Fall 2006  ShoppeTALK
San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe 

A Bumper Crop of Great New Picture Books
As summer turns to fall, and fall turns to winter, a lovely book to read will be FLETCHER AND THE FALLING LEAVES, written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke. One day, Fletcher bounds out of his den, only to see the leaves of his favorite tree beginning to turn brown and fall off. Fletcher does everything he can to help his ailing tree — he speaks sweet, comforting words of encouragement, he tries to gather and reattach the fallen leaves, he even tries to keep the squirrel and hedgehog from using the poor leaves to prepare for the coming winter. But when the last leaf falls, a dejected Fletcher sadly gives up and goes home. And wakes up the next morning to a magical surprise! Young children will love this sweet, beautifully illustrated homage to the changing seasons. (Ages 3 and up, $15.99) LB

A wonderful, bouncy, colorful read-aloud for the youngest of picture book audiences is OVERBOARD, written by Sarah Weeks and illustrated by Sam Williams. In rhythmic, rhyming text, we see the irrepressible Bunny flinging all his belongings overboard — over high chair, bathtub, crib, changing table, stroller — “Heave ho,” it all goes “Overboard!” With just the right amount of repetition in the text, this practically perfect picture book has plenty of opportunity for youngsters to join in. A winner!  (Ages 2–5, $14.00) LB
Margery Cuyler and Will Hillenbrand have actually made a book of rules for getting along on the playground into so much fun that we can just hear children chiming in with their own suggestions of the right way to play. In PLEASE PLAY SAFE! Penguin’s Guide to Playground Safety, Cuyler wisely puts together short scenarios depicting examples of everyday playground behavior that should be avoided, and then asks “Is that right?” To which the kids always get to reply, “No that’s wrong!” and then they can see why. Hillenbrand’s illustrations have so much personality, kids will see themselves and their friends in the various animals on the playground and root for them to learn to play nicely. And they will certainly want to “play again soon!”  
(Ages 3-7, $15.99) LB

“Every Saturday morning a particular cow went for a particular walk. Usually nothing particular happened.” Sounds innocent enough, until one particular Saturday, when things get exciting. It all begins with a pair of bloomers — that’s right, underpants! — and the story goes on to string together a series of the unlikeliest events a cow could ever expect to experience, on any Saturday at all. Postman, bride, sailors, talking flies: one thing just seems to lead to another. Mem Fox’s A PARTICULAR COW, with illustrations by Terry Denton, shows how anybody can have a particularly hilarious Saturday, if he or she just finds the right clothesline to walk into! (Ages 3–7, $16.00) LB

More New Picture Books
David Wiesner has received two Caldecott Medals (for Tuesday and The Three Little Pigs) and two Caldecott Honors (for Sector 7 and Free Fall). In FLOTSAM, he turns his considerable skills to a story that begins with a boy at the seashore. Armed with magnifying glass, microscope, binoculars, shovels, buckets and boxes, this boy means to find out what goes on beneath the surface of his beach. When he finds an underwater camera that has no owner, he develops the roll of film inside. What he discovers on the prints are breathtaking worlds beyond imagining — magnificent views of creatures so surreal they could only come from the mind of an artist like Wiesner. But the story does not end there. The boy also finds mysterious photos of children holding up mysterious photos of children. Using magnifying glass and microscope, the boy delves into the secrets of the mysterious camera. Breathtakingly detailed illustrations will give readers much to pore over, just as the cyclical nature of the story gives them much to ponder.     (Ages 5–11, $17.00) LB

On her way to the market, Jenna meets Baby Elephant, who thinks she has a funny trunk, Robin, who thinks she has a silly beak, Fly, who thinks she has a strange shortage of eyes, and goldfish, who thinks she has goofy gills. To all of these creatures Jenna replies “Excuse me,” and goes on to inform each of them that she is a big girl whose nose, mouth, eyes, and ears are exactly as they should be. And they do a wide variety of wonderful smelling, eating, talking, kissing, seeing, and hearing activities in her daily life with her loving family. Jenna is a smart and spunky girl who appreciates the differences of her newfound friends and, in turn, demands to be appreciated by them. In A BEAUTIFUL GIRL, Amy Schwartz gives us a compelling story of unlikely friendship among these very different creatures.
(Ages 1–6, $16.95) LB
Picking up where history left off is THE 39 APARTMENTS OF LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Barry Blitt. Fascinated by the fairly bizarre facts that the great composer lived in no fewer than 39 apartments and owned five legless pianos, Winter offers an increasingly absurd tall tale about the creative process of his subject. “Did our hero really pour water over his head? Why did he live in so many different apartments? And what were those apartments like?” These are some of the questions the author sets out to answer, but more importantly, he wonders how those five very-difficult-to-move pianos made it from apartment to apartment. Somehow involved in all of this is a “hideous stinky cheese smell,” a system of pulleys, a slide, a catapult … well, you get the idea. An author’s note at the end of the book puts this very funny story into a more serious, historical perspective. (Ages 4–9, $15.95) LB

