September 26, 1988 12:00 PM


In this gentle variation on the mad scientist genre, a friendly, normal grandpa is arrested—”for growing a dangerous vegetable”—when one of his tomato plants produces a tomato as big as a house. Babette Cole, writer-illustrator of such earlier books as The Trouble with Mom, provides vivid, active drawings, a sort of hero (a tomato-eating worm) and an unorthodox spelling of the grandparent in her title. (Putnam, $13.95)

SPOT’S BIG BOOK OF WORDS Eric Hill’s Spot books are among the most attractive volumes for young children; if there is such a thing as reader-friendly, they’re it. This large-size picture dictionary shows Spot and such friends as Helen the Hippo and Tom the Alligator encountering lots of everyday items, with the name of the items printed nearby. Hill forgot to include the words “hippo” and “alligator,” but otherwise he nicely boosts beginning readers’ vocabularies. (Putnam, $9.95)

THE EIFFEL TOWER Authors Milos Cvach and Sophie Curtis break down a Robert Delaunay painting into various segments and angles, giving children new perspectives on this work and, perhaps, the creative process in general. A short biography notes that Delaunay “loved modern life: its cities, its tall buildings, its dirigibles and airplanes; he also loved light, the sky, and above all the sun, whose circular shape he used in many of his paintings.” (Abrams, $17.95)

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