Here's our monthly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.
From books and games to educational toys and DVDs, there's never a dull moment for active and eager young minds. The arrival of "April Showers" also brings the arrival of a downpour of great new featured works.
Quirk Books, $12.95, Ages 9 and older
"Nick & Tesla's Secret Agent Gadget Battle" by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith
This third book in this series is packed with top-secret contraptions, mystery and excitement. The 255-page compact hardcover is about brother and sister twins Nick and Tesla, who love science, but have a knack for getting into trouble. It picks up just weeks after the second "robot" installment and begins the duo on the trail of a suspected spy. It is available in stores May 6.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99, Ages 4 to 8
"Bad Bye, Good Bye" by Deborah Underwood
Fun illustrations by Jonathan Bean help the author share an important lesson about change in this 32-page, quick read hardcover. It's about a young boy and his family and their dog packing up for a move to a new home. Using humor and description, they story offers insight about transition, with a balance of both the scary moments and exciting new adventures and surprises that await. It's in stores now or visit hmhco.com.
HIT Entertainment, $9.98, Ages 1 to 5
"Barney: Happy Birthday Barney!" by Lionsgate
The famed purple T-Rex of PBS is celebrating his 25th Birthday on April 15! This 65-minute DVD includes three favorite episodes: "It's Your Birthday, Barney!," "Caring" and "The Magic Lamp," along with bonus features "Baby Bop's Tea Party Games" and "Counting in the Garden Game." Offering fun ways to use imagination, young viewers will learn about important lessons, such as why "homemade gifts" are extra special. It's available in stores or at barney.com.
HIT Entertainment, $14.98, 2 to 5
"Thomas and Friends: Railway Mischief" by Lionsgate
It's 56 minutes of full-speed ahead for five episodes of a tank engine with the power to keep young viewers excited about learning life's lessons. From the importance of listening to important advice from others who know to understanding why sometimes others feel "cranky," all of the favorite train station characters are along for this educational ride. Featured episodes include: "Gordon Runs Dry," "Kevin's Cranky Friend," "Scruff's Makeover," "Wayward Winston" and "Steamie Stafford," along with three bonus game features. It's in stores or at lionsgate.com.
Scholastic, Ages 3 to 9, $12.95
"The Magic School Bus: All About Earth" featuring the characters from author Joanna Cole and illustrator Bruce Degen
For more than 40 years, communities have gathered together on April 22 to celebrate the planet with Earth Day. This year, more than 1 billion people will participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Featuring three all-new, never-before-released episodes of the long-running Emmy Award-winning science adventure series, Ms. Frizzle, voiced by the wonderful Lily Tomlin, narrates three fun and educational trips (with both English and Spanish language options) along with the bonus episode "The Magic School Bus All Dried Up." Featured segments include "The Magic School Bus Goes to Seed", where the class' garden is going to be featured on the cover of Plant It! Magazine; "The Magic School Bus Blows its Top", which explains volcanoes and shows Ms. Frizzles class how the earth makes islands and "The Magic School Bus Goes on Air," which covers the mysteries and miracles of air pressure. It's available now in stores or at newkideo.com.