“What can I do with a box?” That is the question posed by writer and illustrator Will Hillenbrand in this charming picture book for budding young book lovers. Obviously bug box, pizza box, and hide-and-seek box are some good ideas, illustrated with much humor and kid appeal, but our elephant with his froggy sidekick knows he has come up with just the right answer when he decides to make a book box. Now his imagination really takes off as he shows us just how much fun a book box can be. As Elephant tells us after his many adventures, “My book box is my treasure box. It has everything I need.” And, most importantly, “it helps me to have sweet dreams.” And so will little readers when they cuddle up with MY BOOK BOX. (Ages 2–5, $16.00) LB
For kids who like to search and find, ALPHABET EXPLOSION! An Astounding, Bedazzling Counting Book, by John Nickle, is just the thing. There is something here for every level of seeker. Each page features exotic examples of words beginning a letter of the alphabet. Some are easy to find, some much more challenging, some quite ordinary, some much more fantastic. Kids will spend hours playing with both language and numbers as they search through everything from a blue baboon named Bob who is bowling with butterflies around his head to a pipe-smoking, patch-wearing pirate poodle who is painting a paper hat-wearing parrot. And much, much more!    
(Ages 4–8, $16.95) LB

California author June Sobel, teaming up with talented illustrator Laura Huliska-Beith, has created an enchanting bedtime picture book. Worried about flying post 9/11, Sobel wrote THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN after taking a cross-country train trip with her son. From the opening pages, we see that Sobel and Huliska-Beith’s train is a very special one. As the sun sets, children and train get ready for the journey to Dreamland. “Find your sleepers! Grab your teddy. Climb right up! Your bed is ready!” Colors change from evening orange to nighttime blue as the train wends its way up hills and through tunnels, rhythmically rocking little readers to sleep. Sobel has flawlessly filled her book with the language of bedtime and trains, and Huliska-Beith’s illustrations bring an incredible depth and playfulness to the text. This book will surely send sleepy children off to Dreamland feeling happy.  (Ages 2–5, $16.00) LB
In MAMA, I’LL GIVE YOU THE WORLD, Luisa’s mama works hard every day at Walter’s World of Beauty. Luisa joins her after school, doing her homework and studying hard. What Luisa wants more than anything is to see her serious mama smiling, happy, and maybe even dancing! With Mama’s birthday coming up, and with the help of her favorite customers, Luisa plans a special surprise. Roni Schotter’s text is beautifully crafted, with each detail magically placed to enrich the story. S. Saelig Gallagher’s paintings deftly illustrate this story of the special kind of love that can exist between mother and daughter.  (Ages 4–8, $16.95) LB

The father and son duo, writer Walter Dean Myers and artist Christopher Myers, have collaborated to produce a stunning tribute to the musical genre known as JAZZ. Walter Myers introduces us to basic information about the creative, improvisational nature of this American art form, as well as some facts about its birth and history. He then goes on to create 15 glorious poems celebrating its artists, instruments, and the music itself. Christopher Myers’ paintings are strong and bold, his colors vibrant and his figures always in motion. His hands and faces tell stories every bit as compelling as his father’s words do. A glossary of jazz terms and a timeline conclude this work. We thank the Myers combo for this rare JAZZ treat. 
(All ages, $18.95) LB
MOSES: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom is a fictional story based on the spiritual journey of this strong woman, who freed herself from slavery and then led as many as three hundred other slaves to freedom as well. In lovely poetic prose, Carole Boston Weatherford describes the conversations she imagined Harriet had with her God. Harriet believed that the Lord called on her to lead her people to freedom using the Underground Railroad. In this story, we see how she might have spoken of her troubles to God, how she must have worried, how she found the strength to go on, and how she found the ingenuity not to get caught. Kadir Nelson’s paintings evoke Harriet’s deep sense of faith as well as her inherent strength. A forward describes the practice of slavery in the United States from 1619 to 1865, while an author’s note gives us historical information on Harriet Tubman’s life. (Ages 5–8, $15.99) LB

