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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a parent and teacher, presently writing my term paper for a graduate degree. My subject is the effects of reading aloud to children. In my research, I found that in 1983 you recommended "The Read Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease, published by Penguin.

Abby, please tell your readers about "The New Read Aloud Handbook" by the same author and publisher. It contains updated lists of books to be read to children as well as research material confirming that reading aloud to children improves their vocabularies, awakens their imaginations and coaxes them away from the television.

But best of all, it instills in children the joy of reading. -- REBECCA MEHL-WHITE, HORNICK, IOWA

DEAR REBECCA: Thanks for the wake-up call. I confess I was unaware that Jim Trelease had written a new, updated "Read Aloud Handbook." His first book sold more than 1.5 million copies and richly deserved the acclaim it achieved in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Japan and Australia. Parents and teachers wrote to thank me for recommending it.

I immediately bought "The New Read Aloud Handbook" and found it well worth the $9.95 I paid. If it isn't in every bookstore and public library in the country, it should be.

It was in "The Read Aloud Handbook" that I found the beautiful poem "The Reading Mother" by Strickland Gillilan from which I quoted the following:

"You may have tangible wealth untold;

"Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.

"Richer than I you can never be --

"I had a mother who read to me."

DEAR ABBY: In our area, we have a young, growing family with children. The wife's mother lived with this family until she passed away nearly two years ago. The wife -- I'll call her Mrs. J. -- has kept the room her mother slept in exactly like it was while she lived there. Her clothes and shoes are in the closet and dresser drawers. All that is ever done to this room is the cleaning.

The growing family could make good use of this room, yet Mrs. J. insists that it remain just as it was when it was last occupied.

Abby, is Mrs. J. all there, or is there something wrong upstairs? -- BAFFLED AND CURIOUS

DEAR B. AND C.: Obviously, it gives a measure of comfort to keep the room once occupied by her mother exactly as it was while her mother was alive. If Mrs. J. wants to make a shrine of that room, whom is she hurting?

DEAR ABBY: When my sweet little Fluffy, an 8-year-old Pekinese-Shih Tzu, died last week from ingesting a small amount of antifreeze that was left on our driveway, I had to write to warn others. Abby, my husband had been working on vehicles in our driveway for years, and it never occurred to either one of us that the driveway should be hosed down thoroughly to remove every trace of antifreeze for the safety of our pets.

Unfortunately, it's too late for our Fluffy, but it would mean the world to me if you would print this to warn others. -- HEARTBROKEN IN LAKEWOOD, N.J.

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Here's your letter ... in loving memory of Fluffy.

Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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