Oh, So Touchable

Sandra Boynton's personable animals teach youngsters about textures as they beg to be touched in Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! A Touch, Skritch & Tickle Book. From a cow with tufty blue hair and a velvety pink nose, to a pig with shiny green sunglasses and a dog with "Rough/ rough/ rough" paw pads, these animals combine classic Boynton charm with a large touch-and-feel format. (S&S/Little Simon, $11.95 12p ages 1-5 ISBN 0-689-86363-2; Sept.)

In a quartet of Funny Faces board books by Janet Allison Brown, illus. by Paula Knight, tactile elements on the cover draw readers inside. The hero's yellow felt wings on the cover of Scaredy Duck emphasize his fear of flying; yet one day he gets lost and finally asks the other ducks for help. In Lion's Mane, with a felt mane on the cover, Lion tries to change his hairstyle. Pink and gray felt ears on the cover of Hurray for Elephant play up the pachyderm's big ears, which enable her to hear Monkey's cries for help. Also sporting felt wings on the cover, Busy Bee has a lot to do, but still finds time to help his friends. (ME Media/Tiger Tales, $3.95 each 8p ages 2-4 ISBN 1-58925-716-2; Lion -718-9; Elephant -717-0; Bee -715-4; Sept.)

The Busy Bear Books launch with two oversize interactive board book titles by Poppy Wells, illus. by Patti Jennings, with moving parts on the cover and on every spread. In Grandpa Bear Fixes It, kids can help Grandpa Bear hammer a nail on a birdhouse, tighten a bicycle wheel and fold everything up neatly into a toolbox. In Breakfast with the Bears, youngsters pour milk, pop up the toaster and pull a tab to see the ursine family enjoying the fruits of their labors. (Sterling/ Pinwheel, $7.95 10p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-4027-0445-3; -0444-5; Sept.)

Hands-On Fun

Just right for those bad-weather days when there's nothing to do, the paper-over-board The Rainy Day Book by Jane Bull includes plenty of creative projects for kids, using everyday household objects and easy-to-find supplies. Children can use face paints to paint their hands into characters; create a cage for their stuffed animals from a corrugated box; and make a rain catcher to measure precipitation. Easy-to-follow directions and clear photographs make this a welcome resource. (DK, $12.99 48p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-7894-9831-6; Sept.)

For more indoor fun, kids can learn the art of paper folding in Beginner's Origami: Birds, Beasts, Bugs & Butterflies by Steve and Megumi Biddle. This guide, with artwork from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, teaches youngsters to create a butterfly, cat, swan, peacock, snake and more. A photograph of a painting or sculpture depicting each animal is paired with step-by-step directions and illustrations, plus 40 sheets of brightly colored origami paper (tucked behind the die-cut front cover). (Viking/Metropolitan Museum of Art, $17.99 48p ages 7-up ISBN 0-670-03648-X; Sept.)

A spiral-bound book with a spillproof cover, The Mix-It-Up Cookbook, illus. by Tracy McGuinness, offers basic recipes for kid-friendly foods, then adds ideas for mix-in variations—among them "apple pie pancakes," "barbecued chicken pizza" or "girlie-swirlie shakes" with a "chocolate monkey" mix-in (including chocolate ice cream, a peanut butter cup and ½ banana). Brief sections on basic cooking tips and tabletop decorating ideas round out this accessible cookbook. (Pleasant/American Girl, $14.95 96p ages 10-up ISBN 1-58485-742-0; Sept.)

All About Me: A Super Scrapbooking Kit acts as a starter set for kids who want to make a keepsake of their own. This three-ring binder includes a 16-page book with tips such as how to lay out pages and crop photos, plus 48 patterned pages for making the scrapbook itself, as well as a sealed folder with stencils, press-out shapes and four sticker sheets. (Reader's Digest, $19.95 ages 8-12 ISBN 0-7621-0503-8; Sept.)

Brimming with more than 100 crafts, The Kids' Book of Incredibly Fun Crafts by Roberta Gould, illus. by Norma Jean Martin-Jourdenais, is laid out like a recipe (with "what you need" and "what you do" sections). This spiral-bound volume guides youngsters to create a "claymation" film (with sets and characters made from playdough) and sew their own "Tlingit-style" moccasins ("like those worn by the Tlingit people, who live in southeastern Alaska). Most of the crafts can be made with recycled and easy-to-find materials. (Kids Can/Williamson [800-234-8791], $14.95 paper 128p ages 8-up ISBN 1-885593-85-6; Sept.)

The Ultimate Spy Kit: Become an Electronic Super-Spy by David Eckold contains everything kids need to make simple spy gadgets. A plastic tray inside the sturdy box holds wires, headphones, a circuit box, copper tape and more; 13 "spy cards" give instructions for assembling a movement detector, an intruder alarm and other gadgets. The kit also contains a ready-made listening device, an invisible ink pen, and a 10-page "Spy Training Manual" with tips on shadowing the enemy, using codes and ciphers plus the enclosed spy accoutrements. (DK, $29.95 10p ages 8-up ISBN 0-7894-9868-5; Sept.)

Roll-A-Rama: A Scavenger Hunt Game by Leslie Bockol, illus. by David Semple, is a search-and-find challenge packaged to resemble a hand-held video game, with a screen in the center and knobs to turn that introduce 10 scenes, including a jungle, a ranch, a beach and more. Each scene challenges kids to find a different set of hidden objects. (Innovative Kids, $15.99 10p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-58476-204-7; Sept.)

More Math Games & Activities from Around the World by Claudia Zaslavsky features more than 70 games and activities that reinforce math skills, from three-in-a-row games such as Alquerque de Nueve from Spain, to board games such as Lambs and Tigers from India, to puzzles involving connecting dots with lines, such as West Africa's Julirde. Zaslavsky also explores calendars from around the world, lucky numbers, measurements, plus symmetry and patterns. (Chicago Review [IPG, dist.], $14.95 paper 176p ages 9-up ISBN 1-55652-501-X; Oct.)