Monday, November 14, 2005

Holiday Recommendations for the Kids in Your Life

I recently needed to write up some reviews of my favorite new books for gift giving, so I'm going to share some with you. Of course there are many, many more books I enjoyed and could recommend. Just ask!


Children's Miscellany: Useless Information That's Essential to Know, by Matthew Morgan and Samantha Barnes (Chronicle, 8/05). Need to know how to pop a wheelie, or how to identify the ten deadliest snakes, or the many ways to make a wish? Just consult this handy and fun reference guide! Miscellany books have been popular among adults lately and this children's version is a great introduction to the genre.

Picture Books

The Dog Who Cried Wolf, written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza (Putnam, 9/05). When Michelle reads a book about wolves to her dog, Moka, he is inspired to run away and live a wild life in the great outdoors. After an afternoon of living like a wild dog, Moka discovers that the comforts of home and someone to love outweigh the perks of rebellious freedom. Funny text and illustrations make this a story-time favorite.

He's Got the Whole World In His Hands, adapted and illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Dial, 9/05). Gorgeous illustrations make this adaptation of the popular spiritual into a joyous romp through our beautiful world.

Fancy Nancy, by Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser (Harper Collins, 12/05). Nancy likes things fancy and doesn't understand why her family is so plain. When Nancy decides to give "fancy lessons" her family cooperates in a way that is fun and wonderful to behold. The illustrations and text are paired brilliantly to create a book that is fancy and fun for everyone.

8 and Up Fiction

Akimbo and the Elephants and Akimbo and the Lions, by Alexander McCall Smith (Bloomsbury, 9/05). Set in an African wild-life preserve, these companion stories about Akimbo, a young African boy, are fast-paced and full of adventures as well as superbly written by the popular adult author. These are sure to be a hit with voracious and reluctant readers alike!

10 and Up Fiction

The Misadventures of Maude March, by Audrey Coulumbis (Random House, 9/05). Finally, a great Western for kids! This is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure story set in the Wild West featuring two sisters who inadvertantly find themselves sucked into events that make the oldest one of the "most-wanted" criminals in the West!

The King of Mulberry Street, by Donna Jo Napoli (Wendy Lamb Books, a division of Random House, 10/05). Loosely based on the events of her own grandfather's life, Napoli has crafted a nearly magical story of a 9-year-old boy who is sent from Italy to America as an immigrant, all alone. Dom manages to carve a niche for himself in the ghettos of 19th century New York and accepts his new identity as an American. It's a truly powerful story.

12 and Up Fiction

13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson (Harper Collins, 9/05). Ginny's aunt has left her 13 little blue envelopes to lead her on an amazing scavenger hunt style journey through Europe to help her deal with the aunt's death. Poignant, funny, and tart at times, this one has it all!

And there it is, folks! A quick round-up of children's literature for you and yours this holiday season.