NAPPA '99 National Parenting Publications Awards

Books and Music

Plus the chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree

Winter is a time for holidays, and the holiday spirit is expressed in so many ways. We sing, dance, decorate, light candles--and of course give gifts. Parents especially know that the giving is as much fun as the receiving, but sometimes searching for just the right gift can be hectic.

This section is our annual offer of help to everyone, everywhere, shopping for gifts for children. Our judges have looked, listened, played and pondered before choosing the cream of the crop of this year's entries to honor with NAPPA Gold. Their reviews should help point you in the right direction as you shop and search. You can access this information online at,

And just to add some fun, we're giving away some free shopping as well. Our corporate sponsor, The Right Start, is hosting a random drawing in which one of our lucky readers will win the Grand Prize of a $1,000 shopping spree at any The Right Start store or Two runners up will win $100 shopping sprees.

To enter, read the official rules and mail your name, address, phone number and email address by Jan. 31, 2000 to: NAPPA Sweepstakes, 443 E. Irving Dr., Ste. D, Burbank, CA 91504 or enter at the customer service counter of The Right Start Store. To find the location nearest you, visit The Right Start's online store locator at

Happy holidays!



Best Kids' Books


by Kathleen Krull and Peter Neumeyer, Ph.D.

What makes a good book for children? It's almost easier to say what makes a bad one: Weak writing. Amateurish art or design. Too much preaching. Plot lines that have been done to death. Books that fail to ring some primary emotional chord. Stories that are secretly about adults and adult concerns.

Enough negativity! Here, then, are just the opposite: this year's best books. Each offers something fresh and valuable, whether it be stunning graphics, an original theme, subtle wisdom, or a genuine emotional response you just can't wait to share with a child heading into a new millennium.



Bark, George

written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Little dog George surprises everyone by the funny sounds he makes. What makes him finally bark is a surprise to everyone. Clever and in striking colors. HarperCollins; ages 2 to 6; $14.95. (212) 207-7491.



Where Are You?

by Francesca Simon

illustrated by David Melling

Harry the dog goes shopping with Grandpa (the dog), and they lose each other in the profusion of the supermarket. Lots of detail and a friendly spirit--a happy, low-key read-together. Peachtree Publishers; ages 2 to 6; $12.95. (404) 876-8761.



Another Important Book

by Margaret Wise Brown

illustrated by Chris Raschka

A never-before-published book by the author of Goodnight Moon? All about the stages of development between ages 1 and 6? With eloquent drawings? How important! HarperCollins; ages 4 to 8; $15.95. (212) 207-7491.



How are You Peeling?
Foods With Moods

by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Books for the very young on emotions are rare, but the stars here are the fruits and vegetables. All those who play with their food will find this irresistibly clever. Scholastic; ages 4 to 8; $15.95. (212) 343-7708.





Through My Eyes

by Ruby Bridges

This inspirational book is a detailed account--complete with dramatic photos, lots of background, and a "where-is-she-now" update--of what happened in 1960 when a 6-year-old child integrated an all-white school in New Orleans. Scholastic; ages 8 to 12; $16.95. (212) 343-7708.



A Child's Book of Art:
Discover Great Paintings

by Lucy Micklethwait

In this large-format book in which great paintings are scrutinized in detail with both care and imagination, provocative questions lead children and adults to see more than they'd ever imagine. Dorling Kindersley; ages 5 to 12; $16.95. (212) 213-4800.



DK Guide to Space:
A Photographic Journey Through the Universe

by Peter Bond

Using the newest photos from the Hubble telescope, this photographic journey through the universe features stunning views of comets, asteroids, planets and our own beautiful Earth. Dorling Kindersley; ages 9 and older; $19.95. (212) 213-4800.



Help! A Girl's Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies  

by Nancy Holyoke

illustrated by Scott Nash

There's not much out there for kids on this confusing and painful topic, and this unassuming guide is quite well-done. The main theme: talk. The only flaw in this useful little paperback is that no boy will touch it. Pleasant Company; ages 8 and up; $8.95. (608) 836-4848.



