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One Room School by Raymond Bial; Houghton Mifflin, $15 -- Bial traveled to existing one-room schoolhouses and replicas for the photographs (of potbelly stoves, outhouses, lunch buckets, etc.) accompanying this interesting and informative tribute to the soddies, log cabins and dugouts where a young America educated her young. And lest anyone romanticize the past, he does note that even then some stingy school boards would refuse to replace leaky roofs or old textbooks.

The Mary Celeste, an Unsolved Mystery From History by Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Elisabeth Yolen Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth; Simon & Schuster, $16.

A young girl tells all the facts that are known about the disappearance of the crew from the Mary Celeste in 1872 and challenges the reader to figure it out, but some children may be aggravated to discover that nobody really will ever know for sure. -- Jean Westmoore


When Crime Pays, by Andrew Vachss; Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, $13 -- From the neo-noir master comes this tough collection of 38 white-knuckle rides into the netherworld of the flotsam and jetsam of urban America.

A Breach of Promise, by Anne Perry; Ivy, $6.99 -- Two wealthy social climbers sue on behalf of their daughters. A story weighted with intelligent thought about the status of women in mid-Victorian English society. A William Monk mystery.
-- Ed Kelly

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