These books are especially worthy as seasonal gifts for all ages.
WINTER'S TALE. Written and illustrated by Robert Sabuda. Simon & Schuster. $26.95. The engineering whiz of pop-ups, Sabuda presents this holiday's treat in dazzling white with touches of blue and silver. In snowy landscapes, animals, from mice to an impressive moose, rise from each double-page spread, bringing to life a spare text. Corner pop-ups add smaller animals. The final spread brings all the woodland creatures together around a woodland cabin in a cheerful, lighted display. - BB
JINGLE BELLS. Retold and illustrated by Iza Tripani. Charlesbridge. $15.95. This new version of "Jingle Bells" allows readers a peek at Christmas in Mexico, Sweden, the Phillipines, Poland, Italy, and Kenya. On the refrain pages, a sleigh gradually fills with international children, taking them to a holiday party. Author's notes explain each country's customs and how to say "Merry Christmas" in different languages. Tripani's watercolor illustrations glow with light. - MAC
THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY. Written by Susan Wojchiechowski. Illustrated by P. J. Lynch. Candlewick Press. $12.99. Who could resist this version of a newly created Christmas classic? A CD accompanies this text, featuring the Grammy-nominated reading of James Earl Jones. The warmth of Jones' voice renders beautifully this touching tale of a woodcarver who has forgotten the joy of life. Lynch's watercolor illustrations also have warmth and tenderness. Sharing this book with your family each year has all the makings of a memorable family tradition. - ALS
THE NATIVITY. Illustrated by Julia Vivas. Harcourt. $16. Using the text from the King James Bible, Vivas brings to life the familiar Christmas story. The warmth and charm of a peasant family is captured from the unusual angel Gabriel with his oversize wings to a bewildered Mary and Joseph. We share the adventure of the journey to Bethlehem and the birth of the Child. An enchanting and humorous look at a magical event. - BSJ