Katya's Book of Mushrooms, by Katya Arnold and Sam Swope; Henry Holt, 44 pages, $16.95 -- The author, whose passion for mushrooms comes from her native Russia, shares the poetry and wonder of these mysterious and wonderful fungi in this original, beautifully illustrated volume. The book is packed with mushroom facts and fancies. (Giant slabs of sidewalk near a museum in Moscow were once lifted up by thousands of white button mushrooms fed by manure from a stable that once stood on the spot.) Although many pages are spent discussing poisonous varieties, she cautions that her book should not be used as a field guide by people wishing to determine if the mushrooms they just picked are going to kill them when cooked.
Chidi Only Likes Blue, An African Book of Colors, written and photographed by Ifeoma Onyefulu; CobbleHill Books, $14.99 -- A young girl tries to convince her brother of the beauty of colors other than blue in this clever book which teaches about colors and at the same time offers a charming and informative look at life in a Nigerian village. The author-photographer previously created the equally excellent "Emeka's Gifts: An African Counting Story" and "A Is for Africa." -- Jean Westmoore
Murdoch: The Making of a Media Empire, by William Shawcross; Touchstone, $16 -- Biography of the tycoon who bestrides a global publishing and television conglomerate. This classic 1993 work permits readers to savor "a chronicle of one man's fiery arc through the media firmament." -- Ed Kelly