You Gotta Have Art

Not your traditional Mother Goose, Mother Goose on the Loose, edited by Bobbye S. Goldstein, compiles more than 80 cartoons from the New Yorker that take hilariously demented looks at familiar favorites such as Humpty Dumpty, Jack and his beanstalk, and the affair of the dish and the spoon (the caption reads, "The Sterlings Disapprove," as a parental knife and fork look on in consternation). The irreverent cartoonists twisting the tales include Charles Addams, Leo Cullum, John O'Brien and Jack Ziegler. The appropriate Mother Goose rhymes (and a few original ones) introduce the related selections. (Abrams, $18.95 112p all ages ISBN 0-8109-4239-9; Apr.)

Baby Loves by William Lach features the well-known mother-child images of American Impressionist Mary Cassatt. Each painting, print or pastel accompanies a two-word text describing the action (such as "baby sits," "baby cuddles" or "baby claps"). The beautiful bookmaking perhaps serves the art more than the intended audience. (S&S/ Atheneum, $12.95 48p ages 5-up ISBN 0-689-85340-8; Apr.)

In Elvis Presley's Love Me Tender, artist Tom Browning reinterprets the ballad as a testament to the bond between a father and daughter, portraying them together in a variety of settings and seasons. Adults familiar with the song may be uncomfortable with the romantic implications of the words, but children should have no such qualms. An Elvis CD is included. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p all ages ISBN 0-06-027797-1; Apr.)

On the Move

Trucks, trains, automobiles and more keep young readers rolling along. In Willie and Buster Take the Train by Dorothea DePrisco, illus. by Frank Ansley, paper engineering by Dennis Meyer, a boy and his orange tiger-striped cat search for Buster the dog on a train. This pull-out board book unfolds on double-sided pages to show and describe all the cars on the train, with plenty of flaps for peeks inside, and a soundchip providing train whistles and clickety-clacks. (Piggy Toes, $12.95 10p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-183-8; Apr.)

In Beep Beep, a board book by Kay Widdowson, a pig-tailed girl and her dog take a drive to the farm in their bright red car. The colorful countryside will appeal to young children, who can press the horn (accessible on every page thanks to a die-cut circle on each spread) to greet all the animals along with this jaunty pair. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $5.99 10p ages 3-6 ISBN0-439-45284-4; Apr.)

Heroes of the Sky: A Search-and-Rescue Pop-Up by Chris Demarest, follows a helicopter rescue squad in a board book with flaps, pull-tabs and pop-ups. Warm watercolors clearly delineate the equipment used and tasks performed in the mountain rescue of an injured climber. Important parts of the helicopter and the contents of a first aid kit are labeled. (S&S/Little Simon, $10.95 18p ages 4-7 ISBN 0-689-84835-8; Mar.)

Part of the new Wheels at Work series, the paper-over-board book At a Construction Site by Don Kilby introduces young readers to the machines needed to demolish an old building and erect a new one. Thickly applied acrylic paint and concise text lay out everything from the crane with its wrecking ball to the forklift delivering new materials to the lunch truck carrying sustenance for hungry workers. On the Road, also by Kilby, follows the same format. Each title is also available in an edition that includes a foldout play area and four truck magnets. (Kids Can, $14.95 each 24p ages 3-7 ISBN 1-55337-378-2; with magnets, $16.95 each -044-9; On the Road -379-0; with magnets -043-0; Mar.)

"Old trucks. New trucks. Going-to-the-zoo trucks" hit the road in Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! by Patricia Hubbell, illus. by Megan Halsey. The convoy of vehicles, often with surprising drivers, travel the highway against a backdrop of offbeat collage compositions featuring maps, etchings and original drawings. (Cavendish, $14.95 32p ages 4-6 ISBN 0-7614-5124-2; Mar.)

Pass the Poetry, Please

The First Foil Poetry Haikus board book series debuts with Love by Thea Feldman and Seasons by Ida Ageledis, both illus. by Michelle Berg. Colorful foil shows through die-cut "windows" in each spread, and flaps cover additional events. For instance, a girl sits on a park bench with her cat on her lap and a red foiled bucket at her side; opposite, a flap reading "Warm licks from my dog/ The cat purring in my lap/ A pet of my own," lifts to reveal a dog catching a blue foiled ball. The first explores love and affection among family (and pets), friends and community; the second explores the four seasons and features foiled butterflies, beach pails and raindrops. (Piggy Toes, $6.95 each 10p ages 3-up ISBN 1-58117-189-7; -188-9; Apr.)

