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updated 12/08/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/08/1986 01:00AM

WOMAN'S PLACE IS IN THE '87 CALENDARS

In their collective wisdom, the calendar makers seem to have anointed 1987 as the year of the woman artist. This does seem to be slighting the 200th anniversary of the Constitution, but it could be worse. Somebody might have noticed that next year will mark the 50th birthdays of Bill Cosby, Jane Fonda, Mary Tyler Moore and Trini Lopez.

In Praise of Women Artists (Bo-Tree, $8.95) sets the tone, including paintings by such artists as the 18th-century Dutchwoman Rachel Ruysch. A striking work in Women Painters (Abbeville, $7.95) is Northern Lights, a 1982 painting by Texan Melissa Miller featuring semirealistic polar bears and a rabbit entranced by the aurora borealis.

An American artist represented in both of those collections has two of her own too: Mary Cassatt (Pomegranate, $15.95), a beautifully printed, oversize (17x20-inch) compendium and the less-ambitious Mary Cassatt (Abbeville, $7.95). Carol Chapman (Day Dream, $7.95) has 13 works, most of them eerie beach scenes, while the old-fashioned drawings in A Calendar of Good Words (Workman, $6.95), by Chapman's fellow Missourian, Mary Engelbreit, each bears a word such as "faith," "merriment" or "always." None say "shmaltz," at least not in so many words. Still Life With Recipe (Golden Turtle, $8.95) accompanies Californian Mollie Katzen's bright still lifes with recipes for such dishes as yogurt scones.

Male artists have their days in 1987 too. David Lance Goines (Golden Turtle, $8.95) features the pastel-dominated posters of the Oregon artist; the 13 works in James Harrill (Day Dream, $9.95) are more white than anything else, reflecting the painter's sun-washed New Mexico surroundings. Dali (Georgi, $21.95) is an oversize production of mostly indescribable art.

The more traditional definition of calendar art applies to Madonna (Great Northern, $8.95), although it's not all that enticing, containing a dozen old, none-too-sharp shots of Mrs. Penn. David Goldner's photographs in Elvira Mistress of the Dark (Great Northern, $8.95) are sharper; even the python cozying up to the horror-movie hostess is in focus. Clint Eastwood (Landmark, $9.95) comes with guns and glares from the mayor's movies.

Hollywood and the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps (U.S. Naval Institute, $7.95) is a desk calendar illustrated with stills from feature films, such as, of course, Hellcats of the Navy. The American Film Institute (Abrams, $14.95) honors 12 directors. John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Howard Hawks are among those cited.

Shakespeare's World (Pomegranate, $8.95) is illustrated with period art. For literati whose tastes tend to the future, Science Fiction and Fantasy (Main Street, $7.95) is a desk calendar with 56 pictures (ex-sci-fi author John Jakes for one) and much trivia. Stephen King's birthday is Sept. 21, 1936.

Passionate sports fans can choose from a line that includes a calendar for each pro football team; Chicago Bears (St. Martin's, $6.95) depicts Walter Payton, Richard Dent and Co., though the daily facts are not only the Bear truth. They're the same on every team's calendar. Two enjoyable desk calendars are The Baseball Card Engagement Book (Houghton Mifflin, $7.95), which shows such rare cards as the 1954 Wilson Wiener series' Roy Campanella, and Sports Illustrated (Sports Illustrated, $9.95), which boasts 54 arresting color pictures, none from the bathing suit issue. Play Ball! (Tide-Mark, $7.95) cites ballplayers' birthdays and stats; Roy Smalley Sr., born June 9, 1926, had a lifetime average of .227 with the Cubs, Phillies and (the calendar forgets to note) Braves. In the semi-sportive Obsession (Day Dream, $7.95), the overweening concern is the lower half of the female anatomy.

Bizarre wit is the obsession of Glen Baxter's Calendar (Penguin, $7.95), which demonstrates his '80s humor in a '30s sensibility. Off the Wall (Kay Associates, $7.95) provides medical malaprops and misprints from across the country. "I'll be happy to foul-up the patient on a regular basis," is one that provides a slightly queasy laugh. Howard the Duck (Day Dream, $8.95) has turned into a calendar and is not funny that way, either.

The Polish Heritage Calendar (Hippocrene, $8.95) is no joke. It contains striking examples of Polish art, such as Jan Styka's Tadeusz Kosciuszko Leading His Troops Into Battle at Raclawice. My Very Own Jewish Calendar (Karben Copies, $4.95) includes the months and days of the Jewish year and offers a week-by-week Sabbath candle-lighting chart showing appropriate times for 11 American cities. North American Historical Calendar (East Plateau Indian Cooperative, Spokane, Wash., $6.95) is full of data, recipes (boiled fiddlehead ferns), scheduled meetings (the Standing Arrow Pow Wow in Elmo, Mont, will be held on July 18) and quotes.

