Snapshots of titles currently flying high in stores.

Leo is lovely. The Backstreet Boys still have the beat. But the newest teen heartthrobs on the block are the five young men of pop group *N SYNC. The band's debut album was released in March, and by October it had gone triple platinum and spawned two top-five singles. Throughout the summer, the group also garnered plenty of exposure -- in videos that were in heavy rotation on MTV and on the cover of Teen People.

Just when *N SYNC's young female fans are ready for more comes *N SYNC: The Official Book from Dell Books for Young Readers, also the publishers of the mega-selling teen biographies Leonardo DiCaprio: Modern Day Romeo and Leonardo: A Scrapbook in Words and Pictures. The 96-page, 8" x 9" trade paperback is priced at $9.95 and, as the only authorized book available, boasts full-color photos, all-new anecdotes about the guys' childhoods and careers and an autobiographical section devoted to each band member. Released on November 10 (the same release date for the band's new holiday album, Home for Christmas, from RCA and a behind-the-scenes home video, *N SYNC: 'N the Mix, from BMG), the book sold out of its 75,000 first printing in one day. Dell went back to press for an additional 160,000 copies the following day, based on demand, and has since ordered another printing, bringing the total in-print figure to almost 350,000.

The hefty demand has been driven by a strong fan base, but was no doubt bolstered by a stream of recent media appearances and promotional efforts. Jay Leno gave the book a plug on The Tonight Show when *N SYNC appeared on the program November 6, and photos of the book appear on the cover of a special *N SYNC edition of Teen Beat, now on newsstands.

Judith Haut, director of publicity for BDD BFYR, also cited several cross promotions with RCA, including an order form for *N SYNC merchandise in the book as well as a spot advertisement for the book on the 'N the Mix video and on an insert packaged with the CD. But a truly larger-than-life ad can currently be seen in Times Square, in the form of an *N SYNC billboard touting the band, the book, the video and the CD. And, by now, many readers will have seen the fivesome in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Curtis Continues to Climb

Children's books penned by celebrities come and go, often fading into the background when the novelty of name recognition wears off. But with two well-received picture books already under her belt (Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born and When I Was Little each have more than 100,000 copies in print), actress Jamie Lee Curtis has established a track record that any author would envy. Her third and newest work, Today I Feel Silly &Other Moods That Make My Day (HarperCollins/Cotler), illustrated by Laura Cornell, hit bookstores in September. In the book, Curtis employs rhyming verse to explore the many feelings and moods a child experiences.

To date the title is in its sixth printing with a total of 305,000 copies in print; it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for the entire month of November, a rare coup for any children's book.

The book's quick climb was certainly helped by Curtis's major television media blitz, including appearances on Today, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Rosie O'Donnell Show. Curtis also made a small-scale signing tour, visiting stores in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"Her book is doing extremely well for us," said Sharon Hearn, owner of Children's Book World in Los Angeles. "We were very fortunate to have her here for an autographing, but even before that -- right out of the chute -- the book was selling well. I think her books are really good, not even rating them as celebrity books, and our staff likes them and likes to sell them."

Time for Teletubbies

Love 'em or hate 'em, the Teletubbies have fully invaded U.S. shores from their native England and are likely here to stay. The team of four brightly colored, costumed creatures who speak in baby talk and sport television screens in their stomachs star in their own PBS series (Teletubbies, produced by Ragdoll Productions), aimed at toddlers.

They have also inspired numerous lines of toys and merchandise, not the least of which is a group of books from Scholastic. Nine Teletubbies titles -- a mixture of board and picture books -- were launched in October, and there are now 3.5 million total books in print. More titles in a variety of new formats are planned through fall 1999.

Scholastic is betting on kid demand to keep the Teletubbies books rolling, but is also getting the word out to adults through a $100,000 marketing campaign. In-store merchandise for booksellers includes a standing cutout of the characters, a mobile and a Teletubbyland floor display.

Traveling Up the Charts

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House) has been gaining fans and momentum ever since its debut in 1992. But the series, in which a magic tree house transports kids to various periods in history, exploded last year when Random House established a classroom program for it. For $3.95 teachers can join and receive teachers' packets, six to eight times a year, featuring activities inspired by the books. In 1997, 1100 classrooms participated, and the number for 1998 is expected to surpass that. Kids can also join the Magic Tree House Fan Club, which currently boasts more than 1800 members who receive newsletters, games and other goodies. The 16 volumes in the series have a combined one million copies in print; number 17, due out in March 1999, is set aboard the Titanic, still a hot topic.

Booksellers express considerable enthusiasm about the series. "I've loved them since they first came out," remarked Anne Ginkel, co-owner of Hobbit Hall in Roswell, Ga. "We have to continuously reorder; they fly out of the store. They do a fantastic job of reaching kids who love nonfiction and kids who have great imaginations."

"We love them!" exclaimed Sheilah Egan of A Likely Story in Alexandria, Va. "We sell them literally by the pound. They are perfect for the target age group [7-10], and they appeal to both boys and girls." Egan also noted that the books fit well into her state's new educational requirements, which require units on Greece, Egypt and Rome to be taught in the second grade.