Guest Author - Lorel Shea
These books have been chosen for their “ooh!” factor as great gifts for gifted children to unwrap. Most are appropriate for a wide age range, and may please a six year old as well as a preteen. I'm quite a bit older than that, and I find them captivating as well!
The ultimate Harry Potter fan will be thrilled to see the new complete seven book box set under the tree this year. The Harry Potter box set is sold in a cardboard “trunk” and includes stickers as well as hardcover editions of the J. K. Rowling novels. My kids have nearly read our original Harry Potter books to pieces, and I know they'd appreciate this set.
If you want to present an impressive looking book that is packed with all sorts of lore, secret pockets, fold out maps, and more, take a look at the “Ologies” series. These include Wizardology, Pirateology, Dragonology, Mythology, and Egyptology. There is also a Monsterology volume scheduled for release in August 2008. These books are visually stunning. They are jammed full of information and have interactive flaps, games, and hidden messages. The Mythology book for example, has a copy of the Greek alphabet, a bit of thread from the Golden Fleece, a flap that exposes the mythic city of Atlantis against the modern day Greek island of Santorini, and a golden quill (ballpoint) pen. Book covers tend to be heavy faux leather and laden with “jewels”.
The amazing team of Sabuda and Reinhart have created a whole slew of gorgeous pop-up books. These books are much more complex than the sort I recall form my own childhood, and they are truly magnificent. Titles include versions of popular classics such as the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, and The Chronicles of Narnia, their newest release. They also have an enchanting series of pop-ups called, “Encyclopedia Prehistorica”, which covers Mega-Beasts, Sharks and Other Sea Monsters, and Dinosaurs. These are full of interesting facts as well as visual delights. Finally, for the Star Wars aficionado, there is a very cool Star Wars pop-up.
For gifted kids who are reading comfortably at about a 3rd grade level and are not overly squeamish, check out the Spiderwick Chronicles. The original five book set comes in a nice box set. There are also related books on “The Care and Feeding of Sprites”, “The Notebook for Fantastical Observations”, and “The Nixie's Song”. These easy chapter books are adorned with whimsical pen and ink illustrations and the stories are memorable.
For those gifted kids who prefer non-fiction, you might consider buying the 2008 Guinness World Records Book. Kids with insatiable curiosity love the Guinness Book. Or Dorling Kindersley's mysterious, “Do Not Open” which comes packaged in a cardboard vault. This intriguing book is designed for kids from 9-12. “Steven Carey's Ultimate Building book: Including More Than 100 Incredible Projects Kids Can Make” is a treasure trove of creative ideas for young builders. Common household items may be used to construct all sorts of things, from cat playgrounds to mosquito traps.
I hope you've found these suggestions helpful. My kids and I had a lot of fun compiling this list of favorites!