Little ones can get into the groove with a host of titles featuring poetry and song. Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes and Other Action Rhymes by Zita Newcome contains more than 50 rhymes, including such favorites as "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in a square, paper-over-board volume. Boxed illustrations suggest movements for select songs. (Candlewick, $15.99 64p ages 2-up ISBN 0-7636-1899-3; Aug.)

Created especially for the youngest set, Welcome, Baby! Baby Rhymes for Baby Times by Stephanie Calmenson, illus. by Melissa Sweet, presents more than 30 verses alongside Sweet's nursery-friendly paintings. Original works include a bathtime chant ("Splishy, Splashy"), "Silly Toe Song" and, for goodnight, "Butterfly Kiss" ("A Butterfly/ Fluttered by/ And gave a kiss/ Just like this"). (HarperCollins, $16.99 64p ages 6 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 0-688-17736-0; Sept.)

Readers rub-a-dub-dub with The Fish Is Me: Bathtime Rhymes, selected by Neil Philip, illus. by Claire Henley. The squeaky clean volume contains works by the likes of Douglas Florian and Carl Sandburg, as well as traditional ditties (to wit: "Miss Susie had a baby,/ His name was Tiny Tim,/ She put him in the bathtub/ To see if he could swim"). Henley's mix of spot art and full-bleed paintings of happy, soaking-wet youngsters make bathtime look fun. (Clarion, $16 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-618-15939-8; Sept.)

Readers venture beyond the bathtub with Sea Dream: Poems from Under the Waves, selected by Nikki Siegen-Smith, illus. by Joel Stewart. Contributors include Mary Ann Hoberman, Vachel Lindsay and Spike Milligan ("A baby sardine/ Saw her first submarine:/ She was scared and watched through/ a peephole./ 'Oh, come, come, come,'/ Said the sardine's mum,/ 'It's only a tin full of people' "). (Barefoot, $16.99 40p ages 6-10 ISBN 1-84148-905-0; July)

From the mountains to the prairies to the... Jersey shore? Lee Bennett Hopkins brings together 15 original works in Home to Me: Poems Across America, illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Contributors include Jane Yolen, Janet S. Wong and Hopkins himself. Alcorn's early Picasso-esque illustrations add an arresting visual counterpoint. (Scholastic/Orchard, $17.95 48p ages 5-9 ISBN 0-439-34096-9; Sept.)

First published in 1947, Rhymes and Verses: Collected Poems for Young People by Walter de la Mare, illus. by Elinore Blaisdell, appears in a handsome new edition. Grouped by subject in sections such as "All Creatures Great and Small," "Fairies—Witches—Phantoms" and "Books and Stories," the reissue contains more than 300 works. Old-fashioned b&w line drawings illustrate the text. (Holt, $18.95 368p all ages ISBN 0-8050-7192-X; Sept.)

Designed to shiver the timbers of youngsters all year round, the previously published Halloween ABC (1987) is now Spooky ABC by Eve Merriam, illus. by Lane Smith. The handsome edition pits 26 alphabetically organized poems—"Demon" and "Lair" among them—against eerie illustrations. (S&S, $16.95 32p ages 5-up ISBN 0-689-85356-4; Sept.)

Party Animals

Animals just want to have fun in an array of fall titles. The first, Birthday Zoo by Deborah Lee Rose, illus. by Lynn Munsinger, follows an assortment of animals as they get the party started for one lucky kid (" 'Who is it for?' inquired the boar. 'Kid with the presents,' answered the pheasants"). Happily chaotic illustrations create a festive mood (a final painting reveals the guests as stuffed toys). (Albert Whitman, $15.95 24p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-8075-0776-8; Sept.)

A cuddly cub enjoys snacking, skating, sledding and more in the paper-over-board Snowbear's Winter Day: A Winter Wonder Book by Dorothea DePrisco, illus. by Dagmar Fehlau. "I'm ready to play now!" announces the fellow as he stumbles outside to meet his friends. On the cover, a liquid-filled vinyl pouch holds snowflakes and glitter. (Piggy Toes, $9.95 18p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-133-1; Aug.)

Durable embossed pages heighten the drama of a young emperor penguin's rite of passage—the loss of his downy feathers—in The Little Penguin by A.J. Wood, illus. by Stephanie Boey. (Dutton, $15.99 32p all ages ISBN 0-525-47023-9; Sept.)

A latex finger puppet pokes through a die-cut hole in I'm a Little Puppy and I'm a Little Giraffe by Tim Weare. Various backdrops on each spread allow the barnyard dog to frolic with his farm friends and the giraffe to cavort across the African plains. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $6.95 each 12p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-439-40642-0; -40641-2; Sept.)

