NEW AND NOTEWORTHY: FICTION FOR SCHOOL-AGE READERS

RUSSELL AND ELISA by Johanna Hurwitz, New York: Morrow Junior Books, $11.95, ages 5 and up Russell's little sister takes center stage in these charming vignettes of everyday family life. Sprightly black-and-white illustrations by Lillian Hoban. RATS by Pat Hutchins, Mew York: Greenwillow, $10.95, ages 7 and up A boy hoodwinks his parents into letting him have a rat for a pet, with hilarious consequences. Spirited black-and-white illustrations by Laurence Hutchins.

THE BLOOD-AND-THUNDER ADVENTURE ON HURRICANE PEAK by Margaret Mahy, New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, $12.95, ages 9-12 New Zealand's premier children's author rolls out another rollicking tale, this time of skulduggery at the Unexpected School. Outrageous wordplay and a cast of zany characters with names like Desir'ee Thoroughgood and Bottomley Quince make this a winner. Whimsical drawings by Wendy Smith.

THE ISLAND OF GHOSTS by Eilis Dillon, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, $12.95, ages 10-12 A splendidly written tale of kidnapping and adventure set against the sweeping landscape of the Aran islands.

MY NAME IS NOT ANGELICA by Scott O'Dell, Houghton Mifflin, $14.95, ages 10-14 Celebrated author O'Dell, who passed on several weeks ago, leaves as his rich legacy this moving tale of a young slave girl who survives the Caribbean slave revolt of 1733. An outstanding work of historical fiction.

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