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!!