Animated Heroes

Superman and Mickey star in oversize, elegantly designed volumes from DK. Superman: The Ultimate Guide to the Man of Steel by Scott Beatty, illus. by Roger Stewart, begins with the hero's birth on Krypton (with a spread that maps out the planet) and traces his rise from citizen of Smallville, Kans., to defender of the universe. Given Beatty's access to the DC Comics archives, the volume comes alive with reproductions, abundant information and lively anecdotes. Three backdrops and more than 60 stickers allow readers to embark on their own adventures with the Spiderman Sticker Book. (DK, $19.99 128p all ages ISBN 0-7894-8853-1; Sticker Book $6.99 paper 16p -4704-5; Aug.)

Mickey graces the cover, but Disney: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Russell Schroeder—a Disney illustrator for nearly three decades—offers much more. Walt's early years in Kansas City, Mo., kick off the proceedings, leading fans all the way to Disney's latest creation, Lilo & Stitch. Various spreads focus on individual characters as well as eras (e.g., "The War Years" and "The Postwar Years), all accompanied by nostalgic photographs, memorabilia, original sketches and movie stills. (DK, $19.99 128p ages 8-up ISBN 0-7894-8862-0; Sept.)

Just for Fun

This fall, a lineup of activity books, puzzles and games will keep kids busy after school. The spiral-bound Very Fun, Slightly Sticky Stuff to Do with Candy by Barbara Kane will have sweet tooth—types smiling, with more than 20 kid-friendly projects such as "Peanut Butter & Jelly Pizza" and confectionery games. The attached kit contains candy molds, colorful sprinkles, decorator tips, mini-shape cutters and more, which kids can put readily to use thanks to color photographs and easy-to-read instructions. (Klutz, $16.95 58p ages 6-up ISBN 1-57054-760-2; Sept.)

Courtney's Creative Adventures: Zillions of Ideas for Things to Squish, Wonder About, Play, Squint At, Invent, Decorate, Do, Smell, Imagine, Investigate, Paint, Make, Puzzle Over, and Dream! by Courtney Watkins offers a plethora of suggestions for hands-on fun (one per page), such as creating a "time-travel cottage" out of a cardboard box, hosting a tea party and organizing a scavenger hunt. The author's childhood photos and doodles illustrate the offering in scrapbook style; fill-in-the-blank pages encourage interaction. (Little, Brown/Tingley, $14.95 paper 96p ages 6-up ISBN 0-316-60715-0; Sept.)

Activities are woven into a tale about grandparents who come to visit, 38 Ways to Entertain Your Grandparents by Dette Hunter, illus. by Deirdre Betteridge. Each section of the story suggests things for children and adults to do together, such as preparing an "All Pizza Supper" (with tortilla treats for dessert) and playing a game of "Grandfather, May I?" (Annick [Firefly, dist.], $9.95 paper 48p ages 4-9 ISBN 1-55037-748-5; Sept.)

Further to her The Secret Fairy Handbook, Penny Dann joins forces with Claire Freeman for The Secret Fairy in Fairyland. Blossom and her Secret Fairy friends tell stories, teach games and provide instructions for making such essential fairyland frippery as a "Glitterbug Feather Necklace" and "Fizzy Fairy Floats" and fizzes. Two sheets of holographic stickers add requisite sparkle. (Scholastic/Orchard, $15.95 96p ages 5-up ISBN 0-439-35240-1; Oct.)

The spiral bound My Fabulous Life in Pictures from Klutz supplies everything kids need to start a scrapbook. The embossed plastic cover resembles a picture frame; inside, 40 humorous photo-collage backgrounds (a theatrical stage for movie memories; doodles for "My Favorite Things") invite budding archivists to add facts about and paste pictures of family, friends and more. Sturdy envelopes store mementos; stickers and stencils add crafty options. (Klutz, $19.95 40p ages 9-12 ISBN 1-57054-916-8; Sept.)

Juvenile geniuses will enjoy Mensa Mind Mazes for Kids. The resealable card deck contains 75 puzzles printed back to back on colorful laminated cards; in treasure hunt—style, each answer points puzzlers to the next challenge. (Chronicle, $8.95 ages 7-12 ISBN 0-8118-3556-1; Sept.)

Just in time for Halloween, grade school grammarians get another dose of wordy fun with Haunted Mad Libs by Roger Price and Leonard Stern. Among the not-so-scary fill-in-the-blank puzzles: "The King of Creepy" (inspired by Stephen King) and "The Gleaming" (a spoof on same author's "The Shining"). (PSS!, $3.99 48p all ages ISBN 0-8431-4906-X; Aug.)