by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema

The image of Cleopatra sneaking in to meet Caesar rolled in a rug is enough to fire any kid's imagination. This thoughtful biography, with illustrations inspired by mosaics, is meticulous with its sources, striving to tell how we know what we know about the wily Egyptian queen. (Morrow, $15) Ages 7and up

GODDESSES, HEROES AND SHAMANS The Young People's Guide to Mythology

This colorful encyclopedia of legends and mythic creatures takes care to place them in cultural and geographic context. Beyond the familiar Greek and Roman figures, kids will find such formidable figures as Raiden, a Japanese thunder god who "likes nothing more than a young belly to feast on." (Kingfisher, $19.95) Ages 9 and up

  • Contributors:
  • Ben Harte,
  • Marlene McCampbell,
  • Kristin McMurran,
  • Susan Toepfer.