A Novel(ty) Idea

A board book edition of Mem Fox's Time for Bed, illus. by Jane Dyer, is included in the Time for Bed Gift Set. As the baby animals settle down for a good night's sleep, youngsters will be lulled by the soothing, repetitive text, and the sturdy, beautifully crafted nightlight—nestled alongside the book in a handsome package—will assuage any fear of the dark. (Harcourt/Red Wagon, $15.95 all ages ISBN 0-15-216228-3; Oct.)

Young learners will appreciate the repetition, rhyme and cheerful illustrations in Ana Martín-Larrañaga's Guess What I Have! and Guess Who's Hiding! In the first, each page repeats the title refrain, then provides a clue as to what each animal has peeking out behind them. An alligator asks, "Guess what I have! (It rhymes with cat!)" Readers turn the half-size page to reveal the smiling alligator in a hat. In the second, little animals hide behind their bigger brethren. (Barron's, $4.95 each paper 32p ages 2-4 ISBN 0-7641-1941-9; -1942-7; Oct.)

In two paper-over-board entries in the Animal Friends Flip-Overs series by Siobhán Brandon, illus. by Caroline Jayne Church, readers flip the book midway through to complete the tale. The Bird's Story and The Buffalo's Story features an African egret who "would really like some fat juicy bugs" to feed her baby. Lo and behold, there's Buffalo with a back full of bugs. Readers then turn the book over to meet him, bothered by "tics and bugs biting him—just out of reach." In The Honey Badger's Story and the Honey Guide's Story the badger and bird help each other get something sweet to eat. (Zero to Ten [IPG, dist.] $7.95 each 24p ages 3-up ISBN 1-84089-120-3; -121-1; Oct.)

An austere white landscape dramatically frames icy footprints, a blue foil moon and frosty water in If I Were a Polar Bear by Rives. Later, a delicately woven igloo emerges from the earth and, on the final spread, the wintry white bear proudly approaches the North Pole. A die-cut slipcase lets the paw print shine through. (Intervisual, $16.95 ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-046-7; Sept.)

Moley Gets Dressed for All Weather features the cute creature in four seasonal spreads. Standing in a springtime shower, Moley says, "Drip, drop, the rain comes down/ A rainbow in the sky/ What should I put on today/ To keep me neat and dry?" Readers can reach for the plastic case tucked inside the front cover to choose from the 16 magnetic pieces of clothing and affix their selection to the board book's heavy pages. (Dial, $12.99 8p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-8037-2688-0; Sept.)

Two tiny plush mice banded inside the Mouse in the House Pop-Up Playset by Andrea Reitman, illus. by Karen Bell, with paper engineering by Reneé Jablow, fit perfectly in the six play scenes, featuring wee bunk beds, a bath tub and seesaw. (Piggy Toes, $16.95 3 spreads ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-156-0; Sept.)

A chimpanzee swings, a snake slithers and a crocodile clamps his jaws in The Pop—Up Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae, illus. by David Wojtowycz, based on the picture book by the same name. (Tiger Tales, $14.95 12p ages 3-7 ISBN 1-58925-658-1; Sept.)

A little bear learns ABC's and 1,2,3's, plays outside and paints a picture in Fuzzy Bear Goes to School by Dawn Bentley, illus. by Krisztina Nagy. Pull-tabs let the bear drum and slide; a tiny note pad invites young readers to write their names. Foil and fabric accents and a scratch-and-sniff apple complete the interactive experience. (Piggy Toes, $10.95 10p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-124-2; Sept.)

Ben is determined to cheer up his inconsolable canine in Sad Doggy by Jennifer Lawrence. But his increasingly elaborate efforts have little effect. In the end, it's the simplest gesture that turns the depressed dog into a perky pup. Tim Ering's wacky illustrations and creative paper engineering add drama. (Piggy Toes, $13.95 18p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-066-1; Sept.)

Pillow Talk

Stuffed with sweetness—not to mention cotton batting—Willabel Tong's Merry Faces, a Cuddly Cloth Book, features a fuzzy-tufted reindeer on the front. Inside, an angel wears a blue ribbon bowtie and liftable yellow wings. Baby Animals highlights cuddly creatures. A "squeaker" sewn inside the back will surprise little ones. (Piggy Toes, $14.95 each 6p ages 6mos.-up ISBN 1-58117-150-1; -149-8; Sept.)

Through simple dialogue, Rosemary Wells tells the story of sister Ruby as she tries to get mischievous Max dressed up to go outside in Max's Snowsuit. The soft cloth book cover shows Max all bundled up; a red fleece scarf—big enough for little fingers to tie and untie—is wrapped around his neck. (Grosset & Dunlap, $9.99 10p 6 mos-3 yrs ISBN 0-448-42403-7; Oct.)

