April 2016 Prime Picks
Raven Grimassi's Communing with the Ancestors: Your Spirit Guides, Bloodline Allies, and the Cycle of Reincarnation shows how to communicate and make contact with spirits, and discusses traditional methods and adds folklore and superstition into the mix.
More than a focus on the usual séance methods, it also includes information on offerings and altars, reviews of techniques and equipment, the histories of ancient practices and new approaches, and surveys of power places and portals, creating wide-ranging discussions of reincarnation's many possibilities.
The result is a practical 'how to' application of concepts that will prove interesting to any new age reader seeking an overall primer on the subject.
The Witches' Almanac Ltd.
Charles Leland's The Witchcraft of Dame Darrel of York (9780982432334, $65.00) is a 'must have' reference for any collection strong in Wiccan history or culture, and gives a full account of Witchcraft practices in medieval England as practiced by 'wise woman' Dame Darrell.
Darrell's account was originally a hand-written manuscript produced and illustrated by folk scholar Charles Godfrey Leland, who enhances the story of Darrell's life and times by adding further insights on her witchcraft practices.
A section of full-page color reproductions of this handwritten manuscript are accompanied by the typed manuscript in a second section, making it easy to move between the original or its cleaner copy.
Charles Leland's ongoing fascination with magic and Witchcraft produces a gorgeous piece here: the only surprise is that it hasn't appeared in print before. Its importance will surely be recognized by any collection with more than a casual interest in the subject.
David Conway's Magic: An Occult Primer (9781881098379, $24.95) at first glance might seem to join many similar-sounding books on the market already, but this classic first appeared in 1972 and its reprint here indicates its ongoing importance as a foundation work, offering all levels of reader insights defining magic, its premises, and how it works.
From difficulties in handling the magic dimension to prophecies, demons, the use of rituals, and understanding the symbols of magic, this is a solid discussion which needs to be in any new age collection.
Biography & Autobiography
and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic
and the First Yacht Race Across the Atlantic
is a lively story covering the first offshore yacht race in general and
Gordon Bennett's life and influences in particular, and belongs in any
collection strong in either general biographies or nautical history and
Bennett Jr. was the playboy son of a multimillionaire and was well known for outrageous stunts, but he was also a serious boater whose familiarity with his yacht led him to become the only owner captaining his boat during the first transatlantic race.
Bennett's story and that of those who went along for the ride makes for a colorful, revealing adventure that will delight any who want to know more about either Bennett or yachting history.
James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes
Darwin Porter & Danforth Prince
Blood Moon Productions
Tomorrow Never Comes arrives on the 60th anniversary of the
violent death of a young star that became a legend, but if readers who
are prior fans of other James Dean biographies expect this to be
another rehash of information, they'd be happily mistaken.
Much of its information has never been published before, because it offers new unauthorized details, uncensored information, and also includes powerful, in-depth analysis of a supporting cast of contemporaries. Insights from a closeted TV producer who first discovered James Dean, and others who interacted with him and often suffered from his mental swings and murky sexual explorations add to and expand the existing popular literature on this icon.
From Dean's early TV career and his involvements with other actors and actresses to the truths about his sexual liaisons, the parade of women who marched into and out of his life, and his frustrations in the industry, James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes makes for a vivid read especially recommended for prior fans of Dean's life and times.
Be forewarned: this audience shouldn't expect a light coverage. The in-depth survey, with its amazingly large cast of contemporaries and characters, myths refuted and realities explored, and high-octane drama packs in over seven hundred pages of detail, which may look daunting, but which offer a rollicking good read.
With so many facts and insights packing its pages, James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes is a highly recommended book for any who would uncover more facets of the life and times of James Dean.
Think 'substance abuse' and drugs and alcohol come to mind, with caffeine as an added possibility - but author Lisa Kotin wasn't addicted to any of these. Her cross to bear was sugar, and My Confection pairs a memoir of her life with a survey of her ongoing sugar addiction from childhood to adulthood and how this translated to wider attitudes about life.
Embedded within this memoir are surveys of health facts, inconsistent reports on the caloric and health effects of sugar, social and romantic turmoil where sweetness plays a part, and the ironies and definition of what makes food healthy.
