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Welcome : a Mo Willems guide for new arrivals
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  New York Times Review

THE GENIUS OF JANE AUSTEN: Her Love of Theatre and Why She Works in Hollywood, by Paula Byrne. (Harper Perennial, paper, $16.99.) Playwrights and actors who questioned and mocked social norms helped Austen learn to focus her material, make it amusing and give it critical punch, this insightful study shows. THE WIDOW NASH, by Jamie Harrison. (Counterpoint, $26.) This debut novel by Jim Harrison's daughter features a clever and adventurous protagonist who must determine what happened to her father's fortune after his suicide. On the run from her brutal ex-fiancé, his business partner, she leaves a cross-country train in Montana to remake herself as the widow Nash. THE UNDERGROUND RIVER, by Martha Conway. (Touchstone, $26.99.) In this suspenseful novel, a young seamstress for a theater company that travels the Ohio River on a flatboat becomes involved in ferrying infants born into bondage from one side of the river to the other. SCANDINAVIANS: In Search of the Soul of the North, by Robert Ferguson. (Overlook, $35.) Ferguson, a British expatriate who has lived for 30 years in Norway, has written a delightfully freeroaming exploration of the myth of the brooding Scandinavian. He provides an engaging, layered look into a complex culture. JANE AUSTEN AT HOME, by Lucy Worsley. (St. Martin's, $29.99.) A BBC presenter ebulliently describes Austen's many homes and residences, and speculates on her motives and emotions. Her thesis is that the thread that runs through Austen's novels is a longing for a safe haven, a place of her own. WELCOME: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. (Hyperion, $15.99; all ages.) Designed as a gag instruction manual for the ride a baby is about to take through life, this book appeals to pre-verbal infants at the same time as it offers wise and reassuring words to parents. The witty graphic icons help. QUESTIONS ASKED, by Jostein Gaarder. Illustrated by Akin Duzakin. Translated by Don Bartlett. (Elsewhere, $14; ages 5 and up.) This gem by a Norwegian novelist, illustrated with sweet, spectral art, is a simple list of big questions all of us should ask about life and how best to live it. JUST FLY AWAY, by Andrew McCarthy. (Algonquin, $17.95; ages 12 and up.) A 15-year-old girl is outraged to learn that she has a half brother living in the same town, the result of her father's brief affair. The story takes unexpected turns, and displays real insight into the way adolescents withdraw emotionally. MIGHTIER THAN THESWORD, by K. J. Parker. (Subterranean; e-book, $4.99; limited-edition cloth, $40.) Afantasy empire is under attack by mysterious pirates in this intricate whodunit, full of rich characters. The full reviews of these and other recent books are on the web:

  Publishers Weekly Review

Willems (the Elephant and Piggie series) rolls out the red carpet for a new baby, writing in a voice that's part preflight safety demonstration ("There will be turbulence"), part waiter's spiel ("Of our current offerings, I can personally recommend your being right here with me"), and part customer service hotline ("Someone is standing by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week"). Iconographic, high-contrast drawings, rendered in the style of road signage, should hold the attention of very young eyes (as will embedded Mylar mirrors), even if the actual content eludes them. The real audience is new parents, who will revel in having their devotion mirrored back to them and chuckle at the many knowing jokes ("If you have any further questions/ Do not hesitate to call or flail about or scream like a banshee"). And they'll be grateful that Willems offers a modicum of hope regarding the world that the newborn will inherit: "We are happy to report there are people working day and night on making this a better place to be." Up to age 2. Agent: Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Mo Willems' introductory guide for new arrivals welcomes readers to the world using bold, eye-catching graphics and clever text that is perfect for reading aloud. With a fun and heartwarming message, Welcome playfully interacts with the reader with its meta-humor, while addressing such topics such as injustice, cats, friendship, and family. This one-of-a-kind guide to the world is a must-have for infants and new parents alike.
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