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2001 Awards
The Brand New Kid
(by Katie Couric/illus. by Marjorie Priceman, Doubleday $15.95 Score:) Kids who are starting in a new school as well as kids who are returning will relate to this all too familiar story of being an outsider. In lilting verse, Couric spins a little lesson that speaks to being kind and accepting and the courage it sometimes takes to stand up for someone who is being excluded. We want our kids to be kind and often we expect them to be that way naturally. But sometimes we need to be direct about this and The Brand New Kid can help you do that.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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Awards
Lynn Kleiner Rhythm Sets
(Remo $24.95 Score:) Many instruments for young kids make noise instead of music and are basically unsafe. Strike up the rhythm band with these kits that are well crafted with sound and safety in mind. Babies Make Music includes jingle shaker, wrist jingle, and a small drum and scarf (safe enough for toddlers who still mouth their toys). 2 & up. Kids Make Music includes a 7" tambourine, triangle, wrist bell (with big jingles), rhythm sticks, and one maraca; Kids Make Music, Too has an 8" drum, scarf, finger cymbals, woodblock with mallet, and one egg shaker. 3 & up. SNAP Activity: Use drum or rhythm sticks for a math game. Make a stack of cards labeled with numbers 1-10. Put them face down. Player draws a card and taps that number. Other player must guess the number on your card. If she gets it, give her the card. At the end of the game switch parts. Now the other player does the reading and tapping. (800) 397-9378.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Award
Jamtown
(Jamtown $8 Score:) We loved the sound quality and authentic folk beauty of a carved Peruvian shaker ($8), Gourd Scraper ($16), and rosewood Clave Sticks from Mexico ($12). You can buy a small drum, claves, and shaker in a Jamtown Jr. kit with a cassette tape ($35). These and other folk instruments from places like Africa and Indonesia make unusual gifts for the family.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Award
Boomwhackers
(Whacky Music $19.98 Score:) Wacky is the right word to describe these tuned percussion tubes-wonderfully wacky! Whack your head, hip, knee (we hope not your brother). These unique color-coded plastic tubes provide for a playful low-tech exploration of rhythm and harmony. Hand one or two out to each member of the family and have a happy wacky time!

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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Award
Rabbit Ears Folktales Collection
(Rabbit Ears $10.95 Score:) Classic folktales narrated by well-known actors, and illustrated by marvelous artists, with accompaniment by well-known musicians, make these now full-sized paperbacks with audiocassettes outstanding gift choices. Be forewarned that these are not written in an easy-to-read format. These are just a few of the best choices: •John Henry told by Denzel Washington •Johnny Appleseed told by Garrison Keillor •Goldilocks told by Meg Ryan •Koi and the Kola Nuts told by Whoopi Goldberg •The Emperor's New Clothes told by Sir John Gielgud

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: .

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1997 Awards
The Odyssey
(Odds Bodkin, Rivertree Prod. $ Score:) Our 11-year-old tester listened to this four-hour set of tapes at bedtime over a period of weeks. Told with many voices and accompanied by Celtic harp and 12-string guitar, this telling introduces kids to the adventures of Odysseus and returns Homer's written words to the oral tradition from which they came.

Age: . Award Year: 1997.

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Award
Best Loved Stories
(Greathall Productions $ Score:) This collection includes "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," "The Sleeping Beauty," and "Snow White." Jim Weiss is a master storyteller who plays a whole cast of characters in every tale he tells. Also recommended, The Christmas Carol, The Jungle Book (PLATINUM AWARD '96), and Fairytale Favorites.

Age: Early School Years. Award Year: .

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1999 Awards
The Illustrated Book of Ballet Stories
(by Barbara Newman/illus. by Gill Tomblin, DK $19.95 Score:) This handsomely illustrated book includes five ballet stories including "The Nutcracker," "Swan Lake," "Sleeping Beauty," "Giselle," and "Coppelia." Comes with CD that includes music from all five ballets.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 1999.

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2001 Awards
Harry Potter Audio Tapes/CD
(Listening Library $30 Score:) Taking a long trip? Don't leave home without at least one of these eight-hour cassette or CD sets of all four Harry Potter books. Jim Dale's narration will captivate and entertain the whole family. We tried these out with a carful of Potter fans who were skeptical about how the different characters would be treated. Dale uses a delicious mix of voices that adds much to the enjoyment of listening to a familiar story.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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2001 Awards
The Farewell Symphony
(by Anna H. Celenza/illus. by JoAnn E. Kitchel, Charlesbridge $19.95 Score:) Papa Haydn and his musicians are busy playing and working at Prince Nicholas' summer palace. But when their seemingly endless separation from their families stretches from summer into fall, Haydn has a plan. Based on Haydn's diaries, this charming story explains how his Symphony No. 45 really was a farewell opus!

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2001.

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