New Chapter Books For Ages 5–12

Meet CLEMENTINE. She’s the one that the teachers are always telling to “Pay attention!” She says she is. After all, who else but her notices that the art teacher has an egg stain the shape of a pelican on her scarf? She’s so helpful that when her friend Margaret gets glue in her hair and tries to cut it off, she helps out by cutting the rest to even it up, and then borrows her mother’s permanent markers and … well you get the kind of kid she is — helpful but invariably in trouble. She’s gifted in math, creative in art and is truthful…“well, okay, fine”, not always. She’s just turned eight and suspects her parents are plotting to get rid of her. Sara Pennypacker’s irrepressible new heroine is fun and so are the black and white illustrations by Marla Frazee that appear on almost every page, “okay, fine”, on almost every other page. This is a good selection for parents looking for chapter books to read aloud to younger kids, and a good read-alone for independent readers.  (Ages 5–10, $14.99) JFS
HORNS AND WRINKLES, by Joseph Helgerson, offers a glimpse of the magic hiding just out of sight along the banks of the northern Mississippi River. When Claire’s cousin Duke bullies her once too often, he magically sprouts a rhinoceros horn where his nose had been. Though Claire knows he deserves it, she needs to get to the bottom of this mystery, which becomes increasingly more complicated. Before long, her Uncle Norm, Aunt Phyllis, and the family spaniel have been turned to stone, followed by Grandpa Bridgewater, Dr. Moneybaker, and the town sheriff. With the help of three river trolls, two blue fairies, and the ever troublesome Duke, Claire must outsmart the great rock troll, Bodacious Deepthink, rescue a large number of rhino-boys, and restore her family to living, breathing flesh and blood. Claire’s spunk and humanity are inspiring in this zany, clever fantasy for young readers. (Ages 9–12, $16.00) LB

John Hawkins writes that he wants to set the story straight about how he and his brother Tom conspired to rescue their beloved and very clever dog, Mouse, from certain death. Tom is ill and the doctors have ordered Mouse removed from the household to avoid potential infection. Their mother has condemned Mouse to the pound but the brothers and Mouse agree that John must deliver Mouse to an uncle, their late father’s brother, they only know by reputation as “taciturn” and reclusive. His home is miles away and John and Mouse’s journey through the English countryside is filled with many adventures, involving a series of rescues that culminate in a touching reunion. Readers will discover that the title for L. S. Matthews’ story, A DOG FOR LIFE has more than one meaning in this heartwarming novel. (Ages 10–13, $14.95) JFS
For almost all of his ten years Moon Blake has lived off the land in the wilds of an Alabama forest with a father, a Viet Nam vet, who has taught him how to hunt, fish, grow vegetables, make traps, stay warm in a well-concealed shelter and to avoid all contact with the outside world, particularly the government. Before his father dies from injuries following an accident, he tells Moon to get to Alaska where he might live off the land. He urges him to leave soon because someone is building a hunting lodge near their secret hideaway. But among the things he hasn’t taught Moon is how to handle loneliness. Their one link with the outside world is a storekeeper who trades bullets and salt for their meat and vegetables. When Moon reveals to him that his father is dead, the law steps in and Moon is sent to a state run home for boys. Moon is frantic to leave the facility and enlists two other boys to break out with him. A manhunt follows, lead by a constable who considers Moon an outlaw and will stop at nothing, including lying, to re-capture him. ALABAMA MOON, a first novel for Watt Key, should receive a strong welcome from readers of gritty, real-life outdoor adventure and suspense like Holes and Hatchet.    (Ages 10+, $17.00) JFS

Donna Jo Napoli’s Stones in the Water (published in 1997) began the gripping story of twelve-year-old Roberto who was kidnapped by the Germans from his home in Venice, Italy, during World War II and sent to a labor camp in Eastern Europe. Now, after almost ten years, comes her sequel, FIRE IN THE HILLS, continuing his story. Roberto, now fourteen, escapes and is desperate to get home to his family. He dodges floating mines, fires, and bombs as he swims to mainland Italy. Evading German soldiers on the roads by hiding in the woods and traveling at night, he begs for food and water from the farms he passes along his way. Roberto is captured by Germans and escapes yet again, but it seems like he will never get back to his family. On one of the farms, Roberto meets a member of the resistance movement, Volpe Rossa (a woman whose name means Red Fox), and realizes that he must help rid his beloved Italy of the Germans once and for all, even if it means sacrificing his chances of reuniting with his family.
(Ages 12+, $16.99) LB
Jim Thorpe, a Sac and Fox Indian, was born in Oklahoma in 1887. Before he died, he was considered by many people to be the world’s greatest athlete. Sent to Indian boarding schools, he loved playing sports more than anything. Eventually he found himself at Carlisle School in Pennsylvania, where he worked his way onto the track and football teams, and, under coach Pop Warner, became Carlisle’s star player. He earned gold medals at the 1912 Olympics in Sweden, and came home to a hero’s welcome. In JIM THORPE, ORIGINAL ALL AMERICAN author Joseph Bruchac shows us the story through Jim’s own eyes, using extensive research to let Jim himself tell the tale. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of this remarkable man’s youth and early years as sports legend, Indian in a white man’s world, and caring human being. It’s interesting to note that this is the second book about Thorpe to appear this year. For younger readers we recommend beginning with Bright Path by Don Brown reviewed in the summer newsletter. The two books work well together. (Ages 10+, $16.99) LB

