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Gift Books Sure To Please These books make fantastic coffee table-worthy gifts for all ages. "Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man" from Disney Editions; 208 pages; $40. Marc Davis was as important to the world that is Disney as Walt Disney himself. As Walt's favorite …Read more. Kids Music Hits the Big Time Children's music used to consist of nursery rhymes, "EIEIO" and "The Wheels on the Bus." Today, accomplished musicians, rockers and singers from the adult music world regularly lend their talents to tunes for youngsters. Prices vary from retail …Read more. The Weather Outside Is Frightful Though we'd welcome some wintry weather in California, it's beginning to hit the rest of the country. Cozy up to these snowy tales with some hot cocoa and your favorite young child. "Blizzard" by John Rocco; Disney/Hyperion; 36 pages; $17.99. …Read more. Books About Intelligent Animals Emphasize Creatures' Importance Fu Manchu the orangutan is so smart, he outwits zookeepers time and time again. Tsaki the donkey turns his working-animal status into beloved family member, while GQ the quail is curious and venturing. Kids love reading about intriguing animals; the …Read more.
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Fun Toy Gifts For the Pickiest Kids on Your List


Kids need active toys. Instead of just concentrating on buying electronic screens for gifts, how about engaging their bodies and minds with toys and kits to help them be active?

"AirStorm Firetek Bow" from Zing Toys; $29.99.

Available at Wal-Mart and other stores, this parent-approved foam archery toy will please action fans ages 8 and up. Kids can use the foam bow and arrow with LED light-up power to sling three glowing whistle-screaming arrows toward targets and walls. Kids who love to run around and be active will enjoy this toy — a safer bet than playing with toy guns.

"Scorpion Gatling Blaster" from Zing; $19.99.

Another high-capacity dart blaster, this one has a colorful rotating barrel that blasts 20 super darts 20 feet away. Its' bright mod colors and lightweight style make it hip and cool, while the easy-to-push blaster gives kids an active, competitive outlet.

Younger siblings will have fun with the Zano Bow, also from Zing Air, a compact bow and arrow toy with a cool wall target, all appropriate for kids 4 and up. This is also a fun, brightly colored smaller toy great for adults to blow off steam in their offices. It has 30-foot accuracy, and the cardboard packaging converts into a big target with "Bullseye," "Great Shot!" and "Not Bad!" circles.

"Cosmic UFO" from cloud b; $44.95.

This soothing sight and sound UFO shines an intergalactic atmosphere in a child's bedroom, to assist with safety feelings and sleep. The silver spaceship projects Northern lights constellations on walls and ceilings, and plays soothing sounds to entice relaxation in kids 3 and up.

An adjustable 23-minute timer automatically turns off to ensure darkness needed for sleep. There are also volume controls and brightness adjustors to personalize the UFO to any child's needs. The whole effect is personalized planetarium fun for any child's room.

"Young Explorers Dinosaurs" and "Young Explorers Oceans" fact books and floor puzzles, from Smithsonian and Silver Dolphin Books/Baker and Taylor Publishing; $18.95 each.

These educational, vivid, fun puzzles come with fact books and are packaged in sturdy, mini suitcase-like carrying cases with sturdy handles. "Dinosaurs" introduces the largest, smallest and most impressive dinosaurs that walked the earth, in a 32-page illustrated book. A 27-inch-by-19-inch colorful poster is also included; and let's not forget the giant, 130-piece floor puzzle.

"Young Explorers Oceans" also includes the 24-inch-by-18-inch puzzle and large poster; and the book teaches kids all about the science of the oceans and its' creatures. Waves and tsunamis are covered, as are the cutest and fiercest ocean critters. Also introduced smartly is how to prevent pollution of the seas.

"String Art" from Klutz; $19.99.

A retro yet modern art form, string art is all the rage. This Klutz kid and book helps kids ages 8 and up transform colorful string and pins into works of art such as butterflies, flowers, animals and landscapes. The kit includes a custom Klutz pin-pushing tool, easy-to-trace patterns, background paper, lots of zesty string and pins, a sturdy display and 20 project instructions in the book.

To read features by Lee Littlewood, or to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



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Lee Littlewood
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