Books as Gifts
Holiday Buying Guide 2006
Reading Rockets' third annual buying guide makes it easy to find good books kids will enjoy. Click below to browse through the buying guide online or download the 2006 guide (263K PDF) as a one-page handout you can easily take to the library or store.
Browse through the 2006 holiday buying guide online or download and print the PDFs before you head out to the library or store.
- Download the 2006 guide for all ages (263K PDF)
- See books for 0-4 year olds or download the list (254K PDF)
- See books for 4-5 year olds or download the list (276K PDF)
- See books for 6-7 year olds or download the list (310K PDF)
- See books for 8-9 year olds or download the list (263K PDF)
For 4-5 year olds
An Egg is Quiet
Eggs are things of beauty and great diversity. Some are large, others small. Some eggs are patterned or spotted, others are one color. Elegant illustrations and straightforward text introduce the wonder and variety of eggs, including the most exciting part — what's inside them!
Black? White! Day? Night! A Book of Opposites
Lift the flap and black turns to white at the start of this unusual and sophisticated book of opposites. Bold colors and carefully crafted die-cuts reveal a series of unexpected opposites. Readers are sure to delight in the surprise of each page turn.
Cherries and Cherry Pits
Bidemmi is a budding artist and a careful observer of the world around her. As she weaves together stories and drawings of the people in her neighborhood, she ties the tales together through cherries — buying them, sharing them, and enjoying them. Learn how Bidemmi uses cherries to create her vision for the future in this brightly colored and softly crafted book that understands and speaks to young children.
Chuck gets in his truck only to be joined by a duck named Luck, dogs Nip and Tuck, and other animals! Soon a rollicking good adventure begins in a predictable rhyming pattern, with textured, colorful illustrations.
Corduroy, a teddy bear, comes to life to search for his lost button after the store closes. Though he doesn't find the button, he does find friendship in this enduring tale.
Five for a Little One
Introduce children to the five senses in this delightfully offbeat book, with a flop-eared bunny as your guide. Snappy, rhythmic language and expressive, jaunty illustrations create a book ideal for sharing.
Good Night, Gorilla
When is a gorilla like Curious George? When he (and a parade of animals) follow the zookeeper home at bedtime — and snuggles in with the zookeeper's wife with very fast and funny results.
Guess Whose Shadow?
Shadows come in all sizes and shapes, but where do they come from? An understandable explanation and an engaging guessing game provide the answer, and encourage children to look closely at everyday objects. Vibrant, full-color photographs help illustrate this scientific phenomenon, making it accessible to very young children.
Little Red Hen
When an industrious red hen finds seeds, the other animals refuse to help her plant them. But when the little red hen finally bakes the bread from the wheat she has grown, the others are all eager to eat it! Luminous, realistic, highly-detailed watercolors breathe freshness into this traditional tale.
Once Upon a Banana
When a small monkey spies a banana, he leaves the juggler and starts a chain of events that create chaos and laughs for the reader. Careful readers will note that the signs, which rhyme when read in sequence, add to the humor of this nearly wordless adventure and bring the story full circle.
Sparkle and Spin: A Book about Words
This classic book is a playful celebration of words — their power, music, and even their trickiness. Crisp, colorful graphic art combines with the text, creating humor and providing insight into our lyrical language. This classic title is as fresh as when it was first published.
Take Care, Good Knight
When the wizard asks the little dragons to take care of his cats, they work hard to follow the instructions he left behind. They take the cats swimming, put them in a cupboard, and then take them camping — all because, as the Good Knight discovers, the small dragons have not quite mastered reading! Alliterative language and lighthearted illustrations make this a delightful tale of humorous misinterpretations.
We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey Through Tanzania
Stylized illustrations and rhyming text take readers on a counting journey led by three Masai children through their richly diverse east African country. Along the way, they count the animals (in English and Swahili) that live in the grasslands. Additional information and a map are included.
The adventure of Christopher Robin, his friends, Pooh ("the bear of very little brain"), and the other animals in the Hundred Acre Wood remain as fresh as Milne's language and Shepard's line illustrations, presented here on sturdy, cream-colored pages. The narrator's voice of the audio book is well-matched for the tone of A. A. Milne's writing.
For 0-4 year olds
Warm illustrations of babies in action are paired with rhyming text in this small, sturdy book. Babies may see themselves in the pages, and the simple language may encourage them to act out the rhymes too!
