By EW Staff
Updated June 18, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

The summer brings tales of milk (and the cow it came from), plus pooches, Pythonesque contemplations, and posh pool parties. AGES 6 MONTHS TO 2 YEARS IT LOOKED LIKE SPILT MILK Charles G. Shaw (Harper Trophy, $4.95) In this glorious game of name that blob, toddlers get to figure out what Shaw’s white- on-navy silhouettes resemble. First published in 1947 and now released as a board book, it gives little ones something solid to hold as they unravel the what-does-it-look-like? mystery. A- -Leonard S. Marcus

AGES 2 TO 4 THE ANIMALS’ LULLABY Tom Paxton; illustrated by Erick Ingraham (Morrow, $15) Songs are usually better sung than corralled into picture books, where the forced rhymes can feel all too obvious. Folksinger Paxton’s book falls into this trap. His animal verses range from awkward to uninspired, and Ingraham’s paintings are unengaging. C+ -Michele Landsberg

NO MILK! Jennifer A. Ericsson; illustrated by Ora Eitan (Tambourine, $14) This terse, amusing book tells the tale of a city boy who tries his most charming, high-brow manners on a cow before realizing that milking requires a more hands-on approach. Toddlers will giggle at the joke, and they’ll also be warmed by Eitan’s sunny, impressionistic paintings. B+ -ML

AGES 4 TO 8 HUE BOY Rita Phillips Mitchell; illustrated by Caroline Binch (Dial, $13.99) Hue Boy, a lad of 7 or so, is seriously short for his age, and in his close- knit Caribbean village, such matters are everybody’s business. Mitchell spins a droll, touching tale about the hero’s determined striving for a new stature, including his meetings with a wise man and a stretching coach. The watercolors sparkle with insight and empathy. A -LSM

ROARR: CALDER’S CIRCUS Maira Kalman; photographs by Donatella Brun (Whitney Museum of American Art, $15) Kalman, a noted avant-garde picture-book artist, fashions brash, hyperactive ringmaster’s banter to accompany photos of renowned sculptor Alexander Calder’s famous toy circus. But her extravagant patter and typography (”You make me flip WOW! with that triCK”) don’t jibe with Calder’s subtle creations. His charming lions, cowboys, and clowns seem tattered in this so-hip-it-hurts production. B- -ML

IT’S HARD TO READ A MAP WITH A BEAGLE ON YOUR LAP Marilyn Singer; illustrated by Clement Oubrerie (Henry Holt, $14.95) A book that puts the dog back in doggerel and pays tribute to man’s best friend with 22 wryly affectionate rhymes. The poems are a kick (”Nothing on a bulldog’s face/Seems to have a proper place”) and the illustrations equally hilarious; the whole affair is rather, well, fetching. A- -LSM

AGES 8 TO 12 FANTASTIC STORIES Terry Jones; illustrated by Michael Foreman (Viking, $16.99) Though billed as the latest bit of tomfoolery from a Monty Python cast member, these stories are top-heavy with earnest ruminations on homelessness, poverty, and even traffic safety. Jones’ heart is in the right place, but it’s best when he follows his funny bone. B -LSM

THE POOL PARTY Gary Soto; illustrated by Robert Casilla (Delacorte, $13.95) When he’s invited to a fancy pool party, Rudy, a lively working-class Mexican- American boy, is filled with nervous anticipation. But Rudy’s natural gift for fun and friendship overcomes class barriers. Soto’s imaginative language adds to the pleasure of the nonstop comic adventures. A -ML