Saturday, November 21, 2009

Toys (and Other Gifts) with Staying Power: Books Edition

A soon-to-be-well-loved book can be one of the greatest gifts that you can give a child. While a standard list of classics and award-winners is undoubtedly a great place to start, we thought that we'd add a few inexpensive suggestions (perhaps unfamiliar to you) to spice things up. The recipients' parents will thank you in the long-run, too, because to fit this "Staying Power" series, the books must:
  1. Be a good value - No $100 easily-destroyed treasuries here
  2. Be long-lasting/resilient - The story does not lose its appeal after just a few readings
  3. Inspire creativity - The story sparks conversation and interaction
  4. Span age groups - Any age group reading the book will enjoy it
So here we go:

Cinder Edna
$6.99 paperback, $12.23 hardcover
This take on the Cinderella story reveals the parallel life of Cinderella's next-door neighbor, Cinder Edna: a take-charge kind of girl who cleans parrot cages in her spare time in order to afford to put a dress on layaway so that she, too, can go to the ball. Those familiar with the traditional Cinderella tale will also delight in meeting studly Prince Randolph's younger, more pragmatic brother Rupert.

Anything by Mo Willems, like...

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
$10.19 hardcover, 2003 Caldecott award-winner
Even very young toddlers who are just learning the meaning of, "No!" themselves will get a huge kick out of this book, in which a crafty pigeon tries every trick in the book to get behind the wheels of a nearby bus. His lines ("Let's play 'Drive the Bus'! I'll go first.") will have the older readers laughing out loud. Just one of many in the hilarious pigeon series.

Anything by Graeme Base, like...

The Eleventh Hour
$7.99 paperback, $9.32 hardcover
As with all Graeme Base creations, The Eleventh Hour is a visual feast that readers of all ages will enjoy. Horace the Elephant throws himself an 11th birthday party, and invites all of his animal friends. But the party takes an ugly turn when it emerges that the birthday feast prepared for the occasion has been secretly gobbled up by one or more in attendance. Now the questions are: who has an alibi? Will less-obvious clues from the pages exonerate other party guests? From the lush, intricately detailed illustrations, to the hidden clues and puzzles, to the overarching whodunnit mystery (with an officially sealed answer section at the back), The Eleventh Hour could easily become a family favorite, even for older children.

What authors/books do you enjoy giving children for Christmas?
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