All A-Board!

Sturdy board book editions introduce concepts and favorite characters to youngest booklovers. The board book edition of Pancakes, Pancakes! by Eric Carle tells youngsters how Jack goes about getting the ingredients for the titular meal, and all the steps along the way. (S&S/Little Simon, $7.99 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-689-87148-1; Dec.)

Jessie Willcox Smith Mother Goose for Kids, edited by Edward D. Nudelman, celebrates the artwork of Smith (1863—1935), who had illustrated Heidi, among other classics. This oversize board book features 10 of the artist's lush nursery rhyme paintings, accompanied by a line of verse from each (e.g., "Jack fell down and broke his crown,/ And Jill came tumbling after"). A final spread lists activities that parents can use with children to extend the art and poems, such as roasting pumpkin seeds for "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin-Eater." (Pelican, $8.95 12p ages 3-5 ISBN 1-58980-2; Oct.)

Clear, full-bleed photos of penguins illustrate simple concepts in a pair of board book primers by Kevin Schafer: Penguins ABC, an Antarctic look at the alphabet with a mix of simple words ("D is for Dive") and more complex terms ("C is for Chinstrap penguins"); and Penguins 123, in which readers count up to 12 with rhyming couplets astride the appropriate numbers of penguins swimming, sliding and posing. (NorthWord, $6.95 each 28p ages 6 mos.-3 yrs. ISBN 1-55971-905-2; 1-55971-906-0; Oct.)

Presenting... Olivia

Equal parts endearing and impetuous, Ian Falconer's acclaimed star, Olivia, appears in an unabridged board book version of the Caldecott Honor title. In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "With a masterful use of black line, a minimum of details, a judicious use of the color red and a few choice words, Falconer invents an unforgettable porcine heroine." (Atheneum/ Schwartz, $7.99 34p ages 2-5 ISBN 0-689-87472-3; Oct.)

The feisty porker literally takes the stage in Teatro Olivia. Fans first spy her peeking out of the curtain on the sturdy cardboard cover, which opens to reveal an elegant 3-D stage that lowers like a drawbridge to accommodate enough scenery to present three plays: Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and Turandot. Falconer, with his background as a set designer, transports the audience to 14th-century Verona and Peking, China ("long long ago") with ease, and leaves no detail untapped: a Playbill (with a cover scene aficionados will recognize from the heroine's debut, Olivia) gives a synopsis, a "Who's who" and offers additional activities. Various Olivia figurines in appropriate costumes (marked according to the play in which they are to be used) and the scenery tuck neatly away into a drawer in the Teatro box (like a costume trunk). Youngsters will indulge in many encore performances with this clever package. (Rizzoli/Universe [S&S, dist.], $24.95 ages 4-8 ISBN 0-689-87816-8; Dec.)

Welcome Back!

A host of reissued titles are back to greet a new generation of readers. Laura Numeroff's Beatrice Doesn't Want To (1981) returns with new illustrations by Lynn Munsinger. In this tale, Henry must take his obstinate sister to the library as he works on a report. But during a storytelling session, the librarian manages to change Beatrice's mind about libraries and books, if not her overall disposition, made all the more credible by Munsinger's emotive artwork. (Candlewick, $15.99 32p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-7636-1160-3; Oct.)

Aspiring sleuths will be eager to solve Babar's Mystery (1978) by Laurent de Brunhoff, in which Babar and his family travel to Celesteville-on-the-Sea. A thief strikes repeatedly and the pachyderms conspire to thwart the evildoer. (Abrams, $16.95 40p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-8109-5033-2; Oct.)

Kids can Roar and More in this paper-over-board reissue of Karla Kuskin's charming volume from 1956. Against bright, solid-colored backgrounds, boldly outlined animals pose for readers opposite brief verse: "Fish is the wish/ Of the cat on the mat./ Or maybe his dream/ Is catnip and cream." Following each animal/poem pairing, the noise it makes dominates a spread (here, a purr stretches across both pages). (Boyds Mills, $11.95 48p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-59078-249-6; Oct.)

First published in 1942, The Little Grey Men: A Story for the Young in Heart by BB, illus. by Denys Watkins-Pitchford, returns to print in a new hardcover edition. The tale takes place in a Britain populated with Little People: talking animals as well as dwarves—Baldmoney, Sneezewort, Dodder and Cloudberry—"the last gnomes left in England." Baldmoney and Sneezewort travel by water to find Cloudberry who has been missing for months. Delicate pen-and-ink illustrations by the author/illustrator dot the text. (HarperCollins/Andrews, $16.99 304p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-06-055448-7; Oct.)

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, illus. by Quentin Blake, presents the famous story interspersed with Blake's characteristically frenetic line drawings, with clusters of candy sprinkled across the pages. Pink, lavender, baby blue and yellow backgrounds of the pages make a sugary new wrapper for this favorite tale. (Knopf, $22.95 160p ages 5-up ISBN 0-375-83197-5; Oct.)

Never Too Young for Yoga

Kids learn to bend, twist and achieve spiritual balance with new titles that focus on yoga. Renowned yoga instructor Baron Baptiste unfolds My Daddy Is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids, illus. by Sophie Fatus. Sitting in a circle, children reveal their parents' jobs, all of which are then related to a yoga pose: "Anna says her step-dad's a pilot. Sometimes my daddy's an airplane." Scenes of parent and child on the job alternate with spreads that give step-by-step instructions for the correlating poses (nine in all). Fatus's bright watercolors teem with relevant details and her lithe children make the poses look achievable. (Barefoot, $16.99 48p all ages ISBN 1-84148-151-3; Oct.)

Karen Pierce, also a yoga instructor, guides young people and their parents through 21 yoga poses in Yoga Bear: Yoga for Youngsters, illus. by Paula Brinkman. A cartoon polar bear acts as a playful guide, while photos of children demonstrate everything from the mountain pose to the butterfly pose ("Sit with knees bent and soles of feet together. Keeping the spine straight with heels close to the body, let gravity gently pull the knees to floor"); the physical benefits follow the instructions for each pose ("Stretches inner thighs and legs"). (NorthWord, $15.95 40p ages 2-6 ISBN 1-55971-897-8; Oct.)

Yoga for Youngsters: Playful Poses for Little People by Kat Randall educates children in more than just yoga poses. Large photos of children in various stances appear opposite short alliterative phrases ("I am beautiful like a butterfly"), as well as photos of each animal or object (identified in both English and Spanish) that serves as inspiration for the pose. (Kat's Kids Kreation [Biblio, dist.], $8.95 paper 24p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-9749516-0-9; Nov.)