Best Kids Books from the Washington Post

The following are excerpts from the most favorable reviews of the year. Regular reviewers are identified by initials if they are quoted more than once.

ABC3D, by Marion Bataille (Roaring Brook; all ages). It’s hard to reinvent the alphabet, but this innovative feat of paper engineering does exactly that using pop-ups, mirrored images, translucent overlays and much more. — Kristi Jemtegaard

The Black Book of Colors, by Menena Cottin and Rosana Faría (Groundwood; ages 5-10). Stunning all-black embossed illustrations translate the world of a blind boy into a series of textures and shapes that illuminate the gently poetic text. — KJ

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, by Marla Frazee (Harcourt; ages 6-9). James and Eamon’s adventures are just the thing to get everyone in the right frame of mind for summer in any season. — Elizabeth Ward

A Kitten Tale, by Eric Rohmann (Knopf; ages 3-6). Four kittens have never seen snow. Three are scared silly by the very idea, but the fourth “can’t wait.” — EW

Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett (Simon & Schuster; ages 1-4). What’s the difference between “orange, pear” and “orange pear”? “Apple bear” and “apple, bear”? Gravett explains with five words and wickedly clever illustrations. — EW

Sandy’s Circus, by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Viking; ages 6 and up). A lovely distillation of the evolution of Alexander Calder’s magnificent miniature circus. — Abby McGanney Nolan

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (Harcourt; ages 3-5). Eight little babies roll and wriggle, swing and sway, wobble and toddle to the rhythm of a toe-tapping chant. — KJ

There’s a Wolf at the Door, by Zöe B. Alley, illustrated by R. W. Alley (Roaring Brook; ages 5-9). A sassy wolf prances and dances his way through five well-known but freshly told folktales. — KJ

Timothy and the Strong Pajamas, by Viviane Schwarz (Scholastic; ages 4-8). After his mother mends his tattered favorite pajamas, Timothy the cat finds himself endowed with awesome strength. — EW

The Way Back Home, by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel; ages 4-8). A small round-headed boy finds an airplane in his closet, takes it out “for a go” and ends up out of fuel, stuck on the moon. Enter a Martian, friend and rescuer. — EW

Zen Ties, by Jon J Muth (Scholastic; ages 4-8). The giant panda-philosopher Stillwater and the kids from Zen Shorts return in another light-filled, pun-happy romp, joined this time by the big panda’s mini-me nephew.– EW

Source : The Washington Post, Gift Guide Dec., 14, 2008

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