Great Gift Books for Kids and Teens

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 6:00 am

by Sheri Boggs

Friends by Eric Carle
A boy and girl are best friends who once “played and ran and danced and told each other secrets.” When the girl moves away, the boy sets out on a wild adventure, crossing rivers, scaling mountains and sleeping under the stars — all to find her again. Rendered in Carle’s trademark tissue paper layers, this is a simple and moving fable on the power of friendship.
$18 (Ages 3-5)

Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner
Mr. Wuffles has a lot of cat toys but he only likes playing with one, a small gray spaceship. And play with it he does, batting it and biting it and completely rattling the tiny green aliens inside. As Mr. Wuffles peers inside his new plaything, five alarmed space beings decide to make a run for it. Will they make it to safety in time? Wiesner’s wordless tale is a lively mix of visual humor, powerful storytelling, action-packed sci-fi, and feline mayhem!
$18 (Ages 5-8)

Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton
Sandra Boynton returns to the country music she grew up with for this boot-stompin’ songbook-and-audio CD set. In addition to the amusingly illustrated lyrics and musical notation pages, the book includes bios for its many performers: Alison Krauss, Ben Folds, Brad Paisley, and Ryan Adams, to name a few. Great hoedown and hootenanny fun “for ages one to older than dirt.”
$17 (Ages 1-9)

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
One morning at school, Duncan reaches into his desk for his crayons and pulls out a pile of letters – one from each of his disgruntled colors. Beige feels unappreciated, Gray feels completely overused (because of Duncan’s love for elephants), and Peach just wants her paper wrapper back. As Duncan reads his crayons’ complaints, he realizes he hasn’t brought nearly enough imagination to his coloring sessions. The resolution: a magnificent, many-hued picture in which all the crayons’ wishes are expressed.
$18 (Ages 4-7)

The Lego Adventure Book Volumes 1 and 2 by Megan Rothrock
Oh, the things you can build! In Volume 1, Rothrock and her Lego helpers show you how to build a laboratory, various dune buggies and 4x4s, a fire station, a garage, and even that popular urban necessity – a coffee shop. In Volume 2, the adventures expand to include pirate hideouts, dragons, cars, and spaceships. Full-color diagrams and comic book-style word bubbles make these how-to guides as engaging as they are informative.
$25 each (Ages 8-12)

Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures by Kate diCamillo
Flora is a self-described “natural-born cynic.” But when she rescues a squirrel from the jaws of her neighbor’s new vacuum, Flora has reason to believe she has met a new superhero. For one thing, the squirrel can fly. For another, he’s become super strong. And now, it appears, Ulysses (named after the vacuum) can write poetry. Flora’s mother is no fan of squirrels and insists it’s Flora’s comic book-addled imagination, but Flora, the neighbor boy, and Ulysses know otherwise. Super-heroism wears many faces in this witty, oddly heartwarming tale from Newbery Award-winner Kate diCamillo.
$18 (Ages 8-12)

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
When it turns out there’s no milk for his children’s cereal, the father steps out the store to get some. He is quickly waylaid by aliens and dragged along on a wild interstellar adventure through time and space, encountering pirates, dinosaurs, sparkly ponies, and dancing dwarves along the way. Will he save the universe in time to get the milk back home by breakfast? Gaiman is as entertaining as always and combines a zany narrative with crazily kinetic illustrations.
$15 (Ages 8-12)

The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell
Eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist discovers a beautiful, mysterious key that whisks her away from her home in Norway to the wintery world of Sylver. Populated by anthropomorphic animals who were once either beloved pets or tamed wild animals, Sylver bears no small resemblance to Narnia, including the fact that Lin can’t return home until she’s fulfilled a mission – she must solve the mystery hidden inside a ballad and locate the missing Winter Prince, whose survival ensures the safety of Sylver and everyone in it. Fabulous high fantasy with the potential for future stories.
$17 (Ages 10 and up)

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
The second in Carriger’s “Finishing School” series, Curtsies & Conspiracies returns to an alternate England in 1851. Fifteen-year-old Sophronia is at the top of her class at Miss Geraldine’s Academy, but her talent for spying is alienating both peers and teachers alike. As Miss Geraldine’s Academy sets out on a trip to London, Sophronia discovers a plot to control a device with the potential to alter human (and supernatural) travel and suddenly she’s racing to get to the bottom of it whilst juggling two suitors and minding her manners. Steampunk, intrigue, romance, and comedy collide in this effervescent sequel to Etiquette & Espionage.
$18 (Ages 12 and up)

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Rick Yancey’s “Monstrumologist” series was the kind of well-realized historical horror that leaves you sleeping with the light on. In The 5th Wave, he proves just as capable with science fiction that feels like it could happen tomorrow. Sixteen year-old Cassie has been through the first four waves of an alien war: a devastating electromagnetic pulse, tsunamis, a red plague, and “the silencers,” humans implanted with alien intelligence. Believing herself one of the only survivors, Cassie is surprised to meet another teen, Evan. Together they prepare for the fifth wave, the final alien takeover. This chilling story has a warm heart as Cassie struggles to figure out how to live and love when all hope seems to be lost.
$19 (Ages 12 and up)

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