YOU FORGOT YOUR SKIRT, AMELIA BLOOMER! by Shana Corey, illustrated by Chesley McLaren, Scholastic, $16.95, ages 5-8

Through the story of Amelia Bloomer, the woman who popularized bloomers, Corey explains how ladies of the mid-1800s dressed, and how glad we can be for the comfort of today's clothes. Accompanied by bright, sassy paintings by a New York fashion illustrator. (Unpaged) By Karen Carden

THE WANDERER, by Sharon Creech, HarperCollins, $15.95, ages 9-12

Sophie embarks on a courageous journey (literal and metaphorical) and reconciles herself to mysterious events in the past. Her all-male, mostly inexperienced crewmen are skeptical of her ability until she bravely proves her seaworthiness. In alternating chapters, cousin Cody records his own version of the voyage and Sophie's stories about their grandfather. (305 pp.) By Enicia Fisher

OLIVIA, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer, Simon & Schuster, $16, ages 3-7

Falconer captures the antics of a self-assured, preschool piggy named Olivia. She is full of spunk and firm opinions. She's also great at wearing people out. Together the words and stunning illustrations evoke smiles, giggles, and a thrilling sense that this book may be absolutely perfect. (Unpaged) By Karen Carden

HENRY HIKES TO FITCHBURG, written and illustrated by D.B. Johnson, Houghton Mifflin, $15, ages 4-8

Henry and his friend are inspired by Henry David Thoreau's ideas. Traveling in Massachusetts from Concord to Fitchburg, Henry starts on foot, while his friend does some odd jobs to pay for a ticket. (Older readers, see "Walden.") The antics of these bulky competing bears add humor to this endearing tale. (Unpaged) By Karen Carden

I WAS A RAT! by Philip Pullman, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Knopf, $15.95, ages 8-12

This delightful romp combines a comic thriller with a familiar fairy tale. An irresistibly innocent little boy insists that he used to be a rat, living in the sewers beneath the city of a just-married prince and princess. A childless old couple adopts him, but the town is full of evil, self-serving Dickensian villains. Good satire for young readers. (165 pp.) By Marjorie D. Hamlin

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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