the children's hide-and-seek story line, while astonishing colorized photographs taken with an electron microscope give close-up views of Culex and her world.

Chicken Boy by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Ages 9-12
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Tobin Mccauley's got a near-certifiable grandmother, a pack of juvenile-delinquent siblings, and a dad who's not going to win father of the year any time soon. To top it off, Tobin's only friend truly believes that the study of chickens will reveal...the meaning of life? Getting through seventh grade isn't easy for anyone, son, but when the first day of school starts out with your granny's arrest, you know you've got real problems. Throw on five-day suspension (for defending your English teacher's honor), a chicken that lays green eggs, and a family feud that's tearing everyone to pieces, and you're in for one heck of a ride.

The Book Without Words: A Fable of Medieval Magic by Avi
Ages 10-14
by Avi
In the ancient Northumbrian town of Fulwich, there is an old man whom nobody knows. This man, Thorston by name, has lived a secret life so that he may stay alive--forever. Call him an alchemist but his posession of The Book Without Words contains the secret of immortality. But to make this secret a reality, he must sacrifice his minion, Odo, a coal-black raven, and Sybil, his thirteen-year-old servant. Just as Thorton is on the brink of imortality, Sybil decides she wants to live her own life, and Odo wants the gold he believes Thorton as made. Who then will live, and who will die? And who will get the gold?

Day of Tears
Ages 12 Up
by Julius Lester
Emma has taken care of the Butler children since Sarah and Frances's mother, Fanny, left. Emma wants to raise the girls to have good hearts, as a rift in morals has ripped the Butler household apart: Sarah and their mother oppose the inhumanity of slavery, while Frances and their father, Pierce, believe in the Southern lifestyle and treatment of blacks.

Now, to pay off mounting gambling debts, Pierce decides to cash in his "assets." He hosts the biggest slave auction in American history, at the price of his humanity. During these two days, the skies weep on the proceedings below, for although Butler promises Emma's parents not to sell her: money, desperation, and greed enable him to justify his any misdeed. Through flashbacks and flash-forwards, and shifting first-person points of view, readers will travel with Emma and others through time and place, and come to understand that every decision has its consequences, and final judgment is passed down not by man, but by his maker.
Behind the Book with Julius Lester
Day of Tears draws on historical sources to fictionalize a real event: the biggest slave auction in American history, which took place in Savannah, Georgia, in 1859...The horror of the auction and its aftermath is unforgettable. The personal voices make this a stirring text for group discussion. Excellent for read aloud. Author's Notes and References in back of book.

 While Mama Had a Quick Little Chat
Ages 4-7
by Amy Reichert
Illustrated by Alexandra Boiger

Rrrring! Rrrring!
While Mama has a quick chat with Uncle Fred, Rose is supposed to be getting ready for bed. And she tries. She really does. But downstairs someone's yoo-hooing, and the doorbell keeps ringing. Soon the house is full of wild guests and weird foods, magic and music. And Mama is still on the phone! What's a little girl to do? Rose finds out, and so will you, in While Mama had a Quick Little Chat.

47 by Walter Mosley
YA Fiction
47 by Walter Mosley
The story you are about to read concerns certain events that occurred in the early days of my life. It all happened over a hundred and seventy years ago. For many of you it might sound like a tall tale because I am no older today than I was back in the year 1832. But this is no whopper I'm telling; it is a story about my boyhood as a slave and my fated encounter with the amazing Tall John from beyond Africa, who could read dreams, fly between galaxies, and make friends with any animal no matter how wild.

In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Walter Mosley weaves historical and speculative fiction into a powerful narrative about the nature of freedom. 47 is a young slave boy living under the watchful eye of a brutal slave master. His life seems doomed until he meets a mysterious runaway slave, Tall John. 47 soon finds himself swept up in an otherworldly battle and a personal struggle for his own liberation.
--Little, Brown May 2005

Walter Mosley ... "I wrote this multigenre (mythical, historical, speculative) book for young adults to achieve a specific end. For a long time I have known that many young black children find it hard to read stories about slavery because of their healthy resistance to identify with victims. My goal for this book was to create a character that rises above his role as a victim by becoming a victorious hero."

Timothy Cox Will NOT Change His Socks
Ages: 5-9
Timothy Cox Will NOT Change His Socks
by Robert Kinerk
Stephen Gammell, Illustrator

That Timothy! What ever has gotten into him! One morning he decides to accomplish the impossible -- to go an entire month without changing his socks. Ever. No matter what. Phew!

Despite the pleading of his parents, the urging of the school principal, and a visit by the Board of Health, Timothy sticks to his word. After all, a boy must keep his promises. Just ask Timothy -- he'll tell you. And now his town will never be the same again.

With wit and whimsy, Robert Kinerk tells a story of a boy who follows through on what he says he'll do. Stephen Gammell's sweetly sassy illustrations make the ride even more fun. And if you're ever near Timothy's hometown, make sure to stop by Town Hall to see his socks for yourself. Or what's left of them, that is!
--Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books 2005

Is A Worry Worrying You?
Ages 4-8

Adults think of childhood as a carefree time, but kids have a lot of pressures these days! IS A WORRY WORRYING YOU? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz humorously addresses common childhood worries-a bully, a first day at school, and a monster under the bed-and some not-so-common worries-an eagle making a nest in tangled hair, a rhino in the neighborhood, and a herd of elephants waiting for their tea. It does this through the entertaining use of perspective (the rhino may not even be looking around) and creative problem-solving (an eagle can't fly away with you if you cut your hair!). With its use of second-person narration, this title provides concrete yet simple suggestions to kids:

Face it   Do something else
Think another thought   Imagine it away

IS A WORRY WORRYING YOU? will help children deal with a universal issue in a new and innovative way! The clever illustrations allow children to search for Worry in every spread.
--Tanglewood Press May 2005

The Boy Who Loved Bananas
Ages: 3-7
by George Elliott
Andrej Krystoforski, Illustrator
Has Matthew gone completely bananas?

