GOLDILOCKS AND JUST ONE BEAR
written and illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson (Nosy Crow, $15.99)
As far as fairy tale sequels go, this one's great. A certain bear wanders into town, finds refuge in fancy digs at "Snooty Towers" where -- you guessed it! -- the now-married Goldilocks lives with her family. Hodgkinson's witty text and even wittier illustrations make for much colorful, wacky fun.
CECIL THE PET GLACIER
by Matthea Harvey, illustrated by Giselle Potter (Schwartz and Wade, $17.99)
There's charming weirdness to spare in the story of Ruby Small, the girl with a little Norwegian glacier for a pet. How this comes about is a big part of the story; and along the way we get a sweetly subtle lesson in tolerance and acceptance. Giselle Potter's painterly illustrations add to the charm.
SLEEP LIKE A TIGER
by Mary Logue, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin $16.99)
Pamela Zagarenski's rich illustrations are perfect for Mary Logue's sweet story of a little girl who refuses to sleep. Every spread in this lovely book is filled with the girl's imaginings, accompanied by beautifully observed details from the natural world. A perfect bedtime book, for certain.
written and illustrated by Nikki McClure (Abrams Appleseed, $12.95)
Bold paper cutouts in red and black drive this simple story of an apple's life cycle. Fourteen words make up the text, along with a two-paragraph coda on apple tree husbandry and composting. The pictures do the rest, beautifully so.
by Barbara DaCosta, illustrated by Ed Young (Little, Brown, $16.99)
A young boy ninja goes on a quest for ice cream: That's the essence of "Nighttime Ninja." Ed Young's lovely, dramatic paper cutout illustrations are the perfect, energetic vehicle for Barbara DaCosta's brief adventure tale.
written and illustrated by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books, $16.99)
Wordplay and bright, playful illustrations are the hallmarks of Michael Hall's clever tale of three kitties on the loose. It's all adventures, crazy encounters and, ultimately, home to bed. Little kids will love it, and so will anyone who reads it with them.
L.K. HANSON, FREELANCE WRITER