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed
Ella Sarah is a young child with a mind of her own, especially when she’s dressing for her own tea party. Despite gentle prods from her family, Ella Sarah selects her favorite, slightly outrageous outfit. Illustrated in bold form, expressive line, and opaque colors with minimal text, this story is sure to delight headstrong heroines everywhere.
Nancy loves being fancy and shares her enthusiasm with her family who all dress up and go out for pizza — fancy, of course! Nancy’s bubbly narration is matched by expressive illustrations that convey the affectionate and unique family, and their support for each other.
Feast for Ten
From one shopping cart to ten helping hands, the family shops, cooks, and then together shares a festive meal. Rhyming text and crisp illustrations show a warm extended family that brings joy to everyday activities.
Hush! A Thai Lullaby
A loving mother asks animals from a water buffalo to a lizard to "hush" so her baby can sleep. Once the noises stop, the mother herself sleeps — and the baby is now awake! Textured illustrations evoke the Thai setting and convey the understated humor of this unique bedtime book.
Move Over, Rover!
When it starts to rain, Rover is pleased that other animals join him in his doghouse. That is, until a skunk finds his way there — and everyone exits! When the storm is over, Rover enjoys a bone and the solitude of his doghouse. Expressive illustrations and animated, rhythmic language make for a satisfying story.
Mr. Cookie Baker
Mr. Baker gets up early to make cookies each morning. After mixing, cutting, baking, and decorating them he is ready for his customers — a group of hungry children. Straightforward text and clean-lined illustrations relate the simple, satisfying story. Several of Mr. Cookie Baker’s tasty-looking recipes are included.
My Book Box
What can you do with a box? Join a small elephant as he explores the possibilities and finally settles on a book box. Instructions for making your own book box are included.
My Friend Rabbit
Rabbit always thinks of things to do even though they often lead to trouble. When Mouse's toy airplane gets stuck in a tree, Rabbit's animal ladder is sure to release it — with very funny results in this 2003 Caldecott Medal-winning book.
My Very First Library
Split pages are used for matching games between the covers of four books, each dealing with a different concept (colors, shapes, numbers and words) that matches with a familiar object on the bottom. Carle’s books, with his signature style of illustration, have been newly formatted and presented in a boxed set.
Nights of the World
This delightful bedtime story shares daytime activities and nighttime rituals from around the globe. Regardless of where they live, children play by day, laugh, and make lots of noise. At night, their eyes are closed. "Shh! Good night..."
Pancakes for Breakfast
On a cold morning, a little old lady decides to make pancakes for breakfast, but has a hard time finding all of the ingredients. This wordless picture book tells a story of determination and humor, ideal for young readers who can narrate the story as they go.
Rosie, a hen, takes a walk — oblivious to the fox that is following her. Rosie unwittingly leads the hungry fox from one disaster to the next until she returns safely home. The simple text notes only Rosie's trip around the farm, making the strong line and bright colors of the illustration all the more striking and very funny.
Too Many Tamales
For their family's Christmas celebration, María's mother makes lots of tamales. But while María is helping out, she tries on her mother's ring and loses it in the dough. Without telling the adults, María and her young relatives try to find it — by eating all the tamales!
Whistle for Willie
Oh, how Peter wished he could whistle to call his dog, Willie. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to make the sound come out — until one day he could! The simple description of a child’s yearning is told in natural language and charming collage illustrations.
Short poems and translucent watercolors capture the sights, the cold, and the fun of winter. A squirrel, however, "scolds and scolds/this mean white stuff/that stole his snack/and chills his toes."
For 6-7 year olds: To read with you
Owen’s singing, banjo-playing Granny goes out “to cross one river, one mountain, and a desert” just to see her bluegrass-loving grandbaby. Lilting, rhythmic language and evocative illustrations carry the reader all the way to the musical reunion of Granny and Owen.
Daddy Goose Treasury: Stories from Favorite Nursery Rhymes
Take off with Daddy Goose to hear the stories behind well-known Mother Goose rhymes. Meet Speeder Spider (of “Little Miss Muffet” fame) who is fed up with never having a playmate, and learn how Old King Cole once again became a merry soul after losing his pipe. Varied illustrations create a comic tone for the rhymes and accompanying tales.
