Trick or Treat

A handful of Halloween titles provides spooky holiday fun in new board-book editions (for additional Halloween listings, see Children's Forecasts, Aug. 4). In Felicia Bond's The Halloween Play, Roger has a small but important role when his class puts on a performance before a packed auditorium. The sweet text and quiet illustrations, previously published as The Halloween Performance, capture the anticipation and joy of this little mouse. (HarperCollins, $6.99 30p ages 1-3 ISBN 0-06-054443-0; Aug.)

In Five Little Pumpkins, illus. by Dan Yaccarino, five carved pumpkins watch ghosts and witches fly by on Halloween night. Bold colors, expressive pumpkins and dramatic perspectives complement the spirited rhyming text. R.W. Alley's lively, humorous illustrations for There Once Was a Witch depict a cheerful Halloween night with costumed trick-or-treaters and a fun-loving, broomstick-surfing witch. The music and lyrics for this traditional song appear on the last spread. (HarperFestival, $5.99 14p ages 1-up ISBN 0-694-01177-0; Witch $6.99 16p ages 1-3 ISBN 0-06-000795-8; Aug.)

Photographs of multicultural babies by Michael Scott pose for this interpretation of Five Little Pumpkins. Picket fences and night skies serve as background for the quintet of adorable toddlers, decked out in squash-hued romper suits. (Hyperion, $5.99 12p ages 6 mos.-3 yrs. ISBN 0-7868-1919-7; Aug.)

Marc Brown's Arthur dons mask, cape and pointy ears to masquerade as a vampire for the oversize board book and lift-the-flap Arthur's Spookiest Halloween. Kids can help Arthur prepare for his party by taping "three creepy cats" to the door, then open it to find D.W. arriving with a tray for five candy apples—readers use a sticker of the quintet of fruits to fill it up. Other fun stickers include a skeleton, jack-o'-lanterns and trick-or-treat bag. (Random, $7.99 10p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-375-81004-8; Aug.)

A Girl's Best Friend

American Girl's plush pup Coconut stars in a new line of activity and advice books for girls. Coconut's Guide to Life: Life Lessons from a Girl's Best Friend, illus. by Casey Lukatz, offers cheerful tips from sharing the sunny spot to starting each day wagging your tail. The small, jacketed hardcover has a sturdy cardboard picture frame bound in as the last page. The book is also available in the boxed Coconut Book-and-Dog Package, containing the plush Westie pup sporting leash and collar.

The covered spiral-bound Friendship File: Facts on Friends from A to Z, also illus. by Lukatz, with its tabbed pages, offers room for addresses and more. An array of prompts encourages friends to fill in their dreams, favorite friendship moments and other fun facts. Coconut adds pup-sized nuggets of wisdom about friendship (e.g., "A true friend knows you inside out"). Coco-Notes: A Book of Notes to Tear and Share includes party invitations, coupons, and notes for girls to send to friends and family. Puzzle Book: Games, Riddles, Mazes, and More! includes 64 pages of brainteasers, crosswords, riddles, etc.—all starring Coconut. (Pleasant/American Girl, $5.95 32p ages 7-up ISBN 1-58485-771-4; Book-and-Dog Package, $19.95 -772-2; Friendship File, $7.95 120p -797-8; Coco-Notes, $5.95 paper 80p -798-6; Puzzle Book , $5.95 paper 64p -799-4; Sept.)

Welcome to Kaya's World 1764 by Dottie Raymer is the latest entry in the series that fills in the factual details in the worlds of the American Girls Collection characters. This nonfiction book focuses on the Native American Nez Perce culture over the past 240 years and shows readers what life was like for Kaya, from the clothes people wore to the ceremonies they practiced. (Pleasant/American Girls Collection, $16.95 64p ages 8-up ISBN 1-58485-722-6; Sept.)

True Stories: Girls' Inspiring Stories of Courage and Heart, illus. by Amanda Haley, collects 34 stories of real experiences girls have faced, whether surviving a tornado, solving a mystery or rescuing a drowning kitten. The collection includes pieces previously published in American Girl magazine as well as original ones, and concludes with an invitation for readers to send in their own true stories on the colorful notepaper bound in at the end. (Pleasant/American Girl, $7.95 paper 80p ages 8-up ISBN 1-58485-744-7; Sept.)

Shake It Up

Preschoolers will enjoy the jingly-jangly fun in two Maisy books with built-in rattles, both by Lucy Cousins. In Maisy Likes Dancing, Maisy stomps, hops and twists with her friends. The rattle, bound into the back cover, is clearly visible on each page of this die-cut board book. Maisy explores sounds from knock knock to tick tock in Maisy's Noisy Day. The colorful rattle built into the spine encourages little ones to join in the noisemaking. (Candlewick, $6.99 each 12p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-7636-1916-7; -1917-5; Aug.)

In Sam's Opposites by Yves Got the playful bunny with a thick black outline contrasts happy/sad, big/small, wet/dry and more, in an appealing padded paper-over-board format. Sam's Busy Day, also by Got, is a compact boxed set of four hand-size board books with rounded corners, about everyday things in Sam's world: Sam's Room; Sam's Clothes; Sam Goes to the Store; and Sam Goes to the Park. Bright, bold pictures and one or two words per page encourage toddlers to identify familiar objects and build vocabulary. (Chronicle, $9.95 64p ages 0-4 ISBN 0-8118-4077-8; Busy Day, $12.95 4 books 10p each -4074-3; Sept.)

