It’s December! (How did that happen?!)
Your Scholastic order is probably due any minute, so without further preamble, here is this month’s rundown of Scholastic’s Book Club flyer offerings, with my top picks from each.
Duck & Goose: It’s Time for Chrsitmas – I do love me some Duck & Goose… the characteristic impatience and enthusiasm is winning, and this board book keeps it simple, running down some of the joys that come with Christmas.The fact that it comes with finger puppets just makes me giddy, if I may be so honest here!
Puff the Magic Dragon – told you this good old favourite shows up every year! A favourite that never fails to enchant when sung aloud, and it comes with a CD, in case you’re not up to the singing yourself.
It’s Christmas, David! – I don’t love every spin-off of the David series, but this one returns to the humour and sweetness of the original, and I liked it despite myself, so I call that a winner.
Scaredy Squirrel & Friends pack – Melanie Watt is a Canadian kidslit superstar for a reason – she’s funny and sharp, and kids love her stuff. If you don’t own some already, this is a good starter set.
Mouse’s First Snow – these mouse books are super-simple, but for a young child, I always like the way they walk through the features of various seasons and holidays, and the illustrations are sweet without being saccharine.
Someday – this one is really for parents, a book about the things we wish for our children (here, a daughter) and our love for them. Though I am not a fan of the sappy love-you books in general, I liked the simplicity of this one, and always love Peter Reynolds’ drawings. This would be a perfect gift for a mom friend with a daughter.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly – this simply illustrated version of the classic kids’ song features bold colours and cut-outs that let you see the accumulation of animals in her stomach – it’s a storytime favourite.
Treasury of Storybook Classics – there aren’t too many DVDs that I would recommend, but these are animated versions of really wonderful stories that remain true to text. They are created by the award-winning Weston Woods studio, and are very well-done. Two different packs are available, though an entire box set shows up at least once a year, too, if you prefer to hold out for that.
Barbara Reid Board Book pack – Reid is a national treasure, and this set of simple board books is a great example of how she captures so much, so easily. Highly recommended for a younger child!
Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas – I’m not always a Nancy fan, she can be a bit much for me, but I do like this tale for it’s focus on what’s important, as well as a sweetness that doesn’t get sticky.
The Magic School Bus Chapter Book boxed set – an older-kid spinoff for early chapter readers. I’m generally wary of spinoffs, but find that magic School bus does it fairly well, and I love that kids love them and even the study-averse learn some science painlessly along the way.
A Paddling of Ducks – this fun alphabet of animal group names is on Toronto Public Library’s “First and Best” list for under-fives this year. High praise, with only ten titles on that list!
Folk and Fairy Tales set – Jim Aylesworth is a solid storyteller, and his classic renditions of these old favourites are illustrated in beautiful, old-fashioned detail by Barbara McClintock. What a winning team!
Pigeon Trio – a major crowd-pleaser, these are a massive hit with anyone who loves the silly and interactive. They pretty much made Mo Willems, and he has only built on that to be a household name.
Chester pack – both the Chester books from Melanie Watt – funny, funny stuff here, and though they are tough for sharing with a crowd, kids really enjoy them.
If You Give a… collection – these books are great for younger kids, who love the consistent pattern, as well as the adorable star characters.
Klutz kits – the airplanes and dress-up dogs are good, old-fashioned, low-tech fun and sure to keep the right kid busy for a while. These make good gifts, with everything they need right there.
Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas – Usborne’s art books are pretty good, and I like that these are widely varied, rather than seasonal, and look at different ways to use familiar materials.
Magic Tree House – there is both a boxed set (#9-16) and Christmas in Camelot on its own in this flyer. I still really enjoy these, and put them head and shoulders above most series, especially once they have grown to this size. they continue to make them interesting, magical, and informative, all at once, and they make a good bridge to fiction for readers who usually prefer non-fiction.
A Faith Like Mine – this book tkaes a look at religions around the world, introducing kids to their major holidays and beliefs in a simple, child-friendly way with DK’s typically photo-heavy format.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – both the set of #1-4 and #5 on its own are in this flyer. These books are funny, and a monster hit with kids, spawning a movie last year that only made them bigger. They would be a great gift, and are priced slightly below the hardcover price.
Spyology – the -ology books are really good, going way into a topic with lots of interactive goodies, so if you have or know a child who is fascinated with spies, this wuold be a terrific pick for them.
Scaredy Squirrel pack – three of the Scaredy Squirrel books together at a price that makes it easy to bring home the funny. Scaredy is a monster hit with kids, so if you don’t have any of these, it would be a win.
Klutz kits – both the Draw Funny and the Fingerprint Fabulous kits encourage kids to draw and get creative, and make really good gifts, since everything is there. I’m thinking of buying the fingerprint kit for traveling.
Big Nate Strikes Again – Big Nate is a great next read for lovers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School – these are on the younger end of the flyer, say grades 3-4, but the stories are hits with fans of silly, offbeat stories, and Sachar is a Newbery author, so these have been pretty popular.
Chronicles of Narnia – This fantasy series is a serious classic, and the fact that movies are being made of them is bringing them to the attention of a whole new bunch of kids. The boxed set (#43) has them all, or Voyage of the Dawn Treader is on offer on its own, if you are collecting them one at a time.
Truce – if you are looking for a heartwarming holiday story for an older kid, this one is a winner. It even suits non-fiction readers, as the story of a Christmastime truce is a true one.
Klutz kits and Usborne’s Drawing Cartoons books – cootie catchers, animation, and drawing are all great ways to get kids reading directions and fun, gimmick-free activities. Terrific gifts for creative kids.
The 39 Clues – This ongoing mystery series is fascinating a lot of kids, and is written by some of today’s most poopular authors – Gordon Korman and Rick Riordan among them.
Bone – this graphic novel series is really popular, and with good reason – the style is really kid-accessible, and the story is both adventure-filled and funny. This book contains the fir
st three books, enough to get well into the story.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – both the set of #1-4 and #5 on its own are in this flyer. These books
are funny, and a monster hit with kids, spawning a movie last year that
only made them bigger. They would be a great gift, and are priced
slightly below the hardcover price.
Guys Read: Funny Business – Jon Scieszka has made it his mission to create the kind of books that boys will love and keep boys reading. His own books have always been hits with both genders, and here, he marshalls lots of big names to create an anthology sure to win over even a reluctant guy. (For more good guy reads, see his website, guysread.com, for booklists!)
Harry Potter boxed set – need I say more, really? If you are in the market for the full set in hardcover, this is actually a substantial savings over the list price of $225.
Dear Canada – historical fiction in a diary format, these place children at important moments in Canadian history to describe what it must have been like. The series is written by strong Canadian authors like Jean Little. The fact that this series is pretty much all girls does mean it appeals more to them – there is a “brother” series, as well, wroth looking out for.
Percy Jackson library – these books are worth the hype, truly. Based on greek mythology, they follow the familiar quest archetype (cough*HarryPotter*cough) through five books in which Percy becomes quite the hero. No surprise that they turned the first one into a movie – these are so full of action, you can see it happening as you read.
The Lost Hero – the next series about Camp Half Blood is sure to be another great hit, and Riordan is a fun writer, so if your kid liked the Percy Jackson set, they will be clamouring for this one.
And finally – of the classic fare on the back page? My pick would be The Winter Room. Paulsen is an engaging writer, and the promise of a mysterious secret is a strong hook.
you got the Holiday Gift Books flyer this month, take a look at last
month’s post, where I found lots of good stuff in there.