Flora and Tiger, 19 Very Short Stories From My Life, by Eric Carle; Philomel, 54 pages, $17.95 -- The popular children's author-illustrator offers a series of whimsical, beautifully written memory sketches with three elements in common -- "animals or insects, friends or relatives and myself." Carle was born in the United States to German parents who moved back to Germany in 1935, where his father was drafted into Hitler's army, later taken prisoner by the Soviets and returned "a broken man," his son remembers. Thus there is a shadow of war and sadness over his childhood (one essay mentions a parakeet killed in an air raid), but most of these sketches, some from Germany and some from the United States, are also often very amusing: there is the author battling an angry wasp in his trousers, police officers guarding two bears intoxicated from eating fermented apples, a pet cat playing fetch with a string bean. Each essay in this handsome volume is adorned with one of Carle's distinctive illustrations. -- Jean Westmoore
The Fallen Man, by Tony Hillerman; Harper, $6.99 -- The return of Navajo policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, who investigate a skeleton found under the peak of Ship Rock Mountain after 11 years. Hillerman's also at his storytelling peak.
Fly Away Home, by Judith Kelman; Bantam, $5.99 -- Another exciting read for fans of the author's high-strung heroine, Bethany Hogan, a spirited teacher at a private school in a tiny New Hampshire town. -- Ed Kelly