Faerie Thee Well

Fairies hover in a handful of enchanting offerings this fall. If Weetzie Bat were one, she might don the diminutive designs featured in Fairie-ality: The Fashion Collection from the House of Ellwand with "couture and photography" by Ellwand, captions by Eugenie Bird and illus. by David Downton. It's the materials that make the clothes so special. Organic offerings include Seashell Sandals, Harlequin Bell Bottoms made from red and yellow gerbera petals cinched with a daisy belt and, of course, the wedding dress, its gauzy train a delicate construction of goose feathers and calla lily, with a snail shell waistline and fluffy rabbit's foot clover rimming the bodice. The oversize edition is designed as an haute couture catalog; with saucy copy ("This elegant and sophisticated gown... blends drama and whimsy—a perfect expression of the woman you are" reads the copy for the Mother-of-the-Bride Gown) and retro-Vogue illustrations it's spot-on—and out of this world. Budding designers can test their fashion sense with a spread that overlays several 1/3 pages, allowing perusers to mix and match the ingenious outfits. (Candlewick, $40 130p all ages ISBN 0-7636-1413-0; Nov.)

Flaps and fold-outs add visual interest to Felicity Wishes: Friendship and Fairy School, one of a quintet of titles launching this season, all starring a fairy named Felicity and all by Emma Thomson. In this 8¼" x 8¼" title, Felicity doesn't know what kind of fairy she wants to be when she graduates, but instead of worrying she goes about doing nice things for her more decisive friends, including making a magical handkerchief for Daisy who, despite her allergies, aspires to be a Blossom Fairy. (A paper hanky is enclosed in a flip-up compartment.) A quartet of Felicity Wishes Little Books (5" x 5") with die-cut covers and glittery accents are: Felicity Wishes: Little Book of Friendship; Wishes; Happiness; and Birthdays. (Viking, $14.99 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-670-03593-9; Little Books $5.99 each 20p all ages -03590-4; -03589-0; -03591-2; -03592-0; Sept.)

Victorian-era stories, poems, and legends from Britain and Ireland combine in A Child's Book of Faeries retold by Tanya Robyn Batt, illus. by Gail Newey. Works by the likes of Shakespeare, Thomas Hood and William Allingham are framed by borders reminiscent of folk art and tinged with gold. Back matter contains source notes and a bibliography. (Barefoot, $19.99 64p ages 8-up ISBN 1-84148-954-9; Sept.)

Encore Performances

Familiar characters star in all new adventures this season and a pair of companion volumes encourage wordplay. In William Joyce's Big Time Olie, the robot boy hero makes use of the "shrink-and-grow-a-lator" when his parents exclude him from activities because of his size. Olie gets unexpected results when he hits the wrong buttons on the machine. (HarperCollins/Geringer, $15.99 40p ages 2-8 ISBN 0-06-008810-9; Oct.)

Louise brings her Deluxe Beauty Kit over to Ruby's house, and she and Ruby give Max a makeover in Ruby's Beauty Salon by Rosemary Wells. When Grandma calls, she asks Max to do her makeup and she's in for a surprise! (Viking, $15.99 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-670-03553-X; Oct.)

An elementary school soccer team, the players' overbearing parents and one terrific teacher star in You're a Good Sport, Miss Malarkey by Judy Finchler, illus. by Kevin O'Malley, the fourth installment in the series. When the adults' antics get out of hand, Miss Malarkey enforces new rules (for grown-ups). (Walker, $15.95 32p ages 5-9 ISBN 0-8027-8815-7; Sept.)

Fresh from her adventure with a pack of wolves (Bridget and the Gray Wolves), Bridget wanders away from the hotel pool while on vacation, and meets five offbeat sheep (they feed on "lemon soda, cookies and old Band-Aids") whom she teaches to swim, in Bridget and the Muttonheads by Pija Lindenbaum, trans. by Kjersti Board. (FSG/R&S, $16 28p ages 4-8 ISBN 91-29-65650-8; Sept.)

When a mouse turns two, friends and family throw a cowboy theme party in Birthday Mice!, the fifth title in the Holiday Mice series by Bethany Roberts, illus. by Doug Cushman. (Clarion, $13 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-618-07772-3; Oct.)

A bunny's in the mood for fun in Rabbit's Birthday Surprise by Mark Birchall. But when her best friend Mr. Cuddles (a stuffed toy) goes missing in all the excitement (eagle eyes will be able to detect just where), her enthusiasm ebbs. Luckily, the magician who shows up as entertainment has a few tricks up his sleeve in this sequel to Rabbit's Wooly Sweater. (Lerner/Carolrhoda, $15.95 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-87614-910-7; Oct.)

Steven Schnur rounds out a quartet of seasonal titles with Winter: An Alphabet Acrostic, illus. by Linda Evans, evoking cold-weather sights and sounds—even smells—through languorous verse. Evans's linoleum-cut illustrations provide a rustic backdrop for domestic scenes and a winter wonderland outdoors. (Clarion, $15 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-618-02374-7; Oct.)

Even the price is a palindrome in Jon Agee's latest witty collection, Palindromania!, the fourth title in a series that started with Go Hang a Salami! I'm a Lasagna Hog! The oblong edition runneth over with clever b&w cartoons. "In the Garden" imagines an offbeat Biblical encounter ("Eve?/ Sir, I'm Iris./ Madam, I'm Adam"). In another panel, a solo pill bottle is labeled "Lonely Tylenol." (FSG, $15.51 112p all ages ISBN 0-374-35730-7; Oct.)

In the follow-up to Monkey Sunday, Monkey for Sale by Sanna Stanley, young Luzolo is back and, together with her friend Kiese, she arranges to free a monkey captured by a greedy vendor at the market. Delicate etchings in luxurious jungle hues trace the two girls' efforts to orchestrate a chain of trades to save the monkey just in time. (FSG/Foster, $17 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-374-35017-5; Oct.)

A hot air balloon is the setting for a sky-high counting excursion in We All Go Flying by Maggee Spicer and Richard Thompson, illus. by Kim LaFave, the follow-up to We'll All Go Sailing, which focused on colors and sea animals. "We'll all go flying/ In the jungle sky,/ And what will we spy/ In the sky so high?" The answer appears behind a flap: "Six pea green parrots/ And a loud toucan!/ That's what we'll spy/ in the jungle sky." (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $16.95 32p ages 3-5 ISBN 1-55041-698-7; Sept.)

A Patriotic Primer

U.S. history and culture come to light through literary excerpts, short stories, poems, essays, speeches, letters and more in The Little Big Book of America, ed. by Lena Tabori and Natasha Tabori Fried. Presented chronologically, the volume opens with an impassioned plea for peace from Pocahontas's father, Chief Wahunsonacock, to Captain John Smith (1609) and closes with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's address to mourners gathered at Yankee Stadium on September 23, 2001. Significant songs ("America the Beautiful" and Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind"), founding documents (the Declaration of Independence and the Emancipation Proclamation) as well as light-hearted fare, such as uniquely American recipes (apple pie and New England clam chowder, anyone?) and lore ("Casey at the Bat") cover the range of Americana. Facts, from a listing of the nation's presidents and when they served to an overview of important American women and their accomplishments, are interspersed throughout; a bound-in blue ribbon acts as placeholder. (Welcome Books, $24.95 352p all ages ISBN 0-941807-71-1; Sept.)