I love the holidays, and my favorite book shops love me. I always give lots of books to all the kids (and adults) I know. Book I've read and love, books that are hinted at, books that I read about on other blogs. Today, I want to share three of my latest gift book purchases.
First up, for one of my young nieces who is already a Mo Willems and Tomie dePaulo fan and loves to be read to:
The Magical World of Strega Nona, A Treasury by Tomie dePaola
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015, 224 pages, age 5+
This is a book any fan of Strega Nona will cherish, and kids new to her tales will surely also find themselves falling in love with this little Italian grandma. And this is a volume that is packed with goodies. Inside, you will find a note from Tomie detailing just how Strega Nona was created, why nona has only one 'n' instead of the usual two, and some inside info about bumbling, forgetful Big Anthony. This is followed by a two page map of Strega Nona's village. The treasury also contains six complete stories, the original Strega Nona tale, and ends with a lovely Christmas story. Each story is introduced by the author. And that's not all - at the back of the book, there is a section with some simple Italian recipes for kids to try, followed by the words, sheet music and a CD of an original lullaby called "Strega Nona's Little Night Song." This is a book that really says Buon Natale, and one that will be read and enjoyed over and over again throughout the year.
Next, for my Kiddo-in-law, who is an art student and just learning about English literature (he is from China):
A Celebration of Beatrix Potter: Art and Letters by more than 30 of today's favorite
children's book illustrators
Frederick Warne & Co., 2016, 112 pages, age 7+
Without a doubt, Beatrix Potter has had a great deal of influence in children's literature and it is a testament to her ability as a storyteller that her tales are still read and loved after so many years. And to celebrate her 150th birthday in 2016, 32 illustrators have taken another look at nine of Potter's best loved tales and have written about their own experience reading about the adventures of beloved characters like Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin and Jemima Puddle-Duck. Applying their talent and unique styles, each illustrator has created an illustration of their own versions of the each story. Nothing will ever replace the iconic illustrations Beatrix Potter did for her stories, but it is fun to see how they have been reimagined more than one hundred years later (The Tale of Peter Rabbit was first published in 1902). The book includes excerpts from the nine tales so it is that art that is the main focus of this book. This is really a beautiful picture book for older readers and even adults who loved the tales of Beatrix Potter as children. What a special tribute to this talented lady.
Lastly, this one is for my Kiddo, who is just starting to really appreciate fairy tales as much as she does myths and legends:
The Singing Bones: Inspired by Grimms' Fairy Tales by Shaun Tan
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016, 192 pages, age 12+
This seems like an odd choice for a holiday book, but it really is an ideal gift for readers who love the Kinder- und Hausmärchen of the Brothers Grimm, as well those who love clay sculpture. As only he can, Shaun Tan has taken the two art forms and has completely captured the essence of 75 of Grimms' fairy tales, giving them a true sense of dimension. Although the tales are somewhat dark, this book is a truly magnificent work of art. Each sculpture was made by Tan, and perfectly reflects the accompanying fragment of the tale it is meant to represent. Tan's sculptures were greatly influenced by Inuit stone carvings, an art form he has always admired, "where the spirit quest, hunts, courtships, conflicts, and transformations are condensed as deceptively simple carvings..." The book is introduced by Jack Zipes, who is probably the most eminent scholar of Grimms' fairy tales in the world. Tan used Zipes' translations of the fairy tales for the wording of his fragments from Zipes' 1987 work The Complete Fairy Tales, which was reissued in 2003 and which will be accompanying this gift. This is such a wonderfully unusual book, but please remember, it is a picture book for older readers, not young children. For that matter, neither are the fairy tales it is based on, despite being called Children's and Household Tales. I think my Kiddo will really love both books
Watch this space, there are more book suggestions coming, but right now I have to go supervise putting the angel on to top of the Christmas tree.