Books as gifts are the best. Of course, children don’t always think so at the time. It’s not until later, after the wrapping paper is recycled and the brand new toys have all been played with do these gems get attention.
Two holiday books the boys are enjoying (once they calmed down from the Christmas crack):
Blackout: On a hot evening in New York City, everyone is preoccupied and not talking with each other. Mom is typing away on her computer. Sister is gabbing away on the phone. Dad is cooking up dinner. And brother is left to entertain himself. Until…. a blackout! Suddenly, everyone has to stop. People gather on the rooftops for BBQs. Neighbors pull out their guitars and play on the front stairs. It’s amazing what can happen when there’s a blackout.
I first came across this story when we had our own blackout, which lasted for days. Rather than panic, we made it into a fun adventure. Reading this book later reminded us of how we can all have fun as a family without all of the gadgets.
JENNY SAYS: Blackout, with very little prose, tells a wonderful story about how losing electricity can be a wonderful thing. The rich blue-black illustrations carry us through the discovery of a family that has forgotten how to spend time with each other. Even my preschooler loves this book because he doesn’t need to read to be able to follow the story; the illustrations tell it all. I was so happy for the boys to get this for Christmas. And, to be sure, it will remain in a primary spot on their nightstands for quite some time.
Giraffes Can’t Dance: Poor Gerald the giraffe. All he wants to do is dance at the annual Jungle Dance. But Gerald has two left feet, to say the least, and the other animals make fun of him. As the chimps cha-cha and the rhinos rock ‘n’ roll, Gerald slumps off, sad he can’t dance like the others. But then a cricket says to him, “Sometimes when you’re different you just need a different song.” Gently swinging to the melody of a lone violin, Gerald discovers he has his own dance.
Giraffes Can’t Dance addresses the fact that everyone has their own song. And sometimes that song doesn’t match what others are dancing to.
JENNY SAYS: Giraffes Can’t Dance does take a quick turnaround in the end when Gerald suddenly finds what he’s good at. But the book offers warm, entertaining visuals and rhythmic text that is fun to read. On its own, this book would be enjoyable. But what has make this a favorite in our house? The accompanying audio CD! With Billy Dee Williams at the helm, the story takes on an added dimension that made us absolutely fall in love with Gerald.