A few shopping days left - what to get the kids who have everything? A book, of course. Not just any book but one to be read and re-read and shared with loved ones. These recent releases will provide hours of entertainment for readers young and old.
"Wabi Sabi," by Mark Reibstein with illustrations by Ed Young. For ages 6-9. Wabi sabi is the Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in the simple, the ordinary, the imperfect and the mysterious. It's also the name of a little cat that sets off on a journey to discover the meaning of her name. Told through collages and haiku, Wabi Sabi is a visual treat for young readers in its complexity and beauty.
"The Tale of Despereaux Special Edition: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread," by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. For ages 8 and up. Tales of Despereaux," the story of a big-eared runt of a mouse who loves a princess, won the Newbery Medal in 2004. This year a deluxe edition hits the bookstores. It's a beautiful copy that makes a great gift. Share it as a read-aloud, then go see the movie, which arrives in theaters Friday.
"Lincoln Shot: A President's Life Remembered," by Barry Denenberg with illustrations by Christopher Bing. For ages 9 and up. Abraham Lincoln's bicentennial birthday is Feb. 12, 2009, and a slew of books about the 16th president have been published this year. For a unique format, check out this version that presents the information in the size and design of a newspaper from that era. Real ads and real photos in addition to woodcut illustrations make the fascinating details come to life in a book that chronicles not only his presidential years, but also his youth.
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard," by J. K. Rowling. For ages 8-12. J.K. Rowling fans will be disappointed in The Tales of Beedle the Bard - not for the content, which includes commentary by Professor Albus Dumbledore," but for the length - a mere 107 pages. Scarcely enough material to keep Potterphiles occupied for more than a few hours, the five clever tales for wizards and witches do bring back Rowling's familiar style and a few references to recognizable names and events.
"Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog," by Mini Grey. For ages 4-8. Traction Man's brave sidekick, Scrubbing Brush, has been declared "unhygienic" by the boy's dad and relegated to the trash bin. His replacement is battery-operated Turbo Dog, a poor substitute for the imagination-fueled Scrubbing Brush. Traction Man to the rescue! Armed with Super Strong Germo, he jumps into the "Dark and Terrible Underworld of the Trash Bin," an adventure sure to be replayed in person by young readers inspired to create their own low-tech toys.
"Swing!" by Rufus Butler Seder. For ages 4-8. Inventor, artist and filmmaker Seder scores another hit with Swing!, an amazing action book that shows kids doing sports through Scanimation, a technique that gives the illusion of motion on the pages of the book. For a companion book, try Gallop, published last year that uses the same fascinating technique to show animals on the move.
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