"Time for Kids Big Book of Where"

c.2013, Time Home Entertainment $19.99 / $21.95 Canada 192 pages

The other day, you couldn’t find your shoes.

You were pretty sure you left them in your room but they weren’t there when you went to look, so you asked Mom where your shoes were.

Of course, she knew - even though she reminded you that she doesn’t wear them.

Sometimes, it seems like you’re always losing things and you have to ask someone where to find them. But as you’ll see in "Time for Kids: Big Book of Where," some things are just where they need to be.

Take your home, for example.

You’re careful to throw garbage away in its proper place, but where does your trash go each week? Or each year? Or during your lifetime? And if you need to do some heavy-duty trash cleaning, where do germs hide and where does your water come from when you turn on the faucet?

If you like things big, then this book will tell you where the largest Mayan city was once located. You’ll read about a place where gigantic thousand-year-old statues are waiting for you to visit, and where there are huge cities underground. You’ll find out which countries each hold over a billion people and, on the other hand, you’ll learn which are the smallest countries in the world.

But let’s say you like to build and invent things. You know how much you love to create with your LEGOs, but where were they invented? Where were microchips and transistors invented? Where was the term "rock and roll" first screamed? And where on Earth is Silicon Valley ??

With this book in your hands, you’ll know exactly where Africa is splitting apart. You’ll know where the largest diamond, ever, was found (and where it is today). You’ll know where to go to breathe the purest air in the world, and where NOT to go if you want to avoid the world’s most poisonous snakes and bugs. You’ll find out where you’ll need to speak 800 languages to keep up, and where the world’s newest island is poking out of the sea. In fact, you’ll wonder where you’d be without a book like this…

Struggling to get your child to read something this summer? Or is your "good reader" bored with the same old fare? Either way, inside "Time for Kids Big Book of Where" is where you’ll want his nose to point.

Packed with fun facts and lots of full-color pictures and drawings, this book has a little something for just about every kid: bugs, vehicles, mysteries, art, nature, science, animals, there’s even something for sports fans and, obviously, for kids who love to travel. I liked that informational diversity because it can lead young readers to find other areas of interest – something for which your child’s teachers will be very thankful this fall.

While it’s meant for 8-to-12-year-olds, I think that, with parental help, slightly younger children will want to open this book, too. For any kid with a curious mind, in fact, "Time for Kids Big Book of Where" is a shoo-in.

"Four-Legged Miracles" by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger

c.2013, St. Martin’s Griffin $14.99 / $16.99 Canada 264 pages

You looked everywhere.

Why is it that when you put something away for safekeeping, it ends up being safe – from you? Why is it that you always find whatever you’re looking for in the last possible place you’d think to look?

Somewhere on Earth, if there’s a corral for lost items, it must be unimaginably huge. And, as you’ll see in "Four-Legged Miracles" by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger, there are some lost things you’d go to the ends of the Earth to find.

The gate was only open for a second. It took even less time for your fur-buddy to disappear, and the dog-sized hole in your heart still hurts. You’ll never stop hoping that, like Lassie, he comes home. In this book, you’ll get even more hope…

Dogs have many ways of getting lost.

Like Buca in Utah , they can become "freaked by their new surroundings," and bolt. Or perhaps, like show-dog Honor in Georgia , a minor mishap in unfamiliar territory could result in a missing pup.

Some dogs just love to roam, and the authors say you shouldn’t "take it personally." Perhaps, like Gyp in Tennessee , they might repeatedly leave and return, as if they want to comfort two families. If the roaming happens in woods or mountains, a dog like Aniki in British Columbia might spend awhile in the wilds before his person finds and rescues him.

And rescue our dogs, we do: whether it’s rabbit holes or man-made mishaps; boating accident or explosion; hurricane, tornado, or flood, we dog folks make sure our pups are kept safe. Authorities, post-Katrina, reported that 44 percent of pet owners refused to be rescued without their pets, for instance.

We can take comfort, however, in the beliefs of researchers and the fact that some dogs return. Maybe dogs read our minds, know how much we miss them, and hurry back. Maybe they have an innate sense of homing, a good sense of smell, or strong senses of love and loyalty. Or perhaps – if you believe in miracles - a joyous reunion can be explained with a "somewhat unconventional approach…"

In their introduction, authors Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger are careful to stress that all the anecdotes in this latest "Miracles" book are happy ones, in which every dog comes home. Though that’s rather relentless if you read it cover-to-cover, it’s also good news for anyone who’s lost a pooch. Indeed, some of the Steiger’s subjects returned to their owners many years after disappearing.

Another thing that’s good: "Four-Legged Miracles" lacks "four-letter" words. That means you can easily share this book with your 12-year-old, hand it off to great-grandma, then pass it to your pastor. It’s quick to read (the stories are short), and it also includes helpful advice on "speaking dog" and finding your lost Fido.

I would recommend this book for any dog lover. I’d also recommend that you browse rather than read beginning-to-end, for fuller impact. Do that, and the only thing you’ll have to lose with "Four-Legged Miracles" is time.

(The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.)