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Gift Suggestions for Little Readers

November 18, 2010 by Reader's Connection

This is the first of three or four lists of gift suggestions that we plan to send your way.

A lot of children would be happy to open a gift and find a book there…as long as it was a good one! Here are a few good picture book choices as well as some book related toys and games the kids in your life might enjoy. Let the list making begin!

Joy to the World Joy to the World by Tomie de Paola. Includes three of Tomie’s previously published holiday stories: The Night of Las Posadas, The Legend of the Poinsettia & The Story of the Three Wise Kings. In between he illustrates “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Silent Night,” “The First Noël,” “Away in a Manger,” & “Joy to the World.”
llama-llama Llama,Llama, Holiday Drama by Caroline Arnold. Llama becomes overwhelmed as Christmas preparations progress, until his mother reminds him of the real gift the holiday brings. Llama Llama Holiday Drama
Art and Max by David Wiesner. Max wants to be an artist like Arthur, but his first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various media, with unexpected consequences. Art and Max
Knuffle Bunny Free Knuffle Bunny Free an Unexpected Diversion by Mo Willems. While traveling with her family to Holland to visit her grandparents, Trixie once again loses her beloved Knuffle Bunny. knuffle-bunny
Children Make Terrible Pets Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown. When Lucy, a young bear, discovers a boy lost in the woods, she asks her mother if she can have him as a pet, only to find him impossible to train.
olivia Olivia goes to Venice by Ian Falconer. On a family vacation in Venice Olivia indulges in gelato, rides in a gondola, and finds the perfect souvenir. Olivia goes to Venice
Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly by Carolyn Parkhurst. Five-year-old Henry, along with his two-year-old sister, pretend to make waffles on a make-believe television show. Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly
It's Christmas David! It’s Christmas David! by David Shannon. Christmas has arrived with so many rules to follow that David fears his mistakes will cause Santa to pass him by. david
Dog Loves Books Dog Loves Books by Peter Brown. Dog loves books so much that he decides to open a bookstore.

For more great book ideas try:

You notice that several book suggestions have plush characters to go with them. That’s true of many favorite book characters. If your child has a favorite character check local bookstores or try the online stores Amazon, kohls-animalsBarnes & Noble or Castlemere, each has an online category for storybook characters. Many characters have other merchandise as well: bookmarks, plastic figures, games, puzzles, etc. And then there’s always Kohl’s which features book/plush combos all the time in their Kohl’s Cares campaigns. This holiday season the choices are Dr. Seuss characters – including the Grinch and Max the dog with the antler tied to his head.

Here are some fun book related gifts for little kids this year:



  • The Playmobile Puppet Theater – Building it and then acting out stories too – double the fun. This one showed up on at least one best list also.
  • Little Librarian – Playset that comes with date due slips, book pockets and everything. (Oh, I would have wanted one, probably more than the shoes.)


  • CrayolaColor Wonder Story Stampers – Kids can write and illustrate their own spiral bound book with this marker and stamp set.
  • Creativity for Kids Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books – Three hardbound books for kids to write and illustrate.
  • Tikatok Online Storybook – Kids can create their own book online – gift cards available so you can “fund” a book for your favorite kid to create.



It’s really fun to give a gift a child likes. Whether you want to chooise a book or a toy, don’t make yourself crazy – 5 Dangerously Popular Holiday Toys. Think about the wisdom of Toy Story’s Stinky Pete when he acknowledges that many toys end up broken and forgotten “spending eternity rotting in some landfill.” Nobody wants that.


Do yourself a favor and let some experts give you good ideas before you start ringing up a fortune in un-necessary holiday bills waiting in long lines with other shoppers who are tired, over-budget and stressed out. Wouldn’t you rather be at home reading a good book?! These six organizations make it their business to search out the best of the best each year. It’s fun to see which toys, books, audios & videos make more than one list. Take special note of the Oppenheim Award given to toys whose design make them good choices for special needs children.

tillywig1 Tillywig Toy Awards The Tillywig people have kids play with toys. Product awards are given on the basis of group play tests, the primary purpose of which is evaluating the entertainment and/or educational value of the products submitted. Awards are given in the following categories: Top Fun, Laugh Out Loud, Brain Child, Bright Eyes, Best Family Fun, & Sterling Fun.
oppenheim-award Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Oppenheims are given to toys in the following categories: Platinum (most innovative, engaging new products of the year), Gold Seal (outstanding new products that enhance the lives of children), Blue Chip Classic (products that should not be missed just because they weren’t invented yesterday. Products must be in the marketplace for five years), SNAP (Special Needs Adaptable Product) Award (products that can be used by or easily adapted for children with special needs).
tcm-logo The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Each fall The Children’s Museum Store polls the experts (kids!) to determine the top ten toys for the 2010 holiday season. Once each child has a chance to test out their favorite toys, they are asked to write down their choices on a ballot. Museum staff uses their votes to compile the 2010 Kid-Tested, Kid-Approved Top Ten Toys. If you haven’t visited lately, The Children’s Museum Store is quite large with all kinds of interesting choices. Note: You do not need to pay admission to enter the store. As an added bonus, the sales people demonstrate the toys and are full of helpful suggestions.
parents-choice-award Parents’ Choice Awards The Award is given to products that help kids grow – imaginatively, physically, morally and mentally—fairly priced products that are fun, safe and socially sound. Parents’ Choice reviews books, toys, music, television, software, videogames, websites, and magazines for children and families of all achievements and backgrounds.
fam-fun-toy-awards Family Fun T.O.Y Awards Their testers assessed quality, value, and the fun factor of a variety of toys to create a list of 34 kid-and parent-approved winners. A subscritpion to Family Fun magazine itself would make a great gift too. Every issue is full of craft and game ideas for kids. We have lots of back issues at the library too if you don’t want to subscribe yourself.
goodhousekeeping Goodhousekeeping Best Toy Award Toys chosen for their fun factor, of course, but also for skillbuilding and to spark imaginations. Goodhousekeeping adults chose 75 and then let 98 kids, ages 4 to 16, played with every last one. The kids filled out over 750 questionnaires and narrowed it down to 24 winners.


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