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Originally published Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 6:01 AM

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New books for all ages

Kids' Books: A roundup of new children's books includes "City Chickens," "Maisy Goes on a Sleepover," "Riley Mack and Other Known Troublemakers," "Just Ducks," "Surfer Chick," "In the Garden," "Go Out and Play!" and more.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Summer's here, and it's time to celebrate with these great new books for all ages:

BOARD BOOKS

• In "Peekaboo Baby" (Candlewick Press, $6.99, ages infant-2), author/illustrator Sebastien Braun winningly combines two favorite baby activities — playing peekaboo and lifting flaps in books.

"Play Baby Play!" (Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, $7.99, ages infant-2) is the third volume in a cheerfully rhyming series by author/illustrator Marilyn Janovitz. Look also for the first two books in the series: "Baby Baby Baby!" and "Go Baby Go."

• A rhyming text consisting of just a few words introduces the youngest readers to the joys of growing things in "In the Garden" (Peachtree, $6.95, ages infant-2), written by Elizabeth Spurr and illustrated by Manelle Oliphant.

• In "Noodle Loves the Beach" (Nosy Crow/Candlewick, $8.99, ages 6 months-2), author/illustrator Marion Billet offers readers a fun "touch-and-feel" book, including a "sticky" picture of a peach and a sand castle crafted from sandpaper.

• Learning opposites is pure fun with "Hippopposites" (Abrams/Appleseed, $14.95, ages 1-3). Author/illustrator Janik Coat's graphic designs are both eye-catching and educational.

PICTURE BOOKS

• Maisy, the spunky girl mouse character created by author/illustrator Lucy Cousins, is growing up, as evidenced in her latest adventure, "Maisy Goes on a Sleepover" (Candlewick Press, $12.99, ages 3-6).

• Kids learn that patience is an essential ingredient in gardening in "Plant a Little Seed" (Roaring Brook, $17.99, ages 3-6), beautifully written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen.

"Frog and Fly" (Philomel, $12.99, ages 3-6) is sure to tickle the funny bone of preschool readers. Author/illustrator Jeff Mack tells his tale in "six slurpy stories," and it's usually Frog who has the upper hand — until the very end.

• Author Kristy Dempsey and illustrator Henry Cole team up to tell the comically inspiring tale of a "gnarly new legend" in "Surfer Chick" (Abrams, $16.95, ages 3-7).

NONFICTION

• Nicola Davies has a knack for making nonfiction books for young readers, as she demonstrates in her new books.

First, there's "Just Ducks" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 4-7), in which Davies and illustrator Salvatore Rubbino present an intriguing look at urban ducks. Rubbino's illustrations are both lively and helpful.

Davies also has just published two volumes in a series called "Uncover & Discover" (Candlewick Press, $9.99 each, ages 3-7) that uses "lift the flap" features to engage the youngest readers.

In "Who's Like Me?," readers are asked to choose among four possibilities to find another animal who is most like a fish or bird, etc. In "What Will I Be?," Davies asks young readers to read a few clues before lifting the flap to find out the answers. Both books offer a wealth of information for young readers as well as vibrant illustrations by Marc Boutavant.

• Two new informational books for young readers focus on beetles.

In "The Beetle Book" (Houghton Mifflin, $16.99, ages 4-8), award-winning author/illustrator Steve Jenkins delves into the amazing world of beetles. As he notes in his opening text: "Line up every kind of plant and animal on Earth, and one of every four will be a beetle." Jenkins' trademark collage illustrations emphasize the beauty and complexity of these insects.

Meanwhile, author/illustrator Gail Gibbons highlights one particular kind of very popular beetle in "Ladybugs" (Holiday House, $17.95, ages 5-8).

• Chickens don't just live on farms, as author Christine Heppermann shows in "City Chickens" (Houghton Mifflin, $16.99, ages 6-9), an engaging, photo-filled look at a Minneapolis woman who has created an inner-city poultry shelter.

• Two new books will inspire kids — and their grown-ups — to get off the sofa and move. In "Go Out and Play!" (Candlewick Press, $11.99, ages 3 up), the leaders of KaBOOM, a nonprofit devoted to getting children to play, give directions for a variety of outdoor games.

More outdoor fun can be found in "Get Outside: The Kids Guide to Fun in the Great Outdoors" (Kids Can Press, $16.95, ages 5 up), written by Jane Drake and Ann Love and illustrated by Heather Collins.

FICTION

• Author/illustrator Kevin Henkes, who has won multiple awards for both his writing and his art, turns his talents to beginning readers with "Penny and Her Song" (Greenwillow, $12.99, ages 5-7). In this gem, Henkes shows how Penny's patience pays off when she finally finds just the right moment to sing her new song.

• Readers will have a blast following the comical adventures of seventh-grader Riley Mack and his friends, the Gnat Pack, in "Riley Mack and Other Known Troublemakers" (HarperCollins, $16.99, ages 8-12), written by Chris Grabenstein.

• Anna feels most comfortable with her head in a book, but that changes as she begins to explore the joys and woes of friendship detailed in "The Year of the Book" (Houghton Mifflin, $15.99, ages 7-10), written by Andrea Cheng.

• Phillip Pullman, acclaimed author of "The Golden Compass," depicts the Victorian-era adventures of the "New Cut Gang" of kids as they try to solve mysteries in "Two Crafty Criminals" (Knopf, $16.99, ages 8-12).

• In "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again" (Candlewick Press, $15.99, ages 8-12), author Frank Cottrell Boyce offers an exhilarating update of the classic children's tale by "James Bond" creator Ian Fleming.

• Fans of Kristin Cashore's two previous books, "Graceling" and "Fire," will revel in her newest novel, "Bitterblue" (Dial, $19.99, ages 14 up). Readers new to Cashore's work also can enjoy this emotionally intense book, which stands on its own.

• Best-selling author Richelle Mead's newest novel, "The Golden Lily" (Razor/Penguin, $18.99, ages 14 up), will thrill vampire-romance lovers. It's the second in her "Bloodlines" series, a spinoff of her popular "Vampire Academy" books.

• In "Cinder" (Feiwel & Friends, $17.99, ages 12 up), debut author Marissa Meyer reworks a fairy tale into a compelling dystopian tale. "Cinder" is the first of a quartet of books, all based on fairy tales.

Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at Kam.Macpherson@gmail.com.

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