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Five Great Gift Ideas for Young Book Lovers

Selected by Ronna Mandel


GuessHowMuchILoveYouGiftSetGuess How Much I Love You Deluxe Book and Toy Gift Set
Written by Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
(Candlewick Press; $15.99, Ages 3-7)

Who doesn’t know and love Big and Little Nut Brown Hare? With this gift set that includes a board book and soft Nutbrown Hare plushy, little ones will be reminded that there’s no limit to the love that’s felt for them. And who can forget the oft quoted phrase, “I love you to the moon and back” without feeling a tug on those heartstrings? An affordable gift that’s sure to please.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book and Holiday OrnamentTheVeryHungryCaterpillarbookandornament
ritten and illustrated by Eric Carle
(Philomel Books; $19.99, Ages birth-3)

The beloved children’s classic “that teaches children about numbers, days of the week and time,” is perfectly paired with the most adorable apple ornament with that very hungry caterpillar emerging from it. I can just picture the smiles on children’s faces when they not only get to hear the story, but also when they get to enjoy seeing this unique Christmas decoration hanging on their tree. Destined to become a keepsake, this exclusive gift set will make a welcome gift for any family.

HistoriumcvrHistorium: Welcome to the Museum 
Written by Jo Nelson
Illustrated by Richard Wilkinson
(Big Picture Books; $35.00, Ages 8-12)

Journey back in time in the comfort of your very own living room as you hold this amazing collection of treasures from the past right in your hands. Explore ancient civilizations from around the globe as you tour the continents seeing stunning illustrations of a broad range of artifacts. Flip slowly through the pages as you would leisurely stroll down a gallery in a world class museum while studying descriptions as detailed and interesting as you’d find in any display case. Nelson and Wilkinson take us first to Africa then onto America, Asia, Europe, The Middle East, and Oceania. There’s also a comprehensive index. I couldn’t down put this oversized volume of often “sacred and culturally important items,” and you’ll find it hard to believe the illustrations are indeed artwork and not photographs. I found the Fresco from Pompeil (p. 61) depicting a Roman woman particularly appealing although picking favorites is difficult when the book contains so many glorious achievements in craftsmanship. From pottery to pillars, rock paintings to royal cemetery headdresses, Historium has it all and then some.

J. Smith: A Miniature Treasure from Queen Mary’s Dolls’ HouseJSmithMiniature
Written and illustrated by Fougasse
(Candlewick Press; $25.00, Ages 10 and up)

This new collector’s item is ideal for the dolls’ house and miniatures fans in your life. Imagine how you would have felt as a child, waking up on Christmas morning, to unwrap this red and gold packaged gift. I would have been thrilled to receive such an unusual present, especially to play with when I got out my dolls. J. Smith is an exact replica of a miniature book originally created for Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, and if you’ve never seen a miniature book before, start here. I needed my reading glasses, but everything was there including gold-edged pages, tiny illustrations and even tinier rhyming text! There’s even a pamphlet included that explains the “Origins of a Masterpiece” and lots more. Here’s how this fairy story set in 1920s London begins:
One night in mid-September –
While storm clouds rode the air –
And a tempest swayed the tree-tops –
Stripping the branches bare –
A fairy was blown out of fairyland –
And fell … in Eaton Square.

I absolutely love this little book and so will your child. They had me at miniature!
Also available: A Sherlock Holmes Story: How Watson Learned the Trick

Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Boxed SetMissPeregrinesPeculiarChildrenBoxedSet

Written by Ransom Riggs
(Quirk Books; $56.97, Ages 13 and up )

Got teens not familiar with this extremely popular series? Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs is an intriguing tale of mystery and magic, inspired by a collection of inexplicable vintage photographs. The story begins in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, in which sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman travels to a mysterious island of the coast of Wales to try to make sense of his grandfather’s untimely and cryptic death. When he discovers Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children and their extraordinary powers, they fight unthinkable monsters and become allies while Jacob realizes that he actually has powers of his own. The story continues in Hollow City and Library of Souls as they embark on a journey to save their headmistress, Miss Peregrine, and many other peculiar children, who have been captured by their sinister enemies. Throughout this captivating series, Jacob learns about his grandfather, the friends that were once left behind, and a world that he could have never imagined. This boxed set includes 3 hardcover novels by Ransom Riggs and 12 collectible peculiar photographs. And just in case you hadn’t heard, the movie adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children arrives in theaters December 2016. – Reviewed by K.B. Jefferies

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My Favorite Book Contest from First 5 LA

Be a Reader & Be a Winner!

Ready. Set. Grow! is First 5 LA’s family resource website for parents with young children offering fun and safe ways for children to be healthy, safe and ready to learn.

This November, First 5 LA is encouraging a love of literacy with its annual Read early, Read ALOUD! campaign. This year’s slogan is “My Favorite Book.” Read here about the contest they will be running all month long with book giveaways and a grand prize. Visit their website by clicking here or head over to their Facebook page now by clicking here.

