CHRISTMAS is a time of giving, and what could be a better gift than one that gives both delight and inspiration? A book for a preschooler can be a window into a new world, or a chance to share precious time with a favourite caregiver. For an older child or teenager, it can be an opportunity to be alone, to be enthralled, or amused, or informed.
So forget those Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchases under your tree. Pick a book for your favourite young reader and your gift will not only last until next Christmas it may even be passed on to be enjoyed by others. Here are just a few suggestions for young readers of all ages. IF your youngest reader is a dinosaur fan, try Dino-Christmas by Michigan author Lisa Wheeler, and with illustrations by Barry Gott (Lerner Publishing, 32 pages, $26, hardcover).
Wheeler writes in rhyming verse as she depicts more than a dozen different kinds of dinosaurs getting ready for Christmas: “Diplo decks the halls with ease / hangs tinsel on the Christmas trees / Triceratops is feeling merry / lights up every topiary.” Wheeler has made a career out of Dino story books, including Dino-Dancing.
Ohio artist Gott has added plenty of brilliantly coloured pictures of the dinosaurs at play. ●●●
Right in line with feminist awareness, Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins, by Virginia writer Sue Fliess and with illustrations by March Chambers (Two Lions, 32 pages, $24, hardcover) is a picture book that will especially appeal to little girls.
When Santa comes down with a cold and threatens to cancel Christmas, Mrs. Claus steps in to deliver presents worldwide. Despite tornadoes and snowstorms, leaking fuel and a collision with a wayward duck, Mrs. Claus perseveres and gets the job done. Chambers’ pictures are big and bold.
We’ve all been told no two snowflakes are alike. But what if they used to be identical? What if their differences are due to a mistake somewhere in the clouds?
U.K. author Lou Treleaven poses this scenario in her picture book The Snowflake Mistake (Maverick, 32 pages, $24, hardcover). Written in rhyming verse, it tells how Princess Ellie, left in charge while the Snow Queen is off on another mission, speeds up the snowflake machine and causes it to break down. Her solution? Make the snowflakes by hand with assistance from helpful birds. Treleaven even gives directions for readers to make their own snowflakes.
Boston artist Maddie Frost has scanned various textures and papers to make her attractive pictures.
With a plot that seems like a combination of Cinderella and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Los Angeles authors (and partners) Scott Icenogle and Sean Hayes, both of Will and Grace television fame, have written Plum: How the Sugar Plum Fairy Got her Wings (Simon and Schuster, 48 pages, $24, hardcover).
Plum is raised in an orphanage where she is mocked and ignored, but owing to her sweet nature, she is adopted by the King of the Land of Sweets. Her presence rescues the land from a depression that has caused everything to sour ,and restores a multitude of sweets. As her reward Plum is granted her wings.
Despite its rather trite story, L.A. artist Robin Thompson’s charming illustrations make this an attractive book for young readers. ●