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Jean Westmoore

Jean Westmoore is a digital content editor and the News' longtime children's book reviewer. She was the editor of The News' award-winning youth section, NeXt, from 1998 to 2009.


Probably Still Nick Swansen, by Virginia Euwer Wolff; Henry Holt and Co., $13.95 -- A teen-ager struggling to cope with a learning disability, and haunted by the drowning of his sister years before, tells his own story in this affecting novel.Here Comes the Cat!, by Vladimir Vagin/Frank Asch; Scholastic Books, $11.95 -- The world probably has glasnost to thank for thi…

Mossflower, by Brian Jacques; Philomel Books, $16.95 -- The woodland creatures of Mossflower triumph over the evil (and insane) wildcat Tsarmina and her army of stoats and weasels in this 400-plus-page "prequel" to the much-praised "Redwall." Jacques has a fine ear for language and creates a vivid world, but his heroes are so uniformly good and his villains so unrelen…

Pangur Ban, by Mary Stolz; Harper and Row, $13.95 (ages 12 and up) -- Stolz brings ninth-century Ireland to life in this lyrical and touching novel speculating on the origins of a famous early Irish poem about the poet and his cat.Sea Swan, by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Catherine Stock; MacMillan, $13.95 -- A rich elderly woman breaks free from her dependent lifest…

How Many Snails, by Paul Giganti Jr., pictures by Donald Crews; Greenwillow Books, $11.95 -- Most counting books provide the standard numerals and appropriate number of ducks, blocks or whatever to count. In this finely illustrated book, math teacher Giganti challenges young readers do a little work.The King of Prussia and a Peanut Butter Sandwich, by Alice Fleming, i…

How Many Snails, by Paul Giganti Jr., pictures by Donald Crews; Greenwillow Books, $11.95 -- Most counting books provide the standard numerals and appropriate number of ducks, blocks or whatever to count. In this finely illustrated book, math teacher Giganti challenges young readers do a little work.The King of Prussia and a Peanut Butter Sandwich, by Alice Fleming, i…

HANDSOMELY illustrated versions of the classics are 'in' in a big way in publishers' offerings this holiday season.By far the most spectacular is Alfred A. Knopf's lovely edition of Carlo Collodi's 1883 classic The Adventures of Pinocchio ($18.95) with gorgeous paintings of the Tuscan countryside by master illustrator Roberto Innocenti.Innocenti's wonderfully detailed…

Vassilisa the Wise, a tale of medieval Russia retold by Josepha Sherman and illustrated by Daniel San Souci; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, $14.95 -- Wise and witty Vassilisa rescues her foolish husband, the merchant Staver, after his boasting lands him in the prince's dungeon in this tale with wonderful paintings accurately portraying the dress and architecture of old Russia.…

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg; Houghton Mifflin, $14.95 -- A bespectacled gent in bedroom slippers brandishes a chair at a lump under the rug; the giant form of an ocean liner rams its way through a canal in Venice; a woman lies dead on a bed with a book open and some sort of strange ivylike plant draped over it. These are the mysteries of Harris B…

Growing Colors, by Bruce McMillan; Lothrop Lee and Shepard, $12.95 -- Raspberries glow a waxy, jeweled red, and blackberries were never so black nor carrots so orange as in this elegantly photographed, simple nature book of colors, which doubles as a lesson in gardening.

Growing Colors, by Bruce McMillan; Lothrop Lee and Shepard, $12.95 -- Raspberries glow a waxy, jeweled red, and blackberries were never so black nor carrots so orange as in this elegantly photographed, simple nature book of colors, which doubles as a lesson in gardening.

Look! Look! Look!, by Tana Hoban; Greenwillow Books, $12.95 -- An accomplished photographer and creator of many books for children produces her third in an amusing series of wordless "guessing" books. (A small window cut in the page reveals only a part of a photograph, so the reader must guess the larger picture: a Ferris wheel, a ball of yarn, a rose.) Summer Sto…

The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt, by Patricia MacLachlan; Harper & Row, $11.95 (ages 8-12) -- Author MacLachlan, Newbery medalist (for "Sarah, Plain and Tall"), creates a happy parade of charming eccentrics who all march to the beat of the same different drummer in this lyrical, amusing novel of a girl's coming of age. Ida and the Wool Smugglers, by Sue Ann A…

The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt, by Patricia MacLachlan; Harper & Row, $11.95 (ages 8-12) -- Author MacLachlan, Newbery medalist (for "Sarah, Plain and Tall"), creates a happy parade of charming eccentrics who all march to the beat of the same different drummer in this lyrical, amusing novel of a girl's coming of age. Ida and the Wool Smugglers, by Sue Ann A…

Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner, story and pictures by Amy Schwartz; Orchard Books, $12.95 -- Big sister Lucy's advice about how to behave in school backfires for poor Annabelle, but she triumphs anyway in this amusing story by a most talented author-illustrator. Schwartz's stories are always amusing, but it's her humorous and distinctive drawing style that makes her c…

Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner, story and pictures by Amy Schwartz; Orchard Books, $12.95 -- Big sister Lucy's advice about how to behave in school backfires for poor Annabelle, but she triumphs anyway in this amusing story by a most talented author-illustrator. Schwartz's stories are always amusing, but it's her humorous and distinctive drawing style that makes her c…