Folklore, Poetry
and Song


Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems/Los Angeles Andan en Bicicleta

poems by Francisco X. Alarcón

illustrations by Maya Christina Gonzalez

Going to the market in the evening, buying popsicles, going off to school, heading for the dentist, observing the smog and experiencing an earthquake--daily life in Los Angeles is celebrated in bilingual poems, and in paintings as bold and extroverted as the great multicultural city itself. Children's Book Press; ages 6 to 12; $15.95. (415) 995-2200.



Twelve Lizards Leaping:
A New Twelve Days of Christmas,

by Jan Romero Stevens

illustrated by Christine Mau

A colorful Southwestern motif injects new life into the traditional carol by way of tamales, piñatas, turquoise rings--and a charming quail in a paloverde tree. Rising Moon; ages 4 to 8; $14.95. (800) 346-3257.



Tasty Baby Belly Buttons,

by Judy Sierra

illustrated by Meilo So

In this exuberant Japanese folktale, in which monsters find belly buttons a yummy treat, a fearless heroine saves the day--and the babies. With pale, tasty illustrations. Knopf; ages 5 to 8; $17. (212) 782-8667.

Twilight Verses,
Moonlight Rhymes

compiled by Mary Joslin

illustrated by Liz Pichon

Saccharine and distinctly short on humor, this collection nonetheless displays ample first-rate poems, mellow and calming, for bedtime, against a pleasingly colorful background. Fortress Publishers; ages 2 to 5; $16.99. (612) 330-3327.





Beetle Boy

by Lawrence David

illustrated by Delphine Durand

"Gregory Sampson woke up one morning to discover that he had become a giant beetle," and beginning with that transformation of the first sentence of Kafka's The Metamorphosis, David's book continues the parody meticulously and hilariously, supported by the marvelously apt illustrations. Doubleday; ages 6 to 10; $15.95. (212) 782-8667.



I, Crocodile

by Fred Marcellino

Beginning with endpapers evocative of ancient Egypt, every illustration is a subtle historical document, beautiful in itself and, all together, supportive of a very funny tale with a surprise ending. HarperCollins; ages 6 to 10; $15.95. (212) 207-7491.



Swine Lake

by James Marshall

illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Two ultimate masters of wit--and of the picture-book art form--team up for an original story that combines elements of fairy tales, ballet, puns, and the sweet, subtle triumph of good over evil. HarperCollins; ages 7 and up; $15.95. (212) 207-7491.



David Goes to School

by David Shannon

A worthy successor to last year's two-word literary sensation--No, David! Now it's time for David to encounter (and of course flout) every possible rule at school. Gross, silly, and we can't wait to see David enter the business world. Scholastic/The Blue Sky Press; ages 4 to 8; $14.95. (212) 343-7708.




Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered

by Quentin Blake and John Cassidy

A foremost illustrator teams up with an imaginative and encouraging writer exhorting you to draw the darndest things, exploit your accidents, and lose yourself in hours of adventurous creativity with a pencil. Funny and exuberant. Klutz; ages 6 and up; $19.95. (650) 857-0888.



Kids Magnetic Poetry Book and Creativity Kit

by Dave Kapell and Sally Steenland

foreword by Judith Viorst

The introductory book is immensely encouraging for those who have no idea about poetry. Includes more than 200 magnetic word tiles and a magnetic board on which to rearrange them into an infinite variety of poems. Workman; ages 6 and up; $16.95. (212) 614-7596.



Look-Alikes Jr.

by Joan Steiner

In this junior companion to last year's amazing Look-Alikes, eye-catching photographs of complicated three-dimensional worlds are constructed out of common household objects. The activity of decoding them will supply literally hours of entertainment you'll want to share. Little, Brown; ages 4 and up; $12.95. (617) 263-2813.



Create Anything With Clay  

by Sherri Haab and Laura Torres

Once you flip through the attractive collection of "recipes" for ice cream sandwiches, dollhouse furniture, sushi, masks, jewelry and much more, you'll immediately smush your fingers into the eight colors of clay that come with the book. Klutz; ages 5 and up; $19.95. (650) 857-0888.