From guilt and obsession to family patterns and dating, My Confection moves between sugar and different kinds of addictive patterns, providing a blend of pointed insights, humorous observation, and serious assessment on how addiction works. Readers of memoirs in general and food addiction in particular will find My Confection a lively, engrossing survey.
Strange As It Seems
Vireo/Rare Bird Lit
Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler offers an amazing biography (told by his nephew, Chip Jacobs) of a man who was initially not expected to live after a swimming accident in 1940 severed his spine at age 14.
Not only did Gordon Zahler survive, but he lived for over thirty years, defying the limitations introduced by his quadriplegia to live a dream life, traveling around the world, visiting dangerous places, and having adventures.
Just how does the class clown face death-defying odds to embark on such a life, making Hollywood productions and achieving a dizzying amount of fame during the process of shooting films and even marrying?
Chip Jacobs captures the turbulent ups, downs, successes and failures of a life well lived in a biography which is vivid, exciting, and thoroughly engrossing.
Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements
Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements belongs in any popular rock music history collection, with its in-depth coverage of the band's evolution which pairs band history with over seventy rare photos.
It's based on new interviews and was written with the help of the band's key members, and reveals the forces which influenced the band's development, its phenomenal success, and why (in its early years) it almost failed.
The group rose to fame during the 1980s and its upward rise mirrors the era's social and political changes. Their partnership with Warner's Sire Records label and their move from an indie band to major label status made them the first indie band to move up in the music business.
No rock music history collection should be without this definitive, lively coverage.
The Computer Corner
Fear, 3rd Edition
The third updated edition of C++ Without Fear covers all the basics of installing and using not just the free Microsoft Visual C++ version, but all versions of C++, and is a fine reference recommended even for relative newcomers to programming.
Chapters include short examples and exercises, teach foundation skills that can be used with other languages and programming efforts, and offer tips, tricks, and insights into different C++ features.
The exercises focus on games and real-world applications and the entire approach has been simplified to explain the basics in such a way as to make C++ and programming both fun and useful.
Most C++ titles are directed to serious business applications, so it's refreshing to see an approach that incorporates other interests and includes the opportunity to learn the language for pleasure purposes as well as professional pursuits.
Data Management for Researchers
Data Management for Researchers: Organize, Maintain and Share Your Data for Research Success joins others in the 'Research Skills' series with an in-depth guide to data management and manipulation created especially with the research community in mind.
As digital data sources and results translate to larger chunks of data and databases available for research purposes, it becomes necessary to develop different types of data management strategies that use a researcher's structure and purposes to best advantage. Data Management for Researchers is one of the few books on the market to delve into such basics as documenting data, improving analytical approaches, assuring security for sensitive data, and backing up work.
Examples and case histories pepper the approach, adding interest and real-world examples to validate the importance of the data management process in research circles. Without the proper protocols in place, data may be compromised, corrupted, or even lost - along with the PhD or study associated with it.
Any serious researcher working with data must make this book a priority read.
The Scrum Field Guide
The Scrum Field Guide: Agile Advice for Your First Year and Beyond appears in its second updated edition to offer advice based on the latest Scrum best practices and tools, and is a recommendation for any computer reference collection strong in software engineering, agile practices, or Scrum guides.
This is no light revision: entire chapters have been extensively revamped and include new topics such as collaborative estimation and business adjustments, while the basics incorporate tips on working with team members, handling daily scrums, managing risk in Scrum projects, running retrospectives, and understanding when and how to document.
Chapters are packed with charts, graphs, and technical information that includes the bigger picture of how to progress in a Scrum environment, how to know when a project is done, and how to fine-tune it.
No business or software engineering collection should be without this primer, which comes packed with real-world examples and applications.
Years of Food
College-level collections strong in culinary history and cooks and foodies interested in a survey of the human diet from an anthropological and biological perspective will relish 100 Million Years of Food: What Our Ancestors Ate and Why it Matters Today.
While many college-level science holdings will acquire this for its focus on science, 100 Million Years of Food is featured here because any reader with more than a casual interest in food and nutrition will find it an important examination that considers evolution's connections to food habits and changing trends.
