Holiday Gift Guide: Best Children’s Books & Toys

| November 10, 2009 | 2 Comments

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 10, 2009

When the right choice is made, books can be one of the greatest gifts to give and receive. However, it can be a daunting task matching the right book with the right child. Knowing a child’s personal interests is often the first step in making the right selection, but we thought we’d make it super easy for you by only listing fabulous and entertaining fiction and non-fiction books that are winners with everyone!

Fiction
Non-Fiction
And the kids who have everything …


Fiction: Baby – Teen

Duck! Rabbit!

Duck! Rabbit!

by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 0-6

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1st edition (March 11, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A very clever book that will make and child laugh-out-loud. And we all know how precious little laughs are!

Publisher’s synopsis: From author of Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink comes a clever take on the age-old optical illusion: is it a duck or a rabbit? Depends on how you look at it. Readers will find more than just Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s signature sense of humor here–there is also a subtle lesson for kids who don’t know when to let go of an argument. This is a smart, simple story that will make readers of all ages eager to take a side, Duck! Rabbit! makes it easy to agree on at least one thing: reading it again!

Duck Pair it with: Push-Along Duck by Plan Toys

Add this book to your gift list: Duck! Rabbit!

Add this toy your collection: Push-Along Duck

Princess Hyacinth (The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated)

Princess Hyacinth (the Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated)

by Florence Parry Heide (Author), Lane Smith (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 48 pages

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (September 22, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A weirdly-wonderful, clever story with outstanding illustrations and typography.

Publisher’s synopsis: A bestselling Caldecott Honor artist and legendary author team up!

A publishing event! Florence Parry Heide, author of such classics as the Shrinking of Treehorn, and Lane Smith, recipient of a slew of awards, have created an unforgettable princess sure to charm and delight young readers.

Princess Hyacinth has a problem: she floats. And so the king and queen have pebbles sewn into the tops of her socks, and force her to wear a crown encrusted with the heaviest jewels in the kingdom to keep her earthbound. But one day, Hyacinth comes across a balloon man and decides to take off all her princess clothes, grab a balloon, and float free. Hooray! Alas, when the balloon man lets go of the string . . . off she goes. Luckily, there is a kite and a boy named Boy to save her.

Royalrescue Pair it with: Royal Rescue by Educational Insights

Add this book to your gift list: Princess Hyacinth (the Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated)

Add this game to your gift list: Royal Rescue

The Peace Book

The Peace Book

by Todd Parr

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 32 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: An endearingly simple explanation of what “peace” is. Every home needs this book.

Publisher’s synopsis:

Peace is making new friends
Peace is giving shoes to someone who needs them
Peace is a growing garden
Peace is having enough pizza in the world for everyone

The Peace Book delivers positive and hopeful messages of peace in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr’s trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book delivers a timely and timeless message about the importance of tolerance.

Along with the four other bestselling Todd Parr picture books debuting in paperback this season, It’s Okay to be Different is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism, and promote character growth.

Memorygame Pair it with: Life on Earth Memory Game by eeBoo

Add this book to your gift list: The Peace Book

Add this game to your gift list: Life on Earth Memory Game

The Gift of Nothing (Special Edition) The Gift of Nothing: Special Edition

by Patrick McDonnell

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 56 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 Spl Gft edition (October 7, 2009)

TCBR analysis: The true beauty of gift giving is delivered with so much charm. The Gift of Nothing offers n important message for this time of year.

Publisher’s synopsis: Mooch the cat desperately wants to find a gift for his friend Earl the dog, but Earl already has everything. “What do you give a guy who has everything?” Mooch wonders. The answer, of course, is nothing! This simple story features characters from Patrick McDonnell’s popular comic strip, Mutts, and has the same depth, charm, and heart that he gives to his daily readers. With delightfully spare illustrations and text, this book has all the makings of a longtime classic, perfect for gift-giving all year round.

MoochEarl Pair it with: Mooch & Earl Figurine Set

Add this book to your gift list: The Gift of Nothing: Special Edition

Add this toy to your gift list: Mooch & Earl Figurine Set

Buying, Training, and Caring for Your Dinosaur

Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur

by Laura Joy Rennert

Reading level: Ages 5-8

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 13, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A fresh and appealing take on the ever-popular genre of dinosaur books. Your little dinosaur-lover will certainly be needing some toy dinosaurs to practice his newly learned skills.