Kathleen Krull is the children's book reviewer for L.A. Parent magazine. She writes books for children, including Lives of the Presidents (Harcourt) and They Saw the Future (Simon & Schuster), as well as articles for The New York Times Book Review, the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly and other publications.

Peter Neumeyer has written and translated nine books for children, and is currently the children's book reviewer for The Boston Globe. He has taught at Harvard, SUNY, the University of Wales, the University of Rhode Island, West Virginia University and San Diego State University.




Best Kids' Music


by Jim Chase and John Wood

Go gently into the night or jazz up your day with the sounds of this year's 1999 NAPPA music winners. Your CD player will be working overtime playing this eclectic mix of soothing melodies, multicultural music, a cappella songs and playful tunes. Be sure to get your ears on these albums!





Softly We Sing

A drug-free way to become one with your pillow. Go to gentle and hang a left. Twelve traditional lullabies sung by child vocalists include instrumental singalong tracks ...if you can stay awake. Twin Sisters Productions; $8.99 cassette, $12.99 CD. (800) 248-TWIN (8946).



Moonfinder: A Sleepytime Journey For All Ages

Molly Conole and Nancy Waldman, two classically trained musicians, call themselves "Dreamsisters" for good reason. This beautifully performed mixture of original, traditional and international lullabies should encourage multiple listenings and an open door to the Land of Nod. Dreamsisters Inc.; $9.95 cassette, $14.95 CD. (407) 647-4466.



Lullabies of Latin America

International bilingual recording artist Maria Del Rey offers a gift of music to all who hear "Lullabies." Using traditional instruments and Latin American arrangements, she crafts 14 precious lullabies--first in Spanish and again in English. Bueno. Music for Little People; $9.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.




A Noel Nighty Night

This delightful package of new Christmas songs will put any youngster gently to sleep, dreaming of sugarplums and ho-ho-hos. Diana Rae's songwriting and vocals are exemplary. She was the "best part of waking up" vocal for Folgers, so she can start your day as well--the best of both worlds. Raeworks Music; $10 cassette, $15 CD. (615) 794-0076.



A Child's Garden of Songs

As if the brilliance of Robert Louis Stevenson's poems weren't enough, 16 of his finest works are set to outstanding music and voice here. Introduce your infant to classic poetry combined with near-perfect instrumentation. On second thought, treat the entire family to this gentle gem. Music for Little People; $9.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.



Nature Experience

The soothing music of Mother Nature is digitally captured with this quiet, calming CD must-have for any audio library. Simple, lyrical music is skillfully blended with a collection of sounds from water, songbirds, rain, storms, the forest floor and more. Relax and enjoy. Genius Products Inc.; $13.98 CD. (619) 793-8840.



Can A Jumbo Jet Sing
the Alphabet?

Hap Palmer is a steady musical friend and teacher for any young person to pal around with. This release is the third in a comprehensive guide that creatively teaches basic skills and fundamental concepts through music and movement. Hap's clever lyrics, easy vocals and organic arrangements are always a pleasure. Great liner notes for teachers, too. Hap-Pal Music Inc.; $9.95 cassette, $12.95 CD. (800) 645-3739.



Toddlers Sing

Kids love to hear other kids sing, and there are some splendid performances by 2, 3 and 4 year olds on this 22-song collection. Name a song and it's probably on here, including "I'm A Little Teapot," "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "1, 2 Buckle My Shoe." Must have been fun wranglin' them young 'uns in the studio. Music for Little People; $7.98 cassette, $11.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.



Jazz Joint Jump

On this latest release in the popular "Jungle Jazz" series, 10 wild and wondrous songs are written from the jungle animals' points of view. From cool and crazy "Hippo-Party-Mess" to the playfully percussive "Welcome to the Shake And Rumble," this album is the perfect soundtrack for your jungle. Play It Cool Records; $8.98 cassette, $11.98 CD. (303) 444-5722.  



