2004-12-09 / Arts & Entertainment

BOOK NEWS

Books Make Perfect Gifts For The Holidays

AP Special

From generation to generation the love of reading never grows old. The tiniest tot to the sophisticated reader, loves a good book that makes a timeless gift.

The choices are endless this holiday season. From mysteries to history, babies to bird watching, gift givers can take their pick. 

T’was the night before Christmas and Chester is nowhere to be found. What happens next is a testimony of love and friendship. “Ernest’s Special Christmas,” (Barn Yard Books, $17.95) by Laura T. Barnes tells the struggle of an endearing donkey named Ernest and his barnyard buddies as they team together to help a friend in need.

Favorite carols like “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, “Jingle Bells” and the “Twelve Days of Christmas” adorn the embroidered illustrations on the pages of “My First Christmas Col-lection,”(Silver Dolphin Books, $12.95) with each page unique in look and feel.

“Home for Christmas,” (Frances Lincoln, $15.95 hardcover) by Sally Grindley tells the touching story of a homeless boy who finds shelter at Christmastime in a cattle shed. The illustrations by Karin Littlewood show the sense of belonging this child finds in the love and warmth of family.

Little ones will love to feel the multi-textured fabric tags and embroidered illustrations of “My First Tag-gies(r): I Love You,” (Scholastic Inc., $12.95 soft cover). Every tag looks and feels different with pages that are soft and huggable.

“ActivePOINT(tm),” (Publications International, $17.00) makes its debut this holiday season. An interactive sound book for kids makes learning fun. Child-ren interact with their favorite characters like Elmo and Barney while learning about colors, shapes, numbers and phonics. It earned the National Parent-ing Center’s Seal of Approval.

Wishes really do come true in this story about two kids who wish a snowman into a real life playmate. Sounds a bit familiar until you meet “Snow Dude,” (Hyperion Books, $16.99) by Dan Kirk. Children will enjoy this wintery tale of Snow Dude as he dashes into town causing havoc wherever he goes.

An award winning book about a child’s last day with his beloved dog “Jasper’s Day,” (Kids Can Press, $5.95 paperback) tells an incredibly heart touching story of how one boy copes with the death of his dog. Children learn that each day is special and to make the most of every minute spent with loved ones.

“The Moon in Swampland,” (Frances Lincoln, $15.95 hardcover) by M.P. Robertson is a perfect book for boys and girls who don’t mind getting spook-ed. Based on an old English folktale, it’s filled with suspense without being too scary.

Sayings like “can of worms” or putting your “best foot forward” are re-imagined in this funny book of illustrated idioms. “Monkey Business,” (Kids Can Press, $16.95 hardcover) is written and illustrated by award-winning author Wallace Edwards of Al-phabeasts. Every page is beautifully illustrated with monkeys who bring idioms to life in a playful way. Readers are challenged to find hidden monkeys along the way.

“George vs. George,” (National Geographic, $16.95 hardcover) by Rosalyn Schanzer throws in a bit of humor for young readers while looking at the similar leadership of George Washington and King George III during the American Revolution.

“Playing With Stuff; Outrageous Games With Ordinary Objects,” (Kane/ Miller, $9.95) by Ferry Piekart is pack-ed full of short, silly games invented to turn household objects into hours of playtime. Get ready to follow the rules to “Water Waddle,” a race where contestants tuck cups of water inside their socks.

It’s time for adventure in “Peter and the Starcatchers,” (Hyperion Books for Children/Disney Editions, $17.99) by best-selling authors and longtime friends, Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Re-discover Peter and Molly in this en-gaging story of courage and quest.

For crime and history lovers alike, “Assassinations: Murderous Crimes that Shocked the World,” (Reader’s Digest, $30 hardcover) by R.G. Grant profiles in detail more than 100 true stories of some of the most infamous assassinations and attempted assassinations known.

What makes a president great is questioned and explored in “PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP: Rating the Best and Worst in the White House,” (Free Press, $26) by James Taranto and Leonard Leo. Based on a survey conducted by the Federalist Society and The Wall Street Journal, with the help of scholars, journalists and political leaders, this intriguing work takes a look at how presidents have performed over the years.

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