Fans of Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl, and Enna Burning, will welcome a third book that stars the irrepressible Razo who played a minor role in the first two and comes into his own in RIVER SECRETS. The first novel, based loosely on a Grimm’s tale, introduces Princess Isi who is disguised as a Goose Girl in order to survive. When her true identity is revealed, she marries Prince Geric. In the second, the princess’s lady-in-waiting, Enna, the young woman who befriended Isi when they were servants together, has to use her gift of gathering fire to help defeat an invading army. RIVER SECRETS continues the story with representatives of Isi and Geric (now Queen and King) traveling to Tira, the country they have defeated, in order to begin peace negotiations with their former political enemies. Razo is sent and uses his skills of keen observation to discover who, among the people of Tiran, is trying to sabotage the peace process. (Ages 11+, $17.95) JFS

New Young Adult Fiction
Since the inception of a Young Adult Award Category (The Michael L. Printz Award), publishers have increased their commitment to publishing books for teenage readers. Often these books speak to issues of concern to older teenagers and sometimes the subject matter is what we adults call “edgy”. And often the books are categorized as Young Adult when in reality many adults find them as engaging and as well written as anything published in the adult market. We have tried to indicate suggested ages in our reviews to guide your selections. As always we are here to help you make good choices for your own reading and for the lucky recipients of your gifts.
Escaping from the slums where his mother drinks too much and hears voices, Cal wants to make a new and completely normal home with his well-to-do uncle in the suburbs. But when he gets off his train at the wrong station, he happens upon the mysterious castle of the Fisher King, and catches a glimpse of a powerful Grail. Cal, worried that he might be going crazy like his mother, cannot admit that he has actually seen them. But now the castle turns into a ruin and its inhabitants all disappear. The only thing left is a jeweled and exotic old sword. This leads Cal to a company of players who reenact the legends of King Arthur, and to his own personal quest for the Grail. In Catherine Fisher’s breathtaking novel, CORBENIC, Cal must decide what is real, what is imagined, and how he really wants to live his life. (Ages 12+, $16.99) LB

More Young Adult Fiction

In the past few years we have seen classics (most notably, Peter Pan) used as inspiration for brand new novels by contemporary authors. THE LOOKING GLASS WARS is Frank Beddor’s fantasy “re-construction” of the “real” story of Princess Alyss Heart of Wonderland, summarily changed (according to Beddor’s story) by Lewis Carroll. It’s an action packed version, with Alyss escaping from a power mad, blood thirsty, evil of all evils Aunt Redd who murders Alyss’s parents and destroys all they have worked to create. Alyss makes it into the parallel world of England, is adopted by the Liddells and becomes Alice. When she confides the truth of her origins to The Reverend Charles Dodgson, he takes liberties with her earnest confidences, making light of her “true” plight. It is only because of a relentless search over more than a decade, that her faithful protector Bibwit Harte (Dodgson’s anagram is “White Rabbit”) is able to find her at the moment she about to marry Prince Leopold, a son of Queen Victoria. She returns to Wonderland to overthrow the usurper Redd and save her decimated homeland. Beddor’s story is sophisticated, with creative arsenals never seen before out of “Wonderland” but this generation of teen readers seems to appreciate. Consider giving a copy of Carroll’s original story along with this one.
(Ages 12+, $16.99) JFS
Meg Rosoff’s first young adult novel, How I Live Now, won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2005. It was set in the English countryside where an American teenager and her English cousins must cope with a devastating twenty-first century war. Rosoff’s latest novel, JUST IN CASE, also set in contemporary England, features a more internal drama but is, in its own way, just as gripping. Fifteen-year old David Case experiences a moment of terror when he sees his baby brother about to fall from a second story window. The trauma of “what if” he had not looked up in time to save him sends him into a psychological tailspin. He is convinced he is doomed and devises ways to disguise himself from his inevitable “Fate.” First he changes his name to Justin Case, gets a new, cooler wardrobe, joins the track team, makes new friends and even falls in love with a sophisticated “older” woman. But “Fate” (Kismet) interrupts the story periodically to let the reader know that he is “on” to David (Justin). David’s friend, Peter, and his family provide a refreshing counterbalance to David’s panicky view of the world. Rosoff’s novel gives mature readers much food for thought right up to its relatively upbeat conclusion.
(Ages 14+, $16.95) JFS

