Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda by Margaret Atwood (illustrated by Dusan Petricic, Bloomsbury Press, $17.95). The acclaimed Canadian author, in her sixth children's book, offers amusing alliterative abundance with a profusion of B words involving Bob, a boy abandoned by his bubbleheaded mom, and a similar bounty of D words for his rescuer, the orphan Dorinda.
John, Paul, George & Ben (Lane Smith, Hyperion Books, $16.99). The illustrator of "The Stinky Cheese Man" and author/illustrator of the Happy Hocky Family books turns his offbeat perspective to the childhoods of the nation's founding fathers in this amusing book, taking liberties with history, whether it's little John Hancock writing his name so big on the blackboard that it can be read from space or little Paul Revere and his obsession with bell-ringing. While it's targeted at kids 5 and up, the humor really only works for people who know a little history. Smith sets the record straight at the end with an amusing "Taking Liberties" True or False section.
Dog by Matthew Van Fleet, photos by Brian Stanton (Simon & Schuster, $14.99). Kids 18 months and up. This big, sturdy board book, with Stanton's marvelous photos of many dog breeds, offers pettable textures and pull tabs (of a dog scratching himself, even peeing!) and simple, droll text. This celebration of canines will delight small children and anyone who loves dogs.
-- Jean Westmoore