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FOR YOUNG READERS

Come a Tide, by George Ella Lyon, pictures by Stephen Gammell; Orchard Books, $14.95 -- Grandma can predict a flood ("It'll come a tide," she announces) and so it comes and the folks flee in pickup trucks and boats (one neighbor stops to look for his teeth; another hunts for his pet duck) until the water rises "up to the piano keys." Then the water recedes, and they all dig in to clean it up again -- and wait for the next flood. Lyon has written a vivid little story about the random fury of nature and the pluckiness of plain folk who dig in and set things to rights again. Everything about the story rings true, probably since Lyon is an expert on floods. (The book is dedicated to "friends and neighbors in Harlan, Ky., and for everyone who ever dug out.") The illustrations by Caldecott Medal-winner Gammell, of rain-washed landscapes, pigs swimming downstream, a rickety porch ripping off a house, are wonderful.

Dinosaur James, story and pictures by Scott Taylor; Morrow Junior Books, $13.95 -- His father is a wizard, his mother cooks bats, but young James works the best magic of all in this fun singsong picture book for the very young. --

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