New sequels help kids get through lazy summer days. Faery world fans will find much to savor in The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terry Windling, a companion to their The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest. Among the 19 tales original to this collection, Gregory Frost's "Tengu Mountain" and "Foxwife" by Hiromi Goto both add flavor with a Japanese setting. Tanith Lee's contribution, "Elvenbrood," one of the darker stories, focuses on the child-stealing tendencies of faeries, while Steve Berman's more conventional "The Price of Glamour" scatters glamour (the magical essence of faeries) and dust amid the streets of Victorian London. Other contributors include Neil Gaiman, Holly Black and Gregory Maguire. (Viking, $19.99 544p ages 12-up ISBN 0-670-05914-5; June)

Donna Jo Napoli's Gracie: The Pixie of the Puddle brings to a close her trilogy begun with ThePrince of the Pond. Though Gracie is a normal frog, she increasingly feels out of touch with her amphibious companions, whose thoughts seldom go beyond mating. When the evil hag (who was trapped in a stone in Jimmy, the Pickpocket of the Palace) is turned into a crocodile, Jimmy (the man-frog hero of the second title) plans to keep the "hag-croc" away from the pond. (Dutton, $14.99 144p ages 7-up ISBN 0-525-47264-9; June)

Felix goes Back to the Divide in Elizabeth Kay's sequel to The Divide. When sinister Snakeweed casts a spell that literally petrifies Felix's parents, Felix returns to the Continental Divide in search of a cure. What he finds is that the militaristic president Fleabane has somehow usurped the king and queen. Felix, Ironclaw, Thornbeak and Betony reunite to effect a rescue and ultimately save Earth as well. (Scholastic/Chicken House, $15.95 384p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-439-63410-5; July)

Readers return to Bloor's Academy in the paper-over-board Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy by Jenny Nimmo. This third installment in the series finds Charlie and friends helping a boy who was turned invisible by a magic snake, as punishment for snooping. An ancient, hypnotic shape-shifter arrives and attempts to thwart their efforts, a formidable foe for the magically endowed students. (Scholastic/Orchard, $9.95 paper 432p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-439-54526-9; July)

Lenny and Mel: After-School Confidential by Erik Kraft rejoins the duo as they begin a new academic year researching after-school clubs for the school paper. A running gag has them crafting headlines modeled on television news scare tactics. "If all you do is sing, why don't they call it the Singing Club?" says Mel. "I don't know,... I guess Glee Club is easier to print on the T-shirts," says a singer. (S&S, $14.95 64p ages 7-10 ISBN 0-689-85109-X; July)

London, where sisters Hannah and Sarah ran the sweetmeats shop, is in turmoil once again in Petals in the Ashes by Mary Hooper, a sequel to At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, which PW called "a tale almost as tasty as the sisters' comfits." Fleeing London's plague, the siblings deliver Mrs. Beauchurch's baby, Grace, to her aunt, Lady Jane, in Dorchester. When the plague abates, Hannah and another sister, Anne, return to London, reunite with actress Nelly Gwyn, and must again attempt a daring escape as the Great Fire of 1666 rages through the city. (Bloomsbury, $16.95 192p ages 10-up ISBN 1-58234-936-3; July)

Robert Newton Peck takes readers back to the Depression-era setting of his Horse Thief in Bro. When young Tugwell Dockery is orphaned after a train hits his parents' car and kills them, his aunt Lulu takes him in while his incarcerated brother, Broda Joe, escapes prison to reunite with Tug. The long arm of the law soon comes to track down Tug's fraternal fugitive. (HarperCollins, $16.99 160p ages 12-up ISBN 0-06-052974-1; June)

Part of the same paperback romantic comedy series as Royally Jacked, Ripped at the Seams by Nancy Krulik introduces Sami, a Minnesota teenager who travels to New York City with dreams of making it as a clothing designer. She quickly realizes her naïveté after several abortive attempts to get a job. She lands a receptionist position, dallies with the menfolk in a couple of boroughs, and faces other travails as she navigates her new life. (Simon Pulse, $5.99 paper 336p ages 14-up ISBN 0-689-86771-9; June)