Stephen Le traveled the world to examine how different people grow, raise, forage for and gather food, with an eye to profiling sustainable practices.
Add a social and biological survey of how these habits changed over eons for a thorough discussion of food trends, including questions about health and morality and better insights into what foods are popular today and why.
Afternoon Tea at Home
Ryland and Peters
Afternoon Tea at Home pairs lovely full-page color photos by Matt Russell with recipes for sandwiches, cakes, and small desserts and savory dishes suitable for a mid-afternoon tea, and takes the British tea tradition to new levels as it tells how to stock a basic pantry and offers recipes anyone can duplicate successfully.
From a Red Wine Poached Pear, Stilton and Endive on Walnut Bread to Jam and Coconut Cakes and Golden Ginger Custard Creams, this mostly-sweet cookbook provides small batches and flavor combinations that lend to small bites to be paired with tea.
There are other mid-day tea cookbooks on the market, but the colorful photos and contemporary recipes create a standout in this title, especially recommended for those who would reproduce the appeal of a British tea with modern flair.
The Cookie Companion
Front Table Books/Cedar Fort
The Cookie Companion: A Decorator's Guide isn't just another guide to icing and decorating cookies: it provides color formulas and palettes for producing unusual colors and tells how to create and decorate mermaids, seahorses, palm trees, and more.
Recipes for cookies accompany step-by-step instructions on how to decorate them, with chapters clarifying the process of creating a cookie outline and painting it, using disposable icing bags, and using meringue powder.
Step-by-step color photos clarify this information while cookie recipes create basic templates for a variety of successfully decorated creations.
Most cookie decorator competitors cover the basics of using materials; but this one goes a step further in exploring how to create eye-popping colors and cookie shapes that move well above the norm.
Kansas City: A Food Biography
Rowman & Littlefield
Joining others (not seen by this reviewer) in the 'Big City Food Biographies' series is a survey of dining and food in Kansas City, a town well known for both its music and its barbecue.
Readers who plan a trip to Kansas City or who want to know more of its culinary history will appreciate the focus on how its foods evolved and how the town's growth led it to develop unique dishes and special Midwestern flavors.
It should be noted that Kansas City: A Food Biography is no light coverage: anticipate a college-level reader that includes discussions of Kansas City's evolving culture, politics, social atmosphere, and immigrant influences: all of which contributed to the region's culinary heritage.
Savor: Rustic Recipes Inspired by Forest, Field, and Farm comes from an author who was born in Switzerland and who now lives in Aspen, and pairs gorgeous full-page color photos of various foods with farm-fresh recipes from farm and field, from Peach Tart and Pine Nut Cookies to homemade Fruit Rolls and Rosemary-Flavored Popcorn.
The strong visuals are just one of the delights of this cookbook, which focuses on recipes based on ingredients that can be either grown or foraged.
Many common culinary challenges in this process are solved since the author prefaces each recipe with tips for success, such as the technique of burying beets in coarse sea salt before baking them to achieve perfection for a Beet Salad, or learning how to locate chanterelle mushrooms in the wild.
Highly recommended for any cook who wants not just recipes, but insights on the process of gathering food and perfecting dishes.
Sweet as Sin
Sweet as Sin: The Unwrapped Story of How Candy Became America's Favorite Pleasure joins a number of other candy books on the market - with a difference.
Most of its competitors are cookbooks and a few are histories, but Sweet as Sin comes from a food historian and candy expert who moves beyond American favorites to how candy was developed around the world, how it came to America, and uniquely American innovations that led to new developments.
There's also a focus on the individuals who contributed to the evolution of candy, including Native Americans who created pemmican and how stick candy and 'candy butchers' evolved.
With its lively insights and black and white illustrations throughout, Sweet as Sin is recommended for any culinary history collection.
A Year in Cheese
Alex and Leo Guarneri
Frances Lincoln Limited
A Year in Cheese: A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook celebrates cheese by providing over fifty recipes paired with full-page color photos, and comes from an artisan cheesemonger who focuses on cheeses made using sustainable methods with special attention given to animal grazing cycles, optimal milking times, and the best aging process.
