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CHILDREN'S BOOKSHELF

August 18, 1996|KATHLEEN KRULL

In Winning Ways, a much-needed history of American female athletes for young readers, author Sue Macy performs the heroic deed of presenting a comprehensive, clearly written portrait of women in athletics. She follows women's sports from the 1890s, when American women caught the bicycle craze and an athletic activity became popular for women nationwide, to the unenlightened days of the 1930s, when women like Babe Didrikson were publicly condemned for their successes in track and field, to the current triumphs of Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kristi Yamaguchi, Janet Evans, Bonnie Blair and others. Included are additional resources, a chronology, profiles and lots of little-known information.

The audience for Disney's Animated Magic is anyone who's seen a Disney movie up to and including "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" and wondered, "How did they do that?" The animation process is told exceptionally clearly--from bouncing around ideas to putting on the finishing touches--in an attractive format that won't totally dispel the magic.

A picture-book biography of jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, Satchmo's Blues features velvety, glowing paintings by noted artist Floyd Cooper. Alan Schroeder, author of "Ragtime Tumpie" and other books, has focused his text on Armstrong's childhood, capturing the yearning and persistence it took for the Trumpet King of Swing to reach his place in the American music pantheon. This is a moving and accessible biography of the jazz great.

Looking for a flamboyant account of evolution with blindingly bright illustrations and sharp, witty writing? Then you'll like Raptors, Fossils, Fins & Fangs. This is a different kind of animal book, profiling the lesser-known prehistoric creatures who were our earliest relatives. "Strictly speaking, you are a fish," it begins--and takes the rest of its 32 pages to explain how this is so.

For more recent regional history, Missions of the Los Angeles Area, part of a new six-book series on California mission history, takes a thoroughly 1990s approach to the people mission development affected, giving equal space to Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans and the new Americans. Packed with facts kids need to know and a wealth of photos and drawings, this volume focuses on local missions: San Gabriel Archangel, San Buenaventura and San Fernando Rey de Espana. It's a great resource for any fourth-grade children you know who will be required to build a mission replica this year as part of their study of California history.

****

WINNING WAYS: A Photohistory of American Women in Sports. By Sue Macy (Holt: $15.95; ages 10 to 14)

DISNEY'S ANIMATED MAGIC: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How an Animated Film Is Made. By Don Hahn (Disney Press: $16.95; ages 8 and up)

SATCHMO'S BLUES. By Alan Schroeder . Illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Doubleday: $14.95; ages 6 to 10)

RAPTORS, FOSSILS, FINS & FANGS: A Prehistoric Creature Feature. By Ray Troll and Brad Matsen (Tricycle: $14.95; ages 7 and up)

MISSIONS OF THE LOS ANGELES AREA. By Dianne MacMillan (Lerner: $14.96; ages 9 to 12)

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