The future stretches before us with no more new Harry Potter books, and yet bookstores still yield a sparkling array of treasures that will be beloved in any child's library. Here are some standouts published in the last year:
"Angela's Ashes" memoirist Frank McCourt gets the tears flowing in "Angela and the Baby Jesus," the heartwarming story of 6-year-old Angela stealing the baby Jesus from the creche at church, from two publishers: a children's edition with delicate jewel-like paintings by Raul Colon (Simon & Schuster, $17.99) and a smaller adult edition with moody, elegant paintings by Loren Long (Scribner, $14.95).
Cat lovers will get a chuckle out of Kandy Radzinski's wickedly droll "What Cats Want for Christmas" (Sleeping Bear Press, $16.95) featuring amusing, detailed portraits of one ill-intentioned feline after (one with a bird feather peaking from its mouth.)
Ian Falconer's irrepressible pig celebrates Christmas as only she can in the marvelous "Olivia Helps With Christmas" (Atheneum, $18.99) with sweetly hilarious illustrations including one of Olivia in her red pajamas peering up the chimney looking for Santa.
"Do Rabbits Have Christmas?" (Henry Holt, $16.95) is a lovely collection of nature poems from Aileen Fisher with delicate, realistic illustrations by Sarah Fox-Davies.
From Random House comes a 50th anniversary retrospective of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ($24.99) with 32 pages of commentary and pictures exploring the influences in Ted Geisel's life that inspired him to create the Grinch and the message about finding the true spirit of community.
"Titanic" by Martin Jenkins and Brian Sanders from Candlewick Press ($29.99) opens to reveal a more than two and a half-foot long paper model of the Titanic, a marvel of paper engineering, along with small pop-up scenes of parts of the ship, a menu card and a lively, informative 32-page booklet about the disaster. (Less flashy but still impressive is "Titanic" by Jim Pipe (Firefly, $19.95), written as the recollection of a reporter who survived the trip and including a menu card, cutaway of the ship, partial passenger lists and more.)
Fans of C.S. Lewis may appreciate paper engineer Robert Sabuda's "The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up" (HarperCollins, $29.99) with seven spectacular pop-up scenes, one for each book, including a wardrobe door that opens.
Helen Oxenbury's warm paintings add a child-friendly dimension to Lewis Caroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass," available as a boxed set from Candlewick Press for $49.98.
Lewis Carroll's classic poem "Jabberwocky" gets a stunning reinterpretation in the vibrant paintings of an inner-city basketball game by gifted artist Christopher Myers (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun, $15.99).
Acclaimed author Eric Kimmel gives Rip a chance to redeem himself in his picture book retelling of "Rip Van Winkle's Return" (Farrar Straus and Giroux, $17) with Leonard Everett Fisher's spectacular paintings of Hudson River scenes.
From Viking ($25) comes a spectacular new edition of Astrid Lindgren's beloved "Pippi Longstocking" in a new translation by Tiina Nunnally with the lively and engaging pictures that are the trademark of noted illustrator Lauren Child.
From W.W. Norton Co. comes a lovely annotated version of Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Annotated Secret Garden" ($35, 336 pages) with commentary by biographer Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina. The many art images include Charles Robinson's art nouveau illustrations from the book's first British editions.
Newbery Medal-winner Paul Fleischman weaves together the varied threads of many nations' versions of the Cinderella tale (a glass slipper, diamond anklets, a straw sandal) in the truly enchanting "Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella" (Henry Holt, $16.95) with marvelous illustrations from Julie Paschkis using folk art traditions and textiles.
"Sugar Cane: a Caribbean Rapunzel" by Patricia Storace (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun $16.99) provides an exotic backdrop for a familiar favorite.
The dazzlingly detailed illustrations by Bagram Ibatouilline are the real delight in Stephen Mitchell's conversational retelling of Hans Christian Andersen favorite "The Tinderbox" (Candlewick Press, $17.99). Mitchell shows a similar deft touch in his retelling of the Grimms' tale, "Iron Hans" (also Candlewick, $16.99), with dramatic paintings by Matt Tavares.
Alexandra Day's beloved stories about the adventures of the lovable Rottweiler and baby Madeleine are under one cover in "You're a Good Dog, Carl" (Square Fish publishers, $29.95).
Random House offers two different collections of Dr. Seuss stories for $19.99 apiece with "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" in one and "The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" in the other.
A parrot who subdued burglars and a Norwegian farmer who wore a pig mask to better relate to his pigs are featured in Gail Ablow's delightful picture book, "A Horse in the House and Other Strange But True Animal Stories" (Candlewick Press, $17.99) based on newspaper stories with droll gouache paintings by Kathy Osborn.
Iona Opie and illustrator Rosemary Wells collaborate on a delightful collection "from the far edge of Mother Goose's realm" in "Mother Goose's Little Treasures" (Candlewick Press, $17.99).
The influence of Arthur Rackham and Norman Rockwell can be seen in the spectacular paintings by Scott Gustafson for a lovely collection, "Favorite Nursery Rhymes From Mother Goose" (Greenwich Workshop Press, $19.95).
Random House has reissued Jean Conder Soule's classic 1964 rhyming story "Never Tease a Weasel" ($15.99) with hilarious new illustrations by New Yorker cartoonist George Booth. Children's Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky is at his inventive best in "In Aunt Giraffe's Green Garden" (Greenwillow, $16.99), a collection of 28 delightful original poems beautifully illustrated by Petra Mathers.
A dog runs, a horse gallops, a turtle swims in the fascinating "Gallop: A Scanimation Picture Book" from Rufus Butler Seder (Workman, $12.95), a publishing first with moving pictures, from an inventor and filmmaker. "Howtoons" by Saul Griffith, Nick Dragotta and Joost Bonsen (HarperCollins, $15.99) is a fun how-to book, styled like a graphic novel, which follows a brother and sister as they show how to make a marshmallow peashooter, tie knots to make a rope swing and play music with a turkey baster.
>For 8 and up
Some excellent novels for readers 8 and up are: Matt Haig's delicious fantasy set in a spooky wood in Norway, "Samuel Blink and the Forbidden Forest" (G.P. Putnam, $16.99); Pseudonymous Bosch's marvelous original adventure, "The Name of This Book Is Secret" (Little Brown, $17.99); and "First Light" by Rebecca Stead (Wendy Lamb Books, $15.99) a thrilling story of parallel worlds above and below the ice of Greenland.
>For 14 and up
For teens, you can't go wrong with Sherman Alexie's poignant, autobiographical novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian" (Little, Brown, 256 pages, $16.99) which just won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, or with Gabriel Zevin's "Elsewhere," a dazzling, original novel about life and death and the meaning of everything, now available in paperback (Square Fish, $6.95).