A seasonal approach offers cooks ideas for making homemade cheese (or buying better cheeses) and then using them in a variety of appealing creations, from a Chilled Tomato Soup with Ricotta and Basil Oil to a Montgomery Cheddar and Pale Ale Rarebit with Cauliflower and a Baked Camembert with Rosemary, Honey and Almonds.
With every recipe accompanied by a full-page facing color photo and discussion of cheese handling and flavors, there's much to like in this cookbook, which is highly recommended for those who want more than a simple cheese recipe collection.
Fans of The Hunger Games who especially appreciate powerful female protagonists in their sci-fi readings will relish the character of Em, who awakens in a strange coffin alongside those holding other young people who have no memory of their identities or their pasts.
Their first challenge is to find a way out of an underground warren of tunnels and human remains.
Their second task is to find out who they are and why they are there.
And their third task is to survive a hidden enemy that demands they fight to the death.
Alight is packed with intrigue, mystery, tension as it follows the story of a girl who becomes an unwitting leader in a group of leaders who face a dangerous adversary with few clues about their enemy or their purpose.
Against a backdrop of hidden dangers and many questions, Alight will delight readers with a chiller that heats up quickly and offers up many heart-pounding moments.
The Art of Risk
The Art of Risk: The New Science of Courage, Caution, & Chance applies scientific analysis to a subject usually covered in business books, considering the latest risk studies and research as it examines how strategic risk-taking can contribute to success on many levels.
The biology, psychology, and environmental influences of risk-takers and choices in the risk process are analyzed in chapters that include case studies filled with statistical and scientific analysis.
Kayt Sukel's lively tone creates a discussion accessible by general-interest, non-science audiences in a survey that crosses traditional barriers between business, science, and daily life to appeal to a much broader audience than is usual for a coverage of risk.
Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering follows the evolution of mountaineering efforts starting at its earliest days, when one Darby Field became the first mountaineer in America by climbing Mount Washington.
In Darby's time (1642) mountains were viewed as dangerous places and possible havens for beasts and monsters, but by the end of the Revolutionary War, they were viewed quite differently.
One of the pleasures of Continental Divide lies in its ability to trace these changes and their effects on the sport, science, and perceptions of not just mountaineering, but American mountain history. History and sports collections alike will appreciate this diverse approach.
Cure Back Pain
Jean-Francois Harvey, BSc, DO
Cure Back Pain: 80 Personalized Easy Exercises for Spinal Training to Improve Posture, Eliminate Tension & Reduce Stress takes a variety of disciplines, from physical therapy routines to pilates and yoga, and blends them into a program promoting a holistic approach to exercises that build muscles and lend to healthier backs.
Step-by-step color photos (surprisingly, a number of them full-page) compliment self-assessment guidelines to help readers determine which routines will help their particular conditions.
Some may wish to improve their posture and others are looking for pain relief; but the pleasure of this title lies in its ability to interest both audiences by providing exercises that strengthen the back to reduce or prevent pain.
Any who suffer from a bad back will welcome the many options provided here and the clear discussions of each exercise and what conditions they can help.
Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life
Edward O. Wilson
Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life discusses the 'sixth extinction' in greater detail than Elizabeth Kolbert's prior book on the subject, which won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of thousands of species that have died off over the last century. It continues the saga with a closer inspection of environmental analysis, telling how to move forward with positive ways of supporting biodiversity and reversing the impacts of climate change.
His idea is radical and involves setting aside half the planet 'in reserve' (like a massive world park) to preserve ecosystems and encourage the survival of species within them. These spots are identified in Half-Earth, along with suggestions for different approaches to be used in their preservation.
Edward O. Wilson argues that the game is not over, yet, for those with the vision and resources to consider a very different possibility promising a more positive outcome.
Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America
Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America links the history and use of recreational drugs with the development of psychedelic culture during the 1960s, and is a fine "bigger picture" survey of how culture and psychedelics are linked.
By providing a focus that links how drugs and different generations of users changed one another, Heads offers a different approach that takes the foundations of the culture of psychedelic counter-cultures and considers their lasting effects.
While collections strong in American history and sociology will be the most likely purchasers of Heads, general-interest libraries will also welcome it for its lively presentation and involving discussions of how the history of psychedelic use in America holds lasting effects today.
