Children's bestsellers: 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 dies. 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. CLIFFORD'S FIRST SCHOOL DAY By Norman Bridwell, Scholastic, $3.25 In the latest adventure of America's famous big red dog, we are flashed back to his chihuahua-size puppy days. Clifford's first day of school is filled with fingerpainting, cookie baking, sandbox playing, and other messy misadventures that make him more lovable than ever. Brightly colored illustrations packed with fun detail are sure to entertain young children and ease their fears about this rite of passage. Ages 4-8. (32 pp.) By Sara Steindorf

3. KIPPER By Mick Inkpen, Harcourt/Red Wagon, $5.95 Kipper's a lively puppy - illustrated in rounded strokes and warm colors - who decides his basket needs a spring cleaning. But after throwing out his well-worn comforts, including his smelly blanket and unraveling stuffed rabbit, it's no longer quite so cozy. Like many a small child in search of adventures in the game of "let's pretend," Kipper heads outdoors to imitate the nesting techniques of other animals. An engaging little book for the very young. Ages 4-7. (Unpaged) By Katherine Dillin

4. DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL By David Shannon, Scholastic/Blue Sky, $14.95 Little David is a living exclamation point. And at school, everything he hears ends with one: No pushing! No running in the halls! Sit down, David! Fortunately, nothing can temper this little rascal's spirit. The simple text, written in David's best handwriting, will delight children who sometimes think all adults do is order them around. Shannon's witty illustrations maintain the quirky feel of a child's sketches. Good job, David Shannon! Ages 4-7. (32 pp.) By Ron Charles

5. ELOISE IN PARIS By Kay Thompson, illus. by Hilary Knight, Simon & Schuster, $17 The second of the "Eloise" quartet has just been reissued after 35 years out of print. Eloise, Nanny, Weenie, and Skipperdee leave the Plaza and travel to Paris, where Skipperdee has his own private swimming pool (the bidet), Weenie gets a "bawth" in Perrier water, and Eloise discovers that French bread makes very good skis. It doesn't quite measure up to the brilliance of the original "Eloise," but Knight's illustrations are as delightful as ever. Ages 4-8. (68 pp.) By Liz Marlantes

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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