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way to learn the alphabet. “LetterHeads” has children mesmerized by the intricate and unique figures, and is the first of its kind to use 3D modeling software to sculpt the letters of the alphabet. Imagine! Using high-end technology to pry kids away from their screens! This one-of-a-kind alphabet book uses a playful vocabulary and an intriguing color palette to prompt stories, face and of course, personality! Available at or

Aleca Zamm Series

We all have probably wished for the ability to stop and restart time, but the ten-year-old heroine and namesake of the Aleca Zamm series can actually do it. In the first installment of the series, “Aleca Zamm is a Wonder,” Aleca learns on her tenth birthday that she isn’t as ordinary as she previously believed. In fact, Aleca learns that she is a “Wonder,” a person with a special ability, such as talking to animals, reading minds or stopping time. The follow-up, “Aleca Zamm is Ahead of Her Time” introduces another “Wonder” to the mix – a prodigy who can see segments of the past and future. The third novel, “Aleca Zamm Fools Them All” follows Aleca as she tries to navigate the secrecy issues that accompany being a “Wonder.” Find them all at

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

Books That Celebrate Love

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Tickly Toes

What’s baby’s favorite plaything? Why, “ten tickly toes,” of course! In this sturdy board book, the curly haired, yellow-outfitted baby is not gender typed. The tale is a valentine to the delight young children take in discovering rattles, rubber ducks – and their own knees and toes. Little ones will revel in the book’s rhyme, rhythm and repetition. The poem-story is voiced by loving parents as they care for and play with their child. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a rollicking read-aloud, a perusal of the simple, bright illustrations and a big hug.

ages 3 – 8

My Pillow Keeps Moving

Words and art come together seamlessly to tell the story of a shivering pooch determined to find a home. Acclaimed local author Laura Gehl and New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant set up marvelous scenes whereby the fuzzy fellow poses as a pillow, a footstool and a jacket in hopes of attracting a consumer in search of those particular items. When a man finally succumbs to the dog’s actual charms, the pup then finagles a spot as well for his homeless cat pal – on the man’s head as a furry hat. The book’s closing illustration reveals the three curled together in a cozy armchair. This whimsical paean to the warmth of friendship will touch readers of all ages.

ages 9 and up

Dream Big Dreams

Presidents’ Day celebrates past presidents, and Pete Souza, the former chief official White House photographer, has put together a beautiful album of “photographs from Barack Obama’s inspiring and historic presidency.” The photos and captions capture public events and quiet moments, from Obama awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Joe Biden to shooting hoops with his daughters to greeting a pint-sized Powwow dancer in North Dakota. The book ends with the words Obama inscribed to Clark Reynolds, 3, on their shared photo: “Dream big dreams, and work hard to achieve them – you will do great things.” Words all young people might take to their hearts.

Mary Quattlebaum is the author of 25 award-winning children’s books, most recently “Hero Dogs,” a National Geographic nonfiction chapter book about amazing animal heroes. Mary is a popular school and conference