The Soul Discovery Coloring Book
The Soul Discovery Coloring Book: Noodle, Doodle, and Scribble Your Way to an Extraordinary Life provides a companion coloring book to Writing Down Your Soul, and pairs some twenty questions designed to encourage imaginative thinking with a book format that inspires scribbling and coloring.
Unlike the traditional notion of a coloring book which is all about providing outline structures for filling in, The Soul Discovery Coloring Book juxtaposes blank page spaces and coloring pages to encourage doodling and scribbling as well as fill-in coloring; all these tied together with admonitions and thoughts designed to encourage spiritual and psychological breakthroughs.
Adults who need some guidance to produce results based on accessing subconscious feelings and self-guided learning will find this coloring book's varied approach to be just the ticket to success.
Don George, Editor
Armchair travel reads traditionally contain a wealth of information for anyone who wants to make their journeys from the comfort of a sofa or who desire to plan a similar excursion; and for either audience, there are many choices.
Few can equal the one-two punch of Better Than Fiction 2, a collection of different real-world travel encounters whose destinations traverse the world and whose approaches range from humorous to dead serious.
Take Fiona Kidman's 'The Road to Lost Places', for one example. Here the author's journey to Vietnam in the 1990s leads her to explore a wild, dangerous world where temples and tunnels still hold the lingering effects of a devastating war.
Or read Suzanne Joinson's 'In a Caucasian Wonderland' for a road trip to a very different world filled with its unexpected encounters - despite careful planning.
One thing can be said about travel; and that's that it is an eye-opening, awakening experience. One could do no better with an armchair exploration of diverse approaches, places, settings, and experiences than Better Than Fiction 2.
Selling the Serengeti
University of Georgia Press
Selling the Serengeti: The Cultural Politics of Safari Tourism focuses on the Maasai people and how ecotourism and game hunting commercial interests have affected their lives, considering the disparity between tourist interests and cultural relationships and offering a college-level study that places tourism interests within the wider context of changing local social and economic trends.
Chapters are based on Benjamin Gardner's experiences in Tanzania since 1991, his relationship with the Maasai people (which has spanned some twenty years), and his investigation into how tourism changes local lives.
From the relationships between political forces and high-profile international conservation efforts to fostering community-based conservation practices, chapters draw clear connections between tourist interests, conservation concerns, and local economics and politics.
Travel and social issues collections alike need this in-depth approach to a subject which is usually given a much narrower inspection.
Children and Teens
The 13th Continuum
Young adults who relish dystopian stories of survival will love The 13th Continuum, which is set in a world a thousand years following an extinction event that led humans to move deep below the oceans for survival.
In this underwater refuge, teen Myra knows about "the Surface" and its supposed magical properties; but she deems this to be myth, until she discovers her colony is threatened and that the only way of preventing the final extinction of mankind may lie in finding the one possibility and route that everyone's banished to the realm of folklore.
The power of The 13th Continuum lies in both its powerful protagonists and in its logical progression of events. Myra's quest for answers expands her world not only to the Surface, but beyond, and it involves a cooperative relationship with other factions and a blossoming knowledge of the forces that could not just repress her colony, but destroy it.
This gripping read is recommended not only for advanced teen readers, but for adults who enjoy solid sci-fi dystopian settings.
Chuck and Woodchuck
Chuck and Woodchuck tells of how Caroline's classmate Chuck brings a fun woodchuck to show-and-tell: a creature so compelling that the teacher wants the woodchuck to attend school daily.
Caroline is just as enthralled with the woodchuck as is the teacher; especially since it treats her kindly and is always looking out for her. But is it really the friendly woodchuck who is her best friend?
A fun tale evolves, narrated in the first-person, as Caroline makes from discoveries about the real nature of their friendship.
Elphie and Dad Go On An Epic Adventure
Hagit R. Oron & Or Oron
ASIN: B01BJ5Q576 $1.99
Elphie the elephant wants chocolate milk, but he doesn't want to go to the shop with his father to get it; not until his father promises that the visit will be an 'epic adventure'.
What could that mean? The young elephant decides to be ready for anything, donning cape and sword to face the world.
