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Papa's Backpack

James Christopher Carroll (author), James Christopher Carroll (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781634704168

When a soldier has to leave his or her family for extended service, it's an emotional time for all involved. It can be especially confusing and upsetting for children, who long for the comfort and security of a parent's presence. Papa's Backpack honors the bond between a parent/soldier and a child, and acknowledges the difficult and emotional process of separation during deployment. A young bear cub dreams of accompanying Papa when he leaves on a mission, wanting to stay close to provide comfort and moral support, ultimately overcoming adversity together.

Full Count: A Baseball Number Book

Brad Herzog (author), Bruce Langton (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365975

Following his H is for Home Run: A Baseball Alphabet, Brad Herzog once again steps to the plate to bring the game of baseball to fans of every age. Using numbers as its backdrop, Full Count: A Baseball Number Book goes behind the batter's box and into the dugout to explain game basics and showcase historic moments. Starting with the signal for a fastball (1), to the miles-per-hour speed on some of the fastest pitches ever thrown (100+), Full Count counts out the players, the plays, and pulse-stopping moments in America's favorite sport.

A Penguin Named Patience

Suzanne Lewis (author), Lisa Anchin (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781631886294

Patience is a South African penguin. She is small at roughly 6 pounds and approximately 20 inches tall; but at 24 years old, she is the "penguin in charge" of the penguin exhibit at New Orleans's Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hits, devastating the city and surrounding areas with its catastrophic winds and flooding. The aquarium is severely damaged. With no electricity or relief in sight, the temperature in the aquarium reaches dangerously high degrees, putting the penguins in peril. Patience, and the 18 other penguins, along with some of the other zoo animals, must leave their home and their favorite human, Tom, the penguin keeper. Tom drives his penguins to Baton Rouge where an airplane transfers them to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. Here the penguins will recuperate and live until they can return home to New Orleans. After nine long months away from Tom and their home, the aquarium is finally restored. And Patience, who has been patient, and her penguins return to New Orleans to a cheering homecoming.

The Boy Who Wanted to Cook

Gloria Whelan (author), Steve Adams (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308207

La Bonne Vache (The Good Cow) is a little restaurant in the south of France. It takes its name from and is famous for its boeuf la mode, a delicious beef stew. Ten-year-old Pierre longs to follow in the culinary footsteps of his father, Monsieur Valcourt. Monsieur Valcourt is the chef and owner of La Bonne Vache. Pierre spends as much time as possible in the restaurant's kitchen, hoping for a chance to demonstrate his cooking skills. But his parents shoo him away and he is not allowed to cook. One day Pierre meets a visitor who is on his way to eat at the restaurant. This is no ordinary visitor but an important food critic. His experience at La Bonne Vache could bring great honor to the restaurant. At last, Pierre sees his chance to prove himself.

Grady the Goose

Denise Brennan-Nelson (author), Michael Glenn Monroe (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535892

From the moment she hatches from her egg, Grady Goose has to do things her way, often ignoring her parents' rule of "stick together." But when she lags behind as the rest of her family leaves for warmer climes, Grady learns the hard way that one is the loneliest number, especially for a young goose. A chance encounter with a helpful farmer soon sets things right, and a happy ending is in store for Grady and her family. Denise Brennan-Nelson, the author of the delightful Someday Is Not a Day of the Week, returns with another gentle lesson for young readers. Artist Michael Glenn Monroe's beautiful nature scenes, coupled with an information section on geese facts, add a wildlife component perfect for classroom use.

I Love You Just Enough

Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537278

While pulling weeds and planting seeds with her dad on Hazel Ridge Farm's prairie, Heather discovers a wood duckling alone in the grass. Worried for the duckling's safety, Heather asks her dad if she can care for him. "You have to keep him safe and warm and fed. You have to teach him how to be a duck--to swim, to hunt for bugs, and how to fly." Aptly named Mr. Peet for his chirping sound, the ducking accompanies Heather as she feeds the chickens, rabbits, and horses. They spend the summer swimming together in the pond, and Mr. Peet eventually masters how to fly. Heather becomes concerned when she hasn't seen Mr. Peet in 10 days. Her dad reassures her that the wood duck may have found his own place in nature. Heather is proud of her work and she knows Mr. Peet will be ok, because she loved him just enough.

