A trio of holiday books helps readers get in the spirit (see Children's Reviews, Sept. 26 for more titles). Walter Wick applies his considerable photographic and choreographic talents to the Yuletide-themed addition to his paper-over-board Can You See What I See? series, The Night Before Christmas. Endpapers reprint Moore's famous poem, which kicks off photographic puzzles called "Visions of Sugarplums," featuring a dazzling shower of gingerbread cookies, gumdrops, candy canes and more, and "A Bundle of Toys" that will have alert young eyes scouring Santa's sack for goodies. (Scholastic/Cartwheel, $13.99 40 p all ages ISBN 0-439-76927-2; Oct.)

First published in 1984, Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble celebrates life on the farm as much as it does a homespun holiday celebration, with a fir tree decorated with apples, and pies for eating, and a special gift Papa fashions from their beloved tree. (Sleeping Bear, $16.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 1-58536-280-0; Oct.)

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Ilse Plume (1990) transforms the classic song's lyrics into a kind of medieval illuminated manuscript. Each gift is pictured on the left while, opposite, readers follow the course of the "true love" and the woman he woos. (Godine, $17.95 32p all ages ISBN 1-56792-300-3; Dec.)

Robert's Snowflakes: Artists' Snowflakes for Cancer's Cure, compiled by Grace Lin and Robert Mercer, is a gift that keeps on giving. After raising more than $100,000 for cancer's cure with the auction of 200 snowflakes painted by children's book illustrators, Lin and Mercer collect them in the pages of this book, whose proceeds also go solely for a cure for cancer. Haiku peppers the pages, which brim with glorious artwork by the likes of Mordicai Gerstein, Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Eric Rohmann and Emily Arnold McCully. Readers can punch out Lin's final snowflake and hang it on the tree. (Viking, $10.99 40p ages 3-up ISBN 0-670-06044-5; Sept.)


Sometimes the best advice about the challenges in life is from someone who has lived through them. You Are Not Alone: Teens Talk About Life After the Loss of a Parent by Lynne B. Hughes, founder of Comfort Zone Camp ("a place for grieving kids who have lost someone they love"), begins with the author's own story (she lost both parents by the time she was 12) and integrates quotes from other teens who have experienced grief. Hughes addresses questions of added responsibilities, remarriage of a parent, and the wide range of emotions that can result from a parent's death. This is a thoughtful, conscientious approach to a challenging topic. (Scholastic, $16.99 208p ages 12-up ISBN 0-439-58590-2; $8.99 paper ISBN 0-439-58591-0; Sept.)

Who better than independent booksellers to recommend the books that have thrilled the children in their communities from East Coast to West. Book Sense Best Children's Books: 240 Favorites for All Ages Recommended by Independent Booksellers, compiled by Book Sense, divides the titles by age range and organizes them alphabetically by title. Each section opens with the sage advice of an independent bookseller, each book gets a pithy description from a bookseller, and half-tone illustrations pepper the pages. (Newmarket, $14.95 paper 176p all ages ISBN 1-55704-679-4; Oct.)

Fans of The Apprentice may recognize the picture of the first season's winner on the cover of Beyond the Lemonade Stand: Starting Small to Make It Big! by Bill Rancic. Offering 20 ideas for start-up kid businesses, tips for creating a business model and quotes from the Donald himself, Rancic's book may well provide aspiring entrepreneurs with everything they need to climb to the top. (Penguin/Razorbill, $12.99 144p ages 8-12 ISBN 1-59514-103-3; Sept.)


Everyone's favorite long-eared toddler becomes the perfect board book star with this edition of Little Rabbit Lost by Harry Horse. In a starred review, PW wrote, "Horse's visual depiction of Little Rabbit is dead-on. The gentle lesson—that even 'big' boys and girls can get separated from their parents—ends on an uplifting note, with a 'great big hug,' a message both grownups and kids will take to heart." (Peachtree Petite, $9.95 32p ages 2-6 ISBN 1-5614-5345-5; Sept.)

In his third Diaper David book, the star of No, David! (in his younger days) takes on the senses in David Smells! by David Shannon. He reaches out to touch his pooch ("Leave him alone, David!"), the smell naturally emanates from his own diapers, but the closing spread demonstrates see with a game of "Peekaboo, Davey!" (Scholastic/ Blue Sky, $6.99 12p ages 3-5 ISBN 0-439-69138-9; Sept.)

Tomie dePaola's 1985 classic moves smoothly to board book with Tomie's Mother Goose Flies Again. His fine black line and soft pastel colors are ideally suited to portray the predicaments of Jack Sprat, Little Jack Horner and Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater and many others. (Putnam, $7.99 32p ages 1-up ISBN 0-399-24466-2; Sept.)

Littlest hands will also clamor for the board book edition of Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illus. by Jane Chapman, a tale of hibernation and friendship. (Little Simon, $7.99 32p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-4169-0272-4; Oct.)

What Amy Wilson Sanger did for Chinese food in Yum Yum Dim Sum, she now does for Italian food in Mangia! Mangia!, part of the World Snacks original board book series. From the freshly made fettuccine to the ragú that tops it, the essential "stinky aglio" (garlic) and the gelato at the finito, these mixed-media spreads look good enough to eat. (Tricycle, $6.95 18p ages 1-3 ISBN 1-58246-144-9; Oct.)

The chimpanzee star of Emily Goes Wild by Betty Lou Phillips, illus. by Sharon Watts, takes the stage in a pair of original board books by the same team. In Emily Works Out, she "skips down the street/ Dances to the beat" in kinetic, silhouette paintings on a white background, and Emily's Manners, serves as an etiquette do and don't ("Plays with food/ Eats nicely"), with an illustration of the "Don't" on the left, and the correct protocol on the right. (Gibbs Smith, $6.95 each 12p ages 1-3 ISBN 1-58685-458-5; 1-58685-457-7; Sept.)

Little Bear's Special Wish by Gillian Lobel, illus. by Gaby Hansen, is to get "the brightest star" down from the sky for his mother's birthday. A foil star appears on each spread, as the cub's pursuit grows more humorous with each turn of the page. (Tiger Tales, $6.95 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-58925-769-3; Sept.)

A fuzzy-to-the-touch polar bear mother and cub star in Big Bear, Little Bear by David Bedford, illus. by Jane Chapman, in which the fluffy cub aspires to be just as big and to run just as fast as Mommy. (Tiger Tales, $6.95 16p ages 2-5 ISBN 1-58925-770-7; Sept.)