Our World: A Child's First Picture Atlas
Children are invited to travel the globe using current maps, informative pictures, and text inserts. National Geographic's engaging format and suggested activities encourage adults and children to explore the world together, and bring faraway places a little closer to home.
Racketty-Packetty House (100th Anniversary Edition)
Cynthia’s old dollhouse is relegated to a dismal corner of the nursery once she receives her new Tidy Castle as a birthday present. Could a little help from a fairy queen save Racketty-Packetty House and its inhabitants from the fate of most old dolls and their out-of-date houses? Burnett’s classic has been newly illustrated in sepia-toned illustrations that capture the tale’s old world charm and timeless quality.
Señor Cat's Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America
Spanish words add flavor to these appealing folktales, cuentos favoritos, carefully illustrated to reflect their Latin American roots. Readers young and old will recognize Juan Bobo's foolishness, and delight in the sound of the language in the tale of Little Half Chick. Like all folktales, these are ideal for sharing aloud.
Tell Me a Story, Mama
As a child gets ready for bed, she implores, "Tell me a story, Mama," then proceeds to tell it herself. Mama adds only to punctuate the girl’s story with maternal wisdom. This warm story, told in two voices, reflects how children make family stories their own.
The Extinct Files: My Science Project
Wally starts his science project on his iguana, Spike, but is soon sidetracked by his observations which prove that dinosaurs are not extinct, but live and thrive in his neighborhood! “Photographs” and notes are often laugh-out-loud funny and cleverly formatted to look like a notebook bound with yarn.
For 8-9 year olds: To read on their own
Blackbeard the Pirate King
Blackbeard’s story is “a tale to billow a pirate’s sail!” Told here in a series of poems, including brief bits of factual information and dramatic images, this is a book that will capture the imagination of any pirate enthusiast. An author’s note provides additional information, a timeline and sources for what we know about this fierce pirate.
The early life of Mexican muralist Diego Rivera is presented in simple, yet revealing language in both Spanish and English. Accompanied by richly colored illustrations, this book is reminiscent of the folk art and themes in Rivera's work.
Horns and Wrinkles
Folks who live near the Mississippi River know that it’s magic. When mysterious things begin to happen in the riverside town of Blue Wing, Claire and her nasty cousin, Duke, set off on an adventure to find answers. The clever plot blends fantastical elements and unique characters, as unexpected as the turns in the river, in this rich novel for accomplished readers.
Experience the explosion of color and movement of jazz as you pulsate with its beat in a vibrant series of poems and paintings. This father-and-son team explores a variety of jazz forms in an unforgettable book.
In 2008, the first Odyssey Award for distinguished children's/young adult audiobook was presented to this read-along title. This package brings together the illustrations of the book with the featured Jazz music.
Koko was an extraordinary real-life great ape who learned hand signs to communicate with her teacher (and the author of this book). For her birthday, Koko wanted a cat. Full-color photographs emphasize not only the size difference between Koko and her kitten, but the affection and trust they shared. This sensitive and revealing glimpse at animal communication is sure to win over animal lovers of all ages.
Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything
Ruby Lu is an exuberant second grader who takes her responsibility to help her cousin transition from China to his new school in America. Unfortunately, it lands both children in summer school where Ruby remains daunted by a long book. The humor lies in the ordinary of a likeable, effusive child who just happens to be Chinese American.
The Earth Dragon Awakes
Henry and Chin both live in San Francisco, both are about eight years old, both adore “penny dreadfuls,” and both survive the 1906 earthquake. Chapters alternate between Henry and Chin’s narrations to provide a look at what happened in very different parts of the city on that fateful day. The story of destruction and survival is told from the perspective of two young boys.
The Secret Science Project that Almost Ate the School
The laughs begin even before a third grader’s science project – Super Slime – gets out, and things quickly get out of hand! Goopy, frumpy, and slightly gross illustrations accompany the rhyming text, and is sure to cause laughter as the school is almost consumed.
The White Elephant
Run Run is a young elephant handler – a mahout – who lives in old Siam with his beloved elephant, Walking Mountain. When the boy and his elephant accidentally insult a spiteful prince, Run Run turns the prince's "gift that is a curse" — a sacred white elephant — into a blessing. Their riveting story is told by a Newbery Medal-winning author.
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
Why did the chicken cross the road? He could be running from approaching zombie chickens or just joining a bunch of buddies for a picnic. Different illustrators use various techniques to provide a (mostly) visual answer to the time-worn question with lots of laughs along the way!
