10 Best Books and CD Gifts for Kids
THE OLIVIA AUDIO COLLECTION
Kids love Olivia, the world's spunkiest, sauciest, most endearing little piglet. Here, the irrepressible Dame Edna Everage — a perfect match if there ever was one — reads all five of Ian Falconer's Olivia adventures (Olivia, Olivia and the Missing Toy, Olivia Forms a Band, Olivia Saves the Circus, Olivia Helps with Christmas).
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MY ELEPHANT, by Petr Horacek
Grandpa's raking the leaves and Grandma's in the kitchen, so who does a little boy have to play with? His imaginary elephant, of course! Horacek's bright, charming drawings perfectly capture what happens when a child decides to conjure up his own fun.
THE POLAR EXPRESS, by Chris van Allsburg, 25th anniversary edition
It's hard to believe that Allsburg's magical tale — about a young boy who rides an old-fashioned steam train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve — is a quarter-century old. Forget the dreadful movie; the book is the real deal, and this special edition comes with an audio version ready by Liam Neeson and a foil tree ornament.
THE MITTEN, by Jan Brett, 20th anniversary edition
In Brett's Ukrainian folk tale, a small boy begs his baba to knit him white mittens — and when she does, he promptly loses one in the snow, where it becomes a snug, cozy home for a procession of animals, from an owl to a hedgehog. Kids and parents alike ooh and aah over Brett's incredibly detailed folk paintings, rich with bits of embroidery and knitting, framed in what looks like birch bark.
KIDZ BOP SINGS THE BEATLES (Nov. 10)
The Beatles have finally gotten the tribute they deserve with this Kidz Bop covers album. This best-selling gang of youngsters lend their gleeful voices to fab favorites like ''Can't Buy Me Love'' and ''We Can Work it Out.'' They even touch a serious note by singing the sweet, yearning ''Blackbird.''
ROCKABYE BABY GUNS 'N ROSES (Nov. 10)
Welcome that sweet child o' yours to the cradle with a disc of lullaby versions of G N' R hits. These instrumental versions — you're not putting your kid to sleep to the lyrics of ''Mr. Brownstone'' — bring out the melodies at the core of this metal band's sound. Baby can't sleep? Xylophone version of ''November Rain'' to the rescue!
PHINEAS & FERB soundtrack
Disney's Phineas and Ferb are cartoon stepbrothers with an affinity for music — and annoying their sister. This eclectic soundtrack from the TV show includes the Bowling for Soup-penned pop-punk theme song, an electro-dance tune called ''Phinedroids and Ferbots,'' as well as the truly hilarious hip-hop number ''S.I.M.P. (Squirrel in my Pants).''
BUGS IN A BLANKET, by Beatrice Alemagna
This visually stunning book, with illustrations crafted from wool felt and bits of cloth, perfectly evokes a dusty old blanket. All the bugs who live in the blanket get together for the first time and discover they look different — ''I was just born like this, a little bit fat,'' one says — but they decide, in the end, that differences don't matter: ''It looks like none of us can help the way we are.''
DUCK! RABBIT!, by Amy Krause Rosenthal
Is it a duck or a rabbit? It looks like it could be either! As kids — and their parents — debate the identity of the animal in Krause's cunningly drawn book, one thing becomes very clear: There are often several good sides in any argument.
CREATURE ABC, by Andrew Zuckerman
Grownups have their own luxe editions of Zuckerman's stunning wildlife photos. Now kids have one, too, in the form of this fabulous alphabet book, which showcases animals against plain white backdrops.