Children's Books

By DiAnne Crown

September 20, 2012 3 min read

An old grandmother I once knew kept Christmas gift giving simple. She gave each child something to do (play with or build), something to eat, something to wear and something to read. For that special something to read for your family this year, Chinaberry recommends a collection of enduring favorites and soon-to-be-classic reads chosen to nurture caring and respect, be positive and uplifting, and provide rich and wonderful reading for children's hearts and minds. Here is a look at three new titles in the collection.

Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton take a fresh look at "Puff, the Magic Dragon," with paintings by Eric Puybaret, in a board book format. Unlike the sad tale of the great friendship of dragon and boy that slips away forever when the little boy grows up and leaves home, there is a satisfying resolution that teaches more about friendship and loyalty than the 50-year-old folk song ever did. The board book retails for $7.95, and a pop-up version with a CD is also available.

"Seed by Seed," written by Esme Raji Codell and illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins, broadens the legend and legacy of John "Appleseed" Chapman for middle-elementary through early-middle-school students. More than the oft-told tale, this new edition looks into a life based on five principles: Use what you have; share what you have; respect nature; try to make peace where there is war; and you can reach your destination by taking small steps. The book jacket says, "Esme Raji Codell and Lynne Rae Perkins show us, in eloquent words and exhilarating pictures, why Johnny Appleseed matters now, perhaps more than ever, in our loud and wired and fast-paced world." The hardcover book retails for $16.99.

Chinaberry also recommends Lissa Evans' "Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure," for ages 8 years and older. This small, thick chapter book starts off where the first adventure, "Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms," ended and grabs returning readers and new fans alike from Page 1. "Just when height-challenged Stuart Horten thinks his big adventure is over, he discovers that Great Uncle Tony has left behind yet another mystery: he's hidden his will, and his magic tricks are the clues to its location!" reads the jacket. Unlike the dark and dreary reads populating the shelves of many children's sections, this is a fun adventure for reading alone or reading together out loud. The hardcover book retails for $14.95.

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