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For Kids, Just Plain Fun Is a Comfort and a Joy

In <em>Chowder</em>, author Peter Brown delivers a satire of upscale, over-indulgent dog owners that both parents and kids will appreciate.
In <em>Chowder</em>, author Peter Brown delivers a satire of upscale, over-indulgent dog owners that both parents and kids will appreciate.

What kid wouldn't like a comforting, joyful book for a holiday gift? You know, a story full of fuzzy-wuzzy hugs and morally upright teddy bears, a high-minded work of kid lit that is "good" for them?

Well, basically, what kid would?

"You might as well give kids socks," says Roger Sutton, editor-in-chief of The Horn Book, which reviews children's literature.

"Adults often like the idea of books that offer a nice, safe, restrictive world," agrees Deborah Stevenson, editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. "But that is antithetical to what books are for" -- to engage and open the imagination. For holiday joy, make sure the books are truly enjoyable. Kids crave books that will bring out the glint in their eyes, tickle their silly bones -- or just plain make them want to sing, swing and rock around the holiday clock. Some suggestions for different ages, stages and interests: (You can print these titles, along with all our other year-end picks, using this master list.)

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