Choices for children.
British author/illustrator Helen Oxenbury has written four delightful board books for toddlers. Her approach to the text in I can, I hear, I see, and I touch is unusual. The titles of the books serve as the beginning of the story. On the following pages the baby sees a butterfly, a friend, a flower, and the moon. The simplicity of the text is counterbalanced by the whimsical illustrations. One of the nicest sets of toddler board books available. (Random House, $2.95 each, 1 to 3 years.) Paddy Pork is a favorite character among children, and John Goodall's most recent Paddy book, Paddy to the Rescue, will also please. In his latest adventure, Paddy comes to the rescue of a lady in distress, and his persistent pursuit of the thief pays off. Although this is a wordless picture book, Mr. Goodall's detailed watercolor illustrations convincingly tell the story. (Atheneum, $8.95, all ages.)
Where are You, Ernest and Celestine?, written and illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent, continues the charming saga of this bear-and-mouse duo. Celestine is momentarily lost at the museum (the Louvre, populated with bears rather than humans), and when she and Ernest find each other there is a joyous reunion. Watercolor illustrations are inseparable from the text. (Greenwillow, $11.75, ages 4 to 8.)
In A Welcome for Annie, written and illustrated by Helen Craig, another delightful pair returns. Susie and Alfred plan a naughty welcome for their new neighbor, who doesn't seem to be very friendly. But when their plan backfires, the two find out that Annie is actually fun, and the three decide to ``welcome'' Annie's cousin the same way. (Knopf, $7.95, ages 4 to 7.)
In the next book, Joshua's grand mother has a ``remembering box'' in which she keeps small items from her past -- a Y-shaped stick, some ribbons. On Saturdays, Joshua would listen to stories his grandmother told based on what he chose from the box. When his grandmother dies, Joshua begins his own remembering box, a box for his own memories and special things. Remembering Box, by Eth Clifford, illustrated by Donna Diamond, is a poignant story about family love and the continuity of tradition. (Houghton, $11.95, ages 7 to 10.)
And finally: Jemmy is Prince Brat's whipping boy. Whenever the prince does something wrong, Jemmy is the one punished. But when the prince decides to run away and takes Jemmy with him, both boys learn there are two sides to every story. The Whipping Boy, written by Sid Fleischman and illustrated by Peter Sis, is a comic yet compassionate folk tale-like story. (Greenwillow, $11.75, ages 7 to 11.)