Picture Books

1. WHAT'S HEAVEN? By Maria Shriver, illus. by Sandra Speidel,

Golden Books, $15 Less a story than a parenting tool, this book depicts a conversation between Shriver and her daughter after a relative died. Shriver explains what a funeral is and where people go when they die. She describes a heaven filled with clouds and angels, images that carry over in the illustrations. Parents may find it helpful, but it's unlikely children would choose to read it on their own. All ages. (32 pp.) By Yvonne Zipp

2. WHY DO YOU LOVE ME? By Laura Schlessinger, illus. by Daniel McFeeley, HarperCollins, $14.95

Schlessinger, a radio talk-show host, delivers a reassuring story on unconditional love. Mother explains to Sammy that it's not what he does that makes her love him - although she appreciates all the good he does. She loves him because he's the one and only Sammy. Full of Sunday-comics style pictures, this book opens the door to talk about love as a feeling and a responsibility. Ages 3-7. (32 pp.) By Sara Steindorf

3. TODAY I FEEL SILLY & OTHER MOODS THAT MAKE MY DAY By Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell, HarperCollins, $15.95

Kids may relate to this girl and her wild mood swings. Some days, she's on cloud nine. Other days, she's in the dumps, missing friends or waiting for Dad to feel better. In bouncy rhyming verse, celebrity author Curtis sends the message that emotions are powerful and sometimes scary, but that's OK. Parents may wish that she offered some tips on handling those roller-coaster feelings. Ages 4-8. (32 pp.) By April Austin

4. SNOWFLAKE BENTLEY By J.B. Martin, illus. Mary Azarian, Houghton, $19

Well deserving its 1999 Caldecott Award, this biography of Wilson Bentley is richly illustrated with hand-tinted woodcuts of rural New England. From his childhood in the 1860s, Bentley was captivated by snow. He devoted his life to those icy crystals, developing a way to photograph each flake. This self-taught scientist discovered what is now taken for granted: Each snowflake is beautiful, and no two are alike. Ages 4-8. (32 pp.) By Karen Carden

5. YOU ARE SPECIAL By Max Lucado, illus. by Sergio Martinez, Crossway, $15.99

Punichello lives in a world of wooden puppets where anything less than perfection is criticized. Puppets who aren't in some way "special," are given gray dots as marks of being "not good enough." Tired of this label, Punichello goes to the puppet master to discover the secret to removing the dots forever. Imaginative illustrations accompany this beautifully crafted story, showing that the only labels that can stick are the ones we accept ourselves. Ages 4-8. (31 pp.) By Christy Ellington

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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