Stay Tuned...

Series fans will delight in new episodes for reading through the long winter's nights. Bollywood Babes by Narinder Dhami picks up where last year's Bindi Babes left off, with the Dhillon sisters—Amber, Geena and Jazz—welcoming a has-been movie star from India into their home. (Delacorte, $14.95 176p ages 9-up ISBN 0-385-73178-7; Mar.)

The Edge Chronicles continues with The Curse of the Gloamglozer, the fourth fantasy tale by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Readers return to the floating city of Sanctaphrax, where Linius Pallitrax, Most High Academe, takes on a 14-year-old apprentice, Quint. Quint discovers that his mentor had unleashed a beastly creation in the Ancient Laboratory—but can the boy face it and live? (Random/Fickling, $12.95 384p ages 10-12 ISBN 0-385-75076-5; Feb.)

Set in an ancient culture, The Oracle Betrayed, which PW called in a starred review, "a sprawling, atmospheric adventure," introduced Mirany, who became priestess of the Oracle in a land filled with corruption. Now in The Sphere of Secrets by Catherine Fisher, the Oracle Prophecies series proceeds as Mirany continues her fight to thwart the evil general Argelin. (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $16.99 384p ages 10-up ISBN 0-06-057161-6; Mar.)

PW called The World According to Humphrey a "breezy, well-crafted first novel, narrated by a hamster." The comical critter returns to Room 26 in Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney, only to discover a new class pet, Og the frog. Can a friendship be forged? (Putnam, $14.99 160p ages 7-up ISBN 0-399-24264-3; Feb.)

The Fast Forward series launched last season with A Dangerous Secret, about a high school whose students are selectively chosen to cross over into a celluloid life in a "Vidz." Now the spotlight shifts from Hamish to Kaz, who invents a time machine in her parallel universe, in Time Trap by Ian Bone, illustrated with clever comic strip—like accompaniment by Jobi Murphy. (Delacorte, $14.95 192p ages 8-12 ISBN 0-385-73211-2; Feb.)

The fourth book in the Beacon Street Girls series, Out of Bounds by Annie Bryant, focuses on the five pals—Charlotte, Maeve, Katani, Avery and Isabel—whose junior high talent show raises funds to save a threatened movie theater. Other titles in the series are: Worst Enemies/Best Friends; Bad News/Good News and Letters from the Heart. (B*tween Productions [781-863-8228], $7.99 paper 262p ages 9-12 ISBN 0-9746587-6-6; Jan.)

Vesper Holly returns in The Xanadu Adventure by Lloyd Alexander, and sets out with her pals for the Troy of Homer's Iliad —only to discover they've been led into a trap set by Dr. Helvitius, who imprisons the group in a palace called Xanadu. (Dutton, $16.99 160p ages 10-up ISBN 0-525-47371-8; Feb.)

The fifth entry in the Alex Rider Adventure series by Anthony Horowitz, Scorpia follows 14-year-old Alex to Italy, after he learns that his father was an assassin for a criminal organization, and the teen gets swept up in a murderous scheme of his own. (Philomel, $17.99 320p ages 10-up ISBN 0-399-24151-5; Mar.)

In a starred review of The Edge on the Sword, PW predicted, "Medieval history buffs will be enthralled by Tingle's first novel." In its sequel, Far Traveler by Rebecca Tingle, Ælfwyn, now 17, escapes the imprisonment of her uncle, King Edward, after the death of her mother. Disguised as a bard, she becomes intricately involved in the intrigues of the 10th-century British court. (Putnam, $17.99 240p ages 10-up ISBN 0-399-23890-5; Feb.)

Those who were riveted by I Have Lived a Thousand Years and My Bridges of Hope, which chronicled Livia Bitton-Jackson's personal story of being imprisoned in Auschwitz at age 13, will cheer the final book of her trilogy, Hello, America. Readers watch Elli and her mother depart Europe for Brooklyn in 1951; the author brings equal insight to the adjustments required to settle into new surroundings, as well as to more universal experiences such as finding a job and falling in love. (S&S, $16.95 240p ages 11-up ISBN 0-689-86755-7; Feb.)

