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Vanessa Trien & the Jumping Monkeys

You'll find folksy tunes that are as fun for adults as they are for little ones in Bubble Ride, the latest CD by Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys. Featuring songs like the upbeat "Peacock Walk," and baby anthem "Mama Dada Blues," the award-winning album is sure to become a staple in your kindie rock rotation. Trien and bandmate Adam Michael Rothberg will be performing at Jammin Java in Vienna on Feb. 24. For tickets, visit; for more information about Trien, visit Bubble Ride is $15 on

— Jeanette Der Bedrosian

They Grow Up So Fast!

Celebrate With Clifford arrives on DVD February 5 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Delight in 50 years of big fun and friendships in seven party-packed Clifford tales. Celebrate With Clifford is the first DVD release in two years for this beloved series, one of the longest-running children's programs on TV. The DVD includes seven themed episodes, along with special features and a bonus disc: Happy Birthday Clifford. Now everyone can join the fun with Clifford and his pals when the Celebrate With Clifford DVD arrives for the suggested retail price of $14.98.

— Margaret Hut

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Jane Cabrera beautifully extends the lyrics of a traditional song and pairs them with pictures of whimsical animal families from around the world. The result is a deftly rhymed, expansive version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Colorful double-page spreads feature wild creatures in their natural habitats-the kangaroo and her joey in the Australian desert, polar bears on the Arctic ice. In this way, Cabrera highlights the diversity and beauty of the larger world and our common connection to home and family. Little ones will love picking out the titular, shimmering star, whether it's shining down on an aerial view of mountains and farms or on the bright faces of a human child and mother. This makes a lovely read-aloud for Valentine's Day or bedtime.

ages 4 - 9

Love Twelve Miles Long

A slave boy receives a night visit from his mother, who walks 12 miles from her current home to see him. She tells young Frederick that she passes the time by dedicating each mile to a specific activity, be it forgetting her sorrow and tiredness during the first mile, listening to the night noises during the third, or dreaming of an end to slavery during the eleventh. This first book by Glenda Armand won publisher Lee and Low's prestigious New Voices Award for its lyrical writing, believable interaction between mother and child and focus on the early life of renowned intellectual Frederick Douglass. Colin Bootman's illustrations ground the narrative in the conditions of the time-the mother toiling in the fields, the child sleeping on the pantry floor amidst the pots and pans. Though sure to be featured during Black History Month, this story of love, resiliency and hope should be shared throughout the year.

ages 10+

Master George's People

To help celebrate Washington's birthday, award-winning author Marfe Ferguson Delano reveals a little-examined aspect of the first president of the United States: how and why his feelings about slavery changed during the Revolutionary War. The commander in chief went from "being an unthinking slaveholder to a very uneasy one" as he came into contact with black soldiers and artists, and American and French officers opposed to slavery. Washington was the only slaveholding Founding Father to act on his changed convictions, stipulating in his will that his slaves be freed upon the death of his wife. Delano also looks closely at the lives of the enslaved people on Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, and includes profiles of William Lee, his trusted body servant, the overseer Davy, who petitioned Washington for more food for the slaves, and the cook Hercules, who escaped in 1797. Lori Epstein's photographs help deepen understanding of the day-to-day existence of people trapped in slavery. This important, carefully researched work of nonfiction proves both factual and fascinating.