FIRESTORM by David Klass, is the fast-moving first book of his new Caretaker Trilogy. Jack, who has just set a high school football record, is celebrating in a local diner when a stranger’s eyes flash him with a blinding light. Disturbed, Jack mentions it to his parents later that night, and discovers in that moment that nothing is as he thought it was: his parents are not his parents, he was really born a thousand years in the future, and he is the “beacon of hope” named in a prophecy to save the earth from total destruction. Jack is on the run before his powerful enemies find him, leaving behind all he has ever known. He quickly learns that he can trust no one, neither the huge, black, telepathic dog who becomes his sidekick, nor the ninja woman who must train him so he can stay alive long enough to find FIRESTORM. But what FIRESTORM is, and how Jack will use it to save the earth, no one seems to know. This book races along with wit and humor, as we learn, along with Jack, how to survive.
(Ages 14+, $18.00) LB

The time is 1500, in a small Spanish town where Estrella’s family has lived for 500 years and the day of the first burning of books is where Alice Hoffman’s powerful story, INCANTATION, begins. Estrella tells us of her family; her widowed mother who spins yarn and dyes it extraordinary shades of blue, her formidable grandmother Carmen, her learned and much beloved grandfather, and her brother Luis who is studying for the priesthood. All her sixteen years she has shared her secrets with her best friend, Catalina, until a “monster” is let loose in their town. And now she has too many secrets that will not be safe. As Hoffman layers her prose, lyrical and exquisite, the reader sees the painful truth gradually revealed. History books chronicle the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, but a historical recitation would be rare that could invoke the emotional impact of Hoffman’s INCANTATION. (Ages 13–Adult, $16.99) JFS

Hot Off The Press!

This is just what we’ve been waiting for! Editor/writer Colleen Bates and her crew of talented writers including Jill Alison Ganon, Sandy Gillis, Mary Jane Horton and Melody Malmberg have just published a fabulous new breed of guidebook entitled HOMETOWN PASADENA: The Insider’s Guide. This smart, witty insider’s guide to Pasadena (and the San Gabriel Valley) will make the perfect holiday gift for any person who lives (or has ever lived) in our wonderful community! Thank you ladies
and Prospect Park Books! $22.95

A Fabulous Collection of Christmas Books for All!
In this wonderful Christmas memoir, CHRISTMAS REMEMBERED, Tomie dePaola shares his love of the season in fifteen vivid memories filled with delightful twists and turns. Once again Tomie entertains us with his zest for living as he recalls past Christmases with family and friends, always celebrated in his irresistible style - sometimes with one tree, sometimes with eighty! H. Nichols B. Clark, director of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art states, "In this charming book of Christmas reminiscences the reader is treated to the artist’s signature art. But what one also sees is Tomie’s more experimental side from his use of faux-bois collage in homage of Picasso to the photomontage of candy canes and ribbon candy that blends a heightened sense of realism with an exquisite sense of design." (For all ages, $19.99)

The poem, "The Night Before Christmas," has become so much a part of Christmas that it’s hard to imagine the holiday without it. Now, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, newly illustrated by internationally acclaimed artist Gennady Spirin’s classic drawings convey the magic and rapture of St. Nick’s visit. From the shadows cast by his sleigh and eight reindeer on a snowy, moonlit roof to the twinkling eyes, merry dimples, and rosy cheeks of his friendly face, this book will warm the heart, nurture the spirit, and bring joy to all those who read it. "Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!" (For all ages, $16.99)
Award-winning artist Christopher Wormell debuts
his latest visual feast with THROUGH THE
ANIMALS’ EYES: A Story of the First Christmas
. Wormell’s magnificent wood engravings bring new meaning to the sacred story of the Nativity, as seen through the eyes of biblical animals. From dogs watching over the shepherds’ flocks when angels appear, to a charmed cobra performing in Herod’s court as the king tries to deceive the wise men, readers young and old will delight in Wormell’s trademark animal imagery. (For all ages, $18.95)

