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The Acrobat and the Angel, by Mark Shannon, illustrated by David Shannon; G.P. Putnam's Sons, $15.99 -- This beautifully illustrated book offers an interesting new variation on the French folktale, "The Acrobat of God." But for my money, Tomie dePaola did a much more child-friendly version of the same tale in "The Clown of God."

Backwater, by Joan Bauer; G.P. Putnam's Sons, 188 pages, $15.99 -- Bauer offers an energetic and interesting coming-of-age story about Ivy Breedlove, a girl who accidentally discovers another family rebel in her quest to break free from her competitive lawyer family's expectations. Bauer was highly praised for another young adult novel, "Rules of the Road." Her new book is fun, but contains an appalling number of grammatical errors, which the publisher promises to correct in the reprint. ("The giant tree inched it's way down," etc.)
-- Jean Westmoore
Buffettology, by Mary Buffett and David Clark; Fireside, $14 -- The "best" book ever written on Warren Buffett's investment methods and the previously unexplained techniques that have made the Omaha, Neb., resident one of the world's most successful and richest men. The author is the former daughter-in-law of the legendary financial genius.

Smoker, by Greg Rucka; Bantam, $5.99 -- There's only one way to keep a witness from testifying. Atticus Kodiak is a likable antihero with smart-alecky humor and charm. Solid thriller.
-- Ed Kelly

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