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PBS Kids

"Maryland Public Television (MPT), our statewide public television service has started broadcasting the new PBS Kids channel. Designed to meet the needs of today’s kids, MPT’s new, free 24/7 service provides learning opportunities for children whenever and wherever they access media. PBS KIDS offers families of young children in our viewing area more high-quality content trusted by parents and proven to help kids learn,” explains MPT President Larry Unger. MPT’s PBS KIDS channel includes popular favorites such as Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Odd Squad, Wild Kratts and Dinosaur Train. PBS KIDS’ newest series, Nature Cat, Ready Jet Go! and Splash and Bubbles, also are featured.

“Best of Raffi”

  Pioneering troubadour Raffi Cavoukian (better known simply as “Raffi”) is one of the world's best-selling and most influential children's entertainers, having brought joy to successive generations of kids – and their parents – with his playful, exuberant personality and his irresistibly infectious songs. His latest album, “Best of Raffi,” includes such classics as “Down By The Bay,” “Apples and Bananas,” “Wheels on The Bus,” “Bananaphone” and his most iconic hit, “Baby Beluga.” “Best of Raffi will most certainly bridge the gap between parents who grew up with his music, and their children, who will be discovering many of his classics for the first time. Available wherever music is sold, including the children's music section at Target.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Spring Books

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Lion’s Lullaby

This lovely lullaby opens with a question that becomes a refrain: “Who puts the animals to bed?” Throughout her rhyming text, author Mij Kelly continues to ponder the nightly fate of playful dog, “downy duckling” and “yawning sea-lion pup” until the bedtime caretaker is revealed as none other than “you,” presumably the tot listening to the story being read aloud as well as, in the illustrations, a little girl snuggled down with her myriad plush critters. This final scene sweetly reprises through toys all the real animals portrayed previously. Holly Clifton-Brown’s whimsical art perfectly complements a gentle text designed to soothe a child to sleep.

ages 3 – 7

The Youngest Marcher

In this compelling picture book biography, acclaimed author Cynthia Levinson tells the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest of 3,000 children to be arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, in May 1963. Through Levinson’s words and Vanessa Brantley Newton’s dynamic illustrations, youngsters get a sense of the fears and hopes that propelled this 9 year old, and her older peers, into action. Under the guidance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other ministers, they helped to change the segregationist stance and laws not only in this city but across the United States. Levinson and Newton stay close to Audrey’s child perspective, showing what life was like in jail, with its oily grits and bare mattress. This book is an important one to share during Women’s History Month, in March—and throughout the year.

ages 8 – 12

The Mighty Odds

Amy Ignatow mixes narrative with sequential art in an intriguingly surreal novel about four kids who receive very idiosyncratic super powers after a bus accident. Cookie, the most popular of the bunch, does not want to band with such losers to become a League of Incredible Nerds with Nearly Useless Powers, but only this quartet can figure out why cars and crock pots are combusting and ghosts trying to communicate with them. Are the substitute teacher, the bus driver and the Amish teenager with the speedy horse friends or foes? This first book in a new series ends with the reader eager to find out what happens next.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 24 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Together Forever: True Tales of Amazing Animal Friendships,” and a popular school/conference speaker.