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Holiday Book Shopping Starts Now

Lee Littlewood on

Hard to believe, but it's nearly time to start holiday shopping. Remember: Reading is fundamental, and books are the gifts that keep on giving. These new books and sets will make some young people very happy.

"Dragons Love Tacos: The Definitive Collection" by Adam Rubin; illustrated by Daniel Salmieri; Dial/Penguin; $24.

Who doesn't love dragons and tacos? Nobody. Dragons know this, and they also love tacos. "Dragons Love Tacos" is a New York Times best-seller. Its follow-up picture book is "Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel." With high-energy, extremely witty hilarity on every page, Adam Rubin's gut busters are so funny they're worthy of reading over and over again.

This collection, packaged in a sturdy box with original new artwork on the front, will provoke more laughs than just a dragon, toy, or taco under the tree.

"Where's Waldo? Destination: Everywhere!" by Martin Handford; Candlewick Press; 34 pages; $19.99.

Martin Handford's phenomenon "Where's Waldo?" has sold over 58 million copies. Handford's aim has always been to inspire kids to open their minds and be more aware of what's around them, and to prove there's wonder everywhere they look. That's certainly true in his books. "Destination: Everywhere!" was released for the 30th anniversary of Waldo, and it's oversized and gift-worthy. Twelve classic scenes, each with a brand-new game and landscape format, include a surprise at the end and extra searches.

Low-tech but high on inquisitiveness and fun, "Where's Waldo? Destination: Everywhere!" is super keen for kids ages 5 to 9, or, let's be honest, any age.

"A Little House Picture Book Treasury" by Laura Ingalls Wilder; HarperCollins; 208 pages; $24.99.

Generations of readers have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder's tales of life on the prairie. Kids today relate to the dramatic tales of family and adventure, and the strong little girl who tells it all. With a bolder, more colorful look, this new picture book treasury is aimed at younger readers, with larger text and friendly illustrations. Six stories in all are presented, with gold-tipped pages adding to the book's gift-worthy status.

Youngsters ages 4 to 8 will thoroughly enjoy accompanying Laura, Mary, Carrie, Pa, Ma and bulldog Jack as they travel to town, county fairs and new friends on the prairie, and experience spring snowfalls, cozy winter days and holidays.


"Knightology: A True Account of the Most Valiant Knights" by Dugald A. Steer; Candlewick; 28 pages; $24.99.

Older kids who wish to enter the Order of Knights will be enthralled with this "true account of the most valiant knights, of their great chivalry and wondrous feats of arms" penned presumably by Sir Lancelot Marshall, master of the Secret Order of the Round Table.

It's hard to describe the glorious details and authenticity of this interactive book, from the ancient font, to the exquisite illustrations, to the foldouts, pop-ups, maps and mini-books. There's even a purple jewel embedded in a goblet on the last page, as well as three on the cover insignia. Know a knight lover? "Knightology" is a gift extraordinaire.

"Spongebob Comics: Treasure Chest" by Stephen Hillenburg; Abrams ComicArts; 200 pages; $29.99.

Spongebob Squarepants fans young and old will love this 200-page comic book that also features AquaMan and other characters in many different styles and stories. Twenty-eight different comic book stories, plus a five-part "Showdown at the Shady Shoals" and an introduction from creator Stephen Hillenburg make this the ultimate Spongebob SquarePants gift.

Truly unique, sturdy, hilarious, artsy and very cool, Hillenburg's "Spongebob Comics" also offers a bonus pinup gallery full of 22 pages of retro-tinged undersea art, as well as a reprint of the premiere issue "He's Ready!"

With a Spongebob musical starring on Broadway, this fantastic book, housed in a sturdy box, is my favorite of all.


To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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