Publisher’s synopsis: A hilarious guide to having a dinosaur . . . as a pet!

Dogs are delightful. Cats are cute. And fish are fun. But the best pet of all is . . . a DINOSAUR!

But how do you pick the dino that’s right for you? Spiky? Armored? Humongous? Pea-brained? Plant-eater? How do you take care of him once he’s (gulp!) home? How do you feed him, exercise him, take him to the vet, and give him a bath?! Not to mention train him, since he might like to chew on—er, swallow—Mom’s new shoes.

Full of little-known info and sage advice, this definitive guide to dino ownership is sure to thrill and delight kids everywhere!

Dinotub Pair it with: Animal Planet’s Big Tub of Dinosaurs by Hasbro

Add this book to your gift list: Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur

Add this toy to your gift list: Animal Planet’s Big Tub of Dinosaurs

Ivy and Bean - Book 6 (Ivy & Bean) Ivy + Bean: Doomed To Dance

by Annie Barrows (Author), Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 6-10

Hardcover: 122 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 14, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Jam-packed with friendship and mischief. What more could a little girl want?!

Publisher’s synopsis: Finally! After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want…well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain’s heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises.

Dancepuzzle Pair it with: Fun and Dance 100 Piece Puzzle in a Tin by Mudpuppy

Add this book to your gift list: Ivy + Bean: Doomed To Dance

Add this puzzle to your gift list: Fun and Dance 100 Piece Puzzle in a Tin

Fantastic Mr. Fox Fantastic Mr. Fox

by Roald Dahl

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 96 pages

Publisher: Puffin (August 16, 2007)

TCBR analysis: Adventurous, smart, witty, and a major classic! The movie version releases very soon.

Publisher’s synopsis: Mr. Fox is surrounded, and he’s going to have to come up with a truly fantastic plan to dig himself out of trouble this time.

AMCticket Pair it with: Movie Tickets: Set of 2

Add this book to your gift list: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Add these tickets to your gift list: Movie Tickets: Set of 2

The Magician's Elephant The Magician’s Elephant

by Kate DiCamillo

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (September 8, 2009)

TCBR analysis: An enchanting, tall story that will linger in the heart of its readers. Magical!

Publisher’s synopsis: In a highly awaited new novel, Kate DiCamillo conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected — and making the extraordinary come true.

What if? Why not? Could it be?

When a fortuneteller’s tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller’s mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes — hope and belonging, desire and compassion — with the lightness of a magician’s touch.

Magicshow Pair it with: Magic Show: 100 Tricks in a Suitcase

Add this book to your gift list: The Magician’s Elephant

Add this kit to your gift list: Magic Show: 100 Tricks in a Suitcase

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

by Erica Kirov

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: With a strong Russian heritage, author Erica Kirov brings an old-world depth to the fast paced neon-world of today’s Las Vegas. Two very different times and cultures collide in an out-of this-world experience. Swords, caviar, and Siberian tigers, meet skateboards,m pizza, and hedgehogs.

Publisher’s synopsis: Nick Rostov’s life is borderline embarrassing.

His dad is well known as the worst magician in Las Vegas. Nick hasn’t had a real friend in years. And his report card is not good at all. One F. Two Cs. One B-minus. And an A. In Health. But on Nick’s thirteenth birthday his life changes forever. Awaking on the top floor of the world famous Winter Palace Hotel and Casino, he meets, for the first time, his extended family. A family gifted with the power of magic, real magic, exiled from their native Russia, they now hide in plain sight among the neon lights of the Casino.

All members of the family are powerful magicians, but Nick is unique. Nick has the sight—the ability to see into the past. His gift is the only way to unravel the mystery of the Eternal Hourglass, a magic artifact so strong it can even stop time. But the family’s enemies will stop at nothing to get it. Nick knows that he is in for the adventure of a lifetime… if he survives.

The one and only Harry Houdini was killed for it, the most powerful magicians have battled for centuries to retrieve it, and even the Ancient Pharoahs feared its power.

What would you do for an hourglass that stopped time?

Magicshow Pair it with: Magic Show: 100 Tricks in a Suitcase

Add this book to your gift list: Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

Add this kit to your gift list: Magic Show: 100 Tricks in a Suitcase

Scat Scat

by Carl Hiaasen

Reading level: Ages 10 -12

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (January 27, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Six pages in and I was hooked on this contemporary new novel by the highly acclaimed author Carl Hiaasen. This book is full of snappy one-liners and fun references to Hiaasen’s hometown, Florida.

