The recent snow cover is a reminder that Santa will soon arrive. He is searching for perfect presents for good boys and girls, and books can be just the right gift. Books educate and entertain children over and over again. Here are a few that would make any child happy.
The Snatchabook is an entertaining picture book by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty. It has darling illustrations that will appeal to children. The rhyming narrative trips off the tongue and keeps young ones engaged in the adventures of Eliza Brown, a reading rabbit living with other bedtime readers in Burrow Down.
Every home in this little community has books that are read to young ones snuggled in their beds. Then suddenly, books begin to disappear right under everyone’s noses. Not to be denied her favorite books, Eliza uses a pile of her own books to entice whoever is taking the books, so she can solve this mystery. She almost falls asleep waiting, but finally she catches the thief. What happens next will warm many a parents heart. The Snatchabook is a pleasure to read aloud and will be a popular bedtime read for many nights.
Local preschool teacher and award winning songwriter Melanie Milburn has written Imagination ... It’s Up to You. The story was originally a song, and a CD is included with the book. The book encourages children to use their imagination to have adventures in their minds. The story suggests travel in a plane, undersea and to outer space as just a few options for youngsters to explore. The recording has a definite country flair and is punctuated with appropriate sound effects. The book is delightfully illustrated by local artist and illustrator Cindy Coleman. The drawings are done using colored pencils and are quite charming, adding visual impact to the suggested fantasies.
Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli, a syndicated cartoonist, is aimed at the 7-to-12-year-old reader. This book may appeal especially to boys since it’s illustrated-novel format is closely related to a graphic comic book. Desmond is an 11-year-old sixth-grader who finds himself in a lot of trouble. Told in first person, he calls himself the “Professor of Fright-ology” with a “Master’s in Monsters.” His dream is to create the ultimate amusement park with haunted house rides. He loves to scare people.
Santa is Coming to Durango by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Robert Dunn, is one in a wider series. Smallman, a Englishman, has written over 40 children’s books. There is Santa is Coming to Colorado, as well as London, Leeds and Glasgow, to mention only a few. In the series, each book has places obviously left blank to be filled in with specific place names that depend on the story’s title. The story revolves around Santa delivering presents to the children of Durango, and the adventures of the youngest reindeer that is on his first trip with Santa. Santa runs into a blizzard and needs help finding his way to town when his Santa-nav fails him. The youngest reindeer helps save the night and directs Santa toward ringing bells. The Durango book includes references to the Christmas tree in Buckley Park, the Durango Public Library, the Animas River, Third Avenue and Vallecito Lake. This book will appeal to families that love to read stories about familiar places in their hometown.
Kepler’s Dream is a first novel by Juliet Bell, and, hopefully, it is only one of many to come. This heartwarming story is told by Ella, an 11-year-old from California whose mother is fighting leukemia. Since her mother has not responded to chemotherapy (In Ella’s words, she has Extreme Cancer), she is being transferred to Seattle for a stem-cell transplant. This means Ella’s mom will be in isolation for six weeks, and Ella, whose parents went through “an Extreme Divorce, “needs to stay with someone else because her father has not been in her life very much. After many attempts to place Ella with someone at home have failed, she is shipped off to Albuquerque and a grandma she has never.
Ella learns to adapt to her grandmother and her many rules. She discovers a family mystery and why her father and his mother (her grandmother) are estranged. Along the way, Ella makes friends with Rosie, the daughter of Violet’s employee, Miguel. This charming story is about dealing with family drama, having to act older than one’s years, friendship and becoming a detective to solve the many mysteries of growing up in a “Broken Family Camp.” Kepler’s Dream is populated with great characters set in an unusual place and filled with adventure.
These books are only a few of the wonderful choices available for children’s presents this season. Books can draw them into new worlds, educate them about their own world and encourage them to create new worlds from their own imaginations. Take this opportunity to share this wealth with a child.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Leslie Doran is a Durango freelance reviewer.