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Old Elm Speaks, Tree Poems, by Kristine O'Connell George, illustrated by Kate Kiesler; Clarion, $15 -- As she did in her first collection of poetry for children ("Great Frog Race"), George offers glorious images, whimsy, humor and surprises. A bud is a velveteen satchel, "Snap open the clasp -- and you will find/inside this tiny valise,/ one rolled and folded/neatly packed/leaf." Kiesler's oil paintings are gorgeous. This is a keepsake for tree lovers of all ages.

Show and Tell, by Stephanie Greene, illustrated by Elaine Clayton; Clarion, $15 -- Greene trains her searchlight on the mind of a second grader and comes up with yet another hilarious story about Woody, a boy who hates change and finds himself in a heap of trouble when a student teacher named Miss Plunkett takes over his class. Greene has the rare ability to offer both humor and sympathetic insight into how a child learns empathy for others. (She performed the same magic with "Owen Foote, Second Grade Strongman" and "Owen Foote, Soccer Star.")


The Echo, by Minette Walters; Jove, $6.99 -- Another sharp psychological mystery by Britain's newest standout mesmerizer.

Dead Season, by Alan Barlow; Vintage, $14 -- A moody, brilliantly atmospheric work of reportage about three murders on the Philippine island of Negros.