Holiday Gift Guide: Picture books

12:00 pm EDT, December 7, 2012

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What to get for the book lover in your life? Check out our Holiday Gift Guide for picture books. Check back all week as we will be highlighting books in different categories each day.

Picture Books

‘I Want My Hat Back’ by Jon Klassen


The bear’s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as the bear begins to despond, a deer comes by and asks a simple question that sparks the bear’s memory and renews his search with a vengeance. Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

‘Olivia and the Fairy Princesses’ by Ian Falconer


Olivia is having an identity crisis! There are too many ruffly, sparkly princesses around these days, and Olivia has had quite enough. She needs to stand out! She has to be special! She wants to do more than just fit in! So what will she be?

‘The Chronicles of Harris Burdick’ by Chris Van Allsberg (among others)


An inspired collection of short stories by an all-star cast of best-selling storytellers based on the thought-provoking illustrations in Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

For more than 25 years, the illustrations in the extraordinary Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg have intrigued and entertained readers of all ages. Thousands of children have been inspired to weave their own stories to go with these enigmatic pictures. Now we’ve asked some of our very best storytellers to spin the tales. Enter The Chronicles of Harris Burdick to gather this incredible compendium of stories: mysterious, funny, creepy, poignant, these are tales you won’t soon forget.

This inspired collection of short stories features many remarkable, best-selling authors in the worlds of both adult and children’s literature: Sherman Alexie, M.T. Anderson, Kate DiCamillo, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Stephen King, Tabitha King, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, Walter Dean Myers, Linda Sue Park, Louis Sachar, Jon Scieszka, Lemony Snicket, and Chris Van Allsburg himself.

‘Nightsong’ by Ari Berk


A breathtaking picture book by award-winning author Ari Berk, illustrated by mega-bestseller Loren Long, about a young bat setting off into the world using only his good sense!

Sense is the song you sing out into the world, and the song the world sings back to you.

With these words, Chiro’s mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It’s an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how will he find his way home? As the young bat discovers, navigating the world around him is easy as long as he uses his good sense. This beautiful and touching coming-of-age story, with mesmerizing artwork from New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long and lyrical text from Ari Berk, conveys a heartwarming and universal message: No matter how far away you go, you can always find your way home.

‘Press Here’ by Herve Tullet


Press the yellow dot on the cover of this book, follow the instructions within, and embark upon a magical journey! Each page of this surprising book instructs the reader to press the dots, shake the pages, tilt the book, and who knows what will happen next! Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

‘The Sandman (The Guardians of Childhood)’ by William Joyce


One foggy night, the Man in the Moon has a startling thought: When the moon is less than full and bright, who will keep children safe at night? He needs a backup plan! Or a backup Guardian, as it were. His keen eye falls upon a sleepy little fellow living on a sleepy little island who is a sweet-dreamer extraordinaire. Since good dreams always trump bad ones, this means Pitch, the Nightmare King, will be further thwarted in his nefarious quest to terrorize children. So Sanderson Mansnoozie seems the perfect choice. But there are two problems. Firstly, given that Sandy has never had a bad dream, how can MiM convince him how important this new role is to the happy-being of children everywhere? And secondly, how can MiM keep this snoozy ally awake long enough to help?

This follow-up to The Man in the Moon, a New York Times bestseller called “dazzlingly inventive,” by Publishers Weekly, introduces us to the sleepy little fellow to whom we owe many a good nights’ rest, the second Guardian of Childhood, the Sandman.

‘Wild About You’ by Judy Sierra


The tree kangaroo at the zoo would like nothing more than a baby of her own. So, when a new egg arrives via the endangered species van, the ‘roo jumps at the chance to take care of it, even when no one else wants it. Soon, out comes a penguin and all the animals chip in to help because, as the tree kangaroo says, “Penguins eat fishes.”

‘Spike, the Mixed-Up Monster’ by Susan Hood


Meet Spike, a lovable monster — and a real-life salamander — who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary.

Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals — until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an endangered species called the axolotl), this story is peppered with easy-to-understand Spanish words. In addition to a charming tale of friendship, this picture book contains nonfiction information about the axolotl and a Spanish/English glossary.

‘The Insomniacs’ by Karina Wolf


The wonder of nighttime comes to life in this breathtaking debut.

When the Insomniacs move twelve time zones away for Mrs. Insomniac’s new job, the family has an impossible time adapting to the change. They try everything to fall asleep at night – take hot baths, count to one thousand, sip mugs of milk – but nothing helps. Venturing out into the dark, they learn there is a whole world still awake and a beauty in their new and unconventional schedule.

‘Cold Snap’ by Eileen Spinelli


It’s snowy cold in the town of Toby Mills. The thermometer is sinking toward zero, and the icicle hanging from the nose of General Toby’s statue is growing closer to the ground. The newspaper headline reads “COLD SNAP!” The people of the town are losing hope — and the feeling in their toes — until the mayor’s wife saves the day with a toasty treat.

‘Princess in Training’ by Tammi Sauer


“Royalty does not karate-chop.” – Madame Gertrude

Princess Viola is great at skateboarding and karate-chopping, but she’s lousy at the royal wave, walk, and waltz. The king and queen are not pleased. What’s a princess to do? Attend the skill-polishing Camp Princess, of course. In the end, it’s a good thing Viola is made of tougher stuff. Who else will save the day when the green dragon comes along? Joe Berger’s zippy illustrations use comic book–style panels and show off ZIP! ZUP! ZOOM! sound effects. This sweet, funny picture book is just the ticket for spunky princess-loving girls.

‘The Monster Who Lost His Mean’ by Tiffany Sterlitz Haber


Everyone knows that the M in “monster” stands for MEAN. But what happens when a monster can’t be mean any more? Is he still a monster at all?

One young monster’s attempts to live up to his name go hilariously awry as he discovers = with a little help from new friends — that it’s not what you’re called but who you are that counts.

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