A First for Everything

A new addition to the My First Board Book series, My First Time Board Book opens with a full-spread photograph of a field of sunflowers (labeled "day"), followed by a spread of "daytime animals"; next, a crescent moon for "night" ushers in a half dozen "nighttime animals." Daily rituals more familiar to children follow (bathtime, bedtime, etc.), along with the concept of a week, a month, seasons and important annual events, such as birthdays. (DK, $6.99 each 36p ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. ISBN 0-7894-9210-5; Feb.)

My First Sticker Board Book series adds four new titles: My First Farm Sticker Board Book; Truck; Number; and ABC. A page of more than two dozen reusable stickers at the back of each book allows youngsters to interact with the concepts presented. A spread of "Garden fun" in ABC, for instance, highlights flowers, grass and hat, among others, and prompts children to look for a flower sticker to add to the garden. (DK, $6.99 each 12p ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. ISBN 0-7894-9542-2;-9246-6; -9551-1; -9247-4; Feb.)

Let Freedom Ring

The Underground Railroad and one woman's fight for equality are the subjects of two nonfiction volumes. Joyce Hansen and Gary McGowan explore the ways historians have traced the path of the enslaved as they traveled northward to freedom in Freedom Roads: Searching for the Underground Railroad. Opening with archeologists' discovery of Fort Mose, "the first settlement of freed men and women in America," the authors demonstrate how the study of artifacts, laws, slave narratives and more contribute to an understanding of how this crucial chapter of American history evolved. Reproductions of period photographs and documents extend the value of this well-researched volume, and James Ransome's half-tone watercolor paintings open each chapter. (Cricket/ Marcato, $18.95 176p ages 10-14 ISBN 0-8126-2673-7; Apr.)

Fight On!: Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration by Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin recounts the tale of a girl born to slaves in 1865, who went on to become an early civil rights leader with a career spanning 60 years. Mary Eliza Church, or "Mollie," who graduated from Oberlin College in 1884, was "the first black woman appointed to the Washington, D.C., Board of Education" and a cofounder of the NAACP. Even at age 87, Church picketed Kresge's for "maintain[ing] color barriers." Period photographs, news clippings and more lend this inviting volume about an extraordinary leader a sense of immediacy. (Clarion, $17, 192 pages ages 10-14 ISBN 0-618-13349-6, Apr.)

Family Affair

Just in time for Mother's Day, What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff, illus. by Lynn Munsinger, appears in a board book format, abridged from the bestselling hardcover. Five adorable mother-child animal pairs depict the loving things they do together. (S&S/Little Simon, $6.99 16p ages 1-5 ISBN 0-689-85659-8; Apr.)

A foldout flap increases the fun in Only My Mom and Me by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Tiphanie Beeke. Each spread begins with "When it's only my mom and me..." and the right-hand side folds out twice to reveal various activities. "We take crunchy leaf walks" shows a mother cat and kitten strolling past a pond in the woods; unfolding the flap reveals their "long picnic talks" on a plaid blue blanket, and a final unfolding shows the kitten swinging from a tree. Only My Dad and Me, from the same team, similarly explores a bunny child's experience with father. (HarperFestival, $6.99 paper 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-694-52585-5; -52584-7; Apr.)

Four paper-over-board books by Nick Butterworth extol the virtues of various family members in greeting-card fashion: My Mom Is Excellent; My Grandma Is Wonderful; My Dad Is Awesome; and My Grandpa Is Amazing. Among Mom's talents, "She can balance on a tightrope" (the comical drawing shows her walking the clothesline) while Dad, "strong as a gorilla," bends over as a multicultural cast of children (plus a dog) piles onto his back. (Candlewick, $5.99 each 32p ages 3-8 ISBN 0-7636-2050-5; -2051-3; -2056-4; -2057-2; Apr.)

Two books in one, Mommy Loves Her Baby flips over to begin Daddy Loves His Baby by Tara Jaye Morrow, illus. by Tiphanie Beeke. "Mommy loves her baby like the penguins love to slide,/ like hyenas love to giggle/ and chameleons love to hide." A full-page rendering of a penguin riding its mother's back down an icy slope appears opposite two inset paintings of the other two animal families. The juxtaposition of full-bleed and smaller inset illustrations of various animal families keeps the energy high, and the final portrait of human parent and child brings the message home. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-06-029077-3; Apr.)

Mommy's Best Kisses by Margaret Anastas, illus. by Susan Winter, also explores parent-child affection through animal portraits: "I kiss your small hands as you reach for my face" shows a mother chipmunk and child, "I kiss your five fingers that squeeze mine so tight" depicts a mother kangaroo with her joey. The closing spreads feature a human mother and child, and include a spread of the sleeping child surrounded by all of the animals mentioned previously. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-06-623601-0; Apr.)

Everything reminds Mikele of ribbons as she goes through the day doing chores alongside her father, and no wonder—she's prepared a blue ribbon (which says "My Papa") for a Father's Day gift in Won't Papa Be Surprised! by Terri Cohlene, illus. by Elizabeth Sayles. The layered pastels of the illustrations create movement in the garden where the pair weeds and in the windsock suspended above the porch. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-688-13093-3; Apr.)

Each spread of Grandparents! by Roser Capdevila, illus. by Anne-Laure Fournier le Ray, begins with a line of text in blue type—"All Grandparents have their own names"—followed by smaller scenes arranged on a white background. "Some have well-known, popular names" accompanies framed color photos of "Grandma" and "Grandpa"; "Some have formal names" shows b&w cameo portraits of "Grandmother" and "Grandfather." Le Ray's drawings, reminiscent of Paul Meisel's work, display the diversity of grandparents and the affection shared among family members. (Kane/Miller, $10.95 34p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-929132-46-8; Mar.)

Grandad's Tree: Poems About Families, ed. by Jill Bennett, illus. by Julia Cairns, begins with Mary Ann Hoberman's exuberant "What Is a Family?" ("A pair like a kanga and roo is a family!/ A calf and a cow that go moo is a family!") and ends with Carl Sandburg's philosophical "Family" ("There is only one child in the world/ and the Child's name is All Children"). In Cairns's portraits, people sport electric colors and patterns from Africa, a British boy wears a "hulky bulky thick checkered jacket" that belonged to his grandfather in England, and a Japanese mother and daughter shake a cherry tree in Christina Rossetti's "Let's Be Merry." (Barefoot, $16.99 32p ages 6-10 ISBN 1-84148-541-1; Mar.)

In My Grandmother's House: Award-Winning Authors Tell Stories About Their Grandmothers, ed. by Bonnie Christensen, presents a dozen recollections, including Minfong Ho's feelings of leaving her Ah Po behind to move to upstate New York ("I have moved so far away from her, strayed way off-center, when I settled into this spot half a world away from... where I grew up"); Alma Flor Ada's sensory memories of visiting her Cuban-born Abuelita, the smell of her grandmother's perfume and the taste of fresh milk, still warm in the pail; and the wit and wisdom of Jean Craighead George's maternal grandmother, who lived by the axiom, "A bed made at once saves time in the crunch" (as her grandmother begins to go blind, George writes, "What she lacked in vision she made up in insight"). Christensen's drawings act as openers for each chapter. (HarperCollins, $18.99 224p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-06-029109-5; Mar.)