SUMMER READS. Books for kids

Now that school's out and textbooks are long gone, probably the last thing you want to do is crack a book. This week, anyway. But once you've checked out the local pool and mowed your quota of lawns, who knows? You might be up for a conversation with some Stonewraiths. Or a ride on a kroklyn. Even a trip to far-off Greece. Fiction, age 12 and up Sons From Afar, by Cynthia Voight (Atheneum, New York, $13.95, 224 pp.), the latest book about the Tillerman family, takes brothers Sammy and James on a search for their long-lost father along the Chesapeake coast and onto the docks of Baltimore.

The Dragonbards, by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, is the concluding book in the Dragonbards trilogy about warring ``unliving'' creatures and magic dragons. Harper & Row, New York, $12.95, 249 pp.

Lily and the Lost Boy, by Paula Fox, begins with an idyllic summer vacation on the Greek island of Thasos that quickly turns into a mystery and romance. Orchard Books, New York, $12.95, 160 pp.

The Warriors of Taan, by Louise Lawrence, is a futuristic sci-fi saga that pits birdlike Stonewraiths and warriors armed with crossbows against Outworlders equipped with rocket launchers and laser tanks. Harper & Row, New York, $12.95, 249 pp.

Paradise Lane, by William Taylor, is a teen romance set against a New Zealand backdrop of macrocarpa trees and baby joeys. Scholastic Books, New York, $12.95, 165 pp.

Sandwriter, by Monica Hughes, introduces the sci-fi desert island state of Roshan, with its monstrous kroklyn beasts and heroic princes and princesses. Beware the oases. Henry Holt, New York, $12.95, 159 pp.

An Enemy Among Them, by Deborah H. DeFord and Harry S. Stout, stars a Hessian mercenary-turned-good guy in a Pennsylvania community during the American Revolution. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, $13.95, 203 pp.

Moondial, by Helen Cresswell, slips between present-day Britain and Victorian times, with imprisoned children fighting for their freedom inside a spooky manor house. Macmillan, New York, $13.95, 202 pp. Fiction, ages 8 to 12

Anastasia's Chosen Career, by Lois Lowry, follows witty Anastasia Krupnik through a modeling course at Studio Charmante. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, $12.95, 142 pp.

The Freshman Detective Blues, by P.J. Petersen, is set in northern California, where buddies Eddie and Jack solve a decade-old murder mystery. Delacorte, New York, $14.95, 205 pp.

In Beetles, Lightly Toasted, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, fifth-grader Andy wins a school essay contest with an inventive recipe for beetles, earthworms, and mealworm grubs. Atheneum, New York, $11.95, 134 pp.

In Soup on Fire, by Robert Newton Peck, two pals, Rob and Soup, prepare for the arrival of the Hollywood Heartburn Talent Show in their Vermont town. Delacorte, New York, $13.95, 116 pp.

The Hideaway, by Barbara Corcoran, is the story of a boy who escapes from reform school to prove he didn't commit the crime he was sentenced for. Atheneum, New York, $12.95, 128 pp.

Devil Storm, by Theresa Nelson, portrays racial bravery on a Gulf of Mexico island during the Galveston hurricane of 1900. Orchard Books, New York, $12.95, 224 pp.

Charlie Skedaddle, by Patricia Beatty, takes readers to the Civil War, seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old enlistee who runs away from battle and grows up in the Blue Ride mountains. William Morrow, New York, $11.75, 186 pp.

The Daymaker, by Ann Halam, foresees a high-fantasy future of outlaws, covenants, and magic. Orchard Books, New York, $11.95, 176 pp.

In Oh, Brother, by Johnniece Marshall, young, neat Alex has a tough time coping with his messy older brother, Andrew. A stolen bike finally draws them together, at least momentarily. Scholastic Books, New York, $10.95, 121 pp.

Stinker From Space, by Pamela Service, is an extraterrestrial space pilot, Tsynq Yr, temporarily stuck in a skunk's body. He eventually finds his way home on a hijacked space shuttle, thanks to a couple of earthbound friends and heaps of Chocolate Peanut Nuggets. Scribner's, New York, $11.95, 83 pp.

