My niece and nephew have always known me as the book auntie. Since they were born, I've deluged them with books for every Christmas, holiday, and birthday. Yeah, I give the stuff on their lists- the purses and legos and video games, but I also make sure there is a book (or two or three or ten) under the Christmas tree. My books were never the first presents Gregory or Megan opened or played with, but they always got used and loved eventually. And the books they usually lasted a whole lot longer than the other stuff I bought! Over the next few weeks, I'm going to feature a few books that would be perfect book auntie presents.
HORSES: ACTION FILES (Silver Dolphin Books) is a book for the horse lovers in your life. The book is not really just a book, it's actually a collection of all things horse. Opening the cool 3D cover (which makes me a little nauseous, but I think it's a function of old age!), the reader finds a 24 page fact file with sections on the anatomy of a horse, horse types, horse care, and fun and games with horses. There are lots of great photos and drawings, diagrams, fascinating facts, and suggestions for further research and activities. The publisher has a website that covers not only horses, but lots of other great nonfiction topics as well. There are suggestions for other books (fiction and nonfiction) and also movies. I can definitely see myself using this book in a classroom nonfiction study- it's well written, has interesting information, and it has lots of text features that kids need to know and be able to use.
I would have bought HORSES based on the fact file alone. This book contains lots of other goodies though, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention them. There are sixty horse stickers, scattered on pages throughout the book. There are 18 info cards, each showing a different breed of horse (kind of like baseball trading cards) and a special envelope to keep them in. There is a horse mask kids can assemble. There is a giant foldout poster. And there is a fiction selection, not quite novel length, but longer than a picture book.
More good news. If you know kids who love sharks, or Egypt, or gladiators, those are other topics currently available in this series. I'm hoping there will be lots more eventually.
My niece and nephew are 19 and 21. HORSES probably won't work for either of them, but it's definitely going under someone's tree…