Holiday Gift Guide 2011 – Part Two

It’s that time of year again. The weather’s getting nippier (well, slightly). Christmas trees are for sale on every street corner. (I live in New York where this kind of thing is a real treat. “Something green and nature-like! Wow!”) Kids are getting excited to light candles on Chanukah (early this year, eh?). And hordes of shoppers are frantically spending gads of money on gifts for loved ones. Cha-ching!

This is where I come in. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been scouring the shelves for book-related gifts for your not-so-little ones. While I would love to include all the gizmos and gadgets I pawed, toyed with, gawked at, and secretly wanted for my very own, I’ve decided to just include, well, books. Why? Because they won’t break like some gadgets might. Unless, of course, you drop them in the bathtub. Or your dog . . . Right.

The good news is that there are plenty of fantastic gift-worthy books out there published in the last year. I found so many that I plan on devoting this week’s and next week’s posts to telling you about them. The theme of this week’s post is: Kit(sch).

As always, if you have suggestions for me or other “Letter Blocks” readers, please do share!

Happy soon to be holidays . . .

The Complete Magician by Joshua Jay – This magic show kit can be described in one word: AMAZING! With two decks of cards (a Paranormal deck and a Svengali deck), 4-inch metal linking rings, a false thumb (!), and more, aspiring Houdinis will literally have their hands full learning the toughest tricks of the trade. But thanks to professional magician Jay’s 288-page book that’s packed with more than 600 photos and easy to follow step-by-step instructions on things like how to pull off the illusive palm switch, how to perform the ten greatest card tricks of all time (take that Penn and Teller!), or how to make a turkey appear out of a hat (OK, it doesn’t havethat trick), kids will be putting together their own magic shows in no time. As if that’s not enough, there’s even a 132-minute instructional DVD included in the kit that features Jay performing some of his stunts. Now that is what I call an Open Sesame moment.

Who Do You Think You Are? Be a Family Tree Detective by Dan Waddell – Zillions of adults research their family trees, embarking on worldwide quests to find their ancestors. But who says kids can’t join in on the fun? This super hands-on book based on the popular TV series of the same name is the perfect catalyst for such a project. Its vibrant, user-friendly design features pull-out tabs with Detective Tips; open-able envelopes containing interview questions; and expandable flaps listing genealogy jargon, suggestions on how to look for family heirlooms, ideas for making a time capsule, and more. If that’s not enough to get them (and you) going, there are also Internet Alerts that explain how to research genealogy online and Treasure Book Activities enticing kids to create their own family scrapbook. This gem of a book could very well spark the hunt of a lifetime . . . er . . . literally.

To read the rest of the post, please visit  Letter Blocks: The B&N Parents and Educators Blog.

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