The Bookbag: Books for Ages 4 to 8, November/December 2006

Happy Holidays one and all …

Recently I was driving somewhere (probably the mall) and listening to an “update” on Charlottesville’s annual Toy Lift. Toy lift is a campaign not unlike the Marine Corp’s Toys for Tots that collects gifts for children. Toy Lift has two, parallel campaigns: toys and clothing, and books. The host was interviewing the spokeswoman for the local store of a national bookseller at thet ime. She mentioned something that I think is worth repeating. She essentially said Toys are presents for now, books are a present for a lifetime.

So with that in mind, here are some of our favorite memory-makers, with a seasonal story or two tossed in.

Cranium Funfolio Family: Volume 1 by Cranium, Inc. There is no limit to the things you can do together as a family: draw pictures, write stories, act out scenes. Plus you get to learn a little about yourself and others as you go. This is a use-your-imagination reading adventure everyone can participate in. “This is a book you can play with. We use this as an after-dinner family event. It keeps everyone at the table and, since it guarantees some laughs, a nice transition to clean-up and bedtime.” (LB Kids, Little, Brown, and Company, 2006)

The Lost Feather by Mary Lou DiCaprio. Eyes-of-a-hawk, a native American boy, is rewarded for his courageous deeds. His father gives him special feathers. After his father dies, the feathers become priceless, as they symbolize his own bravery, as well as his father’s pride and spirit in him. When the wind snatches away one of his precious feathers, shame sweeps over Eye-of-a-hawk. His faithful animal friends assist in the search for the lost feather. When he is rewarded with a pile of feathers for saving the village, Eyes-of-a-hawk discovers the truth about love and courage. Although for younger audiences, our Teen STAR Reviewer (Be the Star You Are) loved this book: “This book is very well written, strong, and faithful. The author creates contrasting characters who complement each other and yet are each vibrant in personality…This story would appeal to people of all ages, …[n]ot only is it exciting, but it could also function as a parable.” (Xlibris, 2006)

Marvel Heroes: Mix and Match Storybook by Randy Meredith. Create your own Superhero adventure. Pick your villain, pick his target, and pick the Marvel hero who will save the day. This is an interactive comic book where you get to create the stories. “You can expand beyond rote comic stories to create your own one-line adventures. The moving parts make this an engaging book to play with (no matter what your age).” (Penny Candy Press, an Imprint of Brigher Minds Media, 2006)

An Ornaments’ Tale by Chet Spiewak. The Christmas tree is here, and the ornaments are rarin’ to go to help spread Christmas cheer. But the Halloween decorations still have tricks left over, and decide to play one on Percy and his friends. “The interaction between the holiday decorations, and what the characters of each season know/don’t know about friendship adds a wonderful dimension to a seasonal tale.” (CWS Studios, 2006)

30-Minute a Day Learning System: Preschool by Brighter Minds. Letters, numbers, shapes, and colors are woven into activities to help preschoolers learn and retain key knowledge as they prepare for kindergarten. Your child will write, draw, color, and match their way through Language Arts and Math lessons. “Our preschooler loves this workbook. S/He is always eager to ‘do more’ and go beyond one lesson at a sitting. This is the first workbook s/he has been excited about doing.” (Brighter Minds Children’s Publishing, 2006)