Kids’ Book Corner: Books for Giving

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JoPerry75By Jo Perry

Give a child a book and you let him know that reading is important and fun. Here’s my list of books to surprise, amuse, inform, gross-out, and inspire kids (and the grown-ups who read-along with them) this holiday season:

David Small’s classic Imogene’s Antlers, and the re-release of the out-of-print Six Crows by Leo Leonni will delight 4-8 year olds. In Small’s wry tale, Imogene awakens one morning to discover she’s grown huge antlers — and everyone offers her ideas about what she should do with and about them. Leonni’s fable concerns six crows, a farmer, a field of wheat, a scarecrow and a wise owl who helps solve an escalating dispute with a special kind of magic: words

Little Tree is new release of e.e. cummings’s out-of-print classic poem celebrating a little Christmas tree (“little tree/ little silent Christmas tree/you are so little/you are more like a flower…”) is evocatively illustrated with drawings by Deborah Kogan Ray. (4-8 years)

Zany re-tellings:
Tell the Truth, B.B. Wolf
by Judy Sierra with Jotto Seibold’s sophisticated and comic illustrations is a hip sequel to the story of the Big, Bad Wolf in which the wolf must fess up and make good with the piggies. Betsy Red Hoodie by Gail Carson Levine urns the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale on its head with the story of Betsy, a shepherd, and her friend Zimmo the wolf, and their wild trip herding wise-cracking sheep and taking cupcakes to Grandma’s house. (4-8 years)

Fascinating Facts:
What Goes On In My Head: How Your Brain Works and Why You Do What You Do
by Robert Winston offers kids 7 and up a tour of their noggins from neurons to psychology and covers brain development, memory, dreams, emotions, creativity and learning and personality.

Danger! Open with Extreme Caution! by Buller, Kennedy, Pipe and Walker is a compendium of lethal and risky stuff for kids 10 and up. The richly-illustrated book covers stories of survival, the hazards of time-travel, a “Totally Toxic Table of Pollutants,” deep space dangers, scary science, a “Pimp My Spaceship” section about safeguarding a space shuttle, and a chapter on perils of the past.

The irresistible This Book Made Me Do It: Cool Things to Make, Do and Explore is a rainy-day boredom buster and a great alternative to video games or Internet- surfing. Included are how-to’s for hip-hop dancing, attracting moths, making marbled paper, napkin folding, fruit-cocktail assembling, ghost-hunting, magic tricks, skateboard moves, performing CPR, fighting off sharks, climbing Mt. Everest, panning for gold, dowsing for water, making a flashlight, as well as ideas for crafts and facts about people and places around the world.

For the whole family:
Crafting Jewish: Fun Holiday Crafts and Party Ideas for the Whole Family
by Rivky Koenig offers clever projects and recipes for all ages and for all the Jewish holidays. Family projects for Hanukkah include a simple and beautiful glass menorah constructed from baby food jars, dreidel party favors, homemade wrapping paper and cards, latke servers, and recipes for latkes and sufganiot. (4-adult)

Paper + Craft: 25 Charming Gifts, Accents, and Accessories to Make from Paper by Minhee & Truman Cho. In this stylish collection, the co-founders of the celebrated stationery company PAPER + CUP offer beautiful craft projects that require only paper, scissors and glue: party banners, paper flowers, vases, Mommy & Me paper shoes, picture frames, gift tags, baskets, window shades and ornaments are elegantly re-imagined and explained in easy how-to’s.

The Complete Human Body: The Definitive Guide by Dr. Alice Roberts is a stunning coffee-table-book that will engage all ages. Roberts begins with human evolution and ends with diseases and disorders, and covers anatomy, physiology and the human life cycle. The computer-generated illustrations and microscopic images are fantastic, as are the many interesting facts Roberts includes. Kids will be especially interested in the sections on fetal development newborns and childhood.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.