Ferry Tail

Katharine Kenah (author), Nicole Wong (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537292

Walter the ferry dog loved to greet cars as they came on board each morning. Fetching the captain's newspaper and tasting the cook's bacon were Walter's other important jobs. Cupcake the Cat was just about the only thing Walter disliked about being a ferry dog. One rainy day the waves were rough and no one was paying much attention to Walter. Even worse, Cupcake was poking him with her paw and playing tricks as Walter was being blamed. He decided it was time to leave the ferry! Once on land he ran, and ran, and ran. Soon the day darkened, and Walter was lost and exhausted. Wondering who would do his jobs on the ferry, he felt a familiar poke from a familiar paw. Would Cupcake help him get back to ferry where he belonged?

Otter out of Water

Kathy-jo Wargin (author), John Bendall-Brunello (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537247

Have you seen an otter at play in the water? It's long and it's trim and it knows how to swim. It rolls and it spins. It twists and it grins. What if one day that otter jumps out of the water? Would you ask him to play? What if that otter follows you home? Would he bounce on the chairs? Would he skid down the stairs? The author-illustrator team who created Scare a Bear and Moose on the Loose will once again have readers laughing and guessing. This time the hilarity involves an otter out of water!

First Dog

Beth Zappitello J. Patrick Lewis (author), Tim Bowers (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627535885

Once upon a time a dog was looking for a home. Not just any home -- the perfect home, to be exact. So he decides to travel the world, visiting different countries and seeing how other dogs live. On his travels Dog meets a Newfoundland in Newfoundland, an English bulldog in England, a poodle in Paris, and many other different kinds of dogs. And he learns about what they do and how they live. But sadly, none of these places are what Dog has in mind. Can Dog find the perfect home? YES, HE CAN!! Savvy readers may have already guessed where Dog's perfect home is located but everyone, young and old, can't help but smile at the happy ending to his journey.

Dozer's Run

Rosana Panza, Debbie Levy (author), David Opie (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537643

Dozer the Goldendoodle has a wonderful life! He and his best friend, Chica, belong to a loving family. They have warm beds to sleep in, enough food to eat, and plenty of room in their yard to play and investigate. What more could a good dog want? As it turns out, Dozer wants an adventure. And when a runner runs past his yard, followed by another, and another, and another, Dozer decides to follow and see what is happening. In May 2011, unbeknownst to his owner, Dozer slipped out of his yard in Highland, Maryland, enticed by the sight of people running past. The runners were participating in the Maryland Half Marathon, a race benefitting the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center. Dozer joined the 2,000 runners in the race, inspiring everyone along the 13-mile race course. By the time his adventure was over and he was reunited with his family, Dozer's "Run" encouraged thousands of pledges in support of the Greenebaum Cancer Center. This true story of a playful dog that actually runs a half marathon entertains as well as inspires.

Kay Kay's Alphabet Safari

Dana Sullivan (author), Dana Sullivan (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537650

Kay Kay lives in the village of Bungoma in the country of Kenya. One day as he is passing by the Star of Hope School, the schoolchildren call out to him. They want to show off their brand-new classroom. When Kay Kay looks at the room with its white walls, he realizes it could use a little artwork.He promises the children that he will paint pictures of animals, from A to Z. That will help the children learn their alphabet. But first he needs to think about this project. So Kay Kay walks through the beautiful Kenyan countryside, looking for inspiration for his animal artwork. As he walks about, he is warmly greeted by many creatures. From the tiny Ant to the huge Hippo to the striped Zebra, everyone wants Kay Kay to stop and visit. But he tells them he is far too busy thinking about his art project to stop. It's only when Kay Kay reaches the end of his walk that he realizes his inspirations are all around him!

Hat Tricks Count: A Hockey Number Book

Matt Napier (author), Melanie Rose (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531900

The companion volume to our bestselling, Blue Spruce Award winner, Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet. Like our alphabet series our counting books are written in a two-tier format with charming poems for young readers and expository text for older readers. Young sports fans see numbers everywhere--the scoreboard, the retired jerseys in the rafters, the numerology of sports stats--and Hat Tricks Count: A Hockey Number Book delivers them faster than an assist from the Great One, number 99 himself. Hat Tricks Count will answer many of the fast paced questions kids have. What is a Hat Trick, anyway? Cross checking, high sticking, and hooking penalties add up to what? Who scored more career goals--Gordie Howe or Wayne Gretzky?

