You know those days when the kids are home from school and/or it’s too cold for them to play outside? When the air itself seems to vibrate with the dulcet tones of your little angels screaming, fighting, and playing “Let’s make the dog bark…a lot.” When you feel you’d give just about anything for a few moments of quiet? We’ve got just the remedy; these great children’s books will provide a much needed “time out” for all. (To purchase a featured book click on the title in RED).
Nearly every kid loves animals, and in ZOO BORN CATS!, Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland provide the cutest pictures ever of feline babies from accredited zoos around the world. In addition, children will learn what many adults don’t know; there are thirty-six different species of wild cats. We all recognize tigers, lions, and cheetahs, but what about the Fishing Cat, which loves water? The tiny Blackfooted Cat? The endangered Amur Leopard? What a great opportunity to enjoy wonderful photos and receive interesting information about our world!
Adults as well as kids love Maurice Sendak books, and BUMBLE-ARDY is just the thing to lift everyone’s spirits. When a piglet turns nine, he throws a fine party to celebrate, but doesn’t tell his aunty. Page after page is filled with drawings of the weird assortment of characters who arrive for the festivities. Silly and fun for all.
It can be tough to find a book to keep an active little boy interested. I’m recommending EVERYTHING GOES ON LAND, by Brian Biggs. A glorious jumble of every mode of transportation that fits the category, this seek-and-find activities book will keep the little guys occupied for hours. There’s even a request for readers from Henry, the youngster who’s visiting the big city with his dad. On his journey, he’s seen birds with hats and other fanciful things that just don’t belong. “See if you can too!” is his challenge.
For that sweet girly-girl in your life, pick up Victoria Kann’s PINKALICIOUS, THE PRINCESS OF PINK TREASURY. And when we say pink, we’re not kidding. The cover is full of sparkles, and inside, there’s even a CD. With five stories, lots of games, jokes and activities, a wonderful pink adventure awaits. Of course, you are in tune with the children you know, so if there’s a little girl who loves trucks, or a young fellow who’s crazy for pink, that’s just fine, too.
For ages eight through twelve, Lauren Oliver’s LIESL AND PO offers mystery and magic. Liesl lives locked up in a small attic room; she’s very lonely until she’s visited by a ghost named Po. Together, they form a strong bond. When Will, an alchemist’s apprentice makes a huge goof, all three characters are connected; they find themselves together on an anything but ordinary journey.
In celebration of Black History Month, held every February here in the U.S. (October is the designated month in the U.K.), don’t miss HEART AND SOUL, THE STORY OF AMERICA AND AFRICAN AMERICANS. Both the words and the paintings- which are truly superb- are by Kadir Nelson. Nelson has won numerous awards, and his artwork is recognized as far away as Japan. He’s also the cover artist for Michael Jackson’s posthumous album, “Michael.” In this book, the narration is by an “Everywoman,” who recounts the time of slavery, and her own experiences during the days of both horrific discrimination and finally, civil rights. Her story ends when she proudly casts her ballot for our first African American president.
Of course, the best part of buying books for kids is that we get to read them, too!
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com