Nature is the point of High Adventure (Golden Turtle, $8.95), which features the startling photography of Galen Rowell, who seems sometimes to have hired a mountain goat to take his pictures for him. Audubon Wild Bird Calendar (Macmillan, $6.95) honors our feathered photo subjects while World Wildlife Fund (Abrams, $8.95) offers a variety of our other fellow creatures.

Among the regional calendars, New England provides an especially picturesque mixture of graceful mountains, well-lived-in old towns, fall foliage, snowy roads and ocean views. Yankee Magazine's New England (Yankee Publishing, $7.95), Scenic New England (Dick Smith, North Conway, N.H., $5.50) and New England Seasons (Tide-Mark, $7.95) all cover the region in lovely fashion. Then there is Vintage Vermont (Memorabilia, $7.95), with a quaint photo of a bicycle outing in Woodstock around 1900, Vermont Life (Vermont Life, $5.95), with maple sugaring in West Newbury and Vermont Geographic (DeLorme, $5.95), with the elegant Old First Church in Bennington.

There are, of course, many other regional calendars. Of note: Beautiful Lancaster County (Good Books, Intercourse, Pa., $7.95), showing the Amish area; Sam Leandro's New Orleans & Louisiana (Bell Springs, Laytonville, Calif., $7.95), focuses on the rich musical history of that city and state, with photos of such people as James Booker (1939-1983), also known as the Piano Wizard, Little Chopin, Gonzo and the Piano Prince of New Orleans.

The musically inclined will also like The Official Country Calendar (Country Music Foundation, $8.95), with color pictures (mostly old album covers) of Reba McEntire, the Judds and Willie Nelson. Trivia are as plentiful as ticks on a moose, or something like that: Elvis Presley's first advertised appearance, for instance, was on July 30, 1954. MTV (Abrams, $8.95) is so splashy it is almost impossible to look at or use—in other words, just what the MTV fan would like.

It's a good year for other than musical cats too. The Nova Cat Calendar (Tide-Mark, $8.95) offers vivid photos of the big cats, one a well-camouflaged tiger; 365 Cats (Workman, $8.95) is a desk pad showing pictures sent in by pet owners. Annie of St. Louis was judged top cat; her whiskers are on Jan. 1.

The page-a-day calendars abound. Executive Calendar (Workman, $12.50) lists, on June 23, all the 15 investment companies taken over by what is now Shearson Lehman/American Express. Sniglets (Andrews, McMeel & Parker, $6.95) defines "sesame-lexia" as "condition of not knowing which one's Bert and which one's Ernie."

United States Air Force 1947-87, The Helicopter 1907-87, U.S. Marine Corps Aviation 1912-87 and U.S. Naval Aviation 1911-87 (all C*A*V*U, Langley, Wash., $10.95 apiece) would delight any lover of aircraft. The historical details and photographs are all different; a group of Hell's Angels in the Air Force calendar, for instance, turns out to be men from the 358th Bomb Squadron of the Eighth Air Force in England around 1943, gathered around a B-17.

There's also plenty of nostaglia in the brightly colored The Jukebox (Golden Turtle, $8.95), which depicts such models of that magical device as the 1946 Packard PlaMor, and in the appeal of quilt calendars. Quilts (Main Street Press, $9.95) shows a dazzling succession of mostly pre-1900 designs, while Classic Quilts (Tide-Mark, $7.95) includes items from the Brooklyn Museum and Amish Quilts (Good Books, $7.95) has an extensive bibliography on quilts.

For children, Glo Friends Night Light (Random House, $6.95) has a glow-in-the-dark (with nontoxic ink) drawing for each month; 365 Days of American History for Kids (Workman, $6.95) notes that women were first granted the vote in the U.S. in the Wyoming Territory on Dec. 10, 1869. Children's Defense Fund (Children's Defense Fund, Washington, D.C., $7.95) features charming black-and-white photographs. Children of the World (Pomegranate, $7.95) records that June 4 will be "International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression."

Finally, words to live by are plentiful. Blessed Are the Peacemakers (Golden Turtle, $6.95) quotes Albert Schweitzer: "The idea of Reverence for Life offers itself as the realistic answer to the realistic question of how man and the world are related to each other." A Man for All Seasons (Pomegranate, $8.95) quotes Albert Einstein: "Nature conceals her mystery by her essential grandeur." The Words of Martin Luther King Jr. (Newmarket Press, $6.95), under its photograph for April, showing the headline "Murdered in Memphis," quotes King: "We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope."

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