Waverley, by Sir Walter Scott (Oxford, $4.95). Called both the first English historical novel and the first political novel, Waverley is set at the time of the Jacobite rising of 1745. Young Waverley, an English soldier in the Hanoverian army, transfers his allegiance to Bonnie Prince Charley, who returns to Scotland from exile in France to rally the clans and make a bid for power. Though it sluffs over the grim conclusion to the expisode -- the terrible Battle of Culloden and the extinguishment of the Stuart cause -- the novel succeeds in combining history with the conventions of good fiction -- including the requisite happy ending. The text is bedizened with the Border ballads that Scott knew so well and indeed collected.
Slow Dancing, by Elizabeth Benedict (McGraw-Hill, $4.95). In this lively first novel by a Washington writer, two ambitious young women find their lives confusing when their feminist ideals come face to face with love, the biological clock and other facts of life. NONFICTION Lisa H.: The True Story of an Extraoredinary and Courageous Young Woman, by Richard Severo (Penguin, $5.95). A straightforward, yet deeply moving account of Lisa's sufferings with a disfiguring illness called neurofibromatosis. Often called "Elephant Man's disease," in Lisa it produced grotesque tumors that engulfed her face. She came from a working class family in Pennsyvlania. Severo was a science reporter for The New York Times. He won her trust and was able both to reconstruct the medical road toward a final 18-hour operation aimed at making her "plain enough to be left alone," and to chronicle the pain and suffering inflicted by ignorance and insensitivity. Man's inhumanity to man is personified by the little boy who said audibly to his friends "Now watch, I'll say hello to her and you can take a quick look to see how ugly she is." There is no happily-ever-after ending here, but Lisa's indomitable spirit is present on every page. CHILDREN'S
The Trouble With Mom, by Babette Cole (Coward-McCann, $4.95; ages 4-8). This zany story about a little boy whose mother is a witch will amuse children and adults as well. It's definitely pro-witch. The "mom" in this story wears funny hats (peaked with a snake wound round the crown), bakes cupcakes which explode, and keeps her errants husband (he was bowling with the boys every week-night) pickled in a jar. She is not, to say the least, a hit at the PTA. But the kids love her, and enjoy playing at her house -- a haunted affair filled with exotic pets like flying dinosaurs. The story's climax gives "mom" the chance to be a heroine. She saves the day with her witchly powers, broomstick and all.
Little Lord Fauntleroy, by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Dell Yearling, $4.95; ages 9-12). For those who persist in loving fairy tales, and Cinderella stories there is no better children's novel than this classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett about a little boy transformed from New York street urchin to English heir to a lord's fortune. It has just about everything -- melodrama, mystery, and lots of morality. Its message that life is fair and that justice prevails is reassuring.
I Will Call It Georgie's Blues, by Suzanne Newton (Dell/Laurel Leaf, $2.75, ages 11-14). A moving story of a small-town minister and his increasingly harsh attempts to make his family appear perfect in the eyes of his parishioners. The moral of the tale is clear but never heavy handed as 15-year-old Neal conceals his musical talents -- jazz is anathema to his father -- and tries to keep his head down as the gap between appearance and rality in the Sloan family widens. He is galvanized to rebel as he watches his frail younger brother George drift off into a night-marish world of insecurity and unreality. The music teacher gives him the strength he needs to confront his parents by providing a piano, a refuge and a willing ear. No truce of sentimentality here, but a real sense of a gutsy kid makeing a difference.
A Sky Full of Poems, by Eve Merriam, illustrated by Walter Gaffney-Kesell (Dell/Yearling, $2.75, ages 6-10). There are poems for day to day life, no neat stanzas and high sounding language. Here are poems of spaghetti: "Spaghetti,/ spaghetti,/ spaghetti,/ sloops and droops;" and poems on alarm clocks, city traffic and irresponsibility. Perhaps Eve Merriam's feelings for children and poetry are best summed up by these lines from "How to Eat a Poem": "Don't be polite./Bite in./ Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin."
Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush, by Jerry Spinelli (Dell/Laurel-Leaf, $2.75. Ages 10-14). Sibling rivalry writ larger and growing pains writ even larger dominate this often hilarious -- yet poignant -- tale of Megin and Greg, known to each other as Megamouth and Grosso. She's a slob and he's lovesick. They often come to blows and any parent will wonder at the good humored tolerance of their unfortunate parents. Maybe there are some Dads around like this ever patient witty Sears salesman-maybe not. Anyway, despite a rather melodramatic conclusion, a great romp for preteen readers who need to know they are not alone with their insecurity and anguish.