Many Happy Returns

The star of Clarice Bean, That's Me and Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting? returns for a third adventure, What Planet Are You From, Clarice Bean? by Lauren Child. When she learns a neighborhood tree is about to be chopped down, the heroine's environmental assignment takes on new meaning as she joins her entire family for a spaghetti-eating sit-in amongst its branches. The mixed-media and collage illustrations heighten the hilarity. (Candlewick, $16.99 32p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-7636-1696-6; Mar.)

In Always Copycub by Richard Edwards, illus. by Susan Winter, a follow-up to Copy Me, Copycub, it's spring, and the frisky, honey-colored hero discovers the fun of hiding from his mother and calling out, "Can't find me here!" One day, however, he hides too well, and finds himself lost in the forest at night; luckily, his mother locates him once again. (HarperCollins, $14.95 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-06-029691-7; Mar.)

Tanya gets the toe shoes she's been dreaming of in Tanya and the Red Shoes by Patricia Lee Gauch, illus. by Satomi Ichikawa. With time, practice and some help from her big sister, the heroine finally flies; the artwork portrays her joyous movement as well as her hopefulness and determination. (Philomel, $16.99 40p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-399-23314-8; Mar.)

Paul and Emma Rogers, the duo behind Ruby's Potty, create another recognizable scenario in Ruby's Dinnertime. Ruby eschews her "special chair" for a place at the table with "a grown-up plate and cup." (Dutton, $12.99 24p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-525-46847-1; Mar.)

In Benny and the Binky by Barbro Lindgren, illus. by Olaf Landström, trans. by Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard, the preschool pig gets the baby brother he's always wanted, but the charm soon wears thin. (FSG/R&S, $15 28p ages 2-6 ISBN 91-29-65497-1; Apr.)

Big Mouse and Little Mouse are back, after The Very Noisy Night, to lend a hand in The Very Busy Day by Diana Hendry, illus. by Jane Chapman. "I'm too busy to help," says Little Mouse. "I'm dreaming up something." The fellow finally redeems himself by revealing his creation. Imaginative illustrations feature a pint-size wheelbarrow made from clothespins and a spool. (Dutton, $15.99 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-525-46825-0; Mar.)

When a bad apple rides into town on his "greedy horse" and taps the water supply, then sells it back to the townspeople in expensive sips, cowgirl Jules and her trusty horse, Gertie, come to the rescue in Trouble at Sugardip Well by Esther Pearl Watson. Acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations bring Knot Belly and its inhabitants to life in this sequel to The Adventures of Jules and Gertie. (Houghton, $15 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-618-11863-2; Mar.)

The eggs from Dora's Eggs have hatched! In Dora's Chicks by Julie Sykes, illus. by Jane Chapman, a mother hen searches the barnyard for her wayward offspring, hidden in the hay and blending with the buttercups. (Tiger Tales, $14.95 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 1-58925-015-X; Mar.)

The star of Bun Bun's Birthday embarks on an adventure with her baby brother in Princess Bun Bun by Richard Scrimger, illus. by Gillian Johnson. They accidentally climb aboard the elevator in "Uncle Dave's" new building, the "Castle Apartments." (Tundra, $12.95 24p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-88776-543-2; May)

Youngsters may recognize the exuberant words of Tickle Tickle by Dakari Hru ("me papa tickle me feet/ he call it 'finger treat'/ me scream and run each time he come/ me papa tickle me feet"), first published in the collection In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall, illus. by Javaka Steptoe (1997). Here, the poem gets a volume of its own, as Ken Wilson-Max's thick, textured brushstrokes wrap baby and family in a warm glow. (Millbrook/Roaring Brook, $14.95 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-7613-1537-3; Apr.)

Giles Andraea and David Wojtowycz, the team behind Rumble in the Jungle and Commotion in the Ocean, now focus on farm animals in Cock-a-Doodle-Doo! Barnyard Hullabaloo. (Tiger Tales, $14.95 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 1-58925-020-6; Mar.)

As fans watch the rink during the Winter Games, they can get the inside scoop from 12-year-old figure skater Emily Hughes, who shares what goes into her practice schedule, the rewards of international competition, and her hopes and dreams for the future in I Am a Skater, photos by Jane Feldman, the fourth title in the Young Dreamers series. (Random, $14.99 48p ages 8-13 ISBN 0-375-80256-8; Jan.)