For Beach Reading...

There's nothing like a series to keep kids turning pages. Bunnicula's family is back, and Uncle Harold steps aside to let Howie, the family dachshund, tell all in It Came from Beneath the Bed!, the first in the Tales from the House of Bunnicula series by James Howe, illus. by Brett Helquist. The inaugural adventure finds the doggy fighting off a marauding stuffed animal culled from the clutter. In Book 2, Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6!, Howie must save Delilah from aliens and thwart their plan to take over the planet. With Helquist's illustrations and a tongue-in-cheek note to readers on the back of the book, the unjacketed hardcovers bear a strong resemblance to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. (S&S/Atheneum, $9.95 each 96p ages 7-9 ISBN 0-689-83949-9; -83947-2; July)

Inspired by environmental studies in school and a humiliating defeat in a Band-Aid design contest, Judy Moody, in her third adventure, revamps her family's recycling efforts and confiscates her classmates' wooden pencils—in Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald, illus. by Peter Reynolds. The original Judy Moody is now available in paperback; in our Best Books citation, PW said, "It's hard to imagine a mood that Judy couldn't improve." (Candlewick, $15.99 160p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-7636-1446-7; Judy Moody paper $5.99 -1231-6; Aug.)

In Annabel the Actress Starring in: Hound of the Barkervilles by Ellen Conford, illus. by Renee W. Andriani, the third title in the series, Annabel joins the cast of her first professional production. But the role presents real challenges, including the fact that her co-star is a dog "almost as big as a Jeep" and the bunny pajamas her character is supposed to wear creates a "costume emergency!" (S&S, $15 96p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-689-84734-3; July)

Older readers and followers of the Tamora Pierce series, Protector of the Small, will welcome the fourth and final installment, Lady Knight. In this compelling conclusion, Keladry of Mindelan—Kel, for short—realizes her dream of becoming a knight but soon discovers that her new position brings unforeseen responsibilities. (Random, $16.95 416p ages 12-up ISBN 0-375-81465-5; Aug.)

Having won the titular conflict in Virtual War for the Pacific Island of Hiva, Corgan lives an idyllic life in the only undomed patch of land on the planet. However, Sharla shows up with the cloned babies of Brig, who are growing at a whirlwind rate—one of whom wants to kill Corgan—in The Clones, Book 2 of the Virtual War Chronologs by Gloria Skurzynski. (S&S/Atheneum, $16 176p ages 12-up ISBN 0-689-84263-5; July)

Debi Gliori follows up the darkly humorous Pure Dead Magic with Pure Dead Wicked. This time around, the Strega-Borgia family must take up residence in the Auchenlochtermuchty Arms after their roof collapses, and the reconstruction crew conspires to destroy—rather than repair—their home. (Knopf, $15.95 224p ages 10-up ISBN 0-375-81411-6; Aug.)

First came The Dark Portal, then The Crystal Prison. Now, Robin Jarvis winds up the Deptford Mice Trilogy with The Final Reckoning. In this volume, evil sewer cat Jupiter comes back from the dead to wreak havoc on the innocent; the Deptford Mice endure the murder of friends and allies and the theft of the irreplaceable Starglass. (North-South/SeaStar, $17.95 304p ages 10-up ISBN 1-58717-192-9; Sept.)

The Cirque Du Freak saga continues with book four, Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan. Here, fans find Darren and Mr. Crepsley on a trip to the very seat of the bloodsuckers' empire, where a meeting with the Vampire Princes puts Darren in a precarious position. (Little, Brown, $15.95 196p ages 10-up ISBN 0-316-60806-8; Sept.)

Brian Jacques weighs in with Triss, the 15th title in his Redwall series. Here, the enslaved squirrelmaid escapes by sea and a Dibbun duo discovers Brockhall's secret entrance. David Elliot's b&w illustrations introduce each chapter. (Philomel, $23.99 432p 10-up ISBN 0-399-23723-2; Sept.)

The renowned horror author selects 19 nailbiting tales for Beware!: R.L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories, including "The Black Ferris" by Ray Bradbury, William Sleator's "The Elevator," a couple by Alvin Schwartz and a few by Stine himself. Each opens with a brief introduction by the Goosebumps author and includes bewitching b&w pictures by a number of illustrators. (HarperCollins/Parachute, $11.99 224p ages 8-up ISBN 0-06-623842-0; Aug.)

Encore! Encore!

Several picture-book characters make return engagements. Platypus and the Lucky Day by Chris Riddell follows the character's debut in last year's Platypus. This time around, the eponymous hero encounters one mishap after another. But just when he abandons all hope, he is met with many pleasant surprises. (Harcourt, $15 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-15-216723-4; Aug.)

Smaller and harder to spot, Waldo returns in a quartet of hand-size paper-over-board volumes: Where's Waldo?; Where's Waldo Now?; Where's Waldo? In Hollywood; and Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey by Martin Handford. The new editions sport never-before-seen details such as extra characters and seek-and-find challenges; a mini magnifier is tucked into a pocket inside the front cover. (Candlewick, $5.99 each 32p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-7636-1920-5; -1921-3; -1919-1; -1922-1; Aug.)

Cleo on the Move by Stella Blackstone, illus. by Caroline Mockford, chronicles the titular feline's relocation; the author's comforting words and the artist's signature artwork in warm tones will assuage anxieties of youngsters facing the same situation. (Barefoot, $14.99 24p ages 4-7 ISBN 1-84148-898-4; July)

In Bunbun at the Fair by Sharon Pierce McCullough, the fellow turns up missing, his siblings form a search party. (Barefoot, $14.99 24p ages 4-7 ISBN 1-84148-900-X; July)