Guidebooks Help Parents and Kids

THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK

By Jim Trelease

Penguin Books

387 pp., $12.95

KIDWARE: THE PARENT'S GUIDE TO SOFTWARE FOR CHILDREN

By Michael Perkins and Celia Nunez

Prima Publishing

405 pp., $14.95

KIDS ON-LINE: 150 WAYS FOR KIDS TO SURF THE NET FOR FUN AND INFORMATION

By Marian Salzman and Robert Pondiscio

Camelot Avon

245 pp., $5.99

KIDVID

By Scott Blakey

HarperPerennial,

333 pp., $10

Parents, help is at hand!

No one said parenting was easy. In fact, many parents say they need all the help they can get. Fortunately, the publishing industry has responded with paperback guides to just about everything from reading aloud to the Internet.

Read-aloud guru Jim Trelease has just produced the fourth edition of his very popular The Read-Aloud Handbook. This edition updates compelling evidence of the importance of reading aloud to children. It also contains a revised version of the book's terrific, annotated treasury of read-aloud stories for infants, high schoolers, and those in between. This is a book every parent should own and use.

For anyone who finds selecting computer programs daunting, KidWare: The Parent's Guide to Software for Children, by Michael Perkins and Celia Nunez provides basic information about buying computers and software. But its major focus is subject-specific software. The authors review more than 100 preferred programs in reading, math, science, art, and music. The entry for each product includes its price, the age group of its potential users, an evaluation, and tips on how children will benefit most from the

program.

Computer savvy kids (or parents) eager to try out the Internet will find an ideal introductory guide in Kids On-Line: 150 Ways for Kids to Surf the Net for Fun and Information. Authors Marian Salzman and Robert Pondiscio have written one of the first books of its kind. (Others are on the way: HarperCollins will publish ''Kidnet: The Kid's Guide to Surfing Through Cyberspace'' in November.) ''Kids On-Line'' is jammed with interesting and practical information such as Net etiquette, safety guidelines, fre e things to download, and celebrities' electronic-mail addresses.

Scott Blakey, whose nationally syndicated column focuses exclusively on children's videos, offers parents a valuable tool in KidVid. The more than 1,000 videos rated in this guide are arranged by age group (from 18 months to 12 years) and topic (sports, fantasy, science and nature, to name a few). There is also a section on holiday videos, a list of hits and misses, and information about obtaining videos.

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