But what does 'epic' really mean to a child?
As Elphie faces a host of possible definitions and explores his world, he comes to realize the truth about what his place in it really is in a gentle picture book story filled with appealing, colorful images and a fun, involving discussion of what makes for an adventure, what makes an adventure fun, and how a youngster can become more positive about his prospects in life.
Nicoletta Costa's The Little Tree That Would Not Share (9780823435494, $16.95) tells the gentle story of a tree that doesn't want to share anything with the world around him; whether it be his lovely scent or his shade.
Indeed, he's afraid to interact with the world for fear it'll take away or demand too much of him - but the lessons learned from friendships and give-and-take eventually provide some surprising revelations in a simple, vibrant story kids will love.
Hans Wilhelm's A Hole in the Wall (9780823435357, $16.95) shows what happens when a series of animals look into the same hole in the wall, but each see something different.
They were friends until such differences in perception: now they are angry with each other for observing different things. Can everybody be wrong about what the hole truly reveals?
This very simple story, with its large-size, fun illustrations, invites kids to both read and think.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
These Houghton Mifflin Harcourt books for young adult and picture book readers provide engrossing reads that stand out from the crowd, making them top picks over competitors for any collection interested in selecting top reads.
Advanced young adults who pick up Janet B. Taylor's Into the Dim (9780544602007, $17.99) will find themselves pulled into an engrossing saga about a homeschooled girl, Hope, whose many phobias about life contrast with her eidetic memory and often place her at odds with her adoptive father's family.
Her obvious conflicts with her world become more obvious when her mother is killed in a disaster, causing the teen to become even more reclusive until she's sent to Scotland to live with an aunt, there to uncover a dangerous truth about her mother's death.
Time travel, secret worlds, and terrible truths confront a teen who has spent her life in hiding, masking her real abilities - which in this new world of medieval intrigue could mean the difference between life and death. Into the Dim proves a darkly compelling time travel historical fantasy.
Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die (9780544668416, $8.99) contrasts two very different sisters: pretty, popular Molly, who holds a positive perspective on life and is filled with goals, and sister Meg, who is uncertain, often angry, and miserable about her very similar life.
When Molly falls ill and the tables are turned, can Meg pick up the ball and assume the sunny disposition and perspective Molly seems to have lost, to help her family through crisis?
Once again Lowry has succeeded in creating a memorable tale of families, survival, and heartache which will absorb advanced elementary through middle school readers.
Justin Martin and Liza Charlesworth's Keep Curious and Carry a Banana (9780544656482, $12.99) is a different kind of Curious George book and is recommended for collections that look for humor and wisdom quotes based on classic stories.
From "Grab a great seat. You don't want to miss a thing." to "Give free hugs", this is a monkey's viewpoint on life, with color images from Curious George and small bananas supplementing fun sayings.
Sy Montgomery's Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot (9780544668294, $9.99) achieved a Sibert medal in its hardcover edition, and it's easy to see why. Gorgeous color photos throughout (by Nic Bishop) accompany a natural history of the last ninety-one kakapo parrots on earth, documenting some extraordinary efforts to keep this flightless bird alive.
Grades 5 and up will find this a bright, compelling story of survival, while many an adult will enjoy a rare look at an even rarer bird.
Tina Kügler's Snail & Worm (9780544494121, $16.99) offers three easy-reading stories about two friends and is recommended for young picture book readers, who will receive two or three sentences per brightly colored page about the interactions between two very different friends.
All are excellent, compelling picks.
Nicole Bruno Cox
Jesse Judge's fun drawings lend to an intriguing children's book designed to help picture book readers absorb basic information about allergies and how to handle them: especially useful reading for this age group, since so many kids suffer from allergies.
A simple, fun rhyme follows a little pink pig into the world as he decides to ignore his mother's advice and do as he pleases, despite his allergic reactions.
Kids receive vibrant images and a message that's easy to understand and apply to their lives as they follow Itchy Pig's choices and problems.
Dial/Penguin Young Readers Group
Lita Judge's Hoot and Peep (9780525428374, $17.99) depicts Hoot the owl, who is very wise and excited to share his knowledge with his siblings - especially about the proper way an owl should hoot.
