Tina Jordan reviews two new books for little readers, and recommends a classic series for your child's collection

Tina Jordan on new books for little readers

Mom and Dad Are Palindromes
By Mark Shulman; illustrated by Adam McCauley (Chronicle, $15.95)
Oh no! When Bob learns in school what a palindrome is, he realizes he is one. And once he starts looking around, he sees nothing but more palindromes: His mom. His dad. His sister Nan. His pup Otto. In fact, as the book jacket boasts, there are more than 100 palindromes hidden inside, and kids will have enormous fun finding them: Some are obvious, some sneakily embedded in the text. More game than book, but so what? A
Recommended ages: 5-10

Just Teenie
By Susan Meddaugh (Houghton Mifflin, $16)
”Justine was so tiny, everyone called her just Teenie.” Any child who’s small for his or her age will immediately relate to Teenie, the shortest one in her class at school, so short she has trouble reaching the doorknob. But an encounter with a gypsy fortune-teller at the carnival leads to quite a change. Like all of Meddaugh’s books (remember the Martha the dog series?), this one is seasoned with a lovely dollop of magic, so that children — and grown-ups — will suspend their disbelief for a few special minutes. That’s what all the best books do. A
Recommended ages: 2-6

For Your Collection
The Melendy Quartet: The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two
By Elizabeth Enright (Holt, $16.95 each)
These were some of my favorite books when I was a child, so I was thrilled when Holt brought out these beautiful hardcover reissues just in time for my own kids to enjoy. Enright follows the motherless Melendy kids — Russ, Mona, Randy, and Oliver — in the ’30s and ’40s, first as they explore Manhattan and then after they move to a small town in upstate New York with their father and longtime, loving housekeeper, Cuffy. Though the books brim with energy and adventure, they aren’t always sunny; the third book, Then There Were Five, has dark — even sinister — undertones. And somehow, despite that fact that they’re set more than 60 years ago, the books don’t have a dated feel. If you have an elementary-school-age reader who’s into series books, these are just the ticket. (I’m glad to report that my own kids loved all four as much as I do.) A
Recommended ages: 9-14