Itsy Bitsy and Teeny Weeny

Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531719

One spring, as part of their animal rescue work on Hazel Ridge Farm, Gijsbert (Nick) and Robbyn van Frankenhuyzen find themselves caring for a lamb and an orphaned fawn at the same time. They name the lamb Teeny Weeny and the fawn Itsy Bitsy. Raised as "siblings," the two youngsters are inseparable that summer, sharing a playpen in the house, romping together, and just getting into general mischief. As the seasons change, Itsy Bitsy and Teeny Weeny grow into their true selves, away from "Mother" Robbyn and each other. Nature must take its course and the two animals go their separate ways: one back to a life in the wild and the other on to domestic farm life.

Shep: Our Most Loyal Dog

Sneed B. Collard (author), Joanna Yardley (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531481

Reliability, devotion and faithfulness: endearing qualities shared between people and their canine companions. Shep is the true story of a dog that became an inspiration to people around the world. Following the death of his owner in 1936, Shep watched as his body was placed on a train and shipped east. For more than five years, through rain and snow, Shep met every incoming train with hopes that he would see the man who had cared for him. Even today, people visit Fort Benton, Montana, to stand at the grave of a dog whose actions remind us of the true meaning of loyalty and heart.

Kelly of Hazel Ridge

Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531504

As a young girl growing up on Hazel Ridge Farm, Kelly is aware of how special the place she calls home is. After all, it's not everyday that your backyard lets you view white-tailed deer and sand-hill cranes, swim in ponds populated by snapping turtles or hear the hoot of an owl named Jackson as he keeps watch as you sleep each night. Committed to maintaining a natural wilderness, Kelly's parents have created a wildlife sanctuary where both the land and its animal residents can be nurtured

Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears

Marc Bekoff Jill Robinson (author), Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530057

For years Jasper, a moon bear, lived a miserable existence, held captive in a cage by bear farmers in rural China. The farmers extracted the bile from Jasper's body and sold it to be used in traditional medicines. It's a horrific practice and conducted on thousands of moon bears each year. But now Jasper has the chance to be free and live a life away from pain and torture. In 2000, Animals Asia, an animal welfare organization, rescued Jasper and other captive moon bears, taking them to its Moon Bear Rescue Centre. Here veterinarians attended to the bears' wounds, hoping to give them some chance of a peaceful existence in the animal sanctuary. But after so many years of abuse Jasper's wounds, both physical and mental, are extensive. Can Jasper mend his body and mind and finally enjoy the life he was meant to live?

Finnegan and Fox: The Ten-Foot Cop

Helen L. Wilbur (author), John Manders (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530026

Finnegan is a horse. But he is not just any horse. Finnegan is a proud member of the New York City Police Department. He and his human partner, Officer T. J. Fox, are part of the NYPD Mounted Unit. Together they make one ten-foot cop! Each morning, after roll call, Finnegan and T. J. take to the streets, a familiar and welcome sight to the people who live in the area. Times Square is their beat and it's a busy one. More than one million people move through it every day, from New Yorkers on their way to work to the thousands of tourists who visit the popular area. It would be very easy to get lost in this rushing crowd. One day, as Finnegan and T. J. move through a fairly routine day, that's exactly what happens to one little girl. And it's Finnegan to the rescue!

Titanicat

Marty Crisp (author), Robert Papp (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627531672

Young Jim Mulholland can't believe his good luck: He has signed on as a cabin boy to the world's finest ocean liner, the Titanic, and can't wait for the history-making voyage across the sea to America. As part of his duties Jim is in charge of the ship's cat, a beautiful tortoiseshell that also appears happy to be on board. He calls the cat by the ship's construction number, 4-0-1, certain that she will bring him good luck. And he's delighted when 4-0-1 shortly gives birth to a litter of kittens. But once the ship's trial runs are completed and it's ready to launch to sea, Jim notices that 4-0-1 is nowhere to be found. He's got to find her-the Titanic can't cast off without her lucky cat. Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the rest of his life.

When Anju Loved Being an Elephant

Wendy Henrichs (author), John Butler (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308498

Growing up on the Indonesian island of Sumatra with its cooling lakes and refreshing mud holes, Anju loved being an elephant. Loving cared for and proetected by her mother and herd family, there was nowhere else Anju would rather be. That all changed when she was stolen and sold to an American circus. Anju spends decades traveling across the country, entertaining crowds. After the circus, she's then moved to a small zoo for 23 years, their lone elephant. Anju no longer loved being an elephant. She was old and tired. Will Anju ever love being an elephant again?