Early Elementary


Kid'n Together/
Singin' at the Swing Set

Santa Barbara brothers Ben and Alex Meisel team up to share their love of music, family fun and being a kid--no matter what your age--with this exceptionally well-produced 14-song treasure. It's sure to get your family's toes tappin' and faces grinnin'. Alex, Ben & Company; $9.98 cassette, $14.98 CD. (800) 543-6386.



John Lithgow:
Singin' in the Bathtub

Oscar-nominated and Tony/Emmy Award-winning actor John Lithgow explains, "When we got together to do this album, one of our notions was to record the kinds of songs that I remember loving as a kid." Therein lies the magic. The arrangements are reminiscent of the original versions, particularly in "At the Codfish Ball," "The Gnu Song," "Swingin' on a Star" and the hilarious "From the Indies to the Andes in His Undies." This album is way too much fun for kids only. Sony Wonder; $9.98 cassette, $13.98 CD. (800) 221-8180.



Lois LaFond & Rockadiles

Lois reaches out and hugs the world with a talented ensemble of multicultural musicians and singers known as the Rockadiles on this wall-to-wall funfest. Sit still? Not a chance. Lois LaFond & Company; $9.95 cassette, $14.95 CD. (303) 444-7095 or (800) 443-4727.


Upper Elementary


World Playground

No less than 12 countries on six continents are represented on this delightful new CD. Take a magical tour around the world with international children's music stars such as Buckwheat Zydeco from the U.S., Trevor Adamson from Down Under, Nazare Pereira from Brazil, and others. It's your passport to play! Putumayo World Music; $10.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (888) 788-8629.



On the Good Ship Lollipop

featuring the Persuasions

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, "Wouldn't an all-a-cappella-all-the-time children's album get boring?" Don't be ridiculous. This collection of classic and original children's tunes has a touch of class, a whole lot of soul and a heart of gold. The seamless blend of voices fits hand-in-glove with the timeless material. Music for Little People; $9.98 cassette, $15.98 CD. (800) 409-2457.



John McCutcheon's Four Seasons: SpringSongs

This is the fourth volume in McCutcheon's "Four Seasons" series, and it completes the cycle of the seasons by linking the last of the snow to the first signs of summer. One of the best pure songsmiths and musicians around. Rounder Records; $9.50 cassette, $15 CD. (800) 768-6337.


Jim Chase has been a NAPPA judge for several years. He is an award-winning copywriter and former professional musician and songwriter.

John Wood is the music reviewer for eight regional parenting magazines. He co-created and performed more than 7,000 shows with the popular group J.P. Nightingale. Visit him on the Web at

Prizes provided by our Corporate Sponsor, The Right Start, the nation's leading specialty and online retailer for babies to kids.

Official Rules: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Limit one entry per household. To enter, mail your name, address, phone number and email address by January 31, 2000 to: NAPPA Sweepstakes, 443 E. Irving Dr., Ste. D, Burbank, CA 91504. Entries must be postmarked by January 31, 2000 to be eligible. Sponsor and prize suppliers are not responsible for late, illegible, incomplete, misdirected, mutilated or lost entries not received by the deadline. Winners will be selected by NAPPA via a random drawing by February 15, 2000. Decisions are final. Winners will be required to execute and return an affidavit of Eligibility, Liability Release and Publicity Release forms within 14 days of date of notification and before prizes are redeemed or alternate winners will be selected. Prizes are not transferable, assignable or redeemable for cash. Prize substitution is not permitted. All taxes are the sole responsibility of the Winners. Prizes must be redeemed by July 31, 2000. Sweepstakes open to U.S. citizens 21 years of age and older. Employees and their immediate families of NAPPA, participating publications, The Right Start, their parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, franchisees, licensees, advertising and promotion agencies are not eligible. Federal state and local laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited. Odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries received. By participating and by accepting or using prizes, winners respectively release, discharge and hold harmless Sponsor, participating publications, prize suppliers, their parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and agencies and each of their respective directors, officers, employees and agents from and all liability with respect to the Sweepstakes or the prizes. For the names of winners (available after February 15, 2000), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address listed above. By entering this Sweepstakes entrants agree to these Official Rules.

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