In Fireflies at Midnight by Marilyn Singer, a summer day unfolds through the voices of various animals, from a robin at dawn ("Up cheerup I'm up/ Let me be first to greet the light"), to a bat ("I hear/ I see/ the night"), to a mole the following dawn ("In the beneath/ it is mole time/ the whole time"). Ken Robbins's photorealistic art brings each animal into an up-close, often soft focus. (S&S/Atheneum, $16.95 32p ages 5-9 ISBN 0-689-82492-0; Apr.)

Toy bears in abundance inhabit Alice Schertle's Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, illus. by Linda Hill Griffith. Readers can take their pick of "Bears in striped pajamas,/ Bears in running shoes./ Miles of Bears. Piles of bears./ Care for a bear? Just choose." The rhyming verse and intricately detailed artwork evoke a cozy, bygone era. (HarperCollins, $15.99 32p ages 3-up ISBN 0-688-16870-1; Apr.)

Tough Stuff Takes Off

The new Tough Stuff series of board books, with real rubber tire treads on the covers, star rescue heroes and their vehicles. All of the books are also available in Spanish editions. Two wheel-shaped titles use a die-cut circle on the cover to spotlight the starring vehicle and their accoutrements: Tractor Power and Digger Power. (Hyperion, $5.99 each 10p ages 2-up Tractor ISBN 0-7868-1979-0; Tractor superfuerte -1975-8; Digger -1980-4; Excavadora superfuerte -1976-6; Apr.)

Tough Truck Rescue and Helicopter Rescue feature lift-the-flap control panels on the opening sturdy gatefold spread, followed by a daring rescue tale. (Hyperion, $8.99 each, 10p ages 2-up Truck ISBN 0-7868-1981-2; Súper camión al rescate -1977-4; Helicopter -1982-0; Helicóptero al rescate -1978-2; Apr.)

In Fire, Fire! Emergency and Police Chase! Emergency, a sound-chip button that sounds a siren is accessible on each page thanks to a die-cut "bite" out of the lower right-hand corner. In the first title, Team Alpha puts out a fire at the airport (due to faulty wiring); in the second, the police solve the mystery of a stolen soccer trophy. (Hyperion, $12.99 each 10p ages 2-up Fire! ISBN 0-7868-1983-9; ¡Fuego! ¡fuego! emergencia -1948-0; Police -1984-7; ¡Policía en acción! -1947-2; Apr.)

From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

The movie tie-ins to the Star Wars saga continue with Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: The Complete Guide to the Incredible Locations from Episode II by Simon Beecroft, illus. by Richard Chasemore and Hans Jenssen, exploring alien terrain in maps, cross-sections and stills from the movie. Text and artwork offer detailed depictions of landscapes, cities, palaces, and the cultures and politics of the inhabitants, as well as trace Anakin's key routes via swoop bike, plus the routes of Padmé's starship and the Tusken Raiders. (DK, $19.99 40p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-7894-9227-X; Apr.)

Native American Connections

In Buffalo, Beverly Brodsky's impressionistic, evocative watercolors and oil paintings highlight her narration of the many roles of this sacred animal in the lives of the Plains Indians. The straightforward text includes song-poems such as this excerpt from a Pawnee song: "Clouds of dust arise, rolling up from earth,/ Spreading onward; Herds are there./ Speeding on before,/ Going straight where we must journey." (Cavendish, $18.95 32p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-7614-5133-1; Mar.)

Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture and Values Through Storytelling by Joseph Bruchac is a wide-ranging exploration of many aspects of Native American experience, lifestyle and belief. Bruchac uses traditional stories to illuminate subjects as diverse as the impact of boarding schools, the role of sacred traditions and attitudes toward life and death. Annotated lists for further reading conclude each chapter. (Fulcrum, $16.95 192p ages 12-up ISBN 1-55591-129-3; Apr.)

In Walking the Choctaw Road: Stories from Red People Memory, storyteller Tim Tingle shares what it means to be Choctaw through 11 moving tales. His subjects range from the "Trail of Tears" to "Tony Byars," one man's account of finding friendship amidst enormous sorrow during his seven-year confinement in an Indian boarding school.(Cinco Puntos [Consortium, dist.], $16.95 152p ages 12-up ISBN 0-938317-74-1; May)