The Children's Bookshelf

The Children’s Bookshelf from WCMU Public Radio showcases new children’s book titles meant to engage young readers in the joy of story found in both the written word and illustrations. The target audience includes teachers, librarians, parents and grandparents as part of their role to foster the love of reading.  Each of the two minute reviews have accompanying study questions and activities and are available as podcasts. The series host and reviewer is Dr. Sue Ann Martin, Professor Emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts in the College of Communication and Fine Arts, at Central Michigan University.

Our theme music for The Children’s Bookshelf is the polka from Denes Agay’s “Five Easy Dances”, performed by the Powers Woodwind Quintet, in residence at Central Michigan University’s School of Music. It is taken from the album GEMS, on the White Pine label.

The Bad Mood and the Stick, written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe is a clever picture book about how a bad mood, under the right conditions, can jump from one person to another.

As the story begins a little girl by the name of Curly is in a very bad mood because her Mom passed by the ice cream store while they were out walking without getting she and her younger brother some ice cream. The bad mood appears as a cloud over Curly’s head. Being in such a bad mood Curly picks up a stick and pokes her brother with it. Mom reprimands her and tells her to apologize! This puts Mom in a bad mood as the tricky little cloud moves from over Curly’s head to under Mom’s arm.

“Piece By Piece” written by Stephanie Shaw and illustrated by Sylvie Daigneault is a beautiful fairytale told in both lyrical language and graceful lines about a weaver and how she stays true to her artistic gifts and triumphs over greed and rejection.

The weaver gathers memories of things from nature and places them in her collection basket while her children play on the seashore. She then weaves these visual, tactile, auditory memories such as “the crunch of leaves,” “the leap and splash of a fish” and “the kiss of the sea as it reaches the shore” into her cloth. When the cloth is fashioned into a dress she takes it to the village shopkeeper in the hope she can sell it and buy food for her children. But the shopkeeper complains that it is too shimmery and tells her to take that part out of the dress.

“Princess Cora & the Crocodile” written by Newbery Award winner Laura Amy Schlitz and illustrated by Caldecott Award winner Brian Floca is a fun-filled chapter book for 5-8 year olds about a real problem set in a make believe world.


“Found Dogs” written and illustrated by Erica Sirotich is a counting book full of rhymes, colors, numbers and dogs. All fifty-five dogs are waiting at the pound to be adopted.


This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin takes a look at the fascinating graphic novel "Fish Girl." It's recommended for readers ages 10 to 12.


This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin takes a look at "Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History," a beautifully illustrated text that tells the story of the former slave turned civil rights activist.


This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews "Voyager's Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space," written by Aledandra Siy. She says it is sure to captivate readers age 10 and older.


This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews APEX PREDATORS: The World’s Deadliest Hunters, Past and Present, by Steve Jenkins. She says its a great book for children ages 6 to 9.


This week on The Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews "The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine," written by Mark Twain and Philip C. Stead. She recommends it for children ages 10 to 13.


This week on the Children's Bookshelf, Dr. Sue Ann Martin reviews "Mrs. White Rabbit" by Gilles Bachelet. She recommends it for children ages 8 to 10.


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