They're Back!

The companion to the classic Caps for Sale, Circus Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (originally published in 1967 as Pezzo the Peddler and the Circus Elephant) places the peddler and his wares in the middle of a circus procession at the county fair—then center stage. (HarperCollins, $15.95 48p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-06-029655-0; Apr.)

Arnold Adoff's 1973 poem black is brown is tan, featuring the "first interracial family in children's books," according to the publisher, appears here with Caldecott Medalist Emily Arnold McCully's new watercolors. (HarperCollins/Amistad, $15.95 40p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-06-028776-4; Apr.)

Originally issued in 1985, the counting book Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove by Alice Schertle returns with new illustrations by Ted Rand. Hattie collects all her stuffed animals just before bedtime to tell them each how special they are. (HarperCollins, $15.95 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-688-16022-0; Apr.)

The follow-up to Brave Cowboy, Cowboy and His Friend by Joan Walsh Anglund, first published in 1961, features the eponymous hero and his imaginary companion. Throughout, lively b&w line drawings depict the child; "Bear" appears in brown. The tiny trim size adds to the appeal. (Andrews McMeel, $6.95 40p all ages ISBN 0-7407-2211-5; Mar.)

Beginning Reader Buddies

Several stars of early readers return for more adventures. Let loose at the carnival, the star of Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph by Jack Gantos, illus. by Nicole Rubel, tries to outplay Cousin Percy and impress Sarah, his owner. The hero resorts to cheating, but, by the end of this Rotten Ralph Rotten Reader, he repents, returns his ill-gotten booty and wins a prize the right way. (FSG, $15 48p ages 6-8 ISBN 0-374-36356-0; Mar.)

Tomie turns six in What a Year by Tomie dePaola, the fourth installment in his 26 Fairmount Avenue autobiographical series. Adventure awaits as he trick-or-treats with his baby brother, battles a case of chicken pox that threatens to keep him out of the Christmas pageant and finally gets to stay up past midnight on New Year's Eve. (Putnam, $13.99 80p ages 7-11 ISBN 0-399-23797-6; Mar.)

The follow-up to Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat, Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat by Sara Swan Miller, illus. by True Kelley, highlights scenes every cat-loving kid will recognize. Kitty plays with wrapping paper instead of presents in "Happy Birthday" and "Funny White Stuff" finds him begging to play in the snow (then pleading to come back inside). (Houghton, $15 48p ages 6-9 ISBN 0-618-11035-6; Mar.)

A mother frog tackles the bedroom of her sloppy son in Let's Clean Up! by Peggy Perry Anderson, a companion to Out to Lunch. Before long, the little amphibian's room returns to ruin; his unorthodox attempts to clean it up himself bring humorous results. (Houghton/ Lorraine, $15 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-618-19602-1; Mar.).

Iris anticipates her baby sibling with glee: "It will be just like playing with a doll," she tells her friend Walter. But when the new arrival won't stop crying, the big sister changes her tune in Iris and Walter and Baby Rose by Elissa Haden Guest, illus. by Christine Davenier. Once again, Grandpa brings a new perspective in this charming beginning chapter book series. (Harcourt, $14 44p ages 6-9 ISBN 0-15-202120-5; Mar.)

Teen Talk

School shootings, suicide, self-injury, and sex crimes—Sabrina Solin Weill takes on tough topics in We're Not Monsters: Teens Speak Out About Teens in Trouble. Each chapter offers a roundup of the issues, facts and statistics, plus advice and the voices of teenagers themselves, gathered from extensive interviews and hundreds of Web postings. Suggestions for further reading as well as phone numbers and Web addresses of organizations designed to help are included. (HarperTempest, $6.95 paper 240p ages 13-up ISBN 0-380-80703-3; Jan.)

Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman, the team behind How Do You Spell God?, speak directly to tweens and teens in Bad Stuff in the News: A Guide to Handling the Headlines. Beginning with what happened last September 11, the self-titled "God Squad" seeks to put the events in the headlines into perspective, including natural disasters and hate crimes. Sections called "Stuff to Understand" and "Stuff You Can Fix" offer ideas for young people who wish to take action. (North-South/SeaStar, $14.95 paper 120p ages 9-14 ISBN 1-58717-132-5; Mar.)

