True Companions

Dorotheé Duntze memorializes another fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm with a palette readers can almost taste in Hansel and Gretel. The gingerbread house looks truly scrumptious, the woods seem foreboding indeed. (North-South, $15.95 32p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-7358-1422-8; Aug.)

The irresistible pooch featured on Nick Jr. returns for Kipper and Roly by Mick Inkpen. Kipper buys Pig a hamster he names Roly for Pig's birthday, but finds it difficult to give up Roly. That's where Pig's generosity comes in. (Harcourt/Red Wagon, $13.95 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-15-216344-1; Aug.)

In Angelina's Ballet Class by Katharine Holabird, illus. by Catherine Kanner based on illustrations by Helen Craig, the exuberant mouse pairs up with her pal, Alice, to demonstrate first through fifth positions and such steps as a pirouette and a grand jeté. Even cousin Henry shows up to play a bee when Angelina and Alice do a Sunflower Ballet. Readers can punch out a flip book of the heroine's moves at the back of the book. (Pleasant, $7.95 paper 32p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58485-363-8; Sept.)

When her older sister, Cleo, develops a crush on a classmate, Amelia watches her sibling's personality disappear in Oh Boy, Amelia! by Marissa Moss. Before all returns to normal, Amelia's notes and drawings (in the classic marble composition book) record some high hilarity. (Pleasant, $5.95 paper 40p ages 8-up ISBN 1-58485-330-1; Sept.)

After waxing poetic about the advantages of a vegetable garden in The Ugly Vegetables, author/artist Grace Lin describes the pleasures of a Chinese dining tradition in Dim Sum for Everyone. From sweet pork buns to little egg tarts, the plentiful dishes arrive on metal carts for a grand smorgasbord. An endnote offers a brief history of dim sum; endpapers show the wide spectrum available for sampling. (Knopf, $14.95 32p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-375-81082-X; July)

Barely recovered from her valiant efforts in capturing Lucy's killer in The Ghost of Fossil Glen, 11-year-old Allie finds herself wrestling with another ghost—this one strangely connected with the school's treacherous cafeteria lady—in The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs by Cynthia DeFelice. (FSG, $16 192p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-374-38046-5; Aug.)

In a follow-up to The Princess Diaries—soon to be a film starring Julie Andrews—Meg Cabot chronicles Mia's crowning as princess of Genovia in Princess in the Spotlight. The new monarch quickly discovers the power of an interview, as she nearly gets a teacher fired and manages to alienate her best friend and her royal subjects with a few simple sentences. (HarperCollins, $15.95 240p ages 12-up ISBN 0-06-029465-5; July)

Science Fare

The Naturescapes series kicks off with Dinosaurs: The Age of Giant Creatures by Christina Wilsdon, illus. by Christopher Srnka, and Mountains: An Inside Look at Earth's Forces by Linda Falken, illus. by David A. Hardy. The packaging is arresting: on the covers, diecut openings showcase plastic 3-D illustrations of, respectively, a green Triceratops and a purple mountaintop. More 3-D images surface on gatefolds inside the front covers (a dinosaur timeline and pictures showing how a mountain is created); the books themselves, printed on heavy stock, each combine text, plentiful illustrations and sidebars on 16 tabbed pages. (Reader's Digest, $14.99 each 16p ages 7-10 ISBN 1-57584-742-6; -743-4; June)

Dinophiles will want to check out Beyond the Dinosaurs!, Howard Zimmerman's follow-up to Dinosaurs! The Biggest Baddest Strangest Fastest in the same tall, skinny format. Vivid descriptions of beasts that coexisted with dinosaurs, among them the flying Quetzalcoatlus—"the size of a small airplane" with its 40-foot wingspan—accompany color illustrations by a variety of artists. Scenes of predators with prey and similar moments of high drama dominate. (Atheneum/Preiss Visual, $18 64p all ages ISBN 0-689-84113-2; June)

The dinosaurs' fate looms over the subjects of Planet Zoo: One Hundred Animals We Can't Afford to Lose by Simon Barnes, illus. by Alan Marks. Barnes, wildlife journalist for the London Times, relays his fact-filled, environmentalist message in an intimate tone: "The animal that is always supposed to have inspired the myth of the mermaid is the dugong.... The sailor who confuses one of these gentle, fat-faced beasts with a beautiful woman must have been at sea an awfully long time." Thoughtfully incorporated into each spread, Marks's detailed watercolors of creatures in motion give the book a powerful visual rhythm. (Orion [Trafalgar Sq., dist.], $29.95 260p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-85881-488-X; July) Respect for the environment is also the theme of Reading the Wild by Elise Maclay, illus. by Bev Doolittle. The artist's keenly observant watercolors—of such subjects as a snowshoe hare blending into a winter landscape or a bear family nestled among trees in a verdant hillside—serve as springboards for a variegated text, arranged according to different animals (hummingbird, badger, etc.) The animal profiles include descriptions, Native American lore, original poetry and tips for observing these creatures. (Greenwich Workshop [Artisan, dist.], $16.95 32p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-86713-061-X; June)

In two additions to the Up Close series by Diane Swanson, would-be scientists get a gander at various animals' heads and epidermis. Headgear That Hides and Plays covers everything from birds to fish to musk ox, explaining how their heads' structure help them to compete, feed, court and defend themselves. Skin That Slimes and Scares offers the same format, from the armored skin of the African rhinoceros to the poison-packed needles on the back of a red lionfish. (Greystone [Sterling, dist.], $9.95 each 32p ages 5-7 ISBN 1-55054-819-0; -817-4; June)

Tonsillectomy Time?

Juliana Lee Hatkoff and Craig Hatkoff tell youngsters what to expect in Good-Bye, Tonsils, illus. by Marilyn Mets. Beginning with the doctor's explanation of where tonsils are located in the mouth, the authors suggest books to prepare youngsters and a step-by-step list of the operation's proceedings, narrated by a girl patient. Despite the unpolished illustrations, this will be a valuable resource for parents of prospective patients. (Viking, $15.99 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-670-89775-2; June)