Franklin Countys First News

The Holiday 25: Books for every reader

Unique Titles:

The House, by J. Patrick Lewis & Robert Innocenti
There are some books that just transcend genre and this stunning book illustrated by renowned artist Robert Innocenti is one of them. It gives voice to a woodland farmhouse built in 1900 and in each two page spread readers will delight to finding subtle changes to it, to the well, to the landscape, and to the house itself. J. Patrick Lewis text is sublime as well. This is a book to treasure and share in a family setting because it so magically captures the passage of time.

Today I Will: A Year of Quotes, Notes, and Promises to Myself By Eileen and Jerry Spinelli
Great concept here, an affirmation a day book of 366 quotes all selected from children's books by the Spinellis, with brief interpretations. For example May 25th is "I'm sure you're much nicer than you look." This is a book or real wisdom that will bring many smiles to many faces.

Coffee Table Books:

The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton, and Antarctic By Hempleman-Adams, David
This coffee table book featuring the finest extant Antarctic exploration photographs is a marvel of its kind. Image after image takes one to a beautiful and dangerous world

National Geographic Image Collection By Michelle Anne Delaney
This book is just everything a coffee table book should be, one remarkable image after another culled from over 100 years of National Geographic photo collecting. The book is divided into four sections, Exploration, Wildlife, People and Culture, and Science and Climate Change.


The Angel's Game By Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Angels Game which is set in Barcelona a generation before Zafon's brilliant Shadow of the Wind, not only deals with literary themes, Gothic strands, Faustian elements, and earthy touches of magical realism, but it is chock full of marvelous dialogue and pricelessly funny banter. The characters are hard boiled, crusty, and entirely endearing. The issue of the writing process itself is brilliantly and provocatively handled. If you know someone whose idea of a good time is reading a great book, The Angels Game is a strong move.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane By Katherine Howe
The slow unearthing of a living history which transforms the past, conveyed by a dual historical and contemporary narrative, has proven a sure fire method for books which start out filled with intrigue and promise, but end up rendered unsatisfying due to overused plot devices and cardboard characters. This is not the unhappy fate, however, of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, a highly anticipated re-imagining of the Salem Witch Trials. Unlike The Eight, for example, which is so relentless in doing too much with too little, Howe provides complex, satisfying characters, and an understated sense of mystery, which makes for a far more satisfying and enjoyable read.

The Magicians, By Lev Grossman
This is a book which explores the themes of magic and magicians with an adult sensibility, powerfully reexamining the passage into adulthood. Set initially in Brakebills, a very convincing college of Magic, The Magicians is a world in which there is no safety net, no dragons to slay, nothing but the Magicians themselves. At least that is true for most of them. This book is tremendously fun, perceptive, visceral, romantic and exciting, without ever losing its depth or philosophical edge. Don't miss it.

Non Fiction:

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History By Robert Edsel
This gripping history of the soldiers who worked during the war to track down and save imperiled masterworks of European art seized by the Nazi's, is very good reading. Edsel's account takes the more general tale told in Lynn Nicholas' excellent The Rape of Europa and makes it more personal and dramatic. A fascinating topic and well told to boot.

Maine Interest:

Labradoodles, Arnold Palmers, some combinations just work. And so it is with Where in Maine: 50 Intriguing Places in the Pine Tree State. Part Coffee table book, part puzzle book, what's not to love? The pictures are fabulous, and hey have you been to that place or seen it somewhere, maybe Marshall Dodge was wrong, you can guess there from here.

Interactive Books:

My Little Red Fire Truck, By Stephen Johnson
This is an enormously appealing interactive books for 3-6 year olds, not to mention being fantastic for spacial skills. And why? Well, there is a key to start the engine, a working gearshift, a gas hose, a dispatch radio, spinning wheels with an air pressure gauge and much more. No toddler could be unmoved by this colossally fun (and spatially developmental) book.

The Lion & the Mouse By Jerry Pinkney
Karen West declares that this wordless is "brilliant pictorial retelling of the age-old tale of the Lion and the Mouse and the kindness they show one another. From cover to cover this book is beautiful for the eyes and the spirit."

