Rankings are based on a Times poll of Southland bookstores.



*--* 1 Eloise Takes a Bawth by Kay Thompson et al (Simon & Schuster, $17.95) The irrepressible Eloise causes mischief at the Plaza Hotel in this long-awaited book. Ages 4-8

2 The Night Before Christmas Pop-up by Clement C. Moore (Little Simon, $24.95) A family of mice receive a visit from Santa Claus in this book, featuring intricate designs by Robert Sabuda. Ages 4-8

3 The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke (Scholastic, $16.95) Two brothers run away from their aunt and arrive in Venice, where they take up with a band of young thieves led by a skillful young boy. Ages 9-12

4 I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis (Joanna Cotler, $15.99) A young boy and girl learn lessons in poise and confidence throughout the school day. Ages 4-8

5 Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion, $16.95) In a world of modern-day fairies, Artemis joins with his rival to fight a power-hungry pixie. Ages 10 and up

6 The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket (HarperCollins, $14.89) On the run from Count Olaf, the Baudelaire children wear disguises and hide at a creepy carnival. Ages 10 and up

7 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (Sunburst, $5.95) The Tuck family discovers -- and tries to protect -- a fountain of youth. Ages 9-12

8 Midnight Magic by Avi (Scholastic, $4.99) A motley cast of characters goes on a medieval ghost hunt. Ages 9-12

9 Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf, $15.95) A middle school student tries to save a family of owls. Ages 10-15

10 America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney (Simon & Schuster, $16.95) A red-white-and-blue romp through the alphabet that celebrates the United States and its history. All ages


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