Here's our monthly showcase of the latest and greatest new selections in media for youth.
From books and games to educational toys and DVDs, there's never a dull moment for active and eager young minds. This is the busy month when holiday gifts are one everyone's mind. The following page-by-page suggestions are a great start for Santa's list.
HarperCollins Publishers, $17.99, Ages 4 to 8
"The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Susan Jeffers
In the new 36-page hardcover version of the favorite Christmas song of gift-giving, author Susan Jeffers creates a new telling of the lyrics while staying true to the original list of now famous "true love" gifts. Using beautiful illustrations from Jeffers, it is the story of a young girl named Emma, who finds herself on a dreamy journey after she breaks a very special snow globe. Soon, she is transported to the North Pole for a visit with Santa. It's available in bookstores or at harpercollinschildrens.com.
HarperCollins Publishers, $11.99, Ages 4 to 8
"Biscuit's Christmas" by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
This little yellow puppy is always up to something. But when it's the holidays and excitement is all around, there's even more adventure and surprises. This 190-page hardcover includes nine different stories by author Alyssa Satin Capucilli. From his first big chance to play in the snow to a visit to the big city and even a tale of his chance to "go to school," each page is an easy read that captures imagination. It's available in bookstores or at harpercollinschildrens.com.
HarperCollins Publishers, $9.99, Ages 4 to 8
"Mia's Nutcracker Ballet" by Robin Farley and illustrated by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov
Neatly told in this breezy 32-page hardcover, Mia is a kitten who is part of a very special feline family. Her older, very thin, sister Ava is a ballerina. When Mia is given a wooden nutcracker soldier as a Christmas gift, she doesn't understand the significance, until her grandpa explains it is a reference to the famous "Nutcracker Ballet." While hearing the story at bedtime, Mia drifts off in her imagination to become the little girl Clara, featured in this age-old classic. It's available in bookstores or at harpercollinschildrens.com.
Little, Brown and Company, $9.99, Ages 3 to 6
"The Night Before Christmas" by Holly Hobbie
The famous poem by Clement C. Moore remains the same for this telling in the new 40-page hardcover featuring the beautiful illustrations of Holly Hobbie. The depictions included for each scene include some very personal scenic and character inspirations from the author/illustrators own holiday memories as a youth. Look for the watchful eye of a roaming fox and a very curious cat making appearances on some of the pages. The final two pages of the book also include a wonderful tribute and biography of the the poet Moore and how his now legendary holiday verse came to be. It's available in bookstores or at littlebrown.com.
HarperCollins Publisher, $17.99, Ages 4 to 8
"Santa Claus and the Tree Bears" by Maria Modugno and illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer
The age-old tale of "The Three Bears" gets a Christmas update in this new telling which still retains many of the original plot elements, with just a few yuletide adjustments. For this version shared in the 32-page hardcover, the bears are now polar bears and their porridge has been changed to be "Christmas pudding." But the biggest switch is their special surprise guest, who is no long Goldilocks, but instead, Santa Claus. It's available in bookstores or at harpercollinschildrens.com.
HarperCollins Publisher, $17.99, Ages 4 to 8
"Zoomer's Out-Of-This-World Christmas" written and illustrated by Ned Young
It's the day before Christmas and Zoomer and his other canine friends are looking for Santa to arrive. So of course, this means their eyes are directed up in the air. But instead of the man in the sleigh pulled by reindeer, they see a flying saucer with space visitors eager to also share the Christmas experience. Revealing some very remarkable surprises from the galactic family's space ship, this 32-page hardcover offers fun illustrations as the group all share a picnic and other special gifts while awaiting Santa's arrival.It's available in bookstores or at harpercollinschildrens.com.
Cinedigm, $12.95, Ages 4 and older
"Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas" starring the voice of Don Adams
Originally aired as a holiday TV special in 1992, this 30 minute episode stars the vocal talents of the late, great Don Adams in the title role for this mechanical cartoon character of the TV series of the 1980s intended to pay homage to this original 1960s "Get Smart" TV show. For this story, it's Christmas and Santa Claus is in trouble after the villainous Dr. Claw has disguised himself as Father Christmas for a visit to cause trouble at the North Pole. It's available in stores or at newvideo.com.