Lola and Binky: Fun on the Farm, by Lara Jones, also provides interactive fun for toddlers. Lola and her doll, Binky, visit a farm, where they meet the animals. Each spread has a touch-and-feel texture on a press-out piece that youngsters can then replace in the book's page, like a jigsaw piece. Children can touch a soft pig, wooly lamb, smooth cow or shiny metallic tractor. Other books in this series include Fun on the Beach; Fun at the Zoo; and Fun at the Park, all with text and illustrations by Jones. (Barron's, $5.95 each 8p ages 1-4 ISBN 0-7641-5688-8; -5685-3; -5686-1; -5689-6; July)

Oh, Baby!

The new DK Baby series features an eye-catching design—with a gingham spine and patterned endpapers—and simple words and concepts for babies. Baby Days: A Special Book of Pictures and Words to Share with Your Baby, by Penelope Arlon, with photos by Dave King and Andy Crawford, includes poems, games and activities, and photographs of babies and familiar objects. A die-cut hole in the cover reveals a baby's face, and a red-and-white gingham ribbon closure lends the book gift appeal. The paper-over-board Baby Fun series includes Baby Fun: Five in the Bed and Baby Fun: One Little Duck, with photos by King. Both combine rhyming text based on popular children's songs with photographs of plush animals under the covers, or rubber ducks in the tub on sturdy board book pages (and a die-cut hole in the cover). A quartet of Baby Love board books with padded covers includes Baby Love: I Can; I Feel; I Like; and I See. Bold close-up photography and a line of text per page convey the things babies experience, from a warm breeze to a favorite teddy bear. (DK, $12.99, 48p 6 mos.-2 yrs. ISBN 0-7894-9815-4; Baby Fun $5.99 each 14p Bed -9819-7; Duck -9816-2; Baby Love $4.99 each 14p I Can -9821-9; I Feel -9820-0; I Like -9822-7; I See -9823-5; Sept.)

Brushing Up

Ten brief paperback books for fledgling readers come in the reclosable boxed set of Brand New Readers: Red Set and Brand New Readers: Blue Set, including Edna Dances, about a tutu-clad elephant who spins and leaps; and The Big Fish, in which the tables turn when a mouse goes fishing. With contributions by a variety of authors and illustrators, among them Phyllis Root, Janie Bynum and Scott Nash, the books begin with a note to parents with suggestions for making reading easy and fun. Each page features one line of text and a simple, inviting illustration that helps make the text's meaning clear. The sturdy boxed sets also include a certificate of achievement, a foldout poster, stickers, a guide for parents and teachers, and a blank book in which kids can write and draw. (Candlewick, $12.99 8p ages 4-up ISBN 0-7636-2062-9; -2061-0; Aug.)

Science Smart: Cool Projects for Exploring the Marvels of the Planet Earth includes 150 hands-on projects and crafts that illustrate scientific principles, including making a solar oven, growing crystals, sand painting, mapmaking and more. Diagrams and color photos accompany the detailed directions. A companion volume, Nature Smart: Awesome Projects to Make with Mother Nature's Help, focuses on the natural world and on using recycled materials. (Sterling/Main Street, $19.95 each paper 400p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-4027-0514-X; -0515-8; July)

The World Almanac for Kids 2004, edited by Kevin Seabrooke, updates this perennial favorite with fun photos and graphics plus homework tips organized into sections ranging from music and sports stars of 2003 to facts about the 50 states. The kid-friendly volume packs in history, science, current events, culture, trivia and more. (World Almanac, $11.95 paper 336p ages 7-14 ISBN 0-88687-902-7; Aug)

Celebrating Grandparents

There's a special bond between grandchildren and grandparents, and Grandparents Are the Greatest Because... by Adele Aron Greenspun and Joanie Schwarz celebrates what's best about this relationship—just in time for Grandparents' Day (September 7). "They let you stay up past midnight and eat ice cream for breakfast" are just two of the many highlights, which also include "giv[ing] you the giggles" and "let[ting] you make a bunch of noise." Hand-tinted photos and quotes from kids and grandparents add warmth and humor to the scrapbook-like presentation. (Dutton, $12.99 32p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-525-47131-6; Aug.)

Grandparents can be great storytellers, too, and the aptly titled Grandfather Tales: American-English Folk Tales, edited by Richard Chase, illus. by Berkeley Williams Jr. (first published in 1948), collects folk stories and tall tales handed down for generations. Although many originated in England, they have taken on a distinct American flavor. Familiar backcountry characters include Sody Sallyraytus and Old Dry Frye. The Jack Tales: Folk Tales from the Southern Appalachians (1943), also edited by Chase, illus. by Williams, captures 18 folk tales about Jack, well known to children from Jack and the Beanstalk (here known as "Jack and the Bean Tree"). Williams's occasional pen-and-ink drawings add to the handsome package. (Houghton, $17 each 240p ages 10-up ISBN 0-618-34691-0; -34693-7; $7.95 each paper -34690-2; -34692-9; Aug.)