    • Contest Rules: Contest begins today, Monday, Nov. 7, 2011. All entries must be received by noon on Dec. 5, 2011. A winner will be selected randomly from the entries and notified the afternoon of Monday, December 12, 2011. Multiple entries allowed. Previous winners are ineligible to win subsequent prizes. Prizes are non-transferable. There may be no cash or other substitutions of prizes by winner. Qualified winners will receive prizes within four to six weeks after they are notified of their winnings, unless otherwise specified. Only Los Angeles County residents are eligible to win.
    • To enter, you must “Like” Ready, Set, Grow on Facebook and/or Follow Ready, Set, Grow on Twitter and post a Tweet with the contest hashtag: #myfavbook  You can enter multiple times by both following on Twitter and tweeting the hashtag #myfavbook AND filling out the survey at:
    • Prizes: Each person from this site that enters the contest is eligible to receive a bookmark with early reading tips, but you must write a comment below and indicate you have entered the contest already. One person who enters from Good Reads With Ronna  (randomly selected) will win two books (The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle & Read to Your Bunny by Rosemary Wells) and a bookmark with early reading tips but you must write a comment below indicating that you have entered at the link supplied here.  The grand prize winner will receive a library of 50 books (including a selection of Scholastic titles) and a tip sheet bookmark.

Check out the family-friendly Ready. Set. Grow! website. Re-vamped, it contains literacy features for both kids and parents including:

  • Literacy tips appropriate for each age group: 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-24 months, 24-36 months, and preschool
  • Suggested reading lists for each age group, with descriptions of each book
  • Literacy-themed blog posts
  • A schedule of story time events at L.A. County libraries
  • Low-cost book suggestions
  • Literacy-themed book list for parents
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Eric Carle Books at Kohl’s



Kids are hungry to learn and this spring Kohl’s helps feed their need to read with $5 books and
plush toys from legendary author/illustrator Eric Carle through the Kohl’s Cares program.

veryhungrycaterpillarNow through the end of April, Kohl’s Department Stores are offering hardcover Eric Carle books and coordinating stuffed animal toys including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Grouchy Ladybug and The Foolish Tortoise.

To tempt the grown-up taste buds (and their wallets) this spring, Kohl’s is selling Crazy About Cupcakes by Krystina Castella for only $5. Overflowing with unique recipes for cupcakes, fillings and frostings, the book also includes tips on how to creatively decorate cupcakes. Now that takes the cake!

All books are available nationwide and as part of the Kohl’s Care program, 100 percent of the net profit from the sale of these featured books and plush toys goes to benefit kids’ health and education initiatives in communities across the country. Since its inception, Kohl’s has raised more than $150 million to help kids (and brought smiles to so many children

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A Bevy Of Board Books Roundup

img_01151Meet two guest reviewers new to Good Reads With Ronna who happen to be husband and wife.
Michael Faucher is a network administrator for an organ transplant research lab at Harvard Medical School affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital. He has been a journalist and writer for 13 years, writing for The Lowell Sun (MA) newspaper, and music magazines Instant, Northeast Performer, Music & The Arts and Micstand. Candace Faucher is an elementary school teacher in Somerville, MA and is currently on hiatus to care for the couple’s new twin boys, Hunter Robert and Beckett Alexander. The family lives in North Reading, Massachusetts.

Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish (by Lorie Ann Grover, illustrations by Debra Ziss) and The Book of ZZZs, photographs and written by Arlene Alda

smbookzzzs34723267When it comes to sleep, nothing makes anyone happier, baby or adult. Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish is a very fun little book that has big, bright fish drawings perfect for reading after a bath (but before bedtime or a nap). Pretend with your baby while they’re bathing that they’re a fish or a baby shark- probably appropriate if they’re teething- and they’ll be swimming in good dreams all night! Arlene Alda’s The Book of ZZZs has sharp pictures of animals and babies in all sorts of states of nocturnal bliss, sure to encourage your newbies that it’s ok to sleep whenever the urge strikes!

Good Night World, by Adam Gamble and Cooper Kelly

51edc3lhill_sl500_aa240_Although a little loose in its mantra, what’s nice about Good Night World (most recent of the Good Night Our World series) is how it spans the world, highlighting different cultures and animals as they begin and end their day. From the beginning of “Good Morning, rain forest” to “good night stargazers, dreaming of other worlds” very colorful illustrations highlight people around the world to show young readers how everyone else begins, spends, or ends their day!

Baby Giggles, by Rachael Hale

51ekcgyqttl_sl500_aa240_Having just purchased my first digital camera, I would aspire to take such wonderful pictures of my twin boys as there are in Baby Giggles, by Rachael Hale. With large pictures and vibrant colors, infants are immediately drawn to this durable board book, while toddlers can enjoy and mimic the smiles, frowns, pouts, and other faces and emotions displayed. With such relatable images and wording that rhymes, it’s easy to show growing children other tots feeling as they often do.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

9781416979173Being a first and second grade teacher, I am automatically drawn to all books by Eric Carle, and this book is certainly no exception. Created for children ages 3 and up, The Tiny Seed is able to reach a wide range of children at varying stages of development, and is an excellent tool for parents to teach about how seeds become flowers. Younger children will enjoy following the little seed on its journey using the bright bold pictures that Carle creates using tissue paper collages, while older children can engage in discussions of what happens to seeds throughout the seasons and rejoice in the tiny seed’s ability to survive and continue the plant life cycle. What I also love about this version of the book is the seeded paper and instructions that are included to grown your own flowers! This is the perfect way for children to first read about what happens to a tiny seed, plant seeds and witness what takes place. From the science lesson to the art possibilities, The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle does not disappoint!

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