A Trio of Treasures

Three of Shel Silverstein's best-loved books—Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic and Falling Up—come together in paper-over-board versions with slightly smaller trim sizes (roughly 6"×8") in the Shel Silverstein: Poems and Drawings boxed set. The titles of the volumes are embossed on the handsome slipcase, covered in charcoal-gray fabric, and Silverstein's signature graces the back. For collectors, a keepsake "About the Author" insert is included. (HarperCollins, $52.99 all ages ISBN 0-06-051149-4; Oct.)

Collected Works

More collections target diverse audiences. Bob the Builder invites readers to join him and his pals for 10 stories ("Can you read it? Yes, you can!")—some short, some long (and so designated in the table of contents)—in the paper-over-board, appropriately oversize Bob the Builder: Bob's Big Story Collection. Stills from the Nick Jr. TV series make readers at home, and the large print is easy on the eyes. (S&S/Simon Spotlight, $10.95 128p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-689-85495-1; Oct.)

Keats's Neighborhood: An Ezra Jack Keats Treasury pays tribute to the life and work of the celebrated children's book creator. An introduction by Anita Silvey puts his books in the context of their time; illustrators such as Jerry Pinkney and Simms Taback describe the influence of Keats's work on children's books in general or their own in particular; and the attractively designed volume concludes with a brief biography. The work offers 10 complete stories (the trim size slightly enlarged from the original) including the Caldecott Medal—winning The Snowy Day (1962); Goggles! (1969), a Caldecott Honor book; and other favorites, such as Whistle for Willie (1964) and Peter's Chair (1967), plus sketches from The Turnip Seed, which Keats was working on at the time of his death in 1983. Photographs, original sketches and drafts round out the presentation. (Viking, $25 128p all ages ISBN 0-670-03586-6; Oct.)

Based on the PBS animated series of the same name, Mikhail Baryshnikov's Stories from My Childhood, ed. by Joan Borsten and Oleg Vidov, presents 11 Russian and European fairy tales, including such lesser known tales as Alexander Pushkin's "The Golden Rooster" and classics like "Cinderella." Baryshnikov provides the foreword; film stills (unfortunately, out of focus and quite grainy) from the Russian animation studio Soyuzmultfilm illustrate the text. (Abrams, $24.95 128p ages 8-up ISBN 0-8109-1017-9; Nov.)

Rosemary Wells's beloved characters make their Broadway debut in Getting to Know You! Rodgers and Hammerstein Favorites, an oversize edition with excerpts from 16 of the duo's most popular tunes. One of Wells's signature bunnies, drawn in pastels, awakens in his bed to "a bright, golden haze on the meadow" ("Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' "), and chicks and ducks and geese really do scurry as a pair of straw-hatted ducks take out their "Surrey with the Fringe on Top." "Mister Snow" makes for a neatly complete vignette, but "If I Loved You" may leave youngsters stumped. Tucked in the back, a songbook offers the complete words and melody line to each tune. (HarperCollins, $19.99 64p all ages ISBN 0-06-027925-7; Oct.)

Yo Ho Ho

Maties who dream of sentencing others to walk the plank will welcome Imagine You're a Pirate! by "Peg Leg" Meg Clibbon, illus. by Lucy "Blackheart" Clibbon. Tongue-in-cheek text outlines the basics, such as how pirates dress ("earrings" and "spotty hanky" are de rigueur) and what they eat ("lots of biscuits, which get very maggoty") and say ("Shiver me timbers!"). An introduction to famous pirates, fictional and otherwise, rounds out the volume. Funky folkloric illustrations that incorporate sequins, beads and glitter (as in gold, ahoy!) add to the humor. Also available from the same team (aka "Magic" Meg and Lucy "Loveheart"): Imagine You're a Fairy! (Annick [Firefly, dist.], $19.95 each 32p ages 5-9 ISBN 1-55037-741-8; paper $7.95 -740-X; Fairy -743-4; paper -742-6; Oct.)

Pirates move from the high seas to a manmade channel in The Erie Canal Pirates, from the team behind Grizz!, author Eric A. Kimmel and illustrator Andrew Glass. Inspired by the folk song "The Erie Canal," the tale follows Captain Flynn and his crew as they are besieged by bad guys: "It was Bill McGrew and his pirate crew,/ The Terror of Buffalo,/ The Terror of Buffalo." Glass's unique blend of hyperbole and folk art strikes just the right note. (Holiday, $16.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8234-1657-7; Sept.)

Poppin' Fresh

Pull tabs and pup ups animate all-new offerings. Fans of Alexandra Day's rottweiler, Carl, will embrace the interactive canine companion that escapes his crate in Puppy Trouble. Youngsters can pull a tab or lift a flap to watch the pup upset a flower pot, startle the cat and unleash an avalanche in the coat closet. In the end, he leaps into his owner's arms. (FSG, $16.95 12p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-374-34992-4; Oct.)

Part of the Preschool Pop-Ups series, The House That Mack Built by Susanna Leonard Hill, illus. by Ken Wilson-Max, uses the classic cumulative tale to showcase the machines and people required to erect a home ("This is the cement mixer churning around/ That poured the foundation into the ground"). Pop-up construction vehicles in bright yellows and reds form the centerpiece of the full-bleed spreads printed on sturdy laminated cardboard pages. (S&S, $7.99 14p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-689-84183-7; Nov.)

