Holiday books for young readers

December 22, 2008|By KAREN MACPHERSON / Scripps Howard News Service

Try one of these books or book-related gifts for the young reader in your life:

o The classic book, "My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett, turns 60 this year. To celebrate, Random House has published a new, red cloth edition, complete with a note from the author. ($16.99, ages 6-10).

o For young readers ages 2-5, you can't go wrong with "Peter Rabbit: Holiday Collection" (Warne, $18.99), a special four-book gift edition of author/illustrator Beatrix Potter's classic tales, sized perfectly for small hands.

o "How Do Dinosaurs.... Pocket Library" (Scholastic, $12.99) offers readers pint-sized editions of the popular books written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague. (Ages 2-5).


o Boxed sets of popular series abound this year. Try one of these three-volume sets: "The Ranger's Apprentice Collection" (Penguin, $23.97, ages 8-12) by John Flanagan; "Percy Jackson & the Olympians" (Hyperion, $19.99, ages 8-12) by Rick Riordan; "The Alex Rider Collection" (Puffin, $23.97, ages 10-14) by Anthony Horowitz; and "The Mike Lupica Collection" (Puffin, $23.97, ages 10-14), by Mike Lupica. And don't forget Dav Pilkey's four-volume "The Trra-Laa-Laa-Mendous Captain Underpants Collection" (Scholastic, $19.99, ages 5-10), which includes an inflatable Captain Underpants.

o Author/artist Ben Boos offers a detailed, lavishly illustrated homage to some deadly weapons in "Swords" (Candlewick Press, $24.99, ages 8-12).

o Thirty-five tales fill the pages of "George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends" (Houghton Mifflin, $25) by James Marshall (Ages 4-7).

o Candlewick Press offers a number of great book and CD sets in two specific series. The "Read, Listen and Wonder" series features non-fiction titles like "All Pigs Are Beautiful" by Dick King-Smith ($8.99 each, ages 5-8). "Candlewick storybook animations" include a book, video, audio and activity pack for such titles as, "Baby Brains," by Simon James ($14.99 each, ages 4-7).

o Sing along with folk singer Peter Yarrow in two CD/book sets lushly illustrated by Terry Widener: "Favorite Folk Songs" and "Sleepytime Songs" (Sterling, $16.95 each).

o Terry Pratchett's rousing first tale of young Tiffany Aching is now available in an oversized, read-aloud edition illustrated by Stephen Player, "The Illustrated Wee Free Men" (HarperCollins, $24.99).

o Readers fascinated by fantasy will enjoy "A Practical Guide to Dragon Riding" (written by Lisa Trumbauer) and "A Practical Guide to Wizardry" (written by Susan Morris), both published by Mirrorstone. ($12.95 each, ages 8-12).

o Kids can learn as they have fun with "The Giant Play and Learn Book" (Chronicle, $19.99). This unique activity book, written and illustrated by Pascale Estellon, includes more than 250 stickers. (Ages 3-6).

o The "Scholastic Book of World Records 2009" ($9.99) is bound to be a great hit with kids ages 8-12.

o In the over-sized "In the Town All Year 'Round" (Chronicle, $16.99), author/illustrator Rotraut S. Berner challenges children to really look at the details of daily living. (Ages 2-5).

o The "Treasury of 20 Storybook Classics" four-DVD set (Scholastic, $29.99) gives readers a new way to look at books like "Diary of a Spider" and "The Mouse on the Motorcycle." (Ages 3-7).

o The New York Review of Books has re-published "The 13 Clocks" ($14.95), a classic fantasy tale written by James Thurber, illustrated by Marc Simont and featuring an introduction by Neil Gaiman. (Ages 10-14).

o Young readers will love "Nicholas in Trouble" (Phaidon, $19.95), the newest entry in the delightful "Nicholas" series, written by Rene Goscinny and illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempe. (Ages 8-12).

o Finally, there are awesome pop-up books for every interest this year:

In "ABC3D" (Roaring Brook, $19.95), author/artist/paper engineer Marion Bataille presents an awesomely different alphabet book that will intrigue readers of all ages. (Ages 3 up).

o "Birdscapes" (Chronicle Books, $60, ages 8 up), written by Cornell University ornithologist Miyoko Chu and illustrated by Julia Hargreaves, far surpasses the delights promised in its subtitle: "A Pop-Up Celebration of Bird Songs in Stereo Sound." A perfect gift for the birder -- or would-be birder in your life.

o Pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart bring a vivid new dimension to Tomie dePaola's beloved character in "Brava, Strega Nona!" (Putnam, $29.99, ages 3 up). Also check out Sabuda and Reinhart's other new pop-up, "Fairies and Magical Creatures" (Candlewick Press, $27.99).

o Space fans will love "Moon Landing" (Candlewick Press, $29.99, ages 8 up), written by Richard Platt and David Hawcock, a photograph-filled celebration of Apollo 11's 40th anniversary.

Sam Ita wonderfully combines the graphic novel and pop-up forms in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" (Sterling, $26.95, ages 6 up).

o Your young vehicle fan is sure to love "Trucks Go Pop!" by author/artist Bob Staake (Little, Brown, $17.99).

o He's big, he's green, he's "The Incredible Hulk: Pop-Up" (Candlewick, $19.99, ages 5 up), designed by paper engineer Andy Mansfield.

Looking for more ideas for book gifts for children? Check out Karen MacPherson's blog for more titles. It's

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