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May 14, 2009 Edition

Arctic Adventures, by Raquel Rivera, illustrated by Jirina Marton


This collection of true stories from the lives of four Canadian Inuit artists is a compelling look at an older way of living and thinking. Read about seal hunting, where bad luck sent a hunter out to sea on an ice floe alone, but good fortune brought him back in with the changing tide. And what happened when a girl and her friends encountered the goddess of the sea while hunting ducks. Each story is followed by a photo and brief biography of the artist as well as an all-too-brief sample of his or her work. Readers who want to know more about the Inuit way of life will find a bibliography, and an author note points the way to more information about the artists themselves.

Animals in the House, by Sheila Keenan


Written for pet owners everywhere, this engaging book looks at the history of pets throughout the ages, starting with the first domesticated cats and dogs who eventually were invited to sit at early human hearths as much as 14,000 years ago. At first, pet ownership depended on fashion and space, with medieval courts hosting pets as exotic as giraffes and elephants, and more ordinary citizens fawning over birds, monkeys, and of course, cats and dogs. Today, thereís less likelihood that your neighbor will own a monkey, but there are lots of other pet choices highlighted in this book. Chapters trace cats, dogs, birds, fish, reptiles, and small furry animals (rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, etc.), from their original uses as easily-caught food to their current lives in our homes. Read this straight through or browse your way through the endearing photos (all well-captioned) and learn about the pets in your house.

The Singer in the Stream, by Katherine Hocker and Mary Willson, illustrated by Katherine Hocker


Both delightful and informative, this book uses light rhyme to spotlight a local bird you may have seen (or heard) yourself: the dipper. Hocker and Willson are Juneau-based biologists studying these small birds through the seasons as they choose mates, build nests, raise young, and catch lots and lots of food. Named for the way they continually bob their whole bodies, dippers are able to sing even while inhaling, and can fly under water. Find out how to spot a dipper nest, what itís like inside, and get an up-close look at what dipper parents get to have following them around.

Rapunzelís Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale


In this wild-west graphic novel based on the classic story, Rapunzelís long hair isnít for the prince to climb up, but for Rapunzel to use to lasso trees, tie up bad guys, and snap guns out of the hands of evil-doers. When Rapunzel defies Mother Gothel, the witch imprisons her in a magical tree-tower in the middle of a dangerous, swampy forest. The feisty redhead takes matters into her own hands and escapes, only to fall into the company of a young con artist named Jack, his pet goose, and his magic bean. Now Rapunzelís got to get out of jail, survive the Badlands, and vanquish ferocious beasts before she can get back to save her real mother from the witch.

The Great Smelly, Slobbery, Small-Toothed Dog, retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Julie Paschkis


Colorful stylized pictures set this British folktale of a rich merchant, his beautiful daughter, and a powerful (but drooling) mastiff, in motion. When the merchant is rescued from thieves by the dog, he promises the dog a reward - the dog chooses the manís greatest treasure: his daughter. In classic style, she goes to live with the dog and they get along quite well. She even names him Sweet as Honeycomb, but then one day her homesickness overtakes her. The kind, but slobbery and somewhat stinky dog pities her, but it isnít until she renames the great beast in her heart as well as her mind that she is reunited with her father and gains a handsome husband.

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