In a tiny little village blanketed with snow, Gregory mouse is ready to ring in the holidays in Mary Engelbriet’s A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS - Celebrate from A to Z! This adorable fellow, whom readers may recognize from Englebreit’s The Night Before Christmas, shares Christmas carols, sleigh rides, and gingerbread houses with his family and all the friends they’ve made in their new woodland home. As Christmas Eve draws near, they welcome readers to join them in celebrating the joys of the season. Starting with the angel atop the family tree, this playful Christmas alphabet is Mary Englebreit at her exuberant best! (Ages 3 and up, $16.99)
Margaret and H. A. Rey’s MERRY CHRISTMAS, CURIOUS GEORGE by Cathy Hapka introduces us to George at Christmas. George can’t wait to help the man with the yellow hat pick out their tree. But the curious little monkey gets a surprise when his favorite tree is carried off… with George hiding in its branches! Where will he end up? And what sorts of holiday adventures are awaiting him there?
(Ages 3 and up, $16.00)

Based on the beloved carol "The Little Drummer Boy", Mercer Mayer’s THE LITTLE DRUMMER MOUSE is a warm tale illuminating the origin of Christmas with cozy storytelling and glowing, beautifully detailed artwork. Mayer’s shy little drummer mouse finds his way to the manger and joyfully discovers that even he has a gift to share. This charming Nativity story, with its bustling woodland setting and the sparkle of December evenings, is perfect for family sharing in anticipation of that most special holiday. (Ages 3 and up, $16.99)
Have you ever wondered how Santa’s sleigh really
works? Or what reindeer eat? Or just how big the
North Pole’s mail room must be? Well, SANTA
by Rod Green illustrated by Jon Lucas,
Carol Wright and Simon Danaher is a must read for
you! This Christmas all of your questions will be
answered with this ultimate book of Santa Claus. This
is your lavish behind-the-scenes tour of the history,
the mystery, and the magic of Jolly St. Nick. Learn
about the clothes, the elves, and the gadgets that make
the man. Find out all the secrets about the man who
makes miracles happen every December 25th. This
book is jam packed with neverbefore-heard, top secret information about Santa Claus. An incredible design, flaps, foldouts, and holiday memorabilia makes SANTA CLAUS the must-have gift this Christmas! (Ages 4 and up, $19.95)

In CHRISTMAS USA, the creators of Christmas Around The World Mary D. Lankford and illustrated by Karen Dugan present a collection of American Christmas traditions and history that will fill your heart with the joy of the season. With fun facts, crafts, and recipes, they treat you to a nationwide Yuletide celebration and offer many tips and suggestions for creating heartwarming memories for your own family and friends. (Ages 8 and up, $15.99)
MERRY UN-CHRISTMAS - If you think Christmas comes only once a year…think again! For Noelle and her friends Holly, Carol and Claus, the most wonderful day of the year is Un-Christmas. It’s the only day of the year that they actually go to school. And the mail gets delivered. But the best thing about Un-Christmas Day is that they don’t have to open any presents! The zany duo of Mike Reiss and David Catrow team up once again, this time to reveal the true meaning of Un-Christmas. Kids who wish it were Christmas every day will think twice.
(Ages 4 and up, $15.99)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and in this great house the creature who stirred was a boy, not a mouse. And while upstairs his parents were dreaming and snoring, with Santa so close, sleep seemed pretty boring. Esteemed New Yorker cover artist Carter Goodrich tells the story of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas from the child’s point of view in A CREATURE WAS STIRRING - ONE BOY’S NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. With Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem on one side of every page, and a child’s comedic rhyming on the other, this magical book about seeing and dreaming of Santa Claus will inspire readers of all ages to believe.
(Ages 3 and up, $16.95)

Celebrate Hanukkah
In THE MIRACLE OF HANUKKAH author/illustrator Seymour Chwast has designed a unique stepped-page format to create a colorful
tableau that changes with each turn of the page. The story of Hanukkah begins in 165 B.C.E. when the Temple of Jerusalem was looted and turned into a temple to the Greek gods by Antiochus IV. Follow the Maccabees as they overcome all odds to defeat the Syrian army, restore the Temple, and experience the miracle of the burning oil during the first Hanukkah celebration. (Ages 4-8, $14.95)

