How to do a magic trick with a coin

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2030: A Day in the Life of Tomorrow's Kids by Amy Zuckerman and Jim Daly, illustrated by John Manders (Dutton, 2009).

A talking dog, a housecleaning robot and a three-dimensional "data orb" are among the many cool features that kids might enjoy in the future, according to this lighthearted look at 2030. The breezy narrative follows one boy through a typical day, highlighting many interesting aspects of his world. Fanciful cartoon drawings show a lively and appealing world full of new and intriguing activities that correspond neatly to modern equivalents. Schools are now made from plasticized blocks that snap together, for example, while recess features virtual batting practice and a "smart trampoline." Recreational activities include magnetized hovering skateboards and a virtual-reality "Fanta-trek Center." Some social changes are briefly noted, such as new career paths and

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the increase of marriages between different ethnicities. Interaction with the natural world is not mentioned, although many of the new technologies have eco-friendly components and the food is all meatless and delicious. 32 pages.

Steven Engelfried, School Library Journal


All About Friends Best Friends for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (Harper Collins, 1969).

Frances can't imagine being friends with her little sister Gloria until she is excluded from the all-boys baseball game. To her surprise, Gloria makes a good friend, but can she ever be a best friend? If your child enjoys this book, introduce her to other stories in this series including A Birthday for Frances. 32 pages.

Reading Level: Grades 2-3, Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt by Patricia MacLachlan (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2004).

Minna grows up with some odd friends and relatives. MacLachlan's stories are a rarity in today's children's books — simple, gentle tales of children who manage to be reasonably nice kids without being insipid. Minna Pratt is an amazingly delightful book, a book that makes you smile all through it, a book that makes you want to know all of the characters in real life. 144 pages.

Read the complete review on the Common Sense Media Web site.

Read Aloud: Ages 8+. Read Alone: Ages 9+.

George and Martha by James Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974).

George and Martha are two hilarious hippo friends who invariably get themselves into sticky situations. Your child will love finding out what happens when George does not like the split pea soup that Martha has made for him in "Split Pea Soup," just one of the five humorous stories in this collection. 48 pages.

Third-grader Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett (Putnam Juvenile, 2000).

Henny wants to raise little chicks, but an elf keeps stealing her eggs before they hatch. Your child will be surprised to learn how her friend Hedgie helps Henny scare off the bothersome elf once and for all. Make a special point to draw your young child's attention to the nearly hidden pictures that border each page of this book. 32 pages.

Third-grader Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats (Puffin, reprint edition, 1998)

In this classic book about friendship, Peter has a falling-out with his friend Amy. Peter fears the worst - that Amy will not come to his birthday party. Children will relate to this story's themes, and Ezra Jack Keats's collage illustrations will intrigue children and parents alike. 32 pages.

Reading Level: Grades 2-3, Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (Harcourt Children's Books, April 30, 1993).

Stellaluna is a baby fruit bat happily flying along with her mother when an owl attacks. The poor little bat is knocked out of her mother's grasp and lands in a birds' nest. The mother bird accepts Stellaluna as long as she acts like a bird, not a bat. Soon enough, Stellaluna learns to eat bugs and stop hanging by her feet. When she finally has a chance to show her bird siblings, Pip, Flutter and Flap, what life as a bat is like, they are left all in a muddle: "How can we be so different and feel so much alike?" one asks. Anyone who has ever been in a position where they can't be who they really

are will relate to Stellaluna's predicament. Cannon's award-winning illustrations convey the nocturnal world beautifully. Readers will be enchanted by this book with its messages of acceptance, friendship and a mothers' love. 46 pages. Pauline Harris

That's What Friends Are For by Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Van Clief, illustrated by Holly Meade (Candlewick, 2003).

Theodore, the lumbering elephant, hurts his leg so badly he can't walk to the edge of the forest to meet his cousin. Will his friends' advice help him solve his problem, or does he need something more? The collages of painted paper and repeating text pattern will make this reprint of the 1968 classic one of your child's favorites. 40 pages.

Reading Level: Grades 2-3, Read to Self. PBS Bookfinder

Books About Food Fairy Tale Feasts: a Literary Cookbook for Young Readers and Eaters written by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Stemple, illustrated by Philippe Beha (Crocodile Books, 2006).

Jane Yolen retells familiar fairy tales in a brief and lively style, while her daughter, co-author Heidi Stemple, pairs them with at least one kid-friendly recipe that connects with the story's theme or references. For example, "Cinderella" is presented with a recipe for pumpkin tarts, while "The Runaway Pancake" is matched with, of course, a recipe for pancakes. The tales are divided into four sections: breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The colorful illustrations add to the fun, and margin notes provide additional information on main ingredients and the stories and their origins. Adult supervision will be necessary for completing the recipes, but this book would be a great way for the whole family to share a reading and eating experience. 197 pages.

Reading grade level: 3, Interest grade level: K-5. Ellen Phillips

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman (Dragonfly Books, 1996).

A young baker travels the world to find the finest ingredients for her apple pie. On her journey, she introduces the reader to cultures and products from around the globe. After the raw ingredients are prepared for the pie, the baker invites children from around the world to share it with her. The recipe is included at the end of the book. PBS Bookfinder

Books About the Joy of Reading Frindle by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Brian Selznick (Aladdin, 1998).

When clever yet precocious Nick decides to invent a new word for pen, it puts him at odds with his no-nonsense teacher, a stickler for grammar and proper word usage. What begins as a classroom duel over the usage of the word "frindle," escalates into a national word craze. Krisha Roach

I and You and Don't Forget Who: What Is a Pronoun? by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Brian Gable. (Lerner Publishing Group, 2004).

This book tells a story in rhyme, using different types of pronouns, leading children to become more apt to remember what pronouns are. The colorful illustrations feature funny monster-like creatures taking part in everyday activities. Children's Choices

Summer Reading is Killing Me by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (Puffin, 2000).

This installment of the popular Time Warp Trio series is homage to some of the best-ever summer reading lists. Sam, Fred and Joe happen to have in their possession a bona fide time traveling book. When one of the boys absentmindedly puts their summer reading list in the book, they find themselves in the midst of a literary battle of evil against good! Krisha Roach

Books About School

Dexter the Tough by Margaret Peterson Haddix, illustrated by Mark Elliott, (Simon & Schuster, 2007).

Dexter is tough! On the first day of school, he lashes out when he trips and the other kids laugh at him. He punches another kid in the bathroom. But like so many kids with a gruff demeanor, Dexter is acting out because of a painful circumstance at home. He learns to express his emotions because of a gifted teacher and a writing assignment. I can think of no better lesson for a child to learn — feelings come out, one way or another — and finding a healthy way to sort them out is important. Perfect for a third-grader who has been bullied, or who can be too tough with others. 144 pages.

Danielle Marshall and the Kids' Team at


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