Choices for children

In Don't Touch My Room, Patricia Lakin humorously presents a fresh look at the problem of sibling rivalry. The expected arrival of a new baby results in Aaron's being very protective of his bedroom -- a room filled with buses and trains, trucks and trams, teddy bears and books -- which he will soon have to share. Bright, cheerful illustrations by Patience Brewster. (Little, Brown & Co., $12.95, ages 2 to 8.) The various forms of water -- from a clear, sparkling liquid to freezing ice and snow -- and the fascination it holds for children are explored in Water is Wet. Penny Pollack's simple text and Barbara Beirne's crisp black-and-white photographs illuminate the wonders of water. (Putnam, $10.95, ages 4 to 8.)

Vivid recollections of summers spent with her grandmother Oma in Alsace provide the basis for Poupa Mantaufier's One Summer at Grandmother's House. Stunning primitive paintings and the use of muted matte colors depict the slower pace of a French childhood. (Carolrhoda, $12.95, ages 4 to 8.)

The House from Morning to Night, by Dani`ele Bour, is also set in France. This is the story of a large pink-and-gray house and the many people -- the concierge, the baker, the large family, the woman and her cat, and the student -- for which it is home. The accomplished, sophisticated artwork reveals numerous details of the people living there at different times of the day. (Kane/Miller, $8.95, ages 3 to 6.)

Compiled by Virginia Hamilton, Favorite Fairy Tales Told Around the World is a selection of tales from the original 16 books in her ``Favorite Fairy Tales'' series. This new volume contains favorites such as ``Hansel and Gretel'' and ``Jack and the Beanstalk,'' and lesser-known tales such as ``Billy Beg and the Bull'' and ``Snegourka, the Snow Maiden.'' S. D. Schindler's exquisitely detailed art enhances Hamilton's graceful retellings. (Little, Brown & Co., $19.95, all ages.)

The Cat's Purr, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan, is a retelling of an old West Indian folk tale. Cat and Rat were the best of friends -- they did everything together. But Cat receives a very small drum as a present, and their friendship falls apart. Bryan's rhythmic text echoes the cadence of a drum. Sketchy line drawings reinforce the simplicity of the text. (Atheneum, $9.95, ages 4 to 8.)

Allen Brewster wants to win the science fair. His project? The study of human photosynthesis. But his science teacher, Miss Green, assigns him lipstick instead. Although no one will take his photosynthesis project seriously, Allen goes ahead with it. Top Secret, by John Reynolds Gardiner, is a funny and original story. (Little, Brown & Co., $14.95, ages 6 to 9.)

Quick-witted Allegra Sloan has hatched a plan: She and her two sisters, having eluded their parents, are spending a week alone at the family's secluded summer house. But the week is not care-free. Worry Week, by Anne Lindbergh, is an engrossing tale of survival on a Maine island. (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $11.95, 8 and up.)

The Finding, by Nina Bawden, is a believable -- and deeply moving -- story of a young boy searching for his identity. Although Alex had been adopted as a baby, his life was quite ordinary and happy. The death of an elderly neighbor changes everything. Alex mistakenly believes his natural mother is alive and decides to find her. (Lothrop, $10.95, 8 to 12.)

In Elizabeth Keeton's Second-Best Friend, Henrietta's dreams of seventh-grade popularity are shattered when a tornado rips through her family's farm. Crops are destroyed, the front of the house vanishes, and all her clothes are blown away. Henrietta's predicament and her longing for a best friend are subtly and perceptively drawn, with moments of dry humor. (Atheneum, $11.95, ages 9 to 13.)

Lara and Barnaby, returning home from Florida, once again find themselves thrust into the secret world of Mesmeria. During their absence Mesmeria, or Brightland, has been taken over by King Krump, ruler of Melanistica. Allan Eckert combines humor and suspense in The Wand, a tale of the triumph of good over evil. It's a sequel to ``The Dark Green Tunnel.'' (Little, Brown & Co., $14.95, ages 8 to 12.)

Told through the eyes of Pvt. Hugh McNeal, Bold Journey is a fictional account of Lewis and Clark's westward journey into unknown American territory. Charles Bohner has written a vivid, fast-paced novel re-creating McNeal's reactions to the untamed West. (Houghton Mifflin, $11.95, 10 and up.)

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