19 December 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Four for Young Readers

There are still six more days of shopping before Christmas. If you're looking for that special book for the young reader on your list, I have four great suggestions.

Love You When . . . by Linda KranzEarlier this year I reviewed two books by Linda Kranz, who illustrates her heart-felt children's books with her fun rock paintings. Her newest book is called Love You When . . . and is the response to a child who asks, "Do you think of me during the day?" and then says, "Tell me when." The answers cover the seasons of the year, the earth and sky, and early morning to late at night. Each spread is illustrated with photographs of Kranz's painted rocks, and if you look closely, you'll find at least one heart-shaped rock on every page. This sweet book is the perfect bedtime or anytime story to share with your little ones. I have a copy of the hardcover, but a board book version hit the stores this month. (Taylor Trade Publishing, ISBN-13: 9781589797031)

Cool Creations in 35 Pieces by Sean KenneyIf you have kids, know kids, have taken care of kids, or have seen kids, then you know Legos! You don't have to be young, however, to be fan, as world-famous Lego artist Sean Kenney can attest. In fact, he owns almost 2 million Lego bricks. Fortunately, you don't need a huge collection to build really fun things. In fact, in his Cool Creations in 35 Pieces, Kenney shows us a ton of creatures, buildings, aliens, furniture, bugs, and more that can be built with just a few Lego bricks. I think my favorites are the "goofy faces" because they made me smile. My nephews, however, would have gone straight for the robots. One good thing to know: All the projects are built from the same 35 pieces, so you can get building without a big investment. (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, ISBN-13: 9780805096927)

Frog Trouble by Sandra BoyntonAlthough I have been a fan of Sandra Boynton's forever, I didn't know she was a Grammy-nominated (with Mike Ford) songwriter. If you or your kids like country music, the blues, folk music, or good music, then you must get a copy of her new book, Frog Trouble. It starts off with a CD of 12 songs. Put that in your player without delay. While listening, look at Boynton's signature illustrations for each tune and read some of the lyrics. And don't forget to learn how to do The Alligator Stroll (sunglasses are required)! The second part of Frog Trouble is a song book: so all you piano players, guitar strummers, and banjo pickers can learn to play right along with the CD. Finally, get to know the musicians who perform Boynton's songs. And, yes, you've heard of them: Alison Krauss, Dwight Yoakum, and Darius Rucker, for example. Although I like all the tunes (really!) "Deepest Blue," performed by Linda Eder, is my favorite. Buy this for music lovers of all ages. (Workman, ISBN-13: 9780761171768)

Angel Island by Russell FreedmanI love middle grade nonfiction so when I had a chance to read Russell Freedman's Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain, I didn't hesitate to request a copy. I'm embarrassed to admit I knew very little about the West Coast's entry point for immigrants traveling across the Pacific Ocean. More than 1 million Chinese passed through Angel Island hoping to find a new life in the United States. Unfortunately, many of them were detained for weeks or months before they were admitted to the country or deported. Although immigrants from Japan, Korea, Russia, and elsewhere passed easily through the island's processing center, the Chinese were treated poorly--interrogated and held in limbo for no apparent reason (except prejudice). One moving record of the Chinese who were detained on Angel Island is found in the hundreds of poems the detainees carved into the walls of their crowded barracks. Easy-to access text and fascinating historical photographs make this an unforgettable story. (Clarion Books, ISBN-13: 9780547903781)


bermudaonion 12/19/13, 7:46 AM  

There are all new to me but I love Boynton too.

(Diane) bookchickdi 12/19/13, 8:27 AM  

I sent Frog Trouble to one of my nephews for Christmas. Last year we gave him a Christmas book with a music CD in it and and he loved it, and this one looks even better. Merry Christmas to you and Mr. BFR!

Daryl 12/19/13, 10:17 AM  

these are wonderful gift ideas .. a friend's son is an architect and i think he will love the lego book ... off to get a copy .. thanks!

Beth Hoffman 12/19/13, 11:17 AM  

The photo on the cover of Angel Island touched my heart.

Carol 12/19/13, 12:33 PM  

I always loved Boynton. Angle Island looks good.

Stacy at The Novel Life 12/21/13, 10:14 PM  

these look so sweet! i especially like "Love You When" !

thecuecard 12/24/13, 7:47 PM  

I would like to get the Angel Island book as my sister lives in the area near it. I don't know much about it either but would like to remedy that. thanks for sharing that book! cheers. http://www.thecuecard.com/

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