Matthew laughs himself silly when he watches the banana-crazy monkeys at the Metro Zoo. Bananas become Matthew's favorite food-and he refuses to eat anything else!

Matthew eats so many bananas that he starts to feel funny. He itches and scratches and itches and scratches until…KABLOOEY!

Now, Matthew is swinging from trees and shinnying up flagpoles! His parents try everything to stop his monkey business-doctors, veterinarians, herbalists, chiropractors, animal trainers, psychiatrists…and even a psychic. But nothing seems to work.

Will Matthew every stop monkeying around?
Kids Can Press, April 2005

Someday: Is Not a Day of the Week
For Children ages 4-8 and Parents
by Denise Brennan-Nelson
Kevin O'Malley, Illustrator
"Max and Momma sat at the kitchen table together. Max ate blueberry waffles while Momma made a list of the things she had to do that day. It looked very long and boring to Max.

He smiled, thinking of all the things he would like to put on Momma's list.

'Let's go to the fair today!' he said through a mouthful of waffles. Momma had a lot to think about so she didn't answer him right away. Finally, without looking up, Momma softly sighed and said, 'Someday, Max, but not today.'

W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet
Ages: 4-10
by Pat Michaels
Would you like to know the difference between cirrus and cumulous clouds? Or, how much our atmosphere weighs? "W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet" is a swirl of information that answers these questions and many more. Readers will learn that yes, our atmosphere has weight! And if it's sunny chances are it's heavy. When the atmosphere is lighter, grab your galoshes!

Professional weatherman and strom tracker Pat Michaels explains the development of tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as rainbows and evaporation. His rhymes thunder through the alphabet and his sidebar text resonates like the Northern Lights. Readers will turn the pages with lightning quickness to get to the next weather condition.
Simple text for readers 4-7; more advanced text for older readers.

JUST FOR TODAY by Jan Phillips
Alison Bonds Shapiro, Illustrator

Just for today...
Let's turn off
The telephone and faxes.
All the world will have to wait,
Including bills and taxes.

In this hectic, stressful, overscheduled world, Just for Today describes one family's decision to set aside one day to enjoy time together—without cell phones, play dates, classes, etc. A good reminder of the importance of celebrating the Family. READ MORE

Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook
All Ages

by Shel Silverstein
Runny Babbit lent to wunch
And heard the saitress way,
"We have some lovely stabbit rew --
Our Special for today."

From the legendary creator of Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, and The Giving Tree comes an unforgettable new character in children's literature.

Welcome to the world of Runny Babbit and his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake, and many others who speak a topsy-turvy language all their own.

So if you say, "Let's bead a rook
That's billy as can se,"
You're talkin' Runny Babbit talk,
Just like mim and he.

All Ages
Ballpark: The Story of America's Baseball Fields
by Lynn Curlee
If you love baseball, chances are you love one particular ballpark. Boston fans wax poetic about Fenway Park. Cubs fans are adamant that Wrigley Field is the classic ballfield. Busch Stadium is a hit with folks from Missouri, and Yankee fans are passionate about the House That Ruth Built.... Besides passionate fans, there's one other thing all ballparks -- from the Union Grounds in Brooklyn built in 1862 to the Baltimore Oriole's Camden Yards built in 1992 -- have in common: Each has its own vibrant and unique history.

In Ballpark, Sibert Honor Award winner Lynn Curlee explores both the histories and the cultural significances of America's most famous ballparks. Grand in scope and illustrations, and filled with nifty anecdotes about these "green cathedrals," Ballpark also explores the changing social climate that accompanied baseball's rise from a minor sport to the national pastime. This is a baseball book like no other.

Let's Talk About Race
Ages: 6-9
Let's Talk About Race
by Julius Lester

Newbery Honor recipient Julius Lester says, "1 write because our lives are stories. If enough of those stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details." In the free-verse story Let's Talk About Race, Lester shares his own personal life as a Jewish Black American in order to explore issues of diversity and what makes each of us special. Karen Barbour's colorful, dramatic paintings speak to the heart of Lester's unique vision that beneath everyone's skin are the same hard bones.

"I am so, so, so many things besides my race. To know my story, you have to put together everything I am," says Lester.

Let's Talk About Race is a fresh presentation of a perennial issue, and it is the perfect tool for introducing children to the concepts of tolerance and understanding.

Julius Lester is the author of the Newbery Honor Book To Be A Slave, the Caldecott Honor Book John Henry and the National Book Award finalist for Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History. In addition to his critically acclaimed writing career, Lester has distinguished himself as a civil rights activist, musician, radio talk-show host, photographer and professor. For 32 years he taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in Belchertown, Mass.

A Dream of Freedom: The Civil Rights Movement From 1954 to 1968
Langston's Train Ride
The Patchwork Path
I, Dred Scott
The Power of One
Friend on Freedom River