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More Snowy Holiday Tales for Tots

Lee Littlewood on

Gnomes, elves and a snowy play scene star in these frosty new tales for kids that will make reading fun all year long.

"Game of Gnomes" by Kirsten Mayer; illustrated by Laura K. Horton; Imprint/Macmillan; 34 pages; $16.99.

With the Winter Olympics coming up, Kirsten Meyer's zesty story about a competitive red-haired gnome named Ginger should interest youngsters in cold-weather sports. Ginger enters the Winter Gnome Games and is thrilled until the crowd chants, "Go, Red!" Ginger then frowns and says, "That's not my name." She is a little offbeat: She plays hockey with a curling stone, whizzes too fast for the figure skating competition and ends up disqualified from sledding because she stands up (like snowboarding).

Ginger still wins the "Best All-Around Gnomework" prize for a search-and-rescue mission and is finally cheered for something other than her red hair.

Any child known for one feature or trait will enjoy hearing about how Ginger overcomes that bias. Everyone will love the funny whimsy in "Game of Gnomes."

"Elf in the House" by Ammi-Joan Paquette; illustrated by Adam Record; Candlewick Press; 32 pages; $15.99.

With a rounded elf that looks nearly like the popular elves on the shelves, Ammi-Joan Paquette's happy journey through a little girl's Christmas Eve house introduces visitors one by one, from a squeaky mouse to a giggling elf to a clip-clopping reindeer to Santa, who ho-ho-hos like he should. The friends have their own party, as they are excited the next day is Christmas.

A brief and colorful ode to elves and all the zippy fun Christmas brings, "Elf in the House" should win hearts.

"Snow Scene" by Richard Jackson; pictures by Laura Vaccaro Seeger; Roaring Brook Press; 36 pages; $17.99.

Beginning with a question -- "What are these?" -- and a watercolor-looking background that's muted and tactile, "Snow Scene" introduces close-up wintry details. The answer to the first question is snow-covered trees. Other scenes feature shadows and crows, and even a boy's red ear and a girl's frosty hair. The point is for kids to notice the little things and all the crisp beauty around them in the wintertime. Soon, though, "It's April, and the things to see are incredibly different, but still gorgeous.


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