Encore Performances

A visit to the city leads Darren and Evra, the snake boy, to a startling discovery (blood drained corpses) and sends them on a mission to discover the foul creature responsible, in Darren Shan's Tunnels of Blood, the third installment in the Saga of Darren Shan, that began with Cirque Du Freak. (Little, Brown, $15.95 240p ages 10-up ISBN 0-316-60763-0; Apr.)

In a fourth episode, the titular mouse must rescue his robot from the evil Major Monkey, who plans to mount an assault on Squeakyville in Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot vs. the Mecha-Monkeys from Mars, by Dav Pilkey, illus. by Martin Ontiveros. "Flip-o-Rama" pages add to the fun. (Scholastic/Blue Sky, $16.95 144p ages 5-10 ISBN 0-439-25295-4; $3.99 paper -25296-2; Feb.)

Inkthirsty Odilon, Carmilla and Draculink continue to quench their eclectic taste in The City of Ink Drinkers by Éric Sanvoisin, illus. by Martin Matje, trans. by Georges Moroz, the sequel to The Ink Drinker and A Straw for Two. Matje's skewed perspectives provide humorous details in the paper-over-board book as the trio seeks a new cemetery after construction uproots their final resting place. (Delacorte, $9.95 48p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-385-72972-3; Feb.)

On vacation in a haunted hotel, Henry seeks help from the titular hero in Harvey Angell and the Ghost Child. Commenting on the debut in the series, Harvey Angell, PW said, "This swift-moving story stands apart as an entertaining, thought-provoking read." In May, look for Harvey Angell Beats Time. (S&S/Aladdin, $4.99 each paper 176p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-7434-2829-3; -2830-7; Mar.)

In Junebug in Trouble by Alice Mead, the third adventure about the 10-year-old hero, he meets up with Robert, an old friend from the housing project where Junebug and his family used to live. When he finds out Robert is running with a gang member, Junebug tries to help his friend get back on track. (FSG, $16 144p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-374-33969-4; Mar.)

The sequel to Gloria's Way, Gloria Rising by Ann Cameron, illus. by Lis Toft, starts out at the supermarket, where the fourth grader's chance encounter with Dr. Grace Street, a famous astronaut, leaves her pondering some sage advice. (FSG/Foster, $15 112p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-374-32675-4; Mar.)

In this latest Baseball Card Adventure, Shoeless Joe & Me by Dan Gutman, Joe "Stosh" Stoshack travels back to 1919—but will he be in time to prevent Shoeless Joe Jackson from being implicated in a conspiracy to throw the World Series? (HarperCollins, $15.95 176p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-06-029253-9; Mar.)

Back for a third installment in Emily Rodda's Rowan and the Keeper of the Crystal, the hero faces his greatest challenge yet when the poisoning of his mother thrusts him into the role of selecting a new "keeper of the crystal" as he also attempts to find a life-saving antidote for his mother. (HarperCollins, $14.95 208p ages 7-up ISBN 0-06-029776-X; Mar.)

The continuation of the Echorium Sequence and the sequel to Song Quest, Crystal Mask by Katherine Roberts takes place 20 years after the events in the original. Here, Renn and Shaiala join together in a fight against evil invaders. (Scholastic/Chicken House, $15.95 256p ages 9-up ISBN 0-439-33864-6; Feb.)

In Jane Yolen's The Bagpiper's Ghost, book three in the Tartan Magic series, a trip to a Scottish cemetery entangles American twins Jennifer and Peter in the afterlife feud of former lovers. (Harcourt, $16 144p ages 8-up ISBN 0-15-202310-0; Apr.)

Yolen teams up with Robert J. Harris in a continuation of their collaboration on the Young Heroes series with a second adventure starring an Amazonian princess, Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons. (HarperCollins, $15.95 256p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-06-028736-5; Mar.)

Falsely accused of playing mean-spirited pranks on new kid Alec Smaartz, Jared seeks to rebuild his reputation by enlisting the help of former Shadow Club members in Neal Shusterman's The Shadow Club Rising. His request rebuffed, the ex-ringleader must assume a role more sinister than he ever imagined in this sequel to The Shadow Club (1988), which PW called "an engrossing book," being reissued simultaneously. (Dutton, $16.99 each 192p ages 12-up ISBN 0-525-46835-8; -46833-1; Feb.)