Neale Donald Walsch, author of the bestselling Conversations with God, here gathers questions from teens across the globe (from broader queries such as "Why is there so much pressure—from parents, from school, from everyone?" to prickly questions such as "Why do you let children get abused sexually and physically?"), takes them to God, and offers the answers in Conversations with God for Teens. Singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette provides the foreword. (Scholastic, $7.99 paper 304p ages 12-up ISBN 0-439-31389-9; Mar.)

Loaded with information about puberty, personal hygiene, dating, sex—even the prom—Mavis Jukes's The Guy Book: An Owner's Manual puts boys in the driver's seat. Cheeky chapter headings (e.g., "Under the Hood" and "Ignition System"), funky '50s photographs and loads of phallic car parts pump up the volume. Honest talk about the opposite sex and tips on respectful behavior plus a discussion about homosexuality and homophobia are included. (Crown, $12.95 paper 160p ages 12-up ISBN 0-679-89028-9; Jan.)

"When you're as great as I am, it's hard to be humble," a quote from Muhammad Ali, opens the "Me, Me, Me" section in The Boy's Book of Lists, a hand-size paperback by David Langston, illus, by Robert Leighton. Fill-in-the-blank pages, pithy quotes and sections like "Friends" and "Sports" ease boys into the art of keeping a journal. (Walker, $6.95 paper 32p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-8027-7626-4; Apr.)

Teenage daydreams do come true. Boy Crazy!, a magazine and trading card publishing program that profiles 363 "real boys" each year and allows girls to get to know them through a Web site (, magazine articles and more, here launches a book series. Boy Crazy! #1: Tony: More Than Friends by Elizabeth Lenhard, begins with the real-life Tony's vital stats and personal preferences, then follows a fictional girl's crush on Tony. (HarperCollins/Avon, $4.99 paper 160p ages 12-up ISBN 0-06-441049-8; Mar.)

Guides for Tricks and Hobbies

From warm-ups in "Body Basics" to weighing acting as a vocation versus avocation, Break a Leg! The Kids' Guide to Acting and Stagecraft by Lise Friedman, photos by Mary Dowdle, provides aspiring actors with digestible chunks of information and photos. Brass tacks about getting an agent, going on auditions and joining a union, plus an appendix with suggested monologues, Web sites, etc., rounds out this valuable resource. (Workman, $14.95 paper 256p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-761-1352-5; Feb.)

From slapjack to sleights-of-hand, The Jumbo Book of Card Tricks & Games by Sheila Anne Barry, Bob Longe, William Moss and Alfred Sheinwold has card lovers covered. This thick guide with a small trim size (app. 5½" x 7") contains more than 150 amusing activities. Trick tips, a glossary and an index that rates games and tricks by difficulty level, as well as a deck of cards, are included. (Sterling, $9.95 paper 352p ages 8-up ISBN 0-8069-6681-5; Jan.)

No homework? 52 After School Activities by Lynn Gordon, with a bright yellow bus on the slipcase, suggests making a necklace made of snacks, paperweights out of painted stones or organizing a "silly sports" competition to pass the hours after 3 p.m. Part of the 52 Decks series, the set of cards offers zippy illustrations and easy-to-follow instructions. (Chronicle, $6.95 ages 4-up ISBN 0-8118-3232-5; Apr.)

Husband-and-wife team Mick Manning and Brita Granström suggest numerous activities for dinosaur-lovers, such as making a "Pterosaur Mobile," Triceratops mask and a dinosaur video in Dinomania: Things to Do with Dinosaurs. Informative "fact bites" appear throughout; an index with pronunciation guide closes the volume; endpapers double as dinosaur stencils. (Holiday, $15.95 48p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-8234-1641-0; Mar.)

Simon Singh breaks down cryptic messages for the teenage set in The Code Book: How to Make It, Break It, Hack It, Crack It, an adaptation of his bestselling adult title The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptology. He covers actual instances of codebreaking, from its role in the plan to execute Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Navajo code talkers of WWII. (Delacorte, $16.95 288p ages 12-up ISBN 0-385-72913-8; Mar.)