I HAVE A LITTLE DREIDEL by Maxie Baum and illustrated by Julie Paschkis celebrates Hanukkah with a festive adaptation of the ever popular Dreidel Song. This favorite Hanukkah song is given new life in this charmingly illustrated variation. Following the traditional first verse (I have a little dreidel; I made it out of clay…), the rhyming text depicts a convivial family gathering to make latkes, light the menorah, and play a joyful game of dreidel, with each new stanza followed by the familiar chorus. Included in the book are the music and the words to the Dreidel Song, How to Play Dreidel and How to Make Potato Latkes.
(Ages 4-8, $9.99)
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S Holidays Around the World series of books introduces readers in grades one to four to different religious and cultural holidays celebrated around the globe. Deborah Heiligman has added to this collection with CELEBRATE HANUKKAH WITH LIGHT, LATKES, AND DREIDELS. Families gather to sing songs, exchange gifts, and remember miracles that happened long ago. Hanukkah is one of the most joyous holidays on the Jewish calendar, and in this book readers find out why. Heiligman looks at how Jews from the United States to Israel to Africa and India celebrate the "Festival of Lights." Photographs are used in this elegant portrait to tell the story. (Ages 6 and up, $15.95)

More Great Gifts for the Holidays

Author/illustrator Demi adds another beautifully
illustrated title to her list of picture book biographies
about the lives spiritual leaders which have included
Jesus, Mother Teresa, Buddha, The Dalai Lama, The Legend of Saint Nicholas, Gandhi and Muhammad. Honored with an Apostolic Blessing imparted by His Holiness John Paul II in 2003, Demi now offers a fascinating and inspirational look at the life of MARY. Told through beautifully moving passages from sources such as The King James Version of the Holy Bible, The Lost Books of the Bible, and The Life of Mary: As Seen by the Mystics, this is a complete look at Mary’s life – from her childhood to her union with Joseph, to the birth of Jesus, and to her own efforts to help the poor, sick, and needy throughout her life.
`(Ages 7 and up, $19.95)
When Uno arrives in the forest one beautiful day, there are many fascinating and extraordinary animals there to greet him. And one entirely unexceptional Snortlepig. Uno loves the forest so much, he decides to live there. But, in time, a little village grows up around his house. Then a town, then a city…and soon Uno realizes that the animals and plants have begun to disappear. Enter into the magical world of Graeme Base’s forest, filled with wild and wonderful animals, Uno’s unique family and friends – and the elusive Snortlepig! UNO’S GARDEN, from the creator of the international best-sellers Animalia, The Waterhole and Jungle Drums, is an illuminating blend of storybook, puzzle book, and number book – a moving and timely tale about how we all unknowingly affect the environment around us, just by being there, and how we can always learn from our mistakes and find ways of doing better. (Ages 4 and up, $19.95)

TIME Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve
is award winning photographer Walter Wick’s latest addition to his best-selling I SPY series. Rhyming clues for each photograph lead you on a magical quest. Meet Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Three Little Pigs, The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks and more! Wick comments, "For this search-and-find adaptation of eleven classic tales, I chose a dramatic moment from each story and created a sketch that highlighted characters and plot elements. Using a mountain of raw materials, including paper, paint, plastic, clay, fabric, wood, and toys, I worked with a dedicated team of staff members and artists who transformed my two-dimensional designs into three-dimensional sets. Using a camera, lights, and some digital sleight of hand, I transformed the sets back to two-dimensions." Don’t miss this new "jewel" from Wick!
(All ages, $13.99)
OUR 50 STATES: A FAMILY ADVENTURE ACROSS AMERICA is the latest title from the dynamic duo of Lynne Cheney and illustrator Robin Preiss Glasser who inspired children and their families with America: A Patriotic Primer and A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women. After traveling through America and witnessing firsthand its beauty and variety, Lynne Cheney wanted to create a book filled to the brim with America’s rich history, its natural treasurers, and its diverse cultures. A scholar of American history, Mrs. Cheney has blended her knowledge and experiences in a book that celebrates our country from state to state. Robin Preiss Glasser brings her inimitable wit and exuberance to every illustration in this remarkable book to enjoy and remind us all how fortunate we are to call America our home. (All ages, $17.95)

