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“Shimmer and Shine Magical Genie Games” App

Preschoolers will embark on all-new magical adventures with their favorite genies-in-training in Nickelodeon's brand new “Shimmer and Shine Magical Genie Games” app. Users can explore the world of Zahramay Falls and earn genie rewards to obtain objects and personalize their very own genie palace. Through an array of mini-games in the app, preschoolers can learn social-emotional skills while taking care of Tala and Nahal with Shine, identify different gem shapes and colors with Shimmer, count how many times they find Parisa in the forest with Leah and design and decorate various items from the marketplace. Available now on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store for Android.

“Washington, D.C. Monsters”

Sightseeing has never been this fun! “City Monsters” is a delightful book series that lets children discover America's icons from an amusing perspective. Every sturdy page features iconic landmarks and sights. And every illustration takes you on a search-and-find adventure to track down all the cleverly concealed little monsters. In “Washington, D.C. Monsters,” little monsters sneak around the Capitol Building, stow away at the National Air and Space Museum and never miss the 4th of July fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial. $9.99

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Halloween Books

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Queen Dog

Halloween is all about transformation. Put on a certain hat or outfit and – presto! – your tot becomes a pirate or a piglet. But the catalyst for the transformation of this pooch protagonist is actually a baby. Adored by her two humans, Queen Dog is pampered with goodies and royal baths until a tiny noisy newcomer usurps her place. Queen Dog feels aggrieved and jealous; but when the baby needs her help, she leaps into action, becoming first protector and then trainer to the pint-sized princess. The playful illustrations, with Queen Dog in an elaborate crown, make concrete the central metaphor of dog as displaced monarch. While the baby in your family may relate to the baby in the story, older siblings are sure to connect with the annoyed but ultimately loving Queen Dog.

ages 3 – 8

Trick-or-Treat: A Happy Haunter’s Halloween

Each of these sixteen poems by Debbie Leppanen is a different deliciously spooky treat for young readers. “The Shadow” is suspenseful, whereas “Slick Ride,” with mop-riding witches, is comical. “Squeaky Clean” is a lively limerick about a specter named John, and “Mummy Dearest” honors a mom who “reads my favorite horror story/and makes up extra parts – real gory.” To give the poems context, Tad Carpenter paints a group of neighborhood kids and their various encounters with the good-humored ghouls mentioned in the poems. Share this book a few days before Halloween, when kids eagerly anticipate the “bootiful” night to come.

ages 9 – 13

The Wonderling

In this vividly imagined novel, Arthur, who is half human and half fox, is a luckless resident in a Dickensian home for “groundlings” run by the mean Miss Carbunkle. He manages to escape with a bird-friend, Trinket, only to be catapulted from one adventure to another. He encounters “dangerous pies,” meets a companionable mouse named Peevil and discovers a dastardly plan laid by Miss Carbuncle. He vows to stop her – but that may involve a return trip to his former horrible abode. The richly developed characters and setting immediately enthrall young readers, who might relish this stylishly written story as both a solo and a read-aloud experience.

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.