Tell Me a Story

Five stories and poems previously published by Charlotte Zolotow come together in Hold My Hand: Five Stories of Love and Family, illus. by Carol Thompson. From a baby uttering his first word ("Ma Ma!") in "But Not Billy" (1947) to Thompson's alluring wintry backdrop to Zolotow's poem "Hold My Hand" (1972), to the tagalong little brother in "Timothy Too!" and the older sibling tease in "Big Brother" (1960) to the final tale of a girl who isn't sleepy on "The Summer Night" (1958; 1974) this handful of family vignettes, illustrated in watercolors that suit the mood of each, capture the tender warmth and exuberance of home life. (Hyperion, $19.99 64p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-7868-0518-8; Sept.)

Gathering another quintet of previously published books, Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Little Children by the husband-and-wife team, adapts material from books published between 1991 and 1998. The round-up surveys a range of topics, such as "What do babies play with?" (the list includes "Frizzy hair,/ saggy bear,/ Empty box,/ Daddy's socks") in a selection called "Very Little Children" from Here Come the Babies. There are also some extended verse, as in a poetic portrait of "Little Children's Families" from the duo's Big Book of Families: "Mommy, mommy, sweet as honey,/ busy as a bee,/ Buzzing off to earn some money,/ Buzzing home to me." The airy watercolor-and-ink spot illustrations have enough level of knowing detail to prompt plenty of pointing and commentary. (Candlewick, $15.99 80p ages 2-up ISBN 0-7636-2210-9; Sept.)

Originally published in 1957, Tenggren's Golden Tales from the Arabian Nights: The Most Famous Stories from the Great ClassicA Thousand and One Nights, retold by Margaret Soifer and Irwin Shapiro, gathers 11 well-known tales told by Scheherazade to the king, to save her life and those of her countrywomen. Fantastical illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren bring to life genies, monsters, magicians, princesses, palaces and the exotic backdrops in tales such as "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" and "Sinbad the Sailor." (Random/Golden, $19.95 128p ages 6-up ISBN 0-375-82636-X; Sept.)

Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet: Mexican Folktales, ed. by Neil Philip, illus. by Jacqueline Mair, gathers 15 traditional Mexican tales of lovers, princesses, magicians and priests, illustrated in the style and fiesta-bright hues of Mexican folk art. In "The Flea," a young man must outwit a great magician if he hopes to marry the magician's daughter; in "Pedro the Trickster," a clever man tricks Death. (Clarion, $19 96p ages 9-up ISBN 0-618-19463-0; Sept.)

Japanese Children's Favorite Stories, ed. by Florence Sakade, covers a range of characters, human and animal, from the "peach boy" who grows up to conquer a tribe of ogres, to the badger whose nose grows so long it reaches into the sky. These folktales from Japan feature fascinating characters and lessons of kindness and honesty. Originally published in 1953, this revised edition has all-new illustrations by Yoshisuke Kurosaki, which play up the magical qualities of the tales. (Tuttle, $16.95 112p ages 6-10 ISBN 0-8048-3449-0; Aug.)

An array of folklore from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, and the Isle of Man comprises Celtic Memories retold by Caitlín Matthews, illus. by Olwyn Whelan. In "The Boy Who Didn't Know," a young man travels on a wise, magical mare; "The Cailleach of the Snows" tells of a girl named Bride's quest to overthrow the harsh winter of the Cailleach. These stories and poems tell of ordinary lives touched by spirits, enchantments and magical encounters. (Barefoot, $19.99 80p all ages ISBN 1-84148-097-5; Sept.)

A Forest of Stories: Magical Tree Tales from Around the World, retold by Rína Singh, illus. by Helen Cann, travels the world with its stories about trees, from the Chinese tale "The Cypress Tree," about a peddler who buys the shade of a tree, to the Nigerian "The Palm Tree," about a magician's son who commands a date palm tree to pull up its roots and walk. Each story is prefaced with facts about the tree, and an introduction by Singh celebrates the benefits trees provide and the need for people to conserve and respect them. (Barefoot, $19.99 64p all ages ISBN 1-84148-963-8; Sept.)

The very short stories in Just for Me, Just for You, which first appeared in Nick Jr. Family Magazine, are designed to help children learn reading skills. Stories with refrains in large type, such as "Hello, My Little Friend!" (from the story of the same name by Andrea Perry, illus. by Ward Schumaker) invite kids to chime in, and wordless stories such as "The Great Escape" encourage pre-readers to "read" it themselves. Contributors such as Jack Prelutsky, Jean Marzollo, Scott Nash and Chris Raschka offer stories with comforting childhood themes of animals, trains, dinosaurs and loving families. (S&S, $14.95 64p ages 2-5 ISBN 00-689-85963-5; Oct.)

