Developmental Parenting

How about a new publisher and a new series dedicated to new arrivals? ParentSmart Books inaugurates the ParentSmart series, which, with six titles in the works and more to come, is designed to be "a virtual 'Parenting 101' course." Focusing on the care of newborns to three-year-olds, books like Joyful & Confident Parenting and How Your Baby & Child Learns offer tips on everything from baby bonding to baby-proofing. Penny Shore and the International Advisory Council on Parenting developed the content, and with their large text, ample illustrations and fill-in-the-blank sections ("My Support Network," "My Positive Childhood Memories") the books are as familiar and reassuring as a high school health workbook. (ParentSmart [Mint Publishers, dist.), 241 Lexington Ave., Mt. Kisco, N.Y. 10549; (914) 244-1685, Joyful $12.95 paper 110p ISBN 1-896833-13-6; How Your Baby -16-0; Jan. 29)

Gardening Is for the Birds, and for Anglophiles

Guy Cooper and Gordon Taylor, landscape designers at the top of their game, take readers on a grand tour, tooling about the English countryside in a 1960s Alvis coupé, just as they did with viewers during six BBC Two episodes. The Curious Gardeners: Obsession and Diversity in 45 British Gardens samples the richness of this series. The authors drove from the North Sea to the coast of Cornwall, taking in an array of gardens on vast formal estates and in more intimate settings. Exploring traditional methods and modern twists alike, they highlight the unexpected, including a desert garden in Norfolk, tropical delights in Cornwall, water gardens, ponds, moats, waterfalls, hermitages, sculpture and even a tree cathedral. Their perceptive and witty observations pay tribute to the gardeners and their delightful creations. 150 color photos. (Headline [Trafalgar Square, dist.], $35 192p ISBN 0-7472-3614-3; Jan. 15)

Gardeners interested in attracting a variety of birds and butterflies to their gardens should consult The Bird Friendly Backyard: Natural Gardening for Birds. Julie Zickefoose and the editors of Bird Watcher's Digest detail various ways to offer winged creatures harbor in your backyard. Their good advice and instructive anecdotes on feeding, housing, rescuing and providing water sources for numerous species encourage enjoyment and the provision of safe places for birds and butterflies to visit and, if you're lucky, take up residence. Plantings that attract, feed and shelter, especially areas left relatively wild, will reward the gardener as well as the birds. All regions of the country are covered with helpful charts listing food preferences, sheltering landscapes and more, with a directory of resources and 100 two-color illustrations to complete the package. (Rodale, $16.95 paper 256p ISBN 0-87596-883-X; Jan. 2)

Simple, White & Blue

Coleen Cahill's Simple Solutions: Bedrooms illustrates many ways to enhance the room often considered the most personal in a home. Over time this simple, functional space has become more than just a place to sleep. For many it has become a retreat from the outside world, functioning as sanctuary, office, entertainment center, spa and more; in its planning and decoration, its occupants seek the most enjoyment and the best possible use of space. Cahill (Kitchens, also from the Simple Solutions series) explores tiny alcoves and cavernous spaces, displayed here in full-color. Soothing, satisfying environments can be created in the simplest or smallest room, via homemade canopies, "whimsical" dresser hardware, wall-mounted light fixtures, built-in storage space, aesthetics ranging from austere to cozy and a panoply of other design ideas. Timothy Drew, managing editor of Home Magazine, contributes an informative foreword which sketches developments in this previously overlooked design area. (Friedman/Fairfax [Sterling, dist.], $14.95 paper 128p ISBN 1-58663-165-9 Dec.)

When the temperature drops and the focus moves indoors, it's time to think about redecorating. Interior design journalist Lisa Skolnick and the editors of Victoria Magazine propose using Blue and White in Your Home. For a fresh design take on a classic color scheme, deploy the two colors that are the easiest to combine and offer a rich palette of shades and intensities. Charmingly simple, formal, traditional and even starkly modern treatments are among the many styles showcased here, with detailed suggestions for ceramics such as Delftware or Chinese export porcelain, mixing and matching fabrics, dressing up lampshades and pillows, etc. Walls, ceilings, floors, fabric, tile, china, paper and furniture can all be part of the mix. More than a hundred color photographs show off their ideas to great advantage. (Hearst, $30 176p ISBN 1-58816-055-6; Nov.)

Bright-Eyed and Liquored Up

Caterer Abigail Kirsch (The Bride & Groom's First Cookbook) brings slightly more experienced newlyweds another bright, cheerful volume in The Bride & Groom's Menu Cookbook. While Kirsch's first book focused on helping a new couple adapt to cooking together, her second aims to assist couples who know their way around the kitchen (and each other) entertain friends and colleagues and create new family traditions. Recipes employ easy-to-find ingredients and are organized by season and into menu suggestions. Kirsch, with the help of freelance writer Susan M. Greenberg, even includes in some of her menus "Serious Leftovers" recipes, so a couple that wants to prepare the Apricot-Mustard Glazed Smoked Ham for their new neighbors on Saturday can expect to enjoy the Ham and Barley Soup in front of their TV on a quiet Sunday. (Broadway, $25 298p ISBN 0-7679-0615-2; On sale Jan. 2)

Umberto Angeloni celebrates a seemingly narrow cultural proclivity—or, as the author would have it, cultural fact—in Single Malt Whiskey: An Italian Passion. Asserting that the Scots and the Irish—even Kentuckians—have nothing on knowledgeable Italians in terms of appreciating a good smoky, peaty single malt, he recounts his own love affair with the liquor. This lush volume also offers profiles of Italy's top whiskey collectors and pictures of celebrities imbibing in glamorous bars and on crowded film sets. As chairman of the luxury goods house Brioni, Angeloni is singularly qualified to detail life's fancier pleasures, and he promises more books on the Italian "art of living." 120 color and b&w illus. (Brioni [Antique Collectors' Club, dist., 800-252-5231 ext.104], $75 144p ISBN 0-9709552-0-0; Dec.)

Keeping Fit

In The Third Third: A Physician's Guide to a Healthy, Happy, Longer Life, N. Thomas Connally, a longtime general internist and recipient of the American College of Physicians' Laureate Award, offers health and longevity advice for people over 60. The "third third" of life requires particular dietary, exercise and other lifestyle measures, says Connally, who focuses heavily on the amount of free time in elderly people's lives. He asserts that keeping occupied with "contributions to society, close relationships, and personal interests" is key to strong physical health, and provides engaging anecdotal evidence. But he also gets down to brass tacks in detailed, readable descriptions of many ailments that afflict the elderly, including strokes, smoking addiction, pulmonary disease, sexual dysfunction and pneumonia. This comprehensive, reassuring guide tells readers how to assess their condition, get medical and other treatment and maintain emotional stability. (Bright Sky [Sterling, dist.], $22.95 340p ISBN 0-9704729-2-7; Nov.)

In Jennifer Kries' Pilates Plus Method the fitness expert explores the unique combination of yoga, dance and Pilates, which she argues can lead to increased stamina and serenity. Her workout begins with an understanding of the basics of all three disciplines. She begins with an examination of yoga breathing and breath control, and stresses that working one's way thoughtfully through the program utilizing elements of each form will achieve the goal—that rather than an endurance contest it should be a pleasurable experience. Every exercise is listed step-by-step with photos clarifying each, and is accompanied by a boxed "Insight" which tells how to follow the steps and what to imagine to keep the body on track. A section at the back groups exercises helping individual sports and activities. (Warner, $17.95 304p ISBN 0-446-67734-5; Jan.)