Oprah's 24th book club pick made the folks at Hyperion extremely happy. Once again, she chose a hardcover first novel, Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes, right around its pub date. Great early reviews (including a star in PW) and strong early quotes (blurbs from Connie Mae Fowler, Pat Conroy and Shelby Hearon) were bolstered by a 10,000-copy first printing and local bookstore appearances and media (mostly around Haynes's Mississippi home). With the Oprah selection, that figure has altered dramatically: Hyperion now has 710,000 copies in print. Expect the book to land on the charts next week at #2, with Hannibal enjoying its second week in the lead spot. During her announcement for the selection, Oprah read from a letter that Haynes sent to agent Wendy Weil back in September 1997: "I've found myself on more than one occasion standing in Barnes &Noble and the public library and the newsstands in the airport, struck to the heart over words. I say this because this is my hope -- that a reader will one day read something that's come out of me and be struck by the truth of the matter." Her words clearly struck Oprah, who has the capacity to strike her massive audience. Serious talent and luck are key ingredients for Oprah's picks. Luck was with Hyperion's Martha Levin. Her first job in publishing, back in 1976, was working for Weil; her first acquisition when she joined Hyperion in February 1998 was Haynes's book.

Harry Potter may be riding high on children's and adult bestseller lists these days (see Behind the Bestsellers, June 7), but several other titles for kids are making waves as well. Dominating the charts at the chain bookstores (claiming 22 of the top 50 spots on Borders's May list), and #1 on our series and tie-ins list, are the various tie-ins for Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Random House has no fewer than 25 titles in its Star Wars program; the top two sellers have a combined 1.1 million copies in print (650,000 copies for Storybook, 450,000 copies for Scrapbook). Scholastic has six Star Wars tie-ins of 2.65 million copies; its bestseller, a novelization by Patricia C. Wrede, was #1 on Borders's children's list for May, and has 900,000 copies in print. And DK's two Star Wars titles, which preceded the opening of the movie, are still going strong. Incredible Cross-Sections and The Visual Dictionary each has just over one million copies in print.

It's become an axiom that winning a Newbery Award will propel sales of a children's novel above 100,000 copies, but this year's recipient, Louis Sachar's Holes (FSG/Foster), has sold almost double that figure, less than five months since the award. Holes, which pubbed in September '98, got its first shot in the arm when it won the National Book Award in November, followed by the Newbery on February 1. Thanks to the NBA, there were 46,000 copies of Holes in print before the Newbery announcement; post-Newbery, after 15 trips to press, there are 193,500 copies in print in all editions (including book club).

The death of children's p t Shel Silverstein last month led to a "tremendous outpouring" of calls and letters, according to HarperCollins children's publicity director Virginia Anagnos. And Harper saw an immediate jump in sales of his books as well. Four Silverstein titles (The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Light in the Attic and Falling Up, which have a combined 18 million copies in print) were on both Amazon's and Walden's top 20 lists in May. Anagnos reports that sales tripled in the first two weeks following his death, and the books are currently selling at double the normal rate.

And fans of the Plaza Hotel's most famous fictional resident are stocking up on two May releases: Eloise: The Absolutely Essential Edition and Eloise in Paris (both S&S). Both are in their second printings; The Absolutely Essential Edition has 100,000 copies in print, and Eloise in Paris has 160,000. As Eloise would say, "It's all rawther exciting."

With reporting by Diane Roback.