Otherworldly Tips

Got a haunting on your hands? Part of the inventively designed Field Guide to the Paranormal series (which resemble passports to another world), The Ghost Hunter's Handbook: A Field Guide to the Paranormal by Lori Summers offers help for those in need. With blocky drawings and eerie photographs, the title explains what ghosts are, where and how to find them and "What to Do if You Encounter a Ghost." An appendix suggests books and movies for further research; fill-in-the-blank pages encourage kids to document sightings. Also available: The Witch's Handbook: A Field Guide to Magic by Rachel Dickinson (with movie stills from The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and more). (PSS!, $7.99 each 96p ages 10-up ISBN 0-8431-4916-7; -4917-5; Aug.)

What's Popping?

Three favorite school chants get the royal treatment from a trio of children's books veterans. Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky brilliantly reimagines the song as a boy's daydream, Knick-Knack Paddywhack!: A Moving Parts Book, with engineering by Andrew Baron. Youngsters lift a flap to "Give the dog a bone"; under the flap, the "old man [comes] rolling home" on a bicycle. The focus of the spread features a boy in striped pajamas who, when readers tug a pull-tab, reveals the old man holding the numeral one (and "play[ing] knick-knack" on the boy's thumb). The final spread shows 10 little old men rolling down the hillside. (Dutton, $18.99 16p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-525-46908-7; Sept.)

Similarly, David A. Carter puts a new twist on Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar? Each spread asks the titular question; readers turn down the flap of various giant cookie jars to find a pop-up thief beside a stash of snacks. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $14.95 14p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-439-26469-3; Sept.)

Anthony Browne takes on the lyrics of Animal Fair: A Spectacular Pop-Up with equal gusto. Readers first spy what appears to be a run-of-the-mill carousel, but a pull of the tab reveals "The birds and the beasts were there" (riding on the backs of the people). A big baboon combs his hair by the light of the (outhouse) moon and a monkey meanders the midway. (Candlewick, $14.99 16p ages 3-up ISBN 0-7636-1831-4; Sept.)

My Little Blue Robot, Stephen T. Johnson's follow-up to the bestselling My Little Red Toolbox, comes with 13 sturdy cardboard pieces that pop out of the thick pages, including a play screwdriver and key tool to help youngsters put the robot together. A mechanical "heart" makes the toy talk. (Harcourt/ Silver Whistle, $21.95 12p ages 4-7 ISBN 0-15-216524-X; Oct.)

In the first of a trio of monster mash titles, You Monsters Are in Charge by Jill Sardegna, illus. by Kees Moerbeek, Mother Monster leaves her baby in the care of 10 well-meaning monsters, who try to abate a baby's tears by playing the xylophone, telling knock-knock jokes and more. The paper engineering grows impressive: first one, then two, on up to 10 colorful, mixed-media monsters pop out from behind a neon-bright band of text against a midnight-black background. (S&S/ Little Simon, $12.95 12p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-689-84675-4; Sept.)

More appear in Monster, Monster by Melanie Walsh. "Come and play the monster game./ Which one is the monster?" Readers pull down shadowy, amorphous flaps that appear against bright, saturated backgrounds to reveal the child (or animal) hiding underneath. (Candlewick, $8.99 16p ages 2-4 ISBN 0-7636-1669-9; Sept.)

A boy tries to teach a big blue creature that books are meant to feed the mind, not the belly, in The Monster Who Loved Books by Keith Faulkner, illus. by Jonathan Lambert, as various storybook characters pop from the pages. (Scholastic/Orchard, $10.95 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-439-34099-3; Aug.)

Playful Pages

Characters pop up, peer out and hide behind flaps in a bumper crop of interactive titles, several of which may well spur new angles to playing school. Sam's Pop-Up Schoolhouse by Yves Got opens to reveal three distinct stages for imaginative play (two classrooms and a playground). A satin ribbon holds the stages in place; sturdy cardboard characters (including the bunny star) come tucked inside a blue envelope attached to the back cover; a mini-book and mini-coloring book are also included. (Chronicle, $16.95 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-8118-3550-2; Aug.)