As the copy on the snap-lock carrying case says, Paul Stickland's My Ragged Bears Cuddly Book is a "book... pillow... [and] teddy bear all-in-one." A zipper running ear to ear on the golden velour bear head opens to reveal 12 cloth pages, each illustrated with an animal and its name. In the end, children can uncurl the bears' four rattling feet tucked inside. (Ragged Bears [Chronicle, dist.], $19.95 12p ages 6 mos-4 yrs ISBN 1-929927-38-X; Dec.)

Reference Resources

Three new reference books stand ready to be mined by young researchers. The Concise Children's Encyclopedia provides a rich core of information on such topics as continents, religions, science and technology, sports and the arts. The paper-over-board volume's compact size, bold graphics and brief chunks of text lend appeal. Sidebars offer additional information as well as topics for further research. (Kingfisher, $14.95 320p ages 8-14 ISBN 0-7534-5395-9; Sept.)

The Little Encyclopedia provides a similar, yet more focused format, with an airier design, for younger readers. Its companion volume, The Little Science Encyclopedia, also suggests fun experiments. (Kingfisher, $11.95 each paper ages 5-8 ISBN 0-7534-5401-7; -5402-5; Sept.)

Egyptian Nonfiction

Egyptologist Delia Pemberton unravels the mystery of mummification in Egyptian Mummies: People from the Past. Focusing on seven mummies that currently reside in the British Museum, this volume provides a wealth of information about such subjects as tomb preparation, funeral equipment and 18th- and 19th-century mummy mania. Full-color photographs of tombs and period artifacts plus sidebars punctuate the text. Pemberton wraps it all up with a glossary, index and suggestions for further reading. (Harcourt, $18 48p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-15-202600-2; Sept.)

Fans of The Magic School Bus will enjoy Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole, illus. by Bruce Degen. In this, the first of a new social studies/history series, the offbeat educator takes a vacation and winds up taking over her Cairo-bound tour group. Word balloons, "travel diary" entries and plucky sidebars teach readers about the ancient alphabet, mummification and daily life in this fascinating civilization. (Scholastic, $15.95 48p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-590-44680-0; Sept.)

In Meredith Hooper's Who Built the Pyramid?, illus. by Robin Heighway-Bury, the opening spreads introduce different players in Egyptian history, all claiming responsibility for the construction of King Senwosret's pyramid. Readers finally get the facts in the back pages, packed with reportage about the pyramids' planning and later, its pillaging. At times, the text raises more questions than it answers, but the watercolor and computer-generated illustrations reflect the warm tones of the desert civilization. (Candlewick, $15.99 40p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-7636-0786-X; Oct.)

Classic Characters

When the cobbler's daughter marries the wealthy Lord Leofric, she soon sees that his greed is forcing the villagers into poverty. Says he, "The day I lower taxes is the day you ride naked through the streets of Coventry." Lynn Cullen's picture-book retelling of Godiva boils the tale down to its essence, while Kathryn Hewitt's realistic oils cast a golden glow on the benevolent Lady and the commoners whom she champions. (Golden, $14.99 32p ages 5-up ISBN 0-307-41175-3; Oct.)

Lisbeth Zwerger breathes new life into a tale from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, How the Camel Got His Hump. With scenes framed in a white border, Zwerger's earth-toned paintings convey the dryness of the desert in which the story takes place; patterned scarves, maps and floral friezes rest beneath, while elements from the narrative appear as spot art. (North-South, $15.95 24p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-7358-1483-X; Sept.)

DeLoss McGraw's illustrations bring the magic of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to a younger audience, with abstract splashes of color that render the Caterpillar a bit less eerie and the Queen less terrifying than Sir John Tenniel's interpretation. One hallucinogenic image captures Alice awash in deep blue watercolor, her long legs rising in an ethereal haze as her head reaches the ceiling. A small green window and miniaturized chair accentuate her rapid growth. (HarperCollins, $21.95 192p ages 8-up ISBN 0-06-029150-8; Oct.)

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, which first appeared on the literary scene in 1937, receives elegant and appropriately fantastical treatment—with Peter Sís's artwork on the jacket—just in time for the December release of The Fellowship of the Ring. The paperback features sturdy foldover flaps on the cover. (Houghton, $18 320p ages 12-up ISBN 0-618-16221-6; $10 paper -15082-X; Oct.)

John Warren Stewig offers a faithful retelling of the Grimm tale featuring the sisters, one kind, the other mean and lazy, who visit Mother Holly—and receive vastly different recompense for their efforts while in her employ. Illustrations by Johanna Westerman convey the mean-spirited stepmother and her daughter, and the kind Rose, whose inner beauty shines forth. (North-South, $15.95 40p ages 5-8 ISBN 1-55858-926-0; Sept.)