Publisher’s synopsis: Bestselling author and columnist Carl Hiaasen returns with another hysterical mystery for kids set in Florida’s Everglades.

Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, is missing. She disappeared after a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. And, to be honest, the kids in her class are relieved.

But when the principal tries to tell the students that Mrs. Starch has been called away on a “family emergency,” Nick and Marta just don’t buy it. No, they figure the class delinquent, Smoke, has something to do with her disappearance.

And he does! But not in the way they think. There’s a lot more going on in Black Vine Swamp than any one player in this twisted tale can see. And Nick and Marta will have to reckon with an eccentric eco-avenger, a stuffed rat named Chelsea, a wannabe Texas oilman, a singing substitute teacher, and a ticked-off Florida panther before they really begin to see the big picture.

That’s life in the swamp, kids.

Compass Pair it with: Power of Science Directional Compass

Add this book to your gift list: Scat

Add this toy to your gift list: Power of Science Directional Compass

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy (Hardback)) Maze Runner

by James Dashner

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 384 pages

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 6, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A true page-turner. Captivating the whole way through!

Publisher’s synopsis: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Maze Pair it with: Q-Ba-Maze

Add this book to your gift list: Maze Runner

Add this game to your gift list: Q-Ba-Maze

Shiver

Shiver

by Maggie Stiefvater

Reading level: Young Adult

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: The adventure and the romance created by Stiefvater’s strong characters make this a compelling and well written story for fans of the supernatural.

Publisher’s synopsis: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Blokus Pair it with: Blokus

Add this book to your gift list: Shiver

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Non-Fiction: Ages 0-99

Creature ABC

Creature ABC

by Andrew Zuckerman

Reading level: Ages 0-6

Hardcover: 120 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books (July 29, 2009)

TCBR analysis: One of the most beautiful ABC books, ever. The photography is amazing and the use of white space makes for excellent contrast against the pictures.

Publisher’s synopsis: An elegant addition to any library, this deluxe alphabet book features 120 pages of Andrew Zuckerman’s breathtaking wildlife photography. From alligator to zebra, each featured animal boasts two striking studio portraits against a clean white background, offering a unique up-close view of the animal kingdom. Readers can flip to a helpful glossary in the back for extra information. From the sleek beauty of a smiling hippo to the powerful majesty of a roaring lion, this gorgeous new book is both a stunning work of art and a ferociously fun way for young animal-lovers to learn their ABCs.

Giraffe Pair it with: Gentle Giraffe: 4 Soothing Sounds by Could B

Add this book to your gift list: Creature ABC

Add this toy to your gift list: Gentle Giraffe: 4 Soothing Sounds

Stereobook Vehicles

Stereobook: Vehicles

by Ben Grossblatt

Reading level: Ages 3-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 5, 2009)

TCBR analysis: The sounds from this book turn reading into a whole new experience. Even the kid who can’t sit still will stay for story time when this book comes out.

Publisher’s synopsis: Stereobooks feature built-in stereo speakers, so readers feel surrounded by sound as they listen to the 15 action-packed scenes in each book. Vehicles features a space shuttle blasting off and Formula One race cars zipping around a track.

Automoblox Pair it with: Automoblox C9-R by Manhattan Toy

Add this book to your gift list: Stereobook: Vehicles

Add this toy to your gift list: Automoblox C9-R

Scholastic Year In Sports 2010 (Sports Illustrated for Kids Year in Sports) Year In Sports 2010

by Scholastic

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Paperback: 192 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Reference (December 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: What more could a sports fan ask for?!

Publisher’s synopsis: This must-have sports almanac will tell kids everything they want and need to know about the previous year in sports (Fall ’08 through Summer ’09). It includes major sports (basketball, baseball, football, hockey); “secondary” sports (golf, tennis, cycling, auto racing); and action sports (BMX, snowboarding, in-line skating).

SCHOLASTIC YEAR IN SPORTS 2010 is heavily illustrated with fabulous full-color action photos of the year’s most thrilling moments and memorable athletes. For each sport, kids will find a list of team names (or the top players), team stats, championship game summaries (i.e., what happened in Super Bowl XXXXIII or the 2009 NBA play-offs?), records and milestones, award winners (i.e., who are the Cy Young Award winners of the last 10 years?), all-time stats, past champions, “Did You Know?” questions, great moments in sports, “Fast Facts,” mini-bios of key personalities, and more.This lively title offers kids quick, cool sports facts and isn’t weighed down by lengthy blocks of texts. Just great information for sports fans of every age!