Emma Martin takes readers on a trip to 19th-century Ireland after accidentally making a wish on her cousin's magic ring in Emma and the Ruby Ring by Yvonne MacGrory, the follow-up to The Secret of the Ruby Ring. Terry Myler's b&w cross-hatch drawings pepper the text. (Milkweed, $17.95 180p ages 9-12 ISBN 1-57131-635-3; $6.95 paper; -634-5; Apr.)

The team behind Oh No, It's Robert and Robert and the Great Pepperoni—here present Robert and the Weird & Wacky Facts by Barbara Seuling, illus. by Paul Brewer, in which the hero and his best friend cram for an appearance on The Instant Millionaire Show. (Cricket, $15.95 120p ages 6-9 ISBN 0-8126-2653-2; Apr.)

Serious attempts to get a grumpy student teacher to crack a smile yield unexpected results in Jake Drake, Class Clown by Andrew Clements, illus. by Dolores Avendaño, the fourth title about Jake in this Ready-for-Chapters series. (S&S, $15 80p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-689-83921-9; Feb.)

Batter Up!

A bevy of new titles arrives just in time for Opening Day. For youngest fans, My Baseball Book, featuring an oversize view of an official Major League Baseball on the cover, provides game basics in a board-book format. Tabbed pages, fanned along the curve of the baseball, enumerate each position. Photos of such stars as first baseman Mark McGwire and shortstop Derek Jeter plus diagrams of the field bring the diamond to life. My Animal Book, in a similar format, uses tabbed pages labeled "scaly," "spotted," and "wrinkly" to describe the animals pictured on each spread. (DK, $7.95 each 18p ages 2-4 ISBN 0-7894-8508-7; -8519-2; Apr.)

For those taking the field, Play Ball!: The Official Major League Baseball Guide for Young Players by James Buckley Jr. coaches kids on the basics of catching, pitching, batting and more with photos by Mike Eliason and clear instructions. "Pro Tips" from the likes of Mike Piazza and Cal Ripken as well as baseball trivia and terms round out the volume. (DK, $12.95 each 48p ages 8-up ISBN 0-7894-8509-5; Mar.)

Pointers from experts such as Derek Jeter, Roberto Alomar and Wade Boggs come to light in Play Ball Like the Pros: Tips for Kids from 20 Big League Stars by Steve Krasner, a sports reporter for The Providence Journal. Each chapter focuses on a specific position or skill and features an interview, a glossary of terms, a hypothetical situation (and solution) and one of the player's special memories. (Peachtree, $12.95 paper 160p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-56145-261-0; Apr.)

Former first baseman Keith Hernandez pens a tale of young Sammy, who dreams of going from Little League to the big leagues in First Base Hero, illus. by John Manders. Pop-ups and liftable flaps add action. (Golden, $12.99 13p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-307-10626-8; Mar.)

Packaged in a plastic tube, Play Ball! by Jess Brailer, illus. by Sammy Yuen, reaches beyond the realm of baseball to teach the basics behind more than 25 games such as "Pickle" (which bears a strong resemblance to baseball but requires only three players) and "Dodge Hockey." A tennis ball—size soft rubber ball is included. (PSS!, $5.99 48p ages 5-up ISBN 0-8431-7722-5; Mar.)

More Sendak Stories

HarperCollins's reissue of Maurice Sendak's oeuvre continues with four more titles. Published in 1956, Kenny's Window follows the adventures of a boy living out his fantasies from the confines of his bedroom. His window provides a magic portal as he strives to answer seven questions posed to him in a dream. The Sign on Rosie's Door (1960) invites readers into the girl's imaginative world, where three knocks reveal her secret: "I'm not Rosie any more," she says. "I'm Alinda, the lovely lady singer." A quartet of neighborhood pals quickly gets in on the act. (HarperCollins, $13.95 64p all ages ISBN 0-06-028789-6; $12.95 48p -028795-0; Mar.)

When the ailing Philip Sendak finally set pen to paper at the urging of his son, what emerged was In Grandpa's House, a moving trio of tales that offers a glimpse into immigrant life in New York City at the turn of the century. The drawings take on a folktale quality, with characters wearing exaggerated facial expressions, surrounded by giant fish and birds. ($12.95 48p all ages -028787-X; Mar.)

Also available: Circus Girl (1957) and The Happy Rain (1956), both by Jack Sendak, with three-color illustrations by his brother Maurice Sendak. ($13.95 each 32p all ages -028783-7; 48p -028785-3; Mar.)