Witty Words of Wisdom

Hello Kitty has it covered in Hello Kitty's Little Book of Big Ideas: A Girl's Guide to Brains, Beauty, Fashion, Friendship & Fun! by Marie Moss. With chapters such as "Witty Kitty" offering tips for sharpening readers' wits (e.g., a list of "12 Things to Get You Thinking"), "Style File" including a "fashion fundamentals checklist," and "Pal Power" covering the "buddy basics," Moss's commentary is pithy and punchy. A chic design with the famous feline at its center makes the whole package a temptation for females of all ages. (Abrams, $14.95 80p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-8109-4158-9; June)


Two new additions to the Harper Growing Tree series help entertain babies, then lull them to sleep. My First Baby Games, illus. by Jane Manning, includes rhymes such as "This Little Piggy" and "Pat-a-Cake" and demonstrates infants and toddlers joining in the fun. Backyard Bedtime by Susan Hill, illus. by Barry Root, offers reassurance that not only do youngest readers have to go to bed, but so do the "sweet peas," "blue jays" and "tall cedars." Illustrations of sleeping pumpkins and houses underscore the soothing text. (HarperCollins, $5.95 each Baby Games 14p ages 3mos.-up ISBN 0-694-01435-4; Backyard 24p ages 1-up -01317-X; May)

The big sister from Good as Goldie pitches a fit when she sees her brother clutching her favorite doll in Goldie Is Mad by Margie Palatini. At first Goldie wants him to disappear, but repetitive, gradually softening phrases show how she mellows, using her doll as a buffer. This recap of an everyday squabble models a logical (though not guaranteed) way out of a tantrum. (Hyperion, $14.99 32p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-7868-0565-X; July)

Everyone's favorite canine teacher is back for an alphabetical tour of the community in Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip with Kindergarten by Joseph Slate, illus. by Ashley Wolff. The class meets the people who keep their neighborhood going and joins the proceedings, as Danny cuts out cookies at the bakery and Miss Bindergarten herself slides down the pole in the firehouse. (Dutton, $16.99 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-525-46710-6; July)

The stars of Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Sloppy Counting Book learn a few things about the properties of primary colors in Warthogs Paint: A Messy Color Book by Pamela Duncan Edwards, illus. by Henry Cole. Stuck inside on a rainy day, they start out with their cans of red, blue and yellow paint—and various spills and messes show them that blue and yellow make green, etc., until they create an indoor rainbow. (Hyperion, $14.99 32p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-7868-0470-X; July)

A third math adventure, Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland by Cindy Neuschwander, illus. by Wayne Geehan, chronicles Sir Cumference's son, Radius, in a quest to earn his knighthood by rescuing a king. The circular medallion (a protractor) given to Radius by his father and his mother, Lady Di of Ameter, aid him in examining every angle along the way; and readers get a circular medallion of their own with which to follow along. (Charlesbridge, $16.95 32p ages 5-10 ISBN 1-57091-170-3; $7.95 paper -169-X; July)

In Nutik and Amaroq Play Ball by Jean Craighead George, illus. by Ted Rand, another picture book adaptation of a scene from Julie's Wolf Pack, Nutik, the wolf pup, leads his master, Amaroq, on a mysterious mission, then home again in time for lunch. (HarperCollins, $15.95 40p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-06-028166-9; June) The charmer first met in Little Cliff and the Porch People, set in the 1950s South, returns to face a new school year in Little Cliff's First Day of School by Clifton L. Taulbert, illus. by E.B. Lewis. Though Lewis's watercolors capture an era a half-century ago, the feelings of anxiety Taulbert conveys are still the same for today's readers. The mood in the paintings and the hero's loving family provide all the reassurance the boy—and readers—need. (Dial, $15.99 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8-37-2557-4; June)

The Fourth of July is fast approaching Cobtown in Julia and Robert Van Nutt's latest installment, Skyrockets and Snickerdoodles. When a mouse eats the Cobtown markings, leaving a hole in a historic map, surveyors arrive to rename the town Carbuncle. Luckily, a holiday game of baseball uncovers the town marker and saves the day. (Doubleday, $15.95 32p all ages ISBN 0-385-32553-3; June)

Susan Kuklin, who wrote the award-winning Dance with Bill T. Jones, here teams up with the WNBA's recently named MVP, Sheryl Swoopes, in Hoops with Swoopes. Kuklin's soaring photographs of Swoopes and bright, bold typography vibrate on a vast expanse of white space, as the Houston Comet jumps (she extends horizontally across a spread) and looks suitably poker-faced while pulling off a fake. Along with basketball basics, Kuklin and Swoopes deliver a potent message about female strength and self-esteem. (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, $15.99 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-7868-0551-X; July)

Take Me to the Museum!

Two new entries in the Off the Wall Museum Guides for Kids series, Greek and Roman Art and Modern Art by Ruthie Knapp and Janice Lehmberg, offer museum-goers tips on how to view art of those eras. The first explains common terms and uses of objects, as well as details about Greek and Roman culture; the second offers brief biographies of such artists as Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollack. Full-color photographs of artwork from a variety of museums are indexed in the back. (Sterling/ Davis, $9.95 each paper 72p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-87192-549-4; -548-6; June)

At the Barre

A piglet, duck, lamb and other young farm animals practice their ballet steps in Dancing Class by H. M. Ehrlich, illus. by Laura Rader. A simple rhyming text, charming illustrations and familiar moves will introduce tutus and the barre to beginning dancers. (Scholastic/Orchard, $12.95 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-531-30300-4; May)