Airhockey Pair it with: Tabletop Air Hockey Table

Add this book to your gift list: Year In Sports 2010

Add this toy to your gift list: Tabletop Air Hockey Table

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything

by Bill Bryson

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 176 pages

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (October 27, 2009)

TCBR analysis: History can be overwhelming, except when you take it in perfect kid-sized portions and mix up the layout of the pages to keep things interesting. Lots of super cool facts to discover.

Publisher’s synopsis: Enter the world of science as Bill Bryson unmasks the mysteries of the universe.

Did you know that:

•Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several
stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

•If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy
inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

And—What happened to dinosaurs? How big is the universe? Why are oceans salty? Is a meteor going to hit us?

Tackling everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill Bryson’s inimitable storytelling skill makes the why, how, and, just as importantly, the who of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for young readers.

Globe Pair it with: GeoSafari Talking Globe

Add this book to your gift list: A Really Short History Of Nearly Everything

Add this toy to your gift list: GeoSafari Talking Globe

Scholastic Book Of World Records 2010 Book Of World Records 2010

by Jennifer Morse

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (November 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Divided into great, kid friendly categories, this sparkle covered book has something for everyone.

Publisher’s synopsis: Whether kids want to know what the world’s deadliest snake is, which country eats the most chocolate, who has the most career touchdowns in the NFL, or which state has the largest water park, the SCHOLASTIC BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS 2010 has all of the answers and much, much more! Over the past eight years, kids, parents, and teachers have come to love this kid-friendly book.

Each of the 300 records on pop culture, sports, science, and more has its own page that includes a full-color photograph and a detailed description of the record.

Nintendo-wii-fit-plus Pair it with: Nintendo Wii & Wii Fit Plus

Add this book to your gift list: Book Of World Records 2010

Add this game to your gift list: Nintendo Wii & Wii Fit Plus

Scholastic Almanac For Kids 2010 Edition 2010 Almanac for Kids: Facts, Figures, & Stats

by Scholastic

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Do you remember the little kid, Ray, from the movie Jerry Maguire? He said,  “D’you know that the human head weighs 8 pounds?” This is the book for Ray!

Publisher’s synopsis: The Scholastic Kid’s Almanac is being completely revised. Since its publication in 2004, the almanac has sold more than 240,000 copies across all channels and won a Parents Choice Award. The original edition from 1999 sold close to 220,000 copies across all channels. The 2009 book will have a brand new cover with foil and completely redesigned interior pages. The content will be updated with new as well as revised information to compete with Time and the World Almanac for kids.

Microscope Pair it with: My First Lab Duo-Scope

Add this book to your gift list: 2010 Almanac for Kids: Facts, Figures, & Stats

Add this micro-scope to your gift list: My First Lab Duo-Scope

Cool Stuff Exploded Cool Stuff Exploded: Get Inside Modern Technology

by Chris Woodford

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: DK Publishing; Har/Cdr edition (September 15, 2008)

TCBR analysis: So, you know a kid that likes building things, but maybe even more than building, he likes to pull things apart. Look no further than this book that is sure to keep the brain ticking.

Publisher’s synopsis: The third installment of our visually stunning and incredibly successful Cool Stuff series will blow your mind. This super cool technology book deconstructs-or literally explodes-everyday objects so readers can see exactly how they work. Beautifully photographed spreads show a piece-by-piece breakdown of cell phones, computers, cars, and more, detailing how each part works and how they all fit together as a whole. This unique look at the items we use every day brings science, technology, and wonder to the fore, giving us all a great appreciation for how our twenty-first-century world works. Set into the cover is a CD-ROM containing animations of the “exploded” views featured in the book.

Physik Pair it with: Physics Workshop by Thames and Kosmos

Add this book to your gift list: Cool Stuff Exploded: Get Inside Modern Technology

Add this kit to your gift list: Physics Workshop

Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis (Young Reader Edition) Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis

by Al Gore

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 207 pages

Publisher: Viking Juvenile (November 3, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Calling all earth-conscience tree-huggers. Lots of ideas on how to put the “green you” to work!

Publisher’s synopsis: In this follow-up to his groundbreaking AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, former Vice President Al Gore explores the causes of the current climate crisis and what we can do to help solve it. In full color, with photographs, graphics, and illustrations throughout.

