Saturday, December 8, 2012

Giftable Books for the Youngest Book Lovers

’Tis the season! While you’re making your lists and checking them twice, consider these extra special titles that combine beauty and brains resulting in memorable gifts for your young readers (and pre-readers). These are books to treasure.

Shapeasaurus, Colorasaurus, Alphasaurus, and Countasaurus form a new series of concept-based, shaped dinosaur board books from Chronicle Books. Little ones will learn dinosaur names for every letter of the alphabet, identify bold shapes, practice counting skills, and discover the bright colors in the dinosaur world. I love the fact that the learning component is woven into fun stories. And the dino shapes are irresistible. They’re written by Megan E. Bryant and adorably illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell.

Baby Penguins Everywhere! is by Melissa Guion. This is a very special book about the love between a parent penguin and baby penguins. I love the minimalist illustrations. The snowy setting is perfect for the holidays. But more importantly, the sentiment is spot-on. This is the perfect gift from parent to child. It’s a book that reminds kids how much they are loved. It’s by Philomel Books, an Imprint of Penguin Group (appropriately enough).

Cradle Me by Devvy Slier is made up of beautiful photos of Native American babies in traditional cradle boards, each photograph illustrating a different emotion like “smiling” or “frowning.” And Cradle Me includes a guide that identifies the Native American tribe associated with the different ornamentation of each of the eleven cradles. It’s by Star Brite Books.

Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Schardschmidt is a clever baby animal book with fun die-cut pages that allow young readers/pre-readers to cover each baby animal with a “blanket,” as the question, “Who needs to be tucked in,” is answered by each animal, “I do!” And by the way, want to start your pre-schooler on some sight words? Doesn’t get much easier than “I do!” Tuck Me In! is by Candlewick Press.

Stories 1,2,3,4 by Eugene Ionesco, illustrated by Etienne Delessert, and published by McSweeney’s-McMullens is back in print for the first time since the 1970s. The “silly” stories, as Ionesco called them, are accompanied by nearly 100 full-color illustrations, all painstakingly restored by the artist for this new edition. And like many McMullens books, the cover opens out to a beautiful poster. It’s a wonderful choice for bedtime. That special parent/child moment deserves a very special book.

Pibbin the Small by Gloria Repp is illustrated by Tim Davis. Young readers six and older will love this tale that’s Wind in the Willows with a modern voice. Pibbin the Small is part of the Friendship Bog Series and was self-published by Repp. It’s a glorious little find, gentle and clever.

Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records takes young readers on a journey to the highest, the lowest, the hottest, and the coldest places on earth. Imagine exploring the most extreme parts of our amazing planet—trekking through the driest desert, climbing the snowiest mountaintops, and diving to the deepest regions of the ocean floor. Amazing photography makes it hard to put down. It’s by Chronicle Books.

A nice companion book to Chronicle’s Extreme Earth Records is another Chronicle title, Unusual Creatures: A Mostly Accurate Account of Some of Earth's Strangest Animals by Michael Hearst. Hearst introduces the reader to a wealth of extraordinary life forms. Which animal can be found at the top of Mt. Everest, 10,000 feet under the sea, and in your backyard? Which animal poops cubes? Which animal can disguise itself as a giant crab? Beautifully illustrated, this book has a sense of humor. Kids will have too much fun to realize they’re learning.

In our next installment, we’ll recommend middle grade and young adult selections. Stay tuned!

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