& quot;Some Things Change, & quot; by Mary Murphy (Houghton Mifflin, $9.95, ages 1 to 4 years).
Mary Murphy has brought back her lovable penguin-protagonist to explore a series of simple, everyday changes. A cardboard box magically turns into a ship, cloudy days quickly become sunny, and a house can change its appearance with just a coat of paint. These examples, displayed in the author's eye-catching color schemes, provide the upbeat message that change is part of everyone's life and new experiences are always just around the corner.
& quot;Lift the Lid, Use the Potty, & quot; by Annie Ingle (Random House, $7.99, ages 2 to 5 years).
Interactive fun is to be had by both parent and child when it's time to bring out the potty. Ingle's family of bunnies provide much of the direction to & quot;the path to potty success & quot; with reward stickers given to the child for each successful step. Lisa McCue's cozy, flappable illustrations add to the child's understanding of the inevitable transition from diapers to the book's little purple potty.
& quot;Sidney Won't Swim, & quot; by Hilde Shuurmans (Whispering Coyote, $15.95, ages 4 to 7 years).
When its time for Sidney's class to begin swim lessons, the thought of diving into the water gives him a sinking feeling. After feigning a stomach ache and hiding from his swim instructor, he announces & quot;I'm not afraid of swimming, its just dumb. & quot; But with a little help from his classmates, Sydney makes it into the water in an enjoyable tale that teaches youngsters how to overcome their fears. & quot;Swimming isn't dumb, & quot; Sydney proclaims, & quot;its fun! & quot;
& quot;This Boat, & quot; by Paul Collicut (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $15.00, ages 2 to 5 years).
Its anchors aweigh in Paul Collicut's exploration of all things seaworthy. From a gondola to the largest oil tankers; boats traveling under bridges and on top of aqueducts, Collicut's identifies some of the many seagoing vessels of the world with descriptions set beneath a full page illustration in the author's trademark bold imagery. On the inside front and rear paste-downs are some of history's more recognizable boats such as the Titanic and the aircraft carrier USS Kennedy.
& quot;Probably Pistachio, & quot; by Stuart J. Murphy (HarperCollins, $15.95, ages 6 to 8 years).
This sneaky educational math lesson is one in a continuing series by Murphy. In this volume, Jack's Monday morning couldn't get any worse -- his alarm clock doesn't go off, he can't find his sneakers and Dad has to pack his lunch (salami, again!). Just the right moment for Murphy to introduce the concept of probability and move Jack through the day as he make a series of predictions based on sound reasoning. Unfortunately, things go from bad to worse until mom brings home his favorite ice cream, pistachio. Art work by Martha Winborn also shows Jack's thought process in addition to the text. Murphy's misadventurous Jack will begin to teach children when something is likely, certain, or in the case of pizza for dinner, often impossible.
& quot;Too Big, Too Small, Just Right, & quot; by Frances Minters (Harcourt, $13, ages 3 to 6 years).
Face it, some things in life are too big. Others are too small. Minters' bunny playmates embark on a journey to discover these opposites, but also to find out what's just right. With simple illustrations by Janie Bynum that move the repetitive text at a brisk pace, the two look for a bicycle, go dancing, buy balloons and take in some rollerblading. It seems as though nothing goes their way until the duo put their heads together. While children will learn about the concept of conflicting shapes and sizes, more importantly they will discover how friendships make things just right.
-- Rob Stout