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Choices for Children

The Mountain That Loved a Bird, inspired by author Alice McLerran's fascination with archaeological changes over long periods of time, is a parable about life -- the story of the friendship between a small bird and a barren mountain. Eric Carle's vivid collage illustrations are some of his finest works -- take a careful look at the endpapers. (Picture Book Studio USA, $12.95, ages 4 to 8.) Festivals are a way of life in India -- holi celebrates the colors of spring; divali is the festival of light. In The Festival, by Peter Bonnici, Arjuan's family is preparing for a festival, but his grandmother, aunt, and mother won't tell him which one. Bonnici's use of language is crisp. Lisa Kipper's muted watercolors evoke the rhythm of Indian life. (Carolrhoda, $8.95, ages 5 to 8.)

Eleanor the elephant has the largest nose in her entire school -- it's two inches longer than even her sister's. The Biggest Nose, written and illustrated by Kathy Caple, humorously explores Eleanor's distress at being different. Cartoonlike illustrations complement the text. (Houghton Mifflin, $12.95, ages 3 to 7.)

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In Dizzy from Fools, by M. L. Miller, a princess wants to know why only the boys can become court fools. When she is told, ``Because it's always been that way,'' she disguises herself as a boy and goes to the court fool auditions. Miller's writing is exceptional -- fresh, memorable, and American. Eve Tharlet's illustrations in soft autumn colors are exquisite. (Picture Book Studio USA, $12.95, ages 4 to 8.)

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