Greenhouse Pair it with: Power House: Green Essentials Edition by Thames and Kosmos

Add this book to your gift list: Our Choice: How We Can Solve the Climate Crisis

Add this kit to your gift list: Power House: Green Essentials Edition

The Sports Book: The Sports. The Rules. The Tactics. The Techniques The Sports Book: The Sports. The Rules. The Tactics. The Techniques

by Dorling Kindersley Publishing Ltd.

Reading Level: Ages 9-99

Hardcover: 448 pages

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd (October 4, 2007)

Language: English

TCBR analysis: The cover of this book is seriously cool. In fact, if you could actually reach into to the computer and touch the astro-turf that covers it, you wouldn’t even read any further — you’d have to have it. This is a truly unique book, perfect for sport fanatics.

Publisher’s synopsis: Featuring the largest and most diverse range of sports of any comparable book—more than 200 in all—from basketball to bobsledding, karate to korfball, synchronized swimming to ski-jumping, this up-to-date and authoritative guide presents information sourced from leading experts and sports governing bodies around the world to give you the most comprehensive book on sports to ever hit the market.

  • Explains rules, tactics, and techniques in a way that is clear, engaging, and effective
  • Includes a section on the Olympic Games, explaining all 35 Olympic sports
  • Clear diagrams define fields of play and identify specific zones and player positions
  • Outlines each sport’s geographical range, history, major competitions, and successful competitors
  • Examines equipment and clothing, teams and players, and common terms of each sport

Encased in a tactile astro-turf cover, this is a must-have book for any sports fan.

Ripstik Pair it with: Ripstik Caster Board

Add this book to your gift list: The Sports Book: The Sports. The Rules. The Tactics. The Techniques

Add this toy to your gift list: Ripstik Caster Board

Seeing Is Believing Cover[1]

Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Seeing Is Believing

Reading Level: Ages 9-99

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Ripley Publishing; Ill edition (August 4, 2009)

TCBR analysis: There is certainly something in this book for everyone — kids and adults alike! With it’s shiny, blue hardcover, it’s the perfect coffee table book for the adult who enjoys something a little different, or perfect for the table next to the bean bag in a teenagers room.

Publisher’s synopsis: This all new 6th title in the best selling Ripley’s Believe It or Not! annual series, is a compendium of incredible bizarre facts, stories, interviews and features all presented in a stunning bright new design.

This year’s book also features icons that guide readers to astounding video clips on our new fully-integrated website, where they can see some of our subjects in action. Also, a dramatic eight-page gatefold section presents some extraordinary performers of the past, and additional black and white Ripley archive photographs feature throughout the book.

Be amazed at the dentist with no arms, the snake that swallowed a wallaby, an underwater sculptor and a four-eared cat! For the legions of dedicated Ripley’s fans, and anyone else on the planet who loves unbelievable facts and jaw-dropping images, the latest annual in this successful series is a feast of delights.

Disgusting Pair it with: Disgusting Science Kit

Add this book to your gift list: Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Seeing Is Believing

Add this kit to your gift list: Disgusting Science Kit


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And for the kids who have everything

Remember The Rhymes Of Yesterday The Nursery Rhyme Book: Remember The Rhymes Of Yesterday

by Scholastic

Reading level: Ages 0-6

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (August 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: These are the real nursery rhymes, no words changed here!

Publisher’s synopsis: You’ll never be stumped for the words of your favorite childhood nursery rhymes again! This beautifully illustrated collection includes the words to classic rhymes, including:

Little Miss Muffet

Humpty Dumpty

There Was an Old Lady

Little Jack Horner… and many more!

Puzzlemat Pair it with: Alphabet and Number Puzzle Mats

Add this book to your gift list: The Nursery Rhyme Book: Remember The Rhymes Of Yesterday

Add this toy to your gift list: Alphabet and Number Puzzle Mats

How To Play The Games Of Yesterday The Games Book: How To Play The Games Of Yesterday

by Scholastic

Reading level: Ages 8+

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (August 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: This book sold me with the game Murder Winks — way too much fun.

Publisher’s synopsis: This terrific compendium includes traditional indoor and outdoor games that have been enjoyed by generations of children and their parents before them. Full instructions are included for each game, so learning and relearning your favorites is easy and fun! Remember how to play:

Spooky games like Wink Murder.

