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America's National Parks-A Pop-Up Book

This coast-to-coast journey features 18 of America's most popular parks, with six depicted as stunning pop-ups. The three-dimensional scenes of Everglades, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Glacier and Yosemite national parks literally pop out at readers. America's National Parks will delight those who have visited the parks, and will inspire armchair travelers. As an added bonus-for every book sold at $34.95, $8 will be donated to the National Parks Conservation Association. The book's concept and text are by Don Compton, with paper engineering by Bruce Foster, designer of 40 books, including Harry Potter, A Pop-Up Book and illustrations are by Dave Ember.

It's Time to Get Back on the Bus

The Magic School Bus is rolling again! Join Ms. Frizzle as she and kids explore everything from the smallest cell to the largest galaxy in 12 new episodes from the award winning series. The Magic School Bus: Revving Up is a three-set DVD running approximately five hours (including extras). The episodes, "Under Construction," "Getting Energized" and "Cracks a Yolk" will entertain and educate children ages 4 to 10. $25,

— Margaret Hut

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Crankee Doodle

Tom Angleberger, author of the bestselling "Origami Yoda" series, and acclaimed illustrator Cece Bell give history a lively spin in this hilarious send-up of the pre-Revolutionary War song "Yankee Doodle Went to Town." Dapper Crankee is a whiner. He's bored but resists every remedy made by his cheerful pony-go to town, buy a feather for his hat and call it macaroni-with escalating crankiness that culminates in a jump-up-and-down temper tantrum. What a catharsis for kids caught in the throes of an irritating day! Youngsters will get a kick out of seeing their own whininess writ large and enjoy the pony's digressive, exclamatory author's note at the end. This is a book that's even funnier when read aloud with over-the-top whiney inflection.

ages 4 - 10

Hands Around the Library

This inspiring, beautifully written true story reminds us of the importance of libraries as repositories of ideas and stories and as hubs of community. In 2011, the protests for freedom in Egypt had veered from peaceful to angry in parts of the country. Buildings and cars were burned, and a group had started marching towards the Bibliotecha Alexandria, the stunning library built on the site of the famous library of the ancient world. But people, including children, broke away from the protestors and began to surround the library, holding hands in a protective ring and saving it from possible damage. Susan Roth's collages provide intriguing texture and color to the historical tale she co-wrote with Maryland author Karen Leggett Abouraya. Additional important insight is provided through a double-page photo spread of the uprising and library and an author's note that mentions Roth's international "Let's Hold Hands" art project that encourages children to create and share their own self-portrait collaged paper dolls.

ages 11 and up

Imperfect Spiral

Local author Debbie Levy follows her award-winning novel in verse The Year of Goodbyes with this exquisite novel about an accident that forever changes quiet Danielle Samuelson. Levy excels at the kind of detail-rich, nuanced characterization that brings to life wry, diffident Danielle, her babysitting charge, 5-year-old Humphrey, and her family and friends. As Danielle becomes embroiled in issues surrounding the accident-immigration policy, community activism-she struggles to make sense of what happened. Levy skillfully handles a complex narrative that threads Danielle's recollections of Humphrey through the events of the story. Danielle doesn't want to forget him and neither will any reader of this tender, graceful book.