There's only one problem: little sister Peep has a mind of her own, and doesn't want to conform to her older, wiser brother's instructions on how a proper owl should act and hoot.
Can the two siblings come to terms with their different perspectives on life?
Julie Falatko's Snappsy the Alligator (9780451469458, $16.99) excels in whimsical drawings by Tim Miller as it portrays the dilemma of an alligator who didn't even ask to be in this book.
Snappsy looks big, mean, and strange - but is he really all these things? What happens when a narrator has a very different view of what his main character is actually like?
The fun give-and-take between storyteller and character will attract young picture book readers seeking something different.
Sleeping Bear Press
Aimee Bissonette's Miss Colfax's Light (9781585369553, $16.99) receives gorgeous drawing by Eileen Ryan Ewen as it explores the life of Harriet, who in 1861, at nearly forty years of age, took on the demanding job of being one of the first female lighthouse keepers in America.
She was eighty when she gave up the position, keeping her lighthouse going through the worst storms both in nature and in the technology that threatened her job, and readers with good reading skills will love this detailed picture book tale of her life and achievements.
Judy Young's Digger and Daisy Plant a Garden (9781585369317, $9.99) is illustrated by Dana Sullivan and tells of sibling dogs who love to explore and find new adventures in their world.
Young beginners in grades K-1 will delight in fun and warm story that features good-size illustrations, simple, large-size sentences, and an easy tale of sibling relationships.
William Meyer's The Secret of the Scarab Beetle (9781585368376, $16.99) presents Book 1 in the 'Horace J. Edwards and the Time Keepers' series for young adults as it tells of an eleven-year-old boy's move to Michigan, where life begins to change.
His grandfather's sudden death results in the strange gift of a stone scarab beetle, and as Horace investigates this oddity, he unlocks a time-traveling ability that sends him back to ancient Egypt; there to befriend the future King Tut.
Mystery and action permeate a fine read that is hard to put down and packed with adventure.
Michael Shoulders' Crossing the Deadline: Stephen's Journey Through the Civil War (9781585369515, $16.99) documents many of the realities of the Civil War era as it tells of preteen Stephen, who enlists with his brothers to fight for the North during the Civil War.
Stephen imagines what battle will be like; but nothing can really prepare him for the truth as his role as a bugler leads him not only into battle, but lands him in a Confederate prison camp and on a tragic journey.
Kids in grades 6-8 will find Crossing the Deadline a moving, realistic saga of Stephen's awakening.
A Field Guide to
Coastal Fishes from Alaska to California
Val Kells, Luiz A. Rocha & Larry G. Allen
Johns Hopkins University Press
A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes from Alaska to California is an invaluable reference for any collection interested in marine science or fish identification, and offers a handbook packed with nearly a thousand illustrations of adult and juvenile fishes and almost 700 species.
Naturalists, students, and field workers alike will find each fish displayed in life-like detail, with notes on features, biology, and habitat on the facing page of each color image.
Information is well organized for at-a-glance reference and covers the Pacific U.S. and Canada, while the arrangement by orders and families makes it easy to locate and identify the fish.
The result is a handy reference that can be used either in the classroom or (preferably) in the field, whether that field be at the seashore, on board a boat, or elsewhere.
JoAnne Lake and Julia Parker
Triumph Media Press
Beyond Embarrassment: Reclaiming Your Life with Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel is for any who suffer from incontinence due to a brain, spinal cord or nerve condition - which translates to millions of Americans - and comes from an author who was diagnosed in 2009 after years of embarrassment and discomfort.
While one could call this health title an autobiography, Beyond Embarrassment is more accurately described as a health memoir with wider-ranging applications because it provides many insights to fellow sufferers who struggle with the same condition.
Professional research and information from Biosleuth medical research librarian Julia Parker compliments JoAnne Lake's story and observations, providing a satisfying blend of personal account and medical insights.
The neurogenic bladder condition evolved over time for Lake, and involved a host of accompanying, often puzzling, symptoms. Her book will prove a powerful answer to the questions other sufferers have about this and related conditions, and offer many tips and solutions that take the guesswork out of managing bladder problems - all this is couched in a casual, informative, almost chatty style that makes reading it a breeze.