Teens, parents, teachers, and readers of all ages: It's time for a reference-book revolution! And PICK ME UP by David Roberts and Jeremy Lester is here to do just that-revolutionize the way kids and teens learn about history, science, nature, and culture outside of the classroom. Taking cues from the internet, video games, and television, PICK ME UP appeals to modern kids and teens. The book is organized like a miscellany, inspired by the internet, styled like a video game, and informed by pop culture. It's filled with fun information about history, science, nature, geography and culture -- everything kids want and need to know. On page 42, you can find the meaning of life! What would do more damage to a kitchen floor: a lady in stilettos or a 3-ton elephant? Pg.117 reveals the shocking answer. Was Beethoven a punk? Check pg.21. There are 885 million native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. But how many people speak Bangali? See pg.54. How many new species of fish are discovered each week? Report to pg.203 and find out. What would a Viking girl post on her blog? Pg.64 makes some excellent suggestions. Contains 352 pages of great information and entertainment. (Ages 9 and up, $29.99)
Chef Emeril Lagasse brings you a taste of the world in EMERIL’S THERE’S A CHEF IN MY WORLD! RECIPES THAT TAKE YOU PLACES. You can start your travels in your own kitchen by exploring the meals, ingredients, and cooking styles enjoyed in different countries and regions. Chef Emeril knows that we’re all part of one global family, and a great way to learn about other cultures is through their food! Once you’re cooking international style, you’ll be ready to hop on a plane to China, Portugal, England, Greece, or Africa, just for a start! This 210-page cookbook if for kids of all ages and adults to use together with 75 recipes for daily meals, special occasions, and tips and safety precautions. You can make a meal with dishes from one region or mix it up for a truly international feast! In addition, Chef Emeril includes "Did You Know…" tidbits of cultural information behind some of the recipes. (Ages 9 and up, $22.99)

In HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS (The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica) by James A. Owen, an atlas of imaginary places leads to a fantastic adventure. Oxford, 1917. A Professor is found dead, and an undergraduate has been given a book, the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of imaginary places. He is told that this book is the reason the professor was murdered and it is now the young man’s responsibility to safeguard it, even though it may jeopardize his own life. Chased by ferocious Wendigo, the young man and his two companions take refuge on a ship – a ship that leads them to the extraordinary lands mapped in the volume they carry. Their adventure takes them through places known from myth, legend, the Bible, and classic literature. But as the friends travel, they learn that events in the known world mirror those in the imaginary realm, and if they don’t succeed in protecting the book, then there will be no peace from the war that rages in our world. Clues in the places the companions visit lead readers to the surprise revelations that these young men are in fact C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, and their books were not fiction, but descriptions of where they had traveled. (Ages 12 and up, $17.95)
Have you ever dreamed of raising your very own dragon? Now you can. Within the past few decades, dragon-breeders have sprung up worldwide. HOW TO RAISE AND KEEP A DRAGON by John Topsell is the very first guidebook devoted to raising and keeping these unique creatures. Why keep a dragon? There are many reasons. What else can protect your treasure . . . impress your friends . . . make diamonds out of coal . . . work as a model for coats of arms . . . heat your home? Kids who enjoy whimsy will be delighted by this beautifully illustrated owner’s manual for dragon fanciers. It tells about the wide range of different dragons available, the characteristics of each, and the equipment and supplies that every dragon owner should have on hand. (For instance, a fire extinguisher.) The book is a fanciful blend of dragon lore and colorful art, the latter including diagrams of parts of winged and non-winged dragons, portraits of sea serpents, depictions of Asian dragons, and many others. More than 250-color illustrations in all. Here’s a book that’s fun from first page to last. (Ages 9 and up, $18.99)


Here it is! If we had to choose only one book to give as a gift to all of our friends and families this would be THE book! And the winner is…THE AMERICAN STORY: 100 TRUE TALES FROM AMERICAN HISTORY by Jennifer Armstrong and illustrated by Roger Roth. Tom Brokaw writes, "This lively and engaging collection of stories recounting American history is a wonderful gift not only to the children of this country but also to their parents. I can’t wait to share it with my grandchildren." This magnificent treasury (358 pages) tells the story of America through 100 true tales. Some are tales of triumph – the midnight ride of Paul Revere, the Wright brothers taking to the air, Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. Some are tales of tragedy – the fate of the Donner Party, the Great Fire in Chicago, the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. There are stories of inventors and athletes, abolitionists and artists. Stories about struggling for freedom – again and again, in so many ways. Open to any page – you’re sure to find something amazing and interesting and exciting. Armstrong and Roth have created a glorious patchwork quilt of history perfect for the whole family to share and enjoy. (All ages, $34.95)
Christmas Around the Drive

Friday, December 1, 2006 5-8:30 pm

Capture the Spirit of the Season
In the Heart of San Marino

San Marino Toy and Book Shoppe will once again host
Santa Claus featuring complimentary “Polaroids with Santa”
for kids of all ages from 6:30-8:00 pm!

Board the Trolleys for a trip “Around the Drive”!

Also enjoy the Petting Zoo, Puppet Show, Face Painting, Caricatures,
and much more!

Brought to you by The San Marino Chamber of Commerce,
Participating Merchants and the City of San Marino

Newsletter text Copyright 2006 © by Jody Shapiro.  All Rights Reserved.