Despite the dearth of snow to cover the brown ground, Santa is coming soon.
Books are perfect presents for girls and boys. They can educate, entertain and expand children’s worlds. Fortunately, there are a lot of wonderful books ready to make any child happy. The following books would be welcome additions to warm every home:
The Bear and the PianoThe Bear and the Piano, by David Litchfield for ages 4 to 9, is a lovely book with rich mixed-media illustrations that move the story forward. One day, bear comes to a clearing in the woods and finds a strange thing. When he touches it with his paw, it makes a terrible sound. Bear keeps coming back every day, and eventually, he learns to make beautiful sounds. One day, two humans hear him play and convince him to come to the city. Bear has great success and fame, but he starts to miss the forest and his home. What he finds when he gets home is an unexpected surprise. This is a warm story that shows that there is no place like home.
The Hungry BirdThe Hungry Bird by Jeremy Tankard is directed at the 2 to 6 age group. The bright illustrations are bold and the characters of bird, fox, beaver, sheep, raccoon and rabbit are heavily outlined in black marker and are reminiscent of Angry Birds. One day, bird and friends go for a hike. Everyone has packed snacks but bird, and he get hungry. His friends offer to share, but bird says no in a strident tone. Bird’s behavior reminds readers of a toddler-like meltdown. The question becomes: Will bird learn to take care of himself, and learn to share?
Suite for Human NatureSuite for Human Nature, by Diane Charlotte Lampert, illustrated by Eric Puybaret for middle readers, is a tale inspired by the 2004 musical composition by famous jazz artist Wynton Marsalis and lyricist Diane Charlotte Lampert. Mother Nature is lonely and overwhelmed with responsibilities of her job. She must make everything right on Earth and make all the changes that have to happen to make the seasons change. So she decides to make herself a child. When that doesn’t work out well, she makes another, and another till she has seven. Only then does peace return to her life. This folktale is basically a beautiful ode to love.
King BabyKing Baby, by Kate Beaton for ages 3 to 8, is a delightful illustration of how when a baby comes into a couple’s life, it becomes king. Everything now revolves around its needs and wants. King baby rules his world, and he slowly grows into a toddler who can move about and do things on his own. Then suddenly, there comes a big change. This delightful book creatively and with great humor portrays how the world changes with the arrival of new life. The hand-drawn artwork is bright and whimsical.
Max at NightMax at Night by Ed Vere targets the interest of listeners aged 3 to 5. Max is a black cat with big, yellow eyes created using simple marker-like illustrations. Max is tired and needs to sleep. As he goes through his nighttime routine and tries to say goodnight to moon, moon is nowhere to be found. So Max goes on a quest to find moon so he can sleep. Sleepy youngsters should be able to relate to this story.
Ada Twist, ScientistAda Twist, Scientist, by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts for children 5 to 8, tells the story of an unique child. The rhyming narrative flows well, telling how Ada doesn’t talk until she is 3. But then, whoa! Ada is curious and has a passion to find out “why?” Also “what, how and when?” This book encompasses a cast of multiethnic characters that are fun, bright and crisp. Ada’s passion for science and experiments will amuse young readers.
Busy Builders, Busy Week! Busy Builders, Busy Week! by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Leo Timmers is for ages 2 to 6. It highlights a weeklong project done by the animal crew of mouse, elephant, alligator, giraffe and ape. The characters are vibrant, and each page is populated by cute extra birds and bugs. The rhyming text takes the critters’ workday from Sunday through Saturday, when the result of their hard work is revealed. Young readers will decide if all the hard work was worth it.
The Uncorker of Ocean BottlesThe Uncorker of Ocean Bottles, by Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Erin E. Stead for ages 3 to 8, is a beautiful, evocative story illustrated with lovely muted woodblock prints and pastel art. The main character has no name but looks like a New England seaman. He lives alone with his cat, and his job is to go on the ocean and find messages in bottles, retrieve them and deliver them to the correct person. The lonely man would like to receive his own message, and one day he gets a message with no addressee. What happens next changes everything. This is a wonderful story.
Delivering DreamsDelivering Dreams by Lori Preusch for middle readers was reviewed earlier this fall in The Durango Herald but should not be forgotten by Santa. This beautiful, award-winning book took 10 years of hard work by the artist/author to bring it to press. The acrylic paintings are amazing and detailed. The rhyming text tells the story of a young girl and the letters she receives from her beloved and world traveler grandfather. Through the letters, she travels the world in her imagination till one day, no letter comes. This is a poignant and lovely story.
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These books are only a few of the wonderful choices available for great presents for the young listener or reader in your world. Giving a book is a gift that can be enjoyed for years to come.