Master of the Cinematic Universe
John Bucher & Jeremy Casper
Michael Wiese Productions
Master of the Cinematic Universe: The Secret Code to Writing in the New World of Media belongs in any film and video reference library appealing to performing arts majors, and shows what it takes to become a media artist by better understanding the finer art of storytelling.
Chapters are designed to appeal to filmmakers producing short-form video content for all kinds of purposes, and display the basics of improving one's storytelling focus to create better visuals.
From the goals and protagonists of narrative short films to selling product through appealing commercial-oriented stories and better understanding what 'webisodes' can and cannot do, different purposes are matched with different structures and choices to supply artists with specific approaches to different short video production goals.
No aspiring filmmaker should be without this invaluable reference.
Lillian R. Aronson's Small Animal Surgical Emergencies (9781118413487) provides practicing vets a fine reference to different kinds of emergencies in small animal practice, and surveys emergency stabilization and surgery procedures which include diagnostics, operative care, complications and more.
Step-by-step discussions of emergency animal management blend case studies, algorithms, assessments of basic diagnostic equipment and applications, pairing color photos of surgeries with extensive bibliographic references and detailed discussions of operative procedures and post-operative care, including circumstances where prognosis for recovery may be poor.
The result is a highly recommended technical reference that should be on the shelves of any veterinary facility where surgical emergencies are a common part of clinical approaches and animal management.
Dominique Griffon and Annick Hamaide's Complications in Small Animal Surgery (9780470959626, $149.99) is a complete reference to surgical complications in small animal practices, and includes tables, charts, and statistical and mathematical information plus color photos of different types of surgeries to accompany discussions of conditions, risks, diagnosis, and outcomes.
Both general complications and those specific to different kinds of surgical procedures are examined in a reference arranged by body system and linked to further web information and support.
Discussions are in-depth and include all the physiological and medical background needed for veterinary practitioners to make basic assessments in clinical and emergency settings.
Also a top recommendation is MA Taylor, RL Coop and RL Wall's Veterinary Parasitoloy (9780470671627, $229.99), which appears in its 4th edition to update a major classic long considered the definitive veterinary reference in parasitology.
Expanded parasite descriptions, discussions of diagnosis and control methods for domestic animals, and host resistance coverages are all part of a weighty technical reference that packs in the latest research for teachers and students, practicing vets, and any working in parasitic disease control.
Filled with discussions of costs, immunology, clinical signs and pathology, and good-quality color photos throughout, nothing currently on the market even begins to approach Veterinary Parasitoloy in thoroughness and coverage.
The book's categories and arrangement will lend to both at-a-glance information for practicing vets and in-depth information for researchers involved. Anyone involved in the field of domestic animal diagnosis and treatment cannot be without this invaluable, key reference.
John M. Williams and Jacqui D. Niles edit BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Abdominal Surgery (9781905319626), which appears in an updated second edition to cover both routine and emergency surgeries common in small animal practices.
Chapters loaded with visuals include step-by-step coverage of operative procedures and include notes about every step of the process, from patient positioning and prep to postoperative care.
Drawings supplement the good-quality color photos throughout, as the basic principles of abdominal surgery are outlined.
The result is a highly recommended, solid reference any small animal clinic should keep at hand.
William Patrick Martin
Rowman & Littlefield
Wonderfully Wordless: The 500 Most Recommended Graphic Novels and Picture Books is the first in-depth study for wordless and almost-wordless picture books, and gives teachers and parents a fine resource for identifying and using these particular kinds of graphic stories in classroom or home settings.
The age ranges move from babies to ESL adults, so there's a very wide range of subjects and approaches included in discussions that have narrowed databases of thousands of titles down to the 500 most highly recommended.
Experts from the U.S. and abroad joined together for this project, so Wonderfully Wordless doesn't reflect a singular approach or expert opinion, but represents the combined wisdom of top literary experts. Moreover, books are arranged by theme and each book receives a small black and white cover photo, a synopsis, and indication of age range. Other references are included in back of the book, making for an important, key reference for any who regularly work with picture books and their readers.