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School of Dragons: Battle for the Edge App

Just in time for your child's spring vacation is a new app from JumpStart. School of Dragons: Battle for the Edge is based on DreamWorks Animation's award-winning “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise. This game app seamlessly incorporates science-based educational content from the Next Gen Science Standard, and is perfect for children ages 8-13. Their latest expansion pack includes 22 new quests, nine never-before-seen lands and customizable Viking hideouts. School of Dragons is free to download in the App Store, Google Play, Windows, Facebook and online.

Welcome to the Symphony

Please, take your seat. The concert is about to begin! “Welcome to the Symphony” is a lively, interactive book that introduces 4- to 8-year-olds to the world of classical music using Beethoven's Symphony No. 5. Written by Carolyn Sloan, a music educator at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY, the unique package includes a sound panel with 19 buttons that allow young readers to explore the intricate differences and relationships among the instruments. Three narrating mice teach readers the basics: What is a symphony? What is a conductor? Who was Beethoven? Users are also introduced to the families of instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. Available at or wherever books are sold.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Lulu's Party

A bird, a bunny and an elephant gather for a rainy day party in this sweet book about making do and making friends. Lulu flutters about, preparing hot cocoa for Charlie and Oliver, but the treat proves disappointing (hint: the reason is in the illustrations). With a heaping spoonful of tact and chocolate ice cream, the kind-hearted friends stir up a new gustatory delight. Author/illustrator Kit Chase has created a charming sequel to her popular first book,   “Oliver’s Tree,” about this endearing threesome. Little ones eager to plan their own impromptu parties will find inspiration for decorating and goodie prep in the whimsical watercolor art.

ages 3 – 7

Mr. Hare’s Big Secret

Mr. Hare knows a “big, fat, juicy secret”; and one by one, he invites his animal friend — Miss Mouse, Mr. Fox and Mrs. Duck — to join him in a dance before they can discover what it is. Youngsters will get a kick out of making the movements — hop, jiggle, trot, wiggle — of each animal in this cumulative story. In addition to the story’s delicious surprise, author/illustrator Hannah Dale tucks a number of playful details into her lively pictures, including the progress of a snail and the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. With its expressive critter characters and theme of teamwork, this tale is the perfect choice for spring and Easter storytimes.

ages 8 – 11

Lillian’s Right to Vote

Walking slowly to the voting polls, a centenarian named Lillian Allen recalls key moments in the history of voting in the United States. She thinks of her slave ancestors and of her great-grandfather, who could not afford to pay the poll tax. She recalls the impossible-to-pass registration tests given to her uncle. She remembers the thrill of voting for the first time, in 1965, under the protection of the new Voting Rights Act. Shane Evans’s mixed-media images are a powerful accompaniment to this stirring historical tale. Share this book in March, for Women’s History Month, and throughout the year for its reminder to safeguard our right to vote.