Roundup Children

March 22, 2009|By McClatchy-Tribune

When Royals Wore Ruffles

by Chesley McLaren

and Pamela Jaber

Schwartz & Wade / 40 pages / $16.99 / ages 5-9

When Royals Wore Ruffles offers a historical look at the vagaries, extremes and pure fun of fashion. It comes in the form of an ABC book. The letter I, for example, stands for "Illegal Intruder." This page tells of "The Wig Snatchers," who, attracted by the jewels set in elaborate wig coifs, "would sneak up behind a lady's coach, cut a hole in the back, snatch the wig - and off they'd run!" Chesley McLaren is a fashion illustrator with a free, expressive hand well suited to telling a story.

Willoughby and the Lion

by Greg Foley

HarperCollins / 40 pages / $17.99 / ages 4-8

What do you do with a limited number of wishes? Greg Foley gives the question a new twist in Willoughby and the Lion, not so much with a surprising story as with extraordinary visual design. Willoughby hates his new house. He appears to have been banished to a shack, sketched in with a few pencil lines. One morning, Willoughby looks out his window and sees "a magnificent golden lion" sitting on a rock - and there on the page is a splash of shiny, metallic gold. The lion promises the boy 10 wishes, adding, "Unless you wish for the most wonderful thing of all, I'll be stuck on this rock forever." The ending will be abundantly clear to the youngest reader.

Shape

by David Goodman

and Zoe Miller

Abrams / 64 pages / $22.50 / ages 3 and older

Shape offers a thousand inspiring ways to notice shapes everywhere you look and to use shapes in any creative endeavor. A soup-to-nuts study, it begins with the observation that "everything has a shape," and progresses fearlessly from simple circles to concentric figures, semicircles, quadrants, tangrams, symmetry and on into three-dimensionality. There are projects to make. The book is intended for ages 3 and up, and while 3-year-olds may delight in photos of children frolicking in, say, a pyramidal tent, Shape will make a captivating addition to the libraries of much older children with artistic inclinations.

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