Stephen Holmes condenses human evolution into a dozen pages in the paper-over-board Life on Earth, with paper engineering by Jonathan Lambert. In the opening spread, "The very first living things came from the sea," a gatefold opens to reveal a prehistoric fish whose giant mouth pops up from the center. The format repeats throughout, introducing life on land, dinosaurs and, finally, a hairy caveman (whose gatefold reveals a cute baby). (Barron's, $9.95 12p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-7641-5456-7; Sept.)

Youngsters can get into the groove with the paper-over-board Pop-Up Toddlerobics: Fun Action Rhymes by Zita Newcome. A pull of the tab allows two seated toddlers to rock to "Row Row Row Your Boat" and a pink-suited girl to tip her spout to "I'm a Little Teapot." (Candlewick, $9.99 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-7636-1838-1; Sept.)

Play with Me

A trio of interactive offerings encourages youngster's participation. Royal headdress empowers common kids—plus readers—in When I Wear My Tiara and When I Wear My Crown, both by Lisa Lebowitz Cader, illus. by Laura Huliska-Beith. "When I wear my tiara, I reign over my kingdom and get to make all the rules," says a girl holding court in the sandbox. A shiny chapeau made of metallic cloth, soft cotton backing and an adjustable Velcro closure comes with each hand-size title; both titles (plus head gear) come in a clear plastic carrying case. (Chronicle, $14.95 each 24 ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8118-3485-9; -3484-0; Oct.)

A stuffed cloth book with liftable components lets little ones roll it, and pat it and mark it with a B in Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake, Baker Bear, illus. by Angela Brooksbank, with the same approach as Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. A spoon attached with a ribbon allows youngsters to stir the batter; they can mark the cake with a removable "B," then pull down the oven door to see it bake. The book, which doubles as a pillow, comes packaged in bright box with a transparent cover. (PSS!, $16.99 6p ages 6 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 0-8431-4544-7; Oct.)

A mother asks questions and feels for clues as to what the odd lump under her child's blanket could be, and liftable flaps reveal the thoughts of the hiding child in Is This a Sack of Potatoes? by Crescent Dragonwagon, illus. by Catherine Stock, a bedtime version of hide-and-seek. (Cavendish, $16.95 32p ages 4-7 ISBN 0-7614-5089-0; Sept.)

Buddy Up

This season, several companion titles compete for readers' attention. Having tackled Rain on the African savanna, Manya Stojic looks at how animals respond when winter weather hits in Snow. Bear yawns and hibernates, Fox grumbles about losing his camouflage, and the geese head south, honking "So long, snow." In the acrylic paintings, Stojic's broad brushstrokes emphasize the animals' snuggly allure. (Knopf, $15.95 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-375-82348-4; Nov.)

Julius Lester blends elements of two selections in his Black Folktales and brings back characters from What a Truly Cool World in Why Heaven Is Far Away, illus. by Joe Cepeda. Returning angel Shaniqua reports to God that the animals and humans don't like snakes. God sends her back to earth with poison so snakes can defend themselves, but when they go on a biting rampage, their victims escape to heaven (via ladders) and prompt God to restore peace—and to distance Heaven from earth. Cepeda's quirky, luminous oil paintings visually reinforce the hip cadence of Lester's narrative. (Scholastic, $16.95 40p ages 6-8 ISBN 0-439-17871-1; Oct.)

Back from The Story of Chopsticks, the Kang brothers are in for another culinary misadventure in The Story of Noodles by Ying Chang Compestine, illus. by YongSheng Xuan. When they fool around instead of following their mother's instructions on making dumplings for the village cooking contest, they inadvertently invent a new food. A recipe for sauce and author's note on the history of noodles close the volume. (Holiday, $16.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8234-1600-3; Oct.)

As they did with In the Moonlight Mist, Daniel San Souci and illustrator Eujin Kim Neilan team up for another retelling of a Korean folktale, The Rabbit and the Dragon King. Here, a hypochondriacal king is convinced that eating a rabbit's heart will cure his fatal illness. But the rabbit doesn't want to die, either, and his clever ploy not only saves his life, it makes the king believe he has cheated death. (Boyds Mills, $15.95 32p ages 6-9 ISBN 1-56397-880-6; Oct.)

As with Mother Goose Remembers, Clare Beaton's fabric illustrations once again infuse a tale for the nursery set with exuberant energy. A curious kitten disobeys his mother in the paper-over-board Never Say Boo to a Goose! by Jakki Wood, illus. by Clare Beaton. "I can say 'Boo!' to anyone I like," thinks the frisky feline, but when he finally comes up against a goose, he's unexpectedly humbled. (Barefoot, $14.99 24p ages 4-7 ISBN 1-84148-255-2; Sept.)

With her usual engaging approach, Marcia Williams tackles the works of Charles Dickens (as she has Homer, Shakespeare and others in the past) in Charles Dickens and Friends. A handful of Victorian classics—Oliver Twist; Great Expectations; A Tale of Two Cities; David Copperfield; and A Christmas Carol—unfold in sepia-toned cartoon panels with a pacing that plays up Oliver's plea for "More," the storming of the Bastille, and Marley's ghostly appearance to Scrooge. (Candlewick, $17.99 48p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-7636-1905-1; Oct.)

Chang and the Bamboo Flute by Elizabeth Starr, illus. by Lesley Liu, follows the star of Bird Boy as he and his family are forced to leave their houseboat, damaged in a flood, and live on land. When they return to their river home a few days later, they discover something valuable missing, and only Chang can remedy the situation. Of the first novel, PW wrote, "Hill's economical prose effortlessly weaves in multiple themes of courage, responsibility, and friendship while shedding light on a unique way of earning a living [cormorant fishing]." (FSG, $15 64p ages 8-up ISBN 0-374-31238-9; Oct.)