— Tracy Grant
“No Other Story,”
by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. $16.99. Ages 8-12.
This is the third book in a series that tells the tale of the Cheeseman family, which is dad Ethan Cheeseman and his three “smart, polite, attractive and relatively odor-free children.” (The reason why there is no mother is central to the plot, which involves time travel, dinosaurs, vikings and, yes, gravy-flavored ice cream.) Even if you haven’t read the earlier books in the series — “A Whole Nother Story” and “Another Whole Nother Story” — you’ll find this story exciting and mostly laugh-out-loud funny. While you probably need to be at least 8 to read this book to yourself, it would make a great family read-aloud. Ask your parents if you can’t curl up on the couch or in front of a fire to read a few chapters before settling in for a long winter’s nap.
“The Santa Trap,”
written by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene. $15.95. Age 5 and older.
We’re really hoping that none of you reading this is as bad a kid as Bradley Bartleby. Because even Santa finds it hard to put Bradley on a “nice” list. In fact, Santa won’t give Bradley anything but socks, and bad, bad Bradley is fed up with that. So he sets out to trap Santa and steal all the toys that Santa is carrying for good girls and boys. This funny, beautifully illustrated story will have you talking about the importance of “being good for goodness’ sake.”
“Let’s Make Some Great Fingerprint Art,”
by Marion Deuchars. $14.95. Age 5 and older.
All you need to enjoy this book is your finger, an inkpad and your imagination. We bet you didn’t know that two thumbprints can create a heart or that those same two prints can create pigs, cats, bees or even the alphabet. In the spirit of the season, there’s even a way to use your palmprint to create Rudolph. The book is filled with clever ideas, but we think the best part is that it will inspire you to come up with more of your own.
“Twelve Kinds of Ice,”
written by Ellen Bryan Obed and illustrated by Barbara McClintock. $16.99. Age 8 and older.
This is a short (just 64 pages) and beautiful book that tells the story of one winter’s worth of ice. It starts with the thin ice that forms on a pail of water during the first freeze and continues with the ice that is perfect for a skating party. Even when winter draws to a close and what’s left of the ice are the thawed-out mittens, you know that some ice always remains: the ice of your memories. This book will have you hoping for a pair of skates under the tree and chilly days this winter.
“Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris,”
by Marissa Moss. $12.99. Age 9-12.
Mira is searching for her lost mother, and even if she’s looking in the right place, perhaps she is looking in the wrong time. The story moves quickly because it’s written as diary entries. It’s a very adventurous tale, but it includes some historic characters and raises fascinating questions about trying to change the past. (Mira’s second adventure,“Mira’s Diary: Home Sweet Rome,” will be published in April.)
TO DO: Fun family activites for winter break