A Giraffe Did One

Jerry Pallotta (author), Tatjana Mai-Wyss (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410310057

Readers have to figure out just exactly what it is these animals are doing. A fun reminder on good manners.

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band

Kwame Alexander (author), Tim Bowers (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410308368

When a jazz-loving rooster sets his sights on winning a barnyard talent show, he realizes he can't do it as a solo act. He's up against the talents of Mules Davis's cool duo and Ella Finchgerald's singing group. Acoustic Rooster calls on friends like pianist Duck Ellington, singer Bee Holiday, and percussionist piggy Pepe Ernesto Cruz. Together, the foursome makes beautiful music as they rock the barnyard. And while they may not win first prize, Acoustic Rooster realizes he has the world's best jazz band and that's all that matters. Colorful artwork from artist Tim Bowers (Memoirs of a Goldfish) ensures this story doesn't miss a beat. A glossary of musical terms and instruments rounds out this perfect introduction to jazz for young readers.

Buzzy the Bumblebee

Denise Brennan-Nelson (author), Michael Glenn Monroe (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627530002

Sitting in a beautiful garden, high atop a flower, the impressionable Buzzy reads in the book, Learn to Fly, the very true fact that, "Bumblebees weren't made to fly." He reads again, "Bumblebees weren't made to fly." "Stranded on top of a flower/ Buzzy longed to fly away./ His heart still knew how/ But his head had forgotten the way." The adventure that ensues challenges Buzzy to overcome obstacles without his wings that he had never before thought possible. He travels over the stream and through the high grass, back home where his parents with love and support tell him, "You're doubting yourself./ Fear is in the way./ Listen to your heart Buzzy/ Not what others say./ Ignore labels and limits Buzzy./ They seldom do good./ You start to think, 'I Can't,'/ when you should be thinking, 'I Could.'"

Scout

Gordon McMillan (author), Gordon McMillan (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781410310668

Scout the Scottie dog lives on the top floor of an apartment building. His favorite toy is his shiny red ball. But it is not just an ordinary ball. This ball can bounce higher than anything. It is rounder than anything. And it is faster than anything. Scout loves it. But one day Scout loses his shiny red ball. Where did it go? How will Scout find his favorite toy? On his search for his missing toy, Scout gets some help along the way and he learns that, while his ball is indeed special, it is not as special as his new friends.

Waiting for the Owl's Call

Gloria Whelan (author)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781585365517

Eight-year-old Zulviya, her sister and her cousin, her mother and her grandmother... they all belong to the loom. For generations the women of Zulviya's family have earned their living by weaving rugs by hand. The rugs are valuable and the women are proud of their beautiful handiwork. But the work is hard. It takes months to weave a rug; each one contains hundreds of thousands of knots. Before one work day has passed, Zulviya will tie thousands of knots. As she sits at her work, Zulviya weaves not one but two patterns. The pattern on the loom will become a fine rug. She weaves a second pattern in her mind. There she sees the green of the Afghani hills, the bright blue of the nearby lake, and the vivid orange of the setting sun. And Zulviya takes comfort in the landscape in her mind.

Memoirs of an Elf

Devin Scillian (author), Tim Bowers (illustrator)

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press ISBN: 9781627537759

It's Christmas Eve and Spark Elf has the very important job of keeping Santa Claus on schedule as he travels the globe in 24 hours delivering presents. Small in stature with pointy ears and stopwatch in hand, Spark lets Santa know it's time to go. He programs the GPS while the other elves secure the toy bag and check the Nice list. Little known fact: We don't even bring the Naughty list with us. Six hours into the trip Santa, sleigh and crew begin to fall behind--so many cuddly doggies to pet and extra cookies to eat. The jolly group makes up time in Brazil and soon find themselves back at the North Pole. Their work is done. But wait, there's something left in the bag--but it isn't a present at all--it's a family dog! Well known fact: Santa gives things away. He does not take things! Momma Claus comes to the rescue with a plan to get the dog back to his family. Can Santa return the family's beloved pooch in time to keep their Christmas merry?