Black Friday is coming up, only one week from tomorrow, and as regular readers of this blog know I’ll be working the floor at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, forcing books on anyone who doesn’t get out of the way first. Nothing I like more than turning people on to a good book. You might even win A Night Too Dark-related prize while you’re at it. Depending on how naughty you’ve been…
In the meantime, here are a few titles to give you a jump start on your shopping list for the kids in your life this Christmas. These are Dana-tested, Stabenow-approved, all guaranteed good reads as well as good read-alouders. I’ve been known to read at least parts of them out loud when I’m alone in the room myself.
For the toddlers, try Peggy Rathmann’s Good Night, Gorilla. At the end of the day the zookeeper goes home, and he doesn’t go home alone. The illustrations are delightful, I’m smiling now just thinking about the mouse with the banana on a string.
For storybooks for beginning readers, my personal favorite is Robert Munsch’s The Paperbag Princess.
I love D.B. Johnson’s Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, wherein Henry David Thoreau morphs into a bear, and the The Jolly Postman, or Other People’s Letters by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, the tale of a postman on his bicycle delivering the mail to the occupants of an enchanted forest, but this is mail you get to take out of its envelopes (and check out the postmarks and the stamps) like you’d just taken it out of your own mailbox.
For middle schoolers, Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen will make them laugh (just make sure they don’t try any of that at home), Tony Johnston’s Any Small Goodness will make them cry, and E.L. Konigsburg’s The View from Saturday will make them want to start having tea on Saturday afternoons.
The best book I read this year was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the story of a sixteen-year old girl sent to compete in the arena at the Capitol’s annual Hunger Games. Twenty-four tributes enter, only one leaves. Hypnotizing, enthralling, mesmerizing, I’m supposed to be some kind of writer and I can’t think of enough superlatives to adequately describe this tale of a post-apocalyptic America where there is very little bread and one fatal circus.
And for those of you poor deprived readers who have never come across this book before, I am delighted, nay, ecstatic to announce the return to print of The Lion’s Paw by Robb White, including the original illustrations by Ralph Ray. It’s about damn time! In World War II Florida, Penny and Nick run away from the orphanage and hide out on the sloop Hard-a-Lee, owned by sixteen-year old Ben, whose father is missing in the South Pacific. Uncle Pete is going to sell the Hard-a-Lee, but instead Ben, Penny and Nick light out for the territory, and that’s just the beginning of their adventures.