For Inquiring Minds

DK and Google team up to create a second reference guide utilizing the Internet with e.encyclopedia science. Created with the same format as the initial e.encyclopedia, the book invites readers to visit the book's Web site; when readers enter key words interspersed throughout the text, this Web site acts as a gateway to additional Web sites with further relevant information, pictures and video clips. As with the first title, the publisher consistently monitors these selected links to ensure their functionality and appropriateness of content. The scientific focus of this edition delves into such broad categories as "Forces and Energy" and "Animals" which are then subdivided into detailed sections such as "Acoustics," "Cameras," "Crustaceans" and "Echinoderms." (DK, $29.99 384p ages 8-up ISBN 0-7566-0215-7; July)

Tomorrow's Voters

Politically minded youngsters can learn about the American government with new titles out this summer. Election Connection: The Official Nick Guide to Electing the President by Susan Ring is a straightforward account of the different aspects of the political and voting processes. From the three branches of the U.S. Government to political campaigns, the media's influence and the electoral college, Ring covers all the bases, alongside quizzes and interjections from favorite Nickelodeon characters. (Chronicle, $7.95 paper 80p ages 7-up ISBN 0-8118-4175-8; June)

Also encouraging political awareness this election year is Smart About the Presidents by Jon Buller, Susan Schade and others. This companion to Smart About the 50 States now focuses on each of the presidents, as if a student were delivering a report in school, with cartoon illustrations and childlike handwriting. Facts about the White House, the vice-presidents and first ladies, and impeachment round out this educational and inviting paperback. (Grosset & Dunlap, $5.99 paper 64p ages 5-8 ISBN 0-448-43372-9; July)

Summer Activities

Bored kids will find plenty of reasons to pry themselves off the couch with a handful of new titles. A compendium of non-P.C. games and facts, The Big Book of Boy Stuff by Bart King wants boys to be boys. Genuinely funny, King covers gliders (how to make them), a q&a about girls, tips for dealing with bullies, ideas for outdoor activities and much more, interspersed with jokes and asides. On finding wild animals while camping: "You cannot expect them to behave like a dog or a cat, even if the bear seems friendly or if the chipmunk is really cute." (Gibbs Smith, $19.95 paper 312p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-58685-333-3; June)

Gross Me Out! 50 Nasty Projects to Disgust Your Friends & Repulse Your Family by Ralph Retcher and Betty Lou Poo (aka Joe Rhatigan and Rain Newcomb), illus. by Clay Meyer, delivers enough repellant recipes and contemptible crafts to keep kids permanently grounded. Sections include "Your Very Gross Body" and "Gag Gifts," with recipes like Curdled Milk Pancreas with Green Salsa Bile and Roadkill Roast. Unpleasant foods eaten worldwide (e.g., haggis and sweetbreads) and an interview with a cockroach are informative while sacrificing none of the gross factor. (Sterling/Lark, $14.95 112p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-57990-505-6; July)

Rhatigan and Newcomb team up again in Run, Jump, Hide, Slide, Splash: The 200 Best Outdoor Games Ever, with a plethora of ways to keep kids active, soaking wet and ultimately gasping for breath all summer long. (Sterling/Lark, $19.95 128p ages 7-11 ISBN 1-57990-509-9; July)

For aspiring martial artists who don't yet know their sensei from their kohai, Karate for Kids by Robin Rielly explains the basics of this time-honored practice. Following a brief history, Rielly explains the uniform, what to expect at a dojo (karate school), proper behavior and stances. With sometimes complex textual descriptions of knot tying or movements, the guide should nonetheless inform novices. (Tuttle, $11.95 48p ages 7-12 ISBN 0-8048-3534-9; July)

When cranky children threaten revolt, there's Fun on the Run for Kids by Cynthia Copeland, illus. by Sanford Hoffman, with games targeted for car rides (e.g., car bingo), doctor visits and the grocery store, as well as for restaurants (though many seem inappropriate for anywhere nicer than a fast food joint: "Blow It Up!" involves making napkin animals and keeping them aloft by blowing into straws). (Workman, $8.95 paper 400p all ages ISBN 0-7611-3448-4; July)