Classic games like jacks, marbles, and hopscotch.

Outdoor games like Capture the Flag and Hide and Seek.

Card games like gin rummy… and many more!

Boochie Pair it with: Boochie: A whole new ball game!

Add this book to your gift list: The Games Book: How To Play The Games Of Yesterday

Add this game to your gift list: Boochie: A whole new ball game!

The Girls' Book Of Glamour (Guide To Being A Goddess) The Girls’ Book of Glamor: A Guide To Being A Goddess

by Sally Jeffrie

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (January 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: Absolutely fabulous!

Publisher’s synopsis: Transform yourself from drab to fab with this nifty guide to all things glamorous! Whether you want to have the shiniest hair or convince people you’re a celebrity, this book will show you how! Being a glamor goddess has never been so easy.

Inside this handy guide you’ll find instructions on how to host a spa party, create your own style, exit a limo gracefully, make your own body glitter, persuade your best friend to lend you her clothes, put on a fashion show, make your own jewelry box, and much, much more!

Slumberqs Pair it with: Slumber Party Box of Questions

Add this book to your gift list: The Girls’ Book of Glamor: A Guide To Being A Goddess

Add this set to your gift list: Slumber Party Box of Questions

The Boys' Book Of Survival (How To Survive Anything, Anywhere) The Boys’ Book if Survival: How To Survive Anything , Anywhere

by Scholastic

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 128 pages

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction (January 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: A real dose of testosterone for the always thinking, outdoor-loving guy.

Publisher’s synopsis: Lost in the desert? Stuck in quicksand? Confronted by a man-eating tiger? Trapped at a school dance? Fear not, brave reader! With this essential survival guide, you’ll find a way to get yourself out of every imaginable predicament, whether it’s an avalanche or a zombie invasion!

How to survive anything all in one handy book! Inside you’ll find out how to treat a snakebite, send an SOS message, track an animal, make a map, and build a ladder. Find out how to survive a school dance, a shopping trip with your mom, a pop quiz, and a shark attack!

Bananagrams Pair it with: Bananagrams

Add this book to your gift list: The Boys’ Book if Survival: How To Survive Anything , Anywhere

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The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Volume 2The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Volume 2

by Klutz

Reading level: Ages 9-99

Spiral-bound: 200 pages

Publisher: Klutz; Pap/Toy edition (September 1, 2009)

TCBR analysis: The gift that beats all gifts: a book suitable for anyone between the ages of 9 and 99, and suitable for all maturity immaturity levels.

Publisher’s synopsis: When we published The Encyclopedia of Immaturity in 2007, we knew it would make a great gift for someone’s nephew. And, sure enough, people gave it to their nephews — but also to their grandparents, brothers-in-law and accountants. Soon we were flooded with letters, e-mails and calls sharing one common theme — “”More! More! More!”” So here’s a second helping of skills, activities, and secret knowledge — suitable only for those whose maturity stopped developing around the age of 12. In addition to thought-provoking topics like What We Talk About When We Talk About Wedgies, the book includes detailed directions for how to: fake a cold, slide down a banister, balance a ping pong ball on your nose, send a toiletgram, throw a sloshie, and more. It’s all new and all hopelessly goofy. You can imagine our delight as we looked over the sales figures for the first volume of this encyclopedia. For years we’ve felt like the only kids at the grown-up table. Now it turns out the world is populated by a lot more people who are lot less mature than they look. Well, duh!

Tricksterkit Pair it with: The Official Trickster Kit

Add this book to your gift list: The Encyclopedia of Immaturity: Volume 2

Add this kit to your gift list: The Official Trickster Kit

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Source of books: Publishers, Authors, Library, Book Store. Source of Toys: Personal research.

Category: Ages 0-3, Ages 4-8, Ages 9-12, Book Lists, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Chapter Books, Gift Books, Seasonal: Holiday Books, Teens: Young Adults

About the Author ()

The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by one of TCBR's regular contributors.

Comments (2)

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  1. Erin says:

    What a wonderful list! Lots of good ideas here. My favorite holiday gift for my nieces and nephews is to pair a picture book about the holidays with a new set of cozy pajamas. Last year I gave them The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scented Storybook) and some polka dotted footed pjs.

    Haven’t found “the” book this year yet. Any suggestions for a great holiday inspired picture book for 3-5 year old?

    :)
    Erin
    http://www.littlenutmeg.com

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