Last-minute ideas for great children's books

Still undecided about which children's book to buy for this holiday? Don't fret. Below you'll find two terrific books, hot off the press, and one book to borrow from your local library that is also available in local bookstores.

Amid your other gifts, remember to include a book or two for the child in your life. No matter which way you look at it, the gift of a book is one of the best gifts you can give. Children may loose interest in their toys after awhile, but a good book can become a cherished friend. Books can feed the mind and the soul, and they're the only gift that you can open again and again.

Happy Holidays, and happy reading!

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries and favorite bookstores.

"Parts" written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold, Dial Books, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 5Ð6 and older. Read yourself: 7 and older.

Among the endless questions children have about themselves and their world, author/artist Tedd Arnold has pinpointed some of the more delicate (and funny) concerns children have about their own bodies.

"I think it was three days ago

I first became aware-

That in my comb were caught a couple

Pieces of my hair.

I stared at them, amazed, and more

Than just a bit appalled

To think that I was only five

And starting to go bald!"

From loosing hair to peeling skin to teeth falling out, these and other very real concerns that children have are dealt with in the most hilarious manner.

For everyone who likes a good laugh and for all the children who are anxious about their physical well being, this delightful book with its comical illustrations is bound to be a winner in your home.

Librarian's choice

Library: Carson City Library, 900 North Roop St., Carson City

Library director: Sally Edwards

Youth Services librarian: Cory King

Choices this week: "Owl Moon" by Jane Yolen; "Diary of a Worm" by Doreen Cronin; "A Single Shard" by Linda Sue Park

Books to buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"The King of Mulberry Street" by Donna Jo Napoli, Wendy Lamb Books, 2005, 245 pages, $15.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 8 and older. Read yourself: age 8Ð9 and older.

The year is 1892, and nine-year-old Dom is a stowaway aboard a ship sailing from Italy to New York City. Dom thought his mother was aboard the ship, too, but when he finds she isn't, he tries to make sense of what is happening to him. With only the clothes on his back and the new pair of shoes his mother had purchased for him, Dom arrives in New York alone, hungry, and no where to live.

Dom must first find a way to get past the immigration officials. Then, he must avoid the cruel padroni - men who pay the passages for homeless boys and force them into begging to line the padroni's pockets. With no knowledge of English, no money, and no place to call home, Dom must find a way to survive.

Brilliantly written, this suspenseful historical novel is at once heartbreaking and optimistic.

"Penelope in the Winter." written and illustrated by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben, Scholastic, 2005, 10 pages, $12.95 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3-5. Read yourself: age 6-7.

The adorable blue koala bear, Penelope, loves winter and playing outside. Readers can play along with her by pulling the ten different sturdy tabs to help Penelope find her mittens and boots, build a snowman, go sledding, ski down the hill, and finally get ready for bed.

A charming, simple story full of interactive fun, young children are sure to love this selection.

n Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached by e-mail at


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