For 8-9 year olds: To read with you
Emeril's There's A Chef in My World! Recipes That Take You Places
People the world over have one thing in common: from England to China, from Greece to Brazil and all places in-between, everyone eats! Starting with kitchen basics, the well-known chef guides a world culinary tour. Adults and kids are bound to enjoy making and eating these tempting recipes.
Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini
How did a poor boy named Ehrich Weiss became the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini? The author, best known for his original tall tales and novels, demonstrates his ability to tell a spellbinding true story and shares his appreciation for the mystery of magic.
Ever wonder why some people’s eyes look red in a photograph or why egg whites can literally be whipped into shape? The Exploratorium has the answers! This hands-on museum is in San Francisco, California, but its discoveries are now available in the form of a book. With some curiosity, a bit of experimentation, and some insight from museum folk, you can explore this museum from your own home. This intriguing book can inspire curious minds of all ages.
Lugalbanda: The Boy Who Got Caught Up in a War
In ancient times there lived a prince named Lugalbanda, the youngest and weakest of seven sons. He never expected to achieve greatness, but he discovers his true strength when he is called upon to save his brothers and bring peace to his land. Jewel-toned illustrations make the ancient epic accessible and appealing to modern readers.
Molly wants to return to Russia, but her mother reminds her that the Cossacks have burned the synagogues. There is no going back. The endless teasing of her classmates makes home feel even farther away. But when Molly’s mother makes a pilgrim for Thanksgiving, Molly recognizes the similarities to her own journey and gains acceptance and admiration from her classmates. This story is based on an experience from the author’s family.
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Dramatic full color illustrations (which won a Caldecott Honor) and splendid, poetic language depict the bravery of Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery on a Maryland plantation only to return again and again to help other slaves escape. Deeply religious, Harriet became known as the Moses of her people and a conductor on the Underground Railroad.
Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters & Other Wily Characters
Inspired by stories she heard as a child, the author presents original tales steeped in oral tradition and imbued with the African American experience. Rich language and memorable characters create a collection to be shared aloud time and time again on front porches or anywhere else.
For 6-7 year olds: To read on their own
How High Can a Dinosaur Count? And Other Math Mysteries
Alliterative language and crisp illustrations present 15 “math mysteries” to solve. Answers – and more to think about – are presented at the end of this playful and engaging book.
Animals move in different ways. They swing, dive, and dance across the pages and through the book, propelled by highly textured collages on open pages. Typeface and illustration combine to present a look at animal locomotion on land and in water. Additional information about the animals is included.
Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn
When old Mr. Putter decides to join his neighbor's knitting club, he and his faithful feline companion Tabby contribute chaos and laughs for readers. Lighthearted illustrations add to the fast-paced fun.
When a boy in a red sweatshirt lags behind his classmates on a field trip to an art museum, he discovers a group of maze pictures. Amazingly, he finds himself small enough to go into the labyrinths — and out again with a medal. Was his adventure real or imagined? Once reunited with his class, he still has his medal, so who's to say? Crisp images tell the entire story without words.
Nate the Great
Meet Nate the Great, the neighborhood detective. He's just finishing up breakfast (pancakes, of course) when his friend Annie calls, asking his help to find a missing painting. Can Nate's keen powers of observation and deductive reasoning save the day?
One Leaf Rides the Wind
This richly illustrated collection of haiku poems is a counting book as well as an introduction to Japanese gardens and to a poetic form. From one leaf chased by a little girl to 10 stone lanterns, this garden can be enjoyed on several levels.
A closer look at the four seasons is presented through questions and answers (“Does everyone have four seasons?”) and evocative poems. Large illustrations depict the unique wonders of each time of year.
Play, Mozart, Play!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was not only a famous composer and a musical genius; his father turned him into a child sensation! Limited language but rich, detailed, and varied illustrations introduce the essence of the boy and his music.
The thrill is mixed with just a bit of anxiety when you are finally tall enough to ride the huge roller coaster! Expressive line and wash illustrations convey the motion of a roller coaster with text looping and swirling around the pages. The breakneck speed will delight, excite, and amaze young readers.
The Patchwork Quilt
When Tanya's much loved grandmother becomes ill, Tanya inspires the entire family to help her finish the quilt — and the family history it reveals. This warm story is lovingly told with sensitive, beautiful watercolor illustrations.
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