Oh, dear! The lovely picture books seem to be piling up. Must be time for a preschool read-aloud throw-down! Here is a handful of especially winning ones, to test on a lapful of children (ages 2-5). I'M NOT CUTE! by Jonathan Allen (Hyperion) Baby Owl is not cute. He's not, he's not, he's not! He's a huge and scary hunting machine with great big soft and silent wings. Just ask him! But when Mama agrees with her overtired little guy, he may yet need some reassurance that even scary hunting machines are cute, at least to their mothers. MARTHA MOTH MAKES SOCKS by Cambria Evans (Houghton Mifflin) Martha Moth has such a delightful party planned. She's dishing up sweater, scarf, yarn...if only she would stop eating the supper! When the doorbell rings, will there be anything left to serve? As another Martha might quip: "It's a good thing!" A BEAUTIFUL GIRL by Amy Schwartz (Roaring Brook) Elephant thinks the little girl has such a funny nose! Robin thinks she has a ridiculous beak! Fly wonders why she only has two eyes, and goldfish thinks she has goofy gills. Luckily, this confident little girl has the chutzpah to convince her friends otherwise. This nicely paced walk to market is in the old-fashioned spirit of Marie Hall Ets' PLAY WITH ME (Penguin), and is a nice introduction to the senses as well as to parts of the body. PIZZA AT SALLY'S by Monica Wellington (Dutton) I just love the vibrant illustrations and step-by-step approach in all of this author's work, so fitting for it's intended audience. Here, children gather around to make a pizza, and the process is told with plenty of action-packed verbs and pictures at which to point and talk about. Of course, an easy recipe is in the back of the book. Delicious in every way! MAX'S ABC by Rosemary Wells (Viking) Leave it to this pro to make a story that stands on its own out of an alphabet book. Wells' funny bunnies are back, contending with Max's escaped ants, who only are willing to end their adventures and go back to their plastic farm when they are good and tired. Zzzzz! But don't be fooled, this book is no sleeper; it bears reading and repeating, and the familial familiarity and droll voice is a pleasure for both kids and grown-ups from A to Z. Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.