True Companions

A host of picture-book characters make comebacks this winter. With stuffed toy Flop in tow, the bunny who has introduced preschoolers to such concepts as colors and getting dressed now tackles dining al fresco and playing percussion in Bing: Go Picnic and Bing: Make Music, the third and fourth books by Ted Dewan. (Random/Fickling, $5.99 each 24p ages 6 mos.-4 yrs. ISBN 0-385-75056-0; 0-385-75057-9; Feb.)

Gathering 10 previously published tales into one volume about a golden tail-wagging pup, the paper-over-board Biscuit Storybook Collection by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, illus. by Pat Schories, covers everything from the pooch's introduction (in Biscuit ) to learning to fetch (Biscuit's New Trick ) to a birthday bash. (HarperFestival, $10.99 192p ages 2-6 ISBN 0-06-075904-6; Jan.)

The cuddly star of Little Brown Bear Won't Take a Nap! is stumped, at least temporarily, in Little Brown Bear and the Bundle of Joy by Jane Dyer. The ursine heroine consults a number of furry and hoofed creatures to find out just what a "bundle" might be, but it's Frog who reassures her, just in time to prepare for her new sibling. (Little, Brown, $15.99 32p ages 3-6 ISBN 0-316-17469-6; Jan.)

Following up on Windy and Sunny, Snowy and Chinook by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman once again showcases puppets photographed in realistic settings, this time the titular siblings moving through a snow-covered landscape in search of a gift for a friend. A CD of season-appropriate songs tucks into the back cover, and the inside of the dust jacket includes recipes for flapjacks and hot chocolate. (Simply Read [PGW, dist.], $15.95 40p ages 3-7 ISBN 0-9688768-9-7; Feb.)

In the third tale starring the heroine introduced in Hope, Blackberry Stew by Isabell Monk, illus. by Janice Lee Porter, Hope mourns the passing of her Grandpa Jack, but shared family memories help sustain her. (Lerner/Carolrhoda, $15.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-57505-605-4; Feb.)

After exploring the water's depths to the tune of ABC in Ocean Alphabet, Jerry Pallotta and artist Shennen Bersani now tackle 1, 2, 3 (or rather, 1, 3, 5) in Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers. From one Striped Bass all the way to 49 Smelts (and then 50 Blue Sharks, with a caveat), the salty scenes are alternately serene and menacing. (Charlesbridge, $16.95 32p ages 4-9 ISBN 0-88106-151-4; $6.95 paper 0-88106-150-6; Feb.)

In another numbers-cruncher, The M&M's Subtraction Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath examines the most logical mathematical property when it comes to chocolate, "taking away." Young candy-loving mathematicians can count how many M&Ms are left after they put a couple in their mouths. McGrath identifies parts of a subtraction equation and demonstrates how to borrow from the tens column. (Charlesbridge, $16.95 32p ages 5-10 ISBN 1-57091-358-7; $6.95 paper 1-57091-359-5; Feb.)

Bach's Goldberg Variations by Anna Harwell Celenza, illus. by JoAnn Celenza, picks up on the musical successes of this duo's Farewell Symphony and Heroic Symphony. The book opens as Bach introduces a potential benefactor to 10-year-old prodigy Johann Gottlieb Goldberg; the boy goes to live with Count Keyserlingk, and his ever more challenging musical requests prompt the boy to seek help from Bach, who meets his needs with the title piece, included on a CD recording. (Charlesbridge, $19.95 32p ages 5-10 ISBN 1-57091-510-5; Feb.)

The web-footed fellow from Duck in the Truck drives his red pick-up through an interactive title in the paper-over-board Duck's Key: Where Can It Be? by Jez Alborough. As Duck searches the flowerpot, under the welcome mat and more, Frog hides behind a flap on each spread, holding the missing keys—until he can make his way to the ignition. (Kane/Miller, $ 14.95 18p ages 1-3 ISBN 1-929132-72-7; Feb.)

After interactively exploring ambulances, police cars and more in Emergency!, Margaret Mayo and artist Alex Ayliffe take on trains, planes, boats and other modes of transport for the paper-over-board Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! Sound effects galore will have youngsters chiming in (bikes go "Zippety-Zip!"; cable cars go "Shlummp! Whurrrr!"). (Lerner/Carolrhoda, $14.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-57505-819-7; Feb.)