Monitor Picks

Five things we think you'll really like including a submersion in World War II history, the Colbert book report, and a preschooler TV show for the kid inside of you.

Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary

Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote more than 50 novels for adults, but is remembered best for a children's story that took 40 years to become recognized as a classic. Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, who wrote the definitive biography of Burnett, edits this new annotated version of "The Secret Garden," complete with more than 100 illustrations.

Next Great Reality Show?

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We often wondered as we gritted our teeth through "American Idol" auditions: Wouldn't more talent bubble up if the focus were on original songcraft? Guess we'll find out on The Next Great American Band (Fox, Friday, 8 p.m.), a show from Idol's creators.

The Colbert Book Report

"I am no fan of books," Stephen Colbert writes in I Am America (And So Can You!). "Chances are, if you're reading this, you and I share a healthy skepticism about the printed word." He goes on to riff on topics ranging from politics to patriotism, but Colbert eventually digs at something truly meaningful: In an age of glossy terror warnings on the news and endless talking-head punditry, we could all afford to take ourselves a little less seriously.

The Gift Of The Gabba

Not since "Pee-wee's Playhouse" has a kid's program caused such cross-generational gaga. It's no surprise that Nickelodeon's show for preschoolers, Yo Gabba Gabba (weekdays at 11:30 a.m.), has tots in giddy spasms – it's as zany as any 2-year-old. Overly furry characters (with names like Brobee and Foofa) romp about with DJ Lance Rock, the orange-outfitted host. But it's indie-rock guests such as The Shins, an 1980s Atari aesthetic, and wholesome messages that keep parents singing along, too.

Diving Into History

For World War II buffs and scuba divers: The Sea Hunters (out on Oct. 23) follows a marine archaeologist's team as they explore submerged artifacts from the war in locations ranging from flooded caves in Germany to a lake in the Canadian Rockies. Now that's what we call historical depth.

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