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Books – Jan 2007

January, 2007
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D Is For Dragon Dance

Taking every letter in the English alphabet and matching it with a term associated with Chinese New Year guides the core of this nicely illustrated number. Entries also have brief but highly informative descriptions that put readers in the right mindset. The creative team behind Dragon has previously done volumes on other Chinese traditions, and brings the same level of quality illustrations and originality to the festive installment. Kids learning about China and its culture will get quite a bit from the book, especially the memorable graphics and calligraphy.

Author: Ying Chang Compestine
Publisher: Holiday House
Ages: 5-10


Max Talks to Me

One look at the gentle, gut-wrenching cover illustration and you’re hooked. From then on, everything just gets better as we track the amazingly emotional and evolutionary loving friendship between human child Alex and his best friend, canine Max. Together, they traverse this world with its ups and downs, challenges, joys and many questions. If only every children’s book could be this meaningful and emotive. Max and Alex represent among the most faithful depictions of a real-life relationship in print, highlighting the need for reciprocity and treating others as you’d like to be treated yourself. Illustrated by Karen Ritz.

Author: Claire Buchwald
Publisher: Gryphon Press
Ages: 3 and above


D’aulaire’s Book of Animals

Every child needs an animal encyclopedia. This one’s an excellent start. It compiles fifty animals from all over the world, showing them in great detail, effective coloring and appealing emotional impact. Each page forms part of a story, so readers can unfold the book to form a chain of life that’s double-sided: the flip shows animals seen from the back! As a primer for kids just taking their first steps in the animal kingdom, Book of Animals beats a visit to the zoo any day of the week with its informative content and visible lack of cages.

Author: Ingrid and Edgar Alan D’aulaire
Publisher: New York Review
Ages: 2-8


Animal Planet: The Most Extreme Animals

Probably among the most popular channels on cable or satellite these days, Animal Planet have expanded, now publishing various animal books and guides. The most recent one is a compendium of what Animal Planet editors consider the extremist critters in the world. Do not fret; none of them are creepy, just unique in one way or another, from camouflage to great feats of acrobatic skill. Each animal mentioned brings to the book its own background story and forms part of a bigger picture of natural coolness.

Author: Sherry Gerstein
Publisher: Jossey Bass
Ages: 6-12


The Hound of the Baskervilles

Classics are excellent excuses to revisit simply good tales. After all, what self-respecting reader doesn’t want to have comprehensive command of Sherlock Holmes and his never-ending battery of misadventures? Well, if that’s the case than go to it: this book is considered among the famed detective’s best antics, maybe because he provides mere support to his usual sidekick, Watson. The latter finds himself amid the haunting gloom of the English countryside, investigating rumors of beastly dog marauders and cursed old mansions. Gripping stuff.

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Publisher: Stovepipe Press
Ages: 8 and above


Monster, Don’t Eat Me!

You didn’t think we’d have an Editor’s Picks dedicated to animals that are without mention of pigs, right? Well, here’s one. His name is Alex, and he loves to eat. All the time. But in this cautionary tale of restraint and finding out about what counts in life, Alex meets his mentor not in the form of some kindly figurehead, but rather a monster that flatly states its desire to eat the piglet. Alex then must begin to come up with reasons why eating him would be wrong and a terrible waste.

Sounds a bit gruesome but the moral of the story is simply powerful, and obviously there’s a good ending to look forward to.

Author: Carl Norac
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Ages: 3-8

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