Picture books

The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard, by B.G. Hennessy, illustrated by Susan Davis, stars a lovable, long-ago dinosaur who ate a hundred pounds of vegetables a day (``That's a whole lot of lima beans'') and weighed as much as 20 pickup trucks. Viking, New York, $11.95, 32 pp., ages 3 to 6.

In Nattie Parsons' Good-Luck Lamb, by Lisa Campbell Ernst, young Nattie weaves at her grandfather's loom to help keep the farm going while her foundling sheep nibbles raspberries. The red shawl that results saves the day. Viking, New York, $11.95, 32 pp., ages 3 to 8.

On The Train to Lulu's, by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by Robert Casilla, two young sisters take an old-time train ride from Boston to Baltimore, wobbling up and down the aisles and buying 10 cents' worth of milk for their molasses sandwiches. Bradbury, New York, $13.95, 32 pp., ages 3 to 8.

Ida and the Wool Smugglers, by Sue Ann Alderson, illustrated by Ann Blades, is the tale of life on a Canadian island farm, where young Ida faces up to danger and learns how to ``run'' sheep, all in one afternoon. McElderry Books/Macmillan, New York, $12.95, 32 pp., ages 4 to 9.

A House for Hermit Crab, by Eric Carle, follows the underwater travels of a hermit crab as he invites sea anemones and starfish, among other creatures, to decorate his plain shell. Picture Book Studio, Natick, Mass., $14.95, 32 pp., ages 3 to 8.

The Dragon Nanny, by C.L.G. Martin, illustrated by Robert Rayevsky, is the comical tale of Nanny Nell Hannah, fired from the king's royal nursery for being too old, and promptly hired by Dragonia to raise her two dragon babies. Burping baby dragons is one thing; teaching them to breathe fire is quite another. Macmillan, New York, $14.95, 32 pp., ages 4 to 8.

In Junglewalk, by Nancy Tafuri, a little boy falls asleep after reading about jungle animals, and in his dreams climbs from his bed into a wordless world where striped tigers, iridescent toucans, and rosy hippos thrive. Greenwillow, New York, $12.95, 32 pp., ages 4 and up.

Free Fall, by David Wiesner, is another wordless adventure for slightly older readers. This time, a young boy follows a blown-about map to storybook lands of knights and castles, caravans, and wild swans. (Or were they goldfish?) Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, New York, $13.95, 32 pp., ages 6 to 10.

The Dove's Letter, by Keith Baker, brings joy to everyone who reads it, as a well-meaning dove tries to deliver it to a woodsman, a farmer, a baker, a rider, a weaver, and a potter. The soldier who finally accepts it returns the favor several times over. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, $14.95, 32 pp., ages 5 to 8.

Sir Francis Drake: His Daring Deeds, by Roy Gerrard, takes a lighthearted look at the travels of the famous explorer in verses that ought to appeal to slightly giddy adventurers. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, $12.95, 32 pp., ages 4 and up.

In From Me to You, by Paul Rogers, illustrated by Jane Johnson, a grandmother shares her own growing-up memories, in verse, with her granddaughter. A sad/sweet tale of babies, pranks, and frilly lace. Orchard Books, New York, $12.95, 32 pp., ages 4 to 7.

Out and About, by Shirley Hughes, creator of the popular Alfie books, pictures another roly-poly brother and sister and their seasonal fascination with water, sand, budding trees, and seaside escapades. Lots of rhymes and drawings to enjoy. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, New York, $13.00, 48 pp., ages 3 to 7.

Beaver at Long Pond, by William T. George and Lindsay Barrett George, illustrated by Lindsay Barrett George, follows a beaver on his nightly round of patching up his dam and foraging for food, arriving back at his lodge at sunup in time to go to sleep. Greenwillow, New York, $11.95, 24 pp., ages 4 and up.

P.S.: Check out the Monitor's special book sections of Nov. 6, 1987, and May 6, 1988, for more suggestions.

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