Great books for last-minute shoppers
Give your child the gift of exciting literature
Looking for awesome books for kids for the gift-giving season? The books reviewed below hit the bulls-eye. For additional suggestions, visit Greatest Books for Kids at greatestbooksforkids.com.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Max's Christmas" written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, Dial, 26 pages
Read aloud: birth to age 4
Read yourself: age 6 — 7
Max is back to his antics again, this time insisting that he stay up to see Santa Claus coming down the chimney. Sister Ruby tells him he cannot see Santa Claus because nobody ever sees him. Max doesn't believe Ruby and decides to take matters into his own hands.
When Ruby leaves Max's room, Max takes his blanket and sneaks downstairs. He positions himself in front of the chimney and waits and waits. At long last, Santa zooms down the chimney and into the living room. Max is surprised by his arrival, but no one is more surprised than Ruby when she comes looking for Max.
The lovable and spunky Max is just the sort of character toddlers will love, causing them to want to read "Max's Christmas" over and over again.
Library: Yuba County Library, 303 Second St., Marysville
Interim Director: Kevin Mallen
Choices this week: "Letters from a Desperate Dog" by Eileen Christelow; "Mars Needs Moms" by Berkeley Breathed; "Time Warp Trio: Marco Polo!" by Jon Scieszka
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer, Knopf, 2011, 279 pages, $24.00 hardcover
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 9 — 10 and older
First published in 1961, this 50th anniversary edition of "The Phantom Tollbooth" is a "must-have" book for readers of many ages.
Milo is the sort of boy who doesn't play close attention to much of anything. As far as he is concerned, "There's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing."
One afternoon, Milo receives an enormous package containing the parts to construct his very own Genuine Turnpike Tollbooth. With nothing better to do, Milo puts his tollbooth together, gets into his small electric automobile and sets off for what will be a life-changing adventure.
Milo finds himself on a bizarre, important quest, where he encounters strange lands and characters, many of whom are ironic yet logical. Aided by helpers along the way and battling evil-doers, Milo achieves far more than he ever thought possible and returns home a thoroughly changed person.
Hilarious, spot-on illustrations perfectly complement this classic story. "The Phantom Tollbooth" is highly inventive, warm and brims with wisdom and wit, humor, fantasy and an artful play on words that will provide hours of entertainment, introspective thought and encourage a broader way of looking at life.
"Bear's Loose Tooth" by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman, McElderry Books, 2011, 36 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 and older
Read yourself: age 7
Bear and his friends are enjoying their lunch when, suddenly, Bear notices he has a loose tooth. Bear is upset by this development, for how will he be able to eat without his tooth? Bear's friends assure him that this is normal; a new tooth will grow to replace the one lost.
Now the problem is how to get rid of that pesky loose tooth. All of Bear's friends pitch in to assist extracting the loose tooth until finally ... success! But wait — Bear suddenly notices he's got another loose tooth.
This jaunty, rhyming story is certain to please children through several repeat readings.
"The Power of Cute" written and illustrated by Charise Mericle Harper, robin corey books, 2011, 26 pages, $10.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4 — 5 and older
Read yourself: age 7
A huge monster has come down the path to try and frighten the little baby. But much to the monster's astonishment, the baby isn't afraid, because, "I have a superpower." This makes the monster laugh. The baby isn't superstrong, doesn't have X-ray vision and isn't super-fast. So what kind of superpower could this baby have? The Power of Cute!
At first, the monster isn't impressed. But when the baby exercises The Power of Cute, Monster is in for a big surprise.
With fun, interactive tabs to pull, wheels, flaps and a pop-up surprise ending, this funny little book will elicit laughs on every short page.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.