Children can act out "A told B/ and B told C,/ 'I'll meet you at the top/ of the coconut tree' " with the magnets included in the Chicka Chicka ABC Magnet Book by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, illus. by Lois Ehlert. The spiralbound edition of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom boasts an easel stand with an attached magnetic sheet that slips under each page; the magnetic letters in a matching palette come packaged in a resealable case. (S&S/Little Simon, $14.95 20p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-689-85026-3; Aug.)

Part of the Learn About series, Colors; Shapes; Counting and Time illus. by David Sim combine pop-ups, pull tabs and liftable flaps for early learning fun. In Colors, a pull of the tab makes a frog hop on the spread for green; a bunny pops out of a box for "square" in Shapes. (Piggy Toes, $5.95 each 12p ages 2-up ISBN 1-58117-127-7; -128-5; -129-3; -130-7; Aug.)

My First Jumbo Book of Numbers by James Diaz and Melanie Gerth pulls out all the stops when it comes to teaching numbers one to 10. For the number one ("building"), die-cut windows show the residents; a lift of the flap reveals an elevator that slides up and down; and a tab pulls a car out of a garage. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $9.95 10p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-439-40353-7; Aug.)

Readers can count on Hello Kitty to lead them from one to 20 in Hello Kitty, Hello Numbers! illus. by Higashi Glaser. The graphically hip package pictures the feline's party preparations ("Count her guests and the goodies as they arrive"). And punch-out flashcards populated by Hello Kitty and her friends reinforce the concepts. (Abrams, $12.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8109-0505-1; Sept.)

In this innovative volume, readers learn about seasons, colors, numbers and time as they help the fox-and-mouse duo get dressed, go to school and get ready for bed: Katie and Tom's Busy Day by Armelle Boy. A flap opens to reveal Katie's wardrobe, and youngsters can select an outfit and insert it into a tab to "dress" her; in art class, they can choose one of three transparencies tucked into pockets to see what results from combining colors on Katie's easel. (Kingfisher, $16.95 12p ages 3-up ISBN 0-7534-5526-9; Sept.)

A pair of tales show storybook characters in a new light. Big Bad Wolf by Claire Masurel, illus. by Melissa Iwai, dispels an age-old myth. "Although they had never met him, people said... 'Big Bad Wolf has pointy ears and shiny eyes!' " Opposite, a die-cut hole shows these features but a turn of the page provides the bigger picture. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $12.95 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-439-28243-8; Sept.)

When a hungry fox captures a quick-witted goose in Time for a Tale by Dugald Steer, illus. by Elisabeth Moseng, the goose saves herself from being eaten by telling stories (à la Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights); four mini-books (including Ali Baa Baa and the Forty Sheep) appear inside. (Dutton, $15.99 16p ages 4-9 ISBN 0-525-46950-8; Oct.)

Every diner's nightmare comes true in A Mouse in the Marmalade by Jonathan Emmett, illus. by Caroline Jayne Church, perhaps topped only by A Turtle in the Toilet from the same team. Zippy verse accompanies liftable flaps that reveal the pop-up creatures in hiding ("There's a spider in the spinach,/ a snail inside the cake"). (Tiger Tales, $14.95 each 16p ages 3-6 ISBN 1-58925-687-5; -688-3; Sept.)

Caroline Heens throws dog lovers a funny bone in Scout, which brims with humorous observations and instructions. "Feed your dog just the right amount of food," reads one warning. Liftable flaps show the pooch's bulbous belly as a consequence of overeating. (Scholastic/Orchard, $12.95 32p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-439-37010-8; Sept.)

