Friday, December 4, 2009

Our Favorite Books: Childrens Book Suggestions for Christmas Gifts

My kids are crazy about books. See...


In addition to the assemblage of Dr. Zeus books we have, there are many other authors who we own and love. As Christmas nears, may I be so bold as to suggest you buy a book for the kids on your list. I am summarizing a selection of stories below that will surely reap the reward of many readings and much enjoyment by the kids who are lucky enough to receive them. I can whole heartedly endorse these books with no other alternate motive than to share the beauty, the stories and the messages that these books provide.

Additionally, I did a book review last year with details of our favorite books from 2008, too. So, if none of the titles below look good to you check last years list for more good children's reads.

Side note: I also rediscovered the public LIBRARY in town and began a bi-monthly pilgrimage to check out new titles and renew those we really like. So if you don't buy any of these, at least try and get them at the library for reading.

So here goes. In no particular order I recommend these for gifts for your kids:

Mammoths on the Move by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, is a story told in rhyming verse which explains the migration of woolly mammoths as they traveled from from the steppes of the arctic tundra to the northern prairies and grasslands below the glacier lines. The pictures are primarily in black and white and are stunningly designed for instant eye appeal to children. This is Ella's favorite.

Turtle Bay by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Nilesh Mistry, is the story of a boy and his friendship with a grandfather figure who is wise in the way of sea turtles. The biology of sea turtles is explained in a manner that kids understand and enjoy. The mystery of "when will the turtles arrive to their home beach" provides suspense and the drawings inside are superior. Fun book with introduction to marine biology for kids. Again another of Ella's top pics for story time.

Sailing Home: A Story of A Childhood at Sea by Gloria Rand, Ted Rand (Illustrator). Sailing home is based on the real life of a family that sailed a four mast bark around the world carrying cargo between distant lands. The story is told by a young daughter and explains what their daily life was like while sailing the ocean. Details of historical life that we can no longer imagine are given in this book in a kid friendly format. The black and white photos of the family in the end of this book also ad extra charm to the story.

Hotel Deep: Light Verse from Deep Water Poems and Paintings by Kurt Cyrus. This is one of my favorites for the amazing drawings and poetry. I love the way the verses of this book weave in and out of sea life. The drawings give a broad spectrum of accurately depicted undersea flora and fauna in rich color. There is humor, matter of fact talk about fish eating fish, fish talking about their defense, and underwater biology between the covers of this beautiful book.

Sparrow Girl written by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Yoko Taraka. Sparrow Girl is the story of how devastating human intervention can be to wildlife populations. In China, early Communist policy called for the extermination of all sparrows that might feed upon grain crops. The onslaught to the birds was highly successful and the Chinese were able to kill thousands upon thousands of birds in the country side. The following year famine occurred due to the bloom of locusts who wiped out the cereal crops. This book teaches a lesson in the importance of cause and effect. Kill all the birds and the bugs will take over....

The Sea, the Storm, and The Mangrove Tangle written by Lynne Cherry. This story gives a tour of the mangroves that lie off the shores of Florida and shows the detailed steps by which they form. First the seeds germinate in the water and grow. Then the mangroves gradually spread over decades and provide habitat for so many aquatic and pelagic species. Then a storm comes and beats the mangrove up a bit and the cycle begins again. Birth, the destruction and devastation, then renewal as life repeats it's self.

Nature's Paintbox: A Seasonal Gallery written by Patricia Thompson and illustrated by Craig Orback. Fabulous poetry in a story like manner is found in this book. Each season is described with detail to the specific feelings and character they embody. Each season has it's own stylistic painting interpretation. Winter is pen and ink for black and white, spring is water colors, summer is bright primary colors, and fall is oil paint. Well thought out, written and drawn with memorable verse.

Patty's Pumpkin Patch written and illustrated by Patty Sloat, is the story of the birth and succession of the pumpkin patch as tended by Patty. The alphabet is featured here and on every page a new letter is spotlighted with in the context of the seasonal growth of the pumpkin vines. The sprouting of the pumpkins, weeding of the fields, the animals that move through the patch and the end product are all detailed in vivid drawings. Great visual for letters and word association.

So that's all! I hope you can find one of these books for a child you love!!

23 Comments for OSL:

theUngourmet said...

I can't decide which book I love the most. Nature's Paintbox sounds awesome. I'd also like to read Sparrow Girl and Sailing Home. These would all be wonderful for homeschoolers.

Doris Sturm said...

That is indeed a "crazy" picture (he, he, he)...when my daughter was growing up, I belonged to a book club where every month I got a new book sent in the mail for her. Of course, she had all of the Dr. Seuss books and then I got the whole Serinidipity series (which we both LOVED) because each book has a morale to the story and then the Berenstein Bears started to roll in. I started to read to Christie way before she could even talk and she breezed through school so much more effortlessly...she was an excellent reader early on and I, myself, remember receiveing books every Christmas and looked forward to getting a new one every year. One uncle in particular, always gave me an age-appropriate book and the last one I got from him was Don Quixote of La Mancha. I must have been maybe 11 or 12 and that one was a challenge - a big, fat (German) book - I wish I still had it to re-read.

