This list of books for holiday giving was compiled by Leda Schubert, School Library-Media Consultant at the Vermont Department of Education. It is published as a community service by the Vermont-National Education Association. These books are some of the most outstanding published in 1997. Books with an * are by Vermont authors!
PRESCHOOL PICTURE BOOKS
Cooper, Elisha. COUNTRY FAIR. Greenwillow, $15.00. Cooper describes the activities that go on at a country fair - including animal exhibits, food tasting, oxen pulls, and wood chopping - with humor and immediacy.
Numeroff, Laura. THE CHICKEN SISTERS. HarperCollins, $14.95. The three chicken sisters, with their overwhelming eccentricities, drive a troublesome wolf home to his mother in this hilarious spoof.
Wells, Rosemary. BUNNY CAKES. Dial, $13.99. Max makes an earthworm cake for Grandma's birthday and helps Ruby with her angel surprise cake. At the store, the grocer can't read all of the shopping list, until Max solves the problem by drawing pictures. Irresistible.
Williams, Vera. LUCKY SONG. Greenwillow, $15.00. A song little Evie hears describes her kite flying adventure and a perfect day.
PICTURE BOOKS FOR PRIMARY GRADES
Demi. ONE GRAIN OF RICE. Scholastic, $19.95. A reward of one grain of rice doubles day by day into millions of grains of rice when a selfish raja is outwitted by a clever village girl.
Hest, Amy. WHEN JESSIE CAME ACROSS THE SEA. Candlewick, $16.99. A thirteen-year-old Jewish orphan reluctantly leaves her grandmother and immigrates to New York, where she works sewing lace and earning money to bring Grandmother to the United States, too.
*Lindbergh, Reeve. NORTH COUNTRY SPRING. HMCo, $15.95. Rhyming verse and illustrations describe the arrival of spring in the north.
Stewart, Sarah. THE GARDENER. FSG, $15.00. During the Great Depression, Lydia Grace's father loses his job. She goes to live with Uncle Jim in the city but takes her love of gardening with her, and writes home about what happens.
Byars, Betsy. ANT PLAYS BEAR. Viking, $11.99. Ant and his brother play a game, discuss growing up, hear a scary noise, and learn to be friends.
*Paterson, Katherine. MARVIN'S BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER. HarperCollins, $14.95. Marvin wants to make a great Christmas present for his parents. A sequel to THE SMALLEST COW IN THE WORLD.
Rylant, Cynthia. HENRY AND MUDGE IN THE FAMILY TREES. S&S, $14.00. Henry and his big dog Mudge attend a family reunion, where Mudge's drool is a big concern.
Van Leeuwen, Jean. AMANDA PIG, SCHOOLGIRL. Dial, $12.99. Amanda Pig's first day of school is every bit as wonderful as she always hoped it would be.
Adler, David. LOU GEHRIG: THE LUCKIEST MAN. Harcourt, $15.00. Adler traces the life of the Yankees' star ballplayer, focusing on his character and his struggle with terminal disease. A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner.
George, Kristine O'Connell. THE GREAT FROG RACE. Clarion, $14.95. A collection of poems about frogs and dragonflies, wind and rain, a visit to the tree farm, the garden hose, and other familiar parts of indoor and outdoor life.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. SAVING SHILOH. Atheneum, $15.00. Sixth-grader Marty and his family try to help their rough neighbor, Judd Travers, change his mean ways, even though their West Virginia community continues to expect the worst of him. The conclusion to the SHILOH Trilogy.
Seidler, Tor. MEAN MARGARET. HarperCollins, $14.95. A pair of newlywed woodchucks, a squirrel, a testy snake, a skunk and a couple of bats--not to mention the pudgy human family named Hubble--all find their lives turned upside down by a tyrannical three-year-old named Margaret.
*Hesse, Karen. OUT OF THE DUST. Scholastic, $15.50. In a series of blank verse poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression. Spare and powerful.
Levine, Gail Carson. ELLA ENCHANTED. HarperCollins, $14.95. In this delightful novel based on the story of Cinderella, Ella struggles against the childhood curse that forces her to obey any order given to her.
Pullman, Philip. THE SUBTLE KNIFE. Knopf, $20. As the boundaries between worlds begin to dissolve, Lyra and her daemon help Will Parry in his search for his father and for a powerful, magical knife. The sequel to THE GOLDEN COMPASS and the second of the trilogy.
FOR READING ALOUD
Farjeon, Eleanor. ELSIE PIDDOCK SKIPS IN HER SLEEP. Candlewick Treasures, $11.99. Celebrated since childhood for how well she skips rope, 109-year-old Elsie Piddock once again skips, to save her English country town. An unforgettable and truly wonderful story.
Hughes, Shirley. ALL ABOUT ALFIE. Lothrop, $18.00. A collection of four favorite tales about Alfie, perfect for family reading.
Mayne, William. LADY MUCK. HMCo, $15.95. Sowk and Boark, two greedy pigs, plot to become rich from the sale of the truffles they have found in the woods, but their greed proves to be their undoing. Mayne practically invents a new language for this unique tale.
FOR ALL AGES
*Norman, Howard. THE GIRL WHO DREAMED ONLY GEESE. Harcourt, $22.00. Based on decades of research and extended collaboration with Inuit storytellers, these are masterful retellings of northern tales.
Ray, Jane, reteller and illustrator. HANSEL AND GRETEL. Candlewick, $15.99. This grimmest of Grimm's tales is sumptuously illustrated, with images of dark and light and a startling witch.
Sabuda, Robert. COOKIE COUNT: A TASTY POP-UP. Little Simon, $19.95. Robert Sabuda has created a sugary delight--a pastry shop filled with mouth-watering cookies. But these cookies don't just look good, they pop off each page in an explosion of full color.
Wick, Walter. A DROP OF WATER. Scholastic, $16.95. In this spectacular science book, the camera stops the action so young readers can observe what they could not otherwise see: a drop of water as it falls from a faucet; water as a single snowflake; water as a rainbow, steam, frost and dew.
Zelinsky, Paul, reteller and illustrator. RAPUNZEL. Dutton, $16.99. This retelling draws on German, French and Italian sources, and the oil paintings are styled after Italian Renaissance art.