Seven furry friends enjoy mischievous good fun in Mouse House: An Extravagant Lift-the-Flap Hide-and-Seek Adventure by Juliet Williams, illus. by Todd Sutherland, photos by Bob Klass, first spied through die-cut windows in the weighty cover. Calendar-style pages reveal different rooms in which readers lift more than 50 flaps to see the mice—and tiny treats—tucked inside a kitchen cabinet, underneath a mountain of toys and more. (Handprint, $14.95 16p all ages ISBN 1-929766-42-4; Oct.)

More animals star in Who Lives Here? illus. by Annie Lunsford. For "Who lives in the nest?" four choices appear (butterfly, mouse, cat and bird); a pull-tab transforms the panel and provides the answer. What Will I Become? shows young animals and asks what they will be when they're all grown up (a caterpillar provides the only curve ball). (Piggy Toes, $7.95 each 10p ages 2-up ISBN 1-58117-159-5; -160-9; Aug.)

Simple clues ("I am woolly and soft"; "I chirp and sing all day long") are the name of the game in Farm Animals and Wild Animals: A Peek-A-Boo GuessWho illus. by Salina Yoon. Divided into thirds—sometimes quarters—each spread of the oblong offering reveals the answers underneath die-cut flaps that show visual hints. (Piggy Toes, $7.95 each 10p ages 6 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 1-58117-158-7; -157-9; Aug.)

An opthalmologically challenged pig stars in Junior on the Farm and Junior in the City, two paper-over-board books by Samantha Berger and Lisa Eve Huberman, illus. by Daniel Moreton. "The sun came up warm and bright/ And filled the farm with morning light./ Junior yawned and looked up high./ But the sun looked like a ____ in the sky." A spin wheel fills in the blank and shows a corresponding picture of the object. Among the spectacles-free possibilities: a fried egg, a pumpkin and a daisy. (Abrams, $10.95 each 14p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8109-1023-3; -3497-3; Sept.)

The mouse heroine of Whose Shoes? now raids the hat rack in Which Hat Is That? by Anna Grossnickle Hines, illus. by LeUyen Pham. "When I wear a flippy-floppy hat,/ I dig, plant a seed,/ and weed, weed, weed./ Which hat is that?" Readers turn the flap to find the answer ("My gardening hat!"). (Harcourt, $15 36p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-15-216477-4; Oct.)

In Meow! A Lift the Cat-Flap Book by Allan Ahlberg, illus. by André Anstutz, a girl waits for her pet to return through the cat door; he does, but not before a porcupine, Teddy bear, robot and more greet readers who open the cat door (lift the flap). (Candlewick, $8.99 24p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-7636-1870-5; Sept.)

Flip's Day by Petr Horácek follows an active penguin from sunup to sundown. The paper-over-board book features colorful laminated pages that grow progressively smaller with every turn. The final spread shows the penguin asleep under a bright blanket; a pull-tab reveals seven shining stars against the night sky. (Candlewick, 20p ages 1-3 ISBN 0-7636-1798-9; June)

One clumsy kid stars in Uh-Oh! by Marion Dane Bauer, illus. by Valeria Petrone. "I've got a balloon,/ so round and red./ I'll toss it / up till it's/ over my..." Astute readers might expect to find a rhyme; instead, a lift of a flap reveals the eponymous refrain ("Uh-oh!") as the freckle-faced heroine finds her balloon has burst (but the image shows it's indeed over her "head"). (S&S/Little Simon, $6.99 20p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-689-84711-4; Oct.)

Colorful pups appear around the world to teach the concept of inside and outside, colors and counting in two titles by Caroline Davis. "Ding! Dong!/ Orange Dog rings/ the doorbell/ Outside" at the start of Swish, Swish, Who's This? Readers turn the sturdy board book page—with a die cut window—to see Purple Dog inside cooking. Following the same format, One, Two, Who's Who? puts the spotlight on numbers. (Tiger Tales, $5.95 20p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-58925-686-7; Sept.)