Keep up the good work. I think if kids read early, they do better in school.

Doris Sturm said...

p.s.
Sorry for the incorrect spelling of the books, but it's the Serendipity series I was referring to
http://www.dreamfollow.com/lilypad/serendipity.html

they may be a bit young for your kids, Julia, but they are great starter books for the very young - I always read to her until she, eventually, learned to read herself.

These books have lovely pictures on every page, so while you read, the little ones can look and ask questions and soon they'll be reading on their own.

Melodie said...

It makes my mommy heart happy to see children in love with books!Kiddos who read have the best futures ahead of them!I still have several boxes of The Boy's favorite children's books I can't bear to part with.I tell him I am saving them for his kids!

Sara said...

Great list! Inspires me to get a few more gifts for J&J. :D

Miss Dot said...

Don't get me wrong, when I was a kid I definitely enjoyed toys as presents; however, one of my mom's friends consistently bought me books as gifts. Not just any books, either -- she'd make sure they were books that she personally had read and would recommend. I can't tell you how much I loved those books because they were so different from any of the other gifts that I got and --sorry to sound cheesy here-- they totally transported me to other worlds (more than my toys could do!). I'm a big fan of books as gifts to this day :)

Pricilla said...

My nieces and nephews know that I will only give:
books
clothing
educational toys

They get enough plastic crap from elsewhere so I drew the line.

Someone had to! I love to give books. Good for you for these great recommendations! Thanks.

ga.farmwoman said...

You have some wonderful suggestions!

I just ordered books yesterday for my grandkids. Several of the books are Dr. Seuss books my boys had years ago. Like-Go Dog Go.

Have a great weekend.
Pam

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

My son really liked the Richard Scarry books, the great big ones...lots of cars and trucks in them...he liked the Pat the Cat kind, too...if you can get the vintage book Cap'n Kitty or Jim Jump (horsie)...

Books are great, no home should be without them...

The Mind of a Mom said...

My kids had tons of books and loved them! One amazing author for kids is Robert Munch. I don;t know if you can find his books but if you do they are great for kids to have and give as gifts

Frogs in my formula said...

These are great suggestions. I am so happy Junior likes to read. We're still on board books, but I wrote some of your suggestions down for when he's older.

Frogs in my formula said...

Maybe the pumpkin patch book would appropriate for now, though. I'm going to check it out.

Ratty said...

Seeing these books makes me wish there were still smaller kids in my family. Sparrow Girl looks like one I would give for Christmas. Kids grow up way too fast.

Sharkbytes said...

I don't know a single one of those! And no little kids in my life really. So just do an extra read of one to the littles for me, ok?

You were a top commenter in November at My Quality Day, and so have won a small banner link for a month. I just posted the results. Thanks!

Carol said...

Great list Julia! I love 'Sparrow Girl' the best. I love my library too!!

blueviolet said...

First I had to giggle at the tilted head puzzled look your daughter is giving your son! LOL

I think we may have read The Sea, The Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle. That sounds familiar to me somehow. These are lovely books!

EL said...

Thanks for these recommendations! I love to read and my husband loves to read - so we're really putting all efforts into ensuring the kid grows up loving to read too:) therefore i'm always on the hunt for yet another great book to add to his collection!

Raven said...

That pic is great!

Thanks for the info on books, I'm looking for some books for my nephews for Christmas. I think I'll get Mammoths on the Move for one of them.

Have a great day!

DayPhoto said...

I love reading children's books. And I really enjoy the art that attends such books. Adult books are so predictable and boring.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

Captain Dumbass said...

I'll keep an eye for these on our next trip to the library. Thanks.

Grand Pooba said...

Ok yes, this post does pertain to me because as of last month, I have started my collection of children's books. For how often I babysit the neph I have decided I might as well start my own collection. So far I have:

Cat in the Hat
Green Eggs & Ham
Are You My Mother?
Oh The Places You'll Go
Where The Wild Things Are
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
and a Thomas the Train book

Small I know, but now I can add the ones on your list!

Yep, you didn't realize I was so maternal did you?

Yaya said...

Cool. I just love children's book. We did a children's literacy analysis class in undergrad and our teacher basically tore Dr. Seuss apart. Saying all his books have underlying messages of racism, etc. Next time you read one of his books, look at the true message behind the cutesy words. It will amaze you to realize what you've been reading isn't really what you've been reading. Sorry....didn't mean to ruin Dr. Seuss for ya....

Aunt Spicy said...

What a great list! And ps. totally excited that you are writing a childrens book!