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Giving Graciously


Gifts for the Well-Read


Worlds of possibilities, galaxies of wonder, history with a twist. Throw in a couple of beautifully illustrated classics and a book with holiday stickers and your Christmas shopping is practically done.

Since the gift of reading can bring a lifetime of pleasure to the children in our lives, books can make a wonderful gift. And whether kids get to look at a new slant on an old tale, learn about how things work in the world (or universe) around us, or follow along as friends work to finish building presents before the holiday party, books are the gift that can be shared and enjoyed together.

Handy Manny: A Very Handy Holiday

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by Susan Ring. Illustrated by Alan Batson

Disney Press, 2008, $4.99. Ages 2-4.

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With the holidays fast approaching, Manny and the tools had a lot to do before finishing the presents they were making for their friends before Kelly's holiday party. Kids will learn when to use a flat-head screwdriver and when to use a Phillips-head, the importance of teamwork, what it takes to finish a job you've started, and about helping friends when unexpected things come up. Disney illustrators worked their wonder in this book, even adding a page of sparkling stickers and a guide for learning Spanish.

The Night Before Christmas

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by Clement C. Moore Illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson
HarperTrophy, 2006, $6.99.

This "re-mix" of Clement C. Moore's classic Christmas poem takes on a contemporary flair as Richard Jesse Watson's illustrations shake the cobwebs off the poem's traditional images with style. Dread-lock headed elves, a suped-up sleigh that runs on foam titanium and comet dust, and allusions to Santa's "reindeer whispering" abilities make this playful picture book a modern classic.

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Take Me Back

contributors: Samone Bos, Laura Buller, Ian Harrison, Susan Kennedy, Philip Parker, Sally Regan, Anne Rooney and Chuck Willis.
DK Publishing, October 2008, $24.99. Ages 8 and up.

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For the younger set who have never heard of Haight and Ashbury and have no idea what the Berlin Wall was, this book tackles world history in a dynamic way. No boring statement of facts, kids go on a shopping spree in a medieval town and eavesdrop on Romans discussing the fall of the Roman Empire. A Chronological exploration of people and events that shaped world societies. They'll see how we all fit into the history of the world as they look at who we are, how we got here, and what happened along the way.

Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose Favorites

by Mary Engelbreit

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HarperCollins, 2008, $12.99 (hardcover). Ages 3-8.

A charming way to introduce Mother Goose favorites to young readers- in-training, Mary Engelbreit's new book of splendid illustrations will enchant readers of these age-old tales with the rich illustrations that made her famous. Kids will love hearing and looking at designs of rhymes like Humpty Dumpty, Old King Cole, Little Boy Blue, and Little Bo Peep.

Cosmic! Ultimate 3-D Guide to the Universe

by Giles Sparrow

DK Publishing, October 2008, $24.99 (hardcover).

Kids will love hearing the rumble of the Big Bang and seeing the stars light up and twinkle as they open this book for the first time. This unforgettable journey through the universe gives every astronaut wanna-be views of the moon, sun, Venus, and Jupiter. The well-researched text gives authoritative answers to questions surrounding the mysteries of the cosmos while 3-D pop ups, fiber optics, flaps, and pull-tabs make the book just as fun to explore as the universe!

AND FOR MOMMY ONLY...

Happiness Sold Separately

by Lolly Winston

Warner Books, 2006, $21.99 (hardcover).

Everything was going just as Elinor Mackey had planned she finished law school, established a career as a high-powered corporate attorney, got married. But things weren't going quite as planned when it came to starting a family. The fact that she couldn't have children was not in the plan at all. And Ted's (her husband) affair with the personal trainer; also not in the plan. Can she find her happily-ever-after? Ms. Winston tackles some pretty difficult topics while offering readers a fresh, humorous approach to working through a few of the tough things in life.

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