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Finding a Favorite Christmas Story


by Tracie Grimes
Tracie is a monthly contributor to Kern County Family Magazine

Book_Gingerbread_Pirate
Ah, the magic of Christmas!  There’s nothing like decking the halls and wrapping a few gifts, then curling up in front of the Christmas tree and tucking into a great book.  Along with the old favorites like A Christmas Carol and ‘Twas the Night before Christmas, how about cracking open some new titles with the tots?  Here are a few suggestions:

3 months to 18 years

Make Magic Do Good by Dallas Clayton (Candlewick Press, 2012), $17.99.  A quirky collection of poems and colorful characters that will have readers snorting with delight.  A teeny-tiny giant who’s really quite small.  Enemies who turn out to be your friends.  A moose that drives a caboose.  Dallas Clayton’s unusual collection of enchanting rhymes show there’s a little magic in everything around us.  

Ages 1-3

Fa La La by Leslie Patricelli (Candlewick Press, 2012) $6.99.  Baby loves Christmas in this fun board book!  Watch and giggle as the whimsical drawings take you through the entire Christmas season with Baby from picking out a tree with his parents to the big day when it’s time to open and open and open and open all the wonderful gifts.  A snuggle at the end gives parents a chance to interject what Christmas is really all about:  love. 

Ages 4-8

The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup (Candlewick Press, 2012), $8.99.  A fresh, colorful story about the magic of Christmas.  Captain Cookie was brave when he went in search of his crew, scaling many cliffs (stairs) and confronting large animals (a mouse).  But, his bravery was really tested one Christmas Eve when he saved his crew from being eaten “alive” (as alive as gingerbread men can be, that is) by the creature called “Santa Claus.”  Not only did Captain Cookie save his crew, he secured the best Christmas present ever seen by Gingerbread Pirates anywhere!

Ages 6-10

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind by Gary Ross (Candlewick Press, 2012), $17.99.  Bartholomew Biddle watched as the cold, bitter wind blew…and blew…and blew.  As he stared, he came up with a plan: “he stood on the sill, put his arms to his sides, and that’s how Bartholomew took quite a ride.”  Soon he’s so high, the cars look small. He kept riding the wind…right into one adventure after another.  Then, he gets stuck in a mysterious cove where he can’t fly in the wind.  Will he ever make it home?  This epic poem is full of adventure.

Ages 9-12

Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket (Little, Brown, 2012), $15.99.  His first autobiographical work, Lemony Snicket lets readers peek into his despairing life full of eccentric characters.  He talks of his time in a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, where he began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about.  He recounts what happened when, as a boy entering those “tween-aged” years, he began asking questions that should have never been asked.  And, wrote his musings in this, the first of four volumes, that shouldn’t have been published.  Much less read.  But, you be the judge.  

And for Mommy (or Daddy)…

The Last Man by Vince Flynn (Atria, 2012), $27.99.  Mitch Rapp must spring into action again when a CIA asset turns up missing.  And, it’s not just any asset; he’s a VIP.  Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been captured.  If the secrets he’s carrying fall into the wrong hands, it could be crippling to our nation.  But, something just doesn’t seem right to Mitch when Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, sends him to Afghanistan to free Rickman at all costs.  Plot twists and plenty of action make readers of this page-turner wonder if Mitch will be stopped dead before he succeeds in his mission.

DVD and CD reviews

Old Favorites Offer New Holiday Adventures

Thomas & Friends: A Very Thomas Christmas - Kids will love cozying up to join Engine Driver Mr. Perkins in the town of Sodor to enjoy the winter holiday adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends as they discover timeless lessons of friendship and cooperation. Thomas the Tank Engine stories have been teaching and entertaining children for 65 years. Distributed by Lionsgate ($14.98).

Fireman Sam: Holiday Heroes - Fireman Sam and his brave crew are back, saving the day in Pontypandy as they protect citizens in the snowy cold of winter, rescuing friends from remote mountaintops, dangerously thin ice, and even giant runaway snowballs! Distributed by Lionsgate ($9.98).

Perennial Pooch Saves Christmas

Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero - Back for the holidays, Bailey the dog gets into mischief with Santa and fears he may not get any presents for Christmas. This leads to a series of mishaps and adventures for Bailey and his long-suffering older brother Duke. Along the way, they meet a mysterious Native American Indian and learn some valuable lessons as they try to salvage their family’s Christmas plans. Distributed by eOne ($14.98).

Rockin’ Out Siesta Style

For parents who still love their rock n’ roll, the newly released Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Kiss and Rockabye Baby! More Lullaby Renditions of U2 transform popular KISS and U2 tunes into gentle music just right for putting baby to sleep. Steven Charles Boone exchanges guitars and drums for xylophones and bells and slows down the pace to create softer, gentler versions of songs like Beth, Rock and Roll All Nite, Mysterious Ways, and Vertigo to soothe and delight little ones at bedtime.

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Tags: Education, Featured Story


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