Holiday Titles:

The Christmas Magic, By Lauren Thompson
This warm and simple story of Santa, sans elves and helpers, preparing for his journey amidst the wonder of the polar night, is brought to life by the exquisite watercolor art of John Muth. In its simplicity, warmth, and wonder this Christmas story brings a sense of the Holidays to young readers that is well worth giving.

My Chanukah Playbook By Salina Yoon
My Chanukah Playbook is a colorful, interactive book with eight golden play pieces that can be used on every page, and just the right amount of content for young children. This book is sure to make one of the nights of Chanukah a hit.


Picture Books:

First Ballet By Deanna Caswell
If ever a book proved the idea that less is more when it comes to picture book rhyme schemes it is First Ballet. This delightful book not only captures the magic of loving the the ballet, but it captures the charm of truly being captivated by anything magical.

The Circus Ship By Van Dusen
This is a wonderful new picture book by Maine author Chris Van Dusen. It tells the tale of a ship of circus animals, owned by an evil, greedy man, which runs aground on an island of nice villagers, who hide the animals from the owner. On one spectacular full page spread children will delight in finding the hidden animals in the picture!

Otis By Loren Long
Otis is Loren Long's tribute to the classic picture books of Virginia Lee Burton and Robert Lawson, though I must say that it also strongly reminded me of Dahlov Ipcar's One Horse Farm a childhood favorite for me. It is the tale of Otis the tractor who is replaced by The Big Yellow Tractor and put out to rust. Has he outlived his usefulness? This is the sort of book that kids just fall in love with.

The Bog Baby By Jeanne Willis
The Bog Baby is just the book to share with a child about the wonders of nature, of keeping and of letting go. Told by a mother about a secret creature she found and kept with her sister as children, the story has a warmth and wonder to it that children will want to wander in many times.

Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train By Anne Rockwell
Good men aren't the only thing that are hard to find, good train books are too. That's where Anne Rockwell's new book comes in. It not only makes a young child's love of trains part of the storyline, it captures it perfectly. Train loving children will want to hear this book read to them again and again.

Board Books:

Waddle!: A Scanimation Picture Book By Rufus Butler Seder
This "scanimation" sequel to the beloved Gallop features more amazing animals in motion, this time with color. Each page asks young reader a question, such as can you flap like a hummingbird. Children will squeal with delight as they move the page and the red hummingbird flies. This is Rufus Butler Seder's best yet.


The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health: More Than 200 New Recipes for Delicious and Nutrient-Rich Dishes By The Moosewood Collective
Not only does the newest Moosewood cookbook have a stately Moose on the cover, but its focus on nutrient rich dishes will be much appreciated by people looking to make the most of favorite foods, such as spanikopita, quesadillas and pizza, from both a taste and a health point of view.

Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less By Mark Bittman
Put together a great cook and a great concept and you have Mark Bittman's Kitchen Express: 404 Inspired Seasonal Dishes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less. I mean who can't use great recipes for cooking great food in twenty minutes.

Young Adult and Middle Grade Novels:

Fire, By Kristin Cashore
This is a very strong fantasy book by an exceptional new talent. Vivid characters with real depth and complexity abound in this fantasy novel which will have big appeal for Twilight fans, not because it has vampires, but because of its mile wide romantic streak.

The Maze Runner By James Dashner
This is an excellent new Young Adult novel. A boy named Thomas awakes with no memories, in an elevator that sends him to The Glade, the center of a deadly maze in which a group of other boys have been sent to solve. Lots of action, and a really interesting portrait of a society of boys.

Million-Dollar Throw By Mike Lupica
Mike Lupica's newest middle grade sports novel has depth, relevance, and the New England Patriots going for it. It deals with a boy, Nate, who idolized New England Patriot's Quarterback Tom Brady. Nate gets a chance to make a single perfect throw at a Patriot's game to win a million dollars. With his family struggling in the bad economy, and foreclosure looming, Nate takes pressure on himself beyond his ability to handle. This is a powerful story that will resonate strongly with its middle grade audience.



Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude from America's Finest News Source By The Onion
Odd to think that The Onion has been around for more than twenty years, but there it is. From early Front Pages reflecting The Onion's origins as a low budget humor rag produced by two University of Wisconsin students to last year's news, the quality of humor hasn't changed.


Whatever gifts you choose to share with your loved ones make sure to purchase them from the stores which share a community with you.

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