The mind-stretching riddles and stories in Riddle Me This! Riddles and Stories to Challenge Your Mind by Hugh Lupton, illus. by Sophie Fatus, will stimulate readers to think about things in new ways. "What is it that the more you take away, the larger it becomes?" Answer: a hole. "What has a bottom at the top?" Answer: A leg. Riddles and stories about riddles, like "King John and the Bishop of Canterbury" will have readers laughing and putting on their thinking caps. (Barefoot, $19.99 64p ages 5-10 ISBN 1-84148-169-6; Sept.)

It's Back to School We Go! First Day Stories from Around the World by Ellen Jackson, illus. by Jan Davey Ellis, portrays the first day of class for children from 11 different countries. First-person accounts capture the similarities and differences among children across the globe. A Kenyan girl eats mandazi (fried bread) for lunch, a Peruvian boy paddles a canoe to school on the Amazon River and a Chinese boy's favorite subject is brush painting. All of these children share an eagerness to learn. (Millbrook, $15.95 32p ages 6-9 ISBN 0-7613-1948-4; Sept.)

Chime In!

Sparkling with shiny foil snowflakes on the jacket, Frosty the Snowman pairs the original song lyrics by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins with frolicking new illustrations by Richard Cowdrey. Childlike exuberance, intimate close-ups and rosy-cheeked children fill the pages of this large trim picture book. (Grosset & Dunlap, $9.99 32p ages 3-up ISBN 0-448-43199-8; Sept.)

In the latest book in the Sing-Along

Stories series, Mary Had a Little Lamb, adapted by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Mary and her classmates sneak the lamb into their classroom, where they attempt to teach it to read and write: "The lamb was asked to read aloud,/ Read aloud,/ Read aloud,/ The lamb was asked to read aloud/ But all it said was... BAA!" With musical notation and an activity page, this humorous interpretation of the original song will delight young children. (Little Brown, $15.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-316-60687-1; Sept.)

A Treasury of Children's Songs: Forty Favorites to Sing and Play pairs classic songs arranged and edited by Dan Fox with works of art from the Metropolitan Museum's collections. "Eensy Weensy Spider" is paired with a detail showing a spider from Flowers and Birds, a Japanese painting on silk by Taki Katei. "Home on the Range" is accompanied by an oil painting, The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak by Albert Bierstadt. Each entry also includes musical and artistic notation. (Holt, $19.95 96p all ages ISBN 0-8050-7445-7; Oct.)

Art Adventures

For the budding artist, The Jumbo Book of Art by Irene Luxbacher joins the Jumbo Books series, boasting more than 200 pages of drawing, painting, sculpting and mixed media projects. From a starry sky mural to a clay landscape and even costume design, these projects combine basic artistic principles with creative project ideas. Photos and illustrations accompany the step-by-step directions, material lists and numerous suggestions to encourage creativity. (Kids Can, $14.95 paper 208p ages 8-up ISBN 1-55074-762-2; Sept.)

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt follows the adventure of a girl who visits the artist's beautiful gardens in Giverny, France. With Monet, she rows across a pond and crosses a bridge over a pool in settings reminiscent of his paintings. Based on a true story, this lushly illustrated book (with a magnificent gatefold of water lilies) in the Anholt's Artists series ends with a brief note about Monet's life and work. (Barron's, $14.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-7641-5574-1; Sept.)

In Dan's Angel: A Detective's Guide to the Language of Painting by Alexander Sturgis, illus. by Lauren Child, the angel steps out of Fra Angelico's The Annunciation (1432) to help an amateur detective named Dan unravel the mysteries of an art museum. Dan explores the meaning and symbolism in 12 great paintings by a wide variety of artists, from Rembrandt to Picasso. Child's cartoonlike illustrations accompany reproductions of the paintings, each clearly labeled with title, artist, date and source. (Kane/Miller, $16.95 40p ages 5-9 ISBN 1-929132-47-6; Sept.)

Salvador Dalí and the Surrealists: Their Lives and Ideas by Michael Elsohn Ross explores the life and artistic development of Salvador Dalí and the people and events that influenced the surrealists. Various activities encourage kids to experiment with surrealist art by making inkblots, solar prints similar to Man Ray's, and "exquisite corpse" drawings, in which a group of artists each add something to a single drawing. Includes reproductions of famous paintings by Dalí, Magritte, Oppenheim and others, historical photos, glossary and a list of museums and Web sites featuring surrealist works. (Chicago Review [IPG, dist.], $17.95 paper 144p ages 10-up ISBN 1-55652-479-X; Sept.)

Art by Karen Salmansohn, illus. by Brian Stauffer, juxtaposes artist-inspired images with clever wordplay. Thus a surrealist image of a baby doll features the name "Dali," and a burnt-orange van approaches a green traffic light under a starry night sky in a painting labeled van Gogh. This debut title in the Petit Connoisseur series will amuse art aficionados big and